Ellwood House Museum

DeKalb

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In a Nutshell

Tours of the estate of Isaac Ellwood, one of the wealthiest men in Illinois in the late 1800s, feature a barbed-wire exhibit and a playhouse

The Fine Print

Promotional value expires Nov 30, 2014. Amount paid never expires. Limit 1 per person, may buy 1 additional as gift. Limit 1 per visit. Valid only for option purchased. Not valid with any other offers. Must call ahead to schedule tour time. Subject to availability. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

Choose Between Two Options

  • $8 for a museum tour for two adults ($16 value)
  • $16 for a museum tour for four adults or kids ($32 value)

A 60- to 90-minute guided tour gives visitors a look at the estate of Isaac Ellwood, who helped develop the barbed-wire industry in America. Its visitors center has one of the most comprehensive exhibits on barbed wire, including early barbed-wire advertising. The museum also contains furniture and belongings owned by the Ellwood family, such as a scale-model Victorian home that tour-goers can walk into.

Tours are available at 1 p.m. or 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through November 30. Tours begin in the Visitor Center.

Ellwood House Museum

Established: 1965
Reservations/Appointments: Required
Staff Size: 2–10 people
Average Duration of Services: 1–2 hours
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Guided tours
Recommended Age Group: All Ages
Pro Tip: Wear comfortable shoes.

Q&A with the Executive Director

What are the museum's origins?
The museum has been operating since Mrs. Ellwood donated the mansion and property to the DeKalb Park District; currently, the estate consists of seven historic structures and 10 acres. A guided tour takes 60 to 90 minutes. Guided tours are the only option for seeing the museum.

What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
The mansion was built in 1879 from [the] income Isaac Ellwood received from his half ownership in the first barbed-wire manufacturing company.

Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
The 1891 playhouse is a scale model of a Victorian home and once served as a parade float for the builder to showcase his home-building skills. By the late 1800s, it was acquired by the Ellwoods and became a playhouse. Entering the little building is part of the tour, but it is not handicap accessible. There is an 1865 cemetery located just beyond the woods.

Customer Reviews

Took the grandkids when it was decorated for Christmas. Very nice. They loved the little house out back
Penelope L. · January 16, 2016
Be sure and spend sometime in the barbed wire section of the visitors center. The staff is great answering questions and the tour of the mansion was wonderful.
Nanette W. · December 2, 2014
If you like older historical buildings, you'll like this. Go for the full tour.
Daniel F. · November 24, 2014
Merchant Location Map
  1. 1

    DeKalb

    509 North 1st Street

    DeKalb, IL 60115

    +18157564609

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