Merrill House

Merrill House

The following excerpt is from Stephen J. Bigolin’s publication, A Journey Through Dekalb County Vol. II

Chapter 20

“The oldest house in Hinckley constructed following the Village’s establishment stands at 159 N. Sycamore St., a half-block or so off Route 30 (Lincoln Avenue). The structure’s original owner was Frank E. Merrill, who arrived in Squaw Grove Township in 1868 and went on to make a name for himself in the field of general merchandising and, briefly, in banking. The Sycamore Street residence will be 130 years old in 2002.

Comparing the way the house looked historically to how it does today reveals some changes. Even the vintage photograph in “Hinckley’s History” shows that use of decorative detail was held to a minimum. The most notable alterations are that the building is now covered with aluminum siding and it has lost the scrollwork-style front and side porches. A single fixed-glass window facing the street on the first floor juts out from the main wall. That and a similar window on the lower level of the two-story south bay replaced two and three windows, respectively, in those areas. bracketed cornices above both the first and second floors of the bay are no longer intact, either. The small mansard roof atop the bay also is gone. Despite these many changes, the old Merrill house still looks venerable enough.”

Stephen J. Bigolin

“When one thinks of barbed wire and DeKalb County history, one name usually comes to mind: Steve Bigolin. Not only is he a collector of historical items and documents, but he’s a collector of facts, as well: just one question about local history can have him rattling off dates and anecdotes without hesitation.”