Don Burkett is a photographer who grew up in an area of Pennsylvania where most of the buildings in the small towns were simple stick and frame construction and the commercial and retail buildings were basic block-n-mortar. In contrast, the small towns here in the mid-west (from his ‘About page):
present themselves as warm, folksy, communities with a fairly consistent tendency towards European Influence. A look at the Historic Registry will describe architectural styles like; Queen Anne, Italianate, Art Deco, Greek Revival, Classical Revival, Second Empire, Beaux Arts, Moderne. The point is, these midwest towns have personality.
I find this fascinating and as a Photographer these towns present an abundance of eye candy. Galena Illinois is a quintessential example of the region. I cite this as Galena has gained popularity as a tourist center so there is readily available information and photos to review if you cared to explore this further.
Recently though, I drove through DeKalb Illinois and found it to be a treasure trove of historic and architectural variety on the 3 areas I like to photograph, Industrial, Commercial and Residential. So, I’ve decided to spend the next few months focused on photographing and documenting the bits and pieces of DeKalb that I find most interesting.
I don’t plan to become a historian, nor to I intend to focus on the history of the town or the region. This is already pretty well documented and available through the Joiner History Room at the Sycamore Public Library, the DeKalb Public Library, the Ellwood House and Museum, the Northern Illinois Regional History Center and Northern Illinois University Libraries.
I am going to attempt is to learn the history of the individual buildings that get featured in photographs. Some of it will be easy because there are a number of buildings in the Historic Registry. Some of it might just consist of the date built or original intended use. Who Knows!
The objective is to have some fun and challenge myself to tell a story that might be interesting to others.
It IS interesting to read an outsider’s perspective of DeKalb… read the ‘Andy’s & McCabes’ post for a laugh, read the sidebar for the opposite effect.
I’ve been following Mr. Burkett’s blog for a few weeks now and he is a really great photographer who is doing an awesome job of showcasing our unique local architecture. He’s doing a great job of uncovering the history of some of our buildings as well. I’ve even learned a thing or two about our town from Mr. Burkett. Give his blog a read here: dtburkett.com/Dekalb/
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