SYCAMORE – Lifelong DeKalb County residents Barbara and Carl Wallin had an insatiable thirst for learning about the county, but each went about it in their own way.
During his lifetime, Carl Wallin enjoyed exploring the county on foot. Barb Wallin, on the other hand, engrossed herself in historical groups and in buying pieces of local history.
After the couple died, their children were amazed by what they discovered in their former Sycamore home: Collectibles, books and antiques dating back to the 1800s.
“A lot of the stuff we hadn’t even seen,” said the late couple’s son, Jim Wallin of Sycamore. “There was stuff boxed up in the bedrooms, the basement and up in the attic.”
With no room in their own homes for their parents’ former treasures, Jim Wallin, his brother Jerry Wallin and his sister Judy Maxwell decided to let the public in on the Wallins’ collection of prized pieces. An estate sale at the late Wallins’ former home, at 2211 Coltonville Road, runs daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Sunday.
Barbara and Carl Wallin both were born in DeKalb in 1922 and graduated from DeKalb High School – where they met each other – in 1940.
Carl Wallin served in World War II, where he received five battle stars as a sergeant. Barbara Wallin was a charter member of both the DeKalb and Sycamore historical societies and active with the Ellwood House Museum and several other groups. She worked at Northern Illinois University for some time, and he spent years working for Wurlitzer and General Electric.
“They were wonderful parents,” said Maxwell, a Sugar Grove resident. “They were very concerned about DeKalb and its well-being – very involved that way.”
Barbara Wallin died Nov. 24, 2011, at age 89, and Carl Wallin, 91, died Aug. 1.
Their story lives on in the antiques that they left behind.
“My mother went to lots and lots of auctions and estate sales for over 60 years,” Maxwell said. “She collected vinegar cruets, old bells, printing plates. She had a great appreciation of things that were old.”
The site of the late couple’s home once was home to Electric Park Corners, from 1904 to the late 1920s. The park housed a baseball diamond and dancing pavilion and anchored a historical electric train line that once connected DeKalb and Sycamore. That history fascinated Barbara Wallin.
“She wanted to know as much about Electric Park Corners as she could,” Jim Wallin said. “She wanted to know the history of everything in DeKalb County.”
Kathy Loos, the owner of Kathy’s Estate Sales, of Burlington, is managing the sale. Buyers can expect to find books, barbed wire and other antiques from the 1800s, vintage tools and glassware and even a Honda scooter from the 1960s.
“It’s a wonderful collection all in one location,” she said. “I have seen a lot over the years ... but not so many things in one place.”
If you go
What: Estate sale of Barbara and Carl Wallin
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through Sunday
Where: 2211 Coltonville Road, Sycamore