Historic Water Tower Museum reopens to the public!

After being closed for almost six months, the Society’s museum in the Historic Water Tower will reopen to the public on Saturday, February 21st. Hours on this and all future Saturdays will be 10 a.m. – 12 noon. Be sure to stop by and check out all the new/revamped exhibits!

These include two new permanent exhibits; one on Who’s Who – Important People in Western Springs’ History and another on Western Springs’ Talented Twins – Charles Vickery and Florence Vickery Guise. We’ve also opened a temporary exhibit on Billy Graham who had his one and only pastorate in Western Springs in the 1940s.

Our other exhibits have all been cleaned and freshened up with new paint, some new wall murals and lots of elbow grease! Of course, none of these improvements would be possible without the generosity of our supporters. We would especially like to thank the Daisy Hill Questors for a grant that underwrote the cost of improvements to the Keil Pharmacy cabinet and Bannerville USA for donating the vinyl lettering in both the Vickery and Graham exhibits. Thank you! Your generosity helps us keep the story of the village’s past alive for future generations!

The Society celebrated the museum reopening with a “We Love Our Members” reception on Thursday, February 19th. Members had an opportunity to tour the tower at night while enjoying light refreshments. Stay tuned for photos of the event which will be posted shortly.


SAVE THE DATE for the 2015 WSHS House Walk 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Get a glimpse inside homes in the village that you may have always wondered about! Six unique homes will be featured this year ranging from Modern Victorian and Colonial American to Shingle Style and American Foursquare.  Tickets will be available on our website in a few short months. All proceeds from the House Walk fund the Western Springs Historical Society’s operating budget, providing programs and archival materials to residents.

Winter Adult Ed Lecture:  Capturing the Past to Gift the Future

History is more than just a litany of facts and figures….it is the story of those who have come before. We all have stories that help bring the past alive and those memories of people, places and occasions in our lives are among the most precious gifts we can share with others.

Even if you are not inspired to write for the generations ahead, it’s just plain fun to recall and write about some of the events in your life that you hold dear. Instead of saying “I’ll do it some day”, come on over to the Thomas Ford Library on January 25th from 2:00 to 4:00 pm for the Western Springs Historical Society’s second adult ed lecture of the year and learn how easy it can be!

Long time resident Kathryn Price will be your inspiration and guide as you get ready to write. Please bring some pencils and a notebook for the second half of this informative seminar.  This WSHS program is free and open to all but participants are asked to register with the library in advance.


Join Us for a Journey Back in Time!

Lawn & Burlington Looking East - circa 1942 001 (2)Stop by the Thomas Ford Memorial Library during the month of November to see the Historical Society’s latest exhibit on “Western Springs: Then & Now.” Using historic images of the downtown business district as a starting point, the Society shot current day photographs from the same angle or perspective. The resulting exhibit features the “Then and Now” photos along side each other. The photos, some of which date back to the late 1920s, will be on view in the glass display case to the right of the library’s circulation desk throughout the month of November. Be sure to drop by and see how Western Springs has changed over the past 80+ years.

Walk & Talk with George Maher on Sunday, November 2, 11am – 1pm

unnamedVenture out to Riverside to meet with architect Charlie Pipal and historian Kathy Cummings and take an interior tour of a George Maher house, plus a walking tour of the neighborhood. $10/person, $8/PHF members. Tickets available on site, RSVP requested, email hruehlemay@pleasanthome.org.
CLICK HERE for more information.

Work on Historic Water Tower Museum continues!

The Historical Society continues to work with the Village of Western Springs to facilitate various improvements to the Historic Water Tower Museum. Earlier this month, the Society installed an historically appropriate mosaic tile floor in the front entry way. It is beautiful and a huge improvement over the carpeting that it replaced!

The Historical Society would like to thank the Village Green Questers and the State Questers for providing the necessary funding for this project! Next up is the restoration of all the windows at the Tower. We were very excited to learn that the Village has decided to restore all of the windows this fall. Work will start in a couple of weeks and will take approximately 6-8 weeks to complete. Unfortunately, this will require shutting down the museum in the interim. We will be open on Saturday, August 30th (Labor Day weekend) but will then close until some time in late November or early December. Please watch for future notices as to when we will reopen.  If you have any questions regarding these or other projects, be sure to contact us at the Archives (246-9230).

Learn about the History of Local Churches at our October 26, 2014 Adult Lecture

pastorsHave you ever wondered about all the different churches in town? Interested in learning more about their history and the role they have played in Western Springs’ development? If so, please join us on Sunday, October 26th at 4 p.m. in the sanctuary of First Congregational Church, 1106 Chestnut Avenue for the Historical Society’s first Adult Ed lecture of the 2014/15 program year. The presentation, which is free to the public, will be given by representatives from each church. Refreshments will be served after the presentation when attendees will also have an opportunity to view a selection of historic photos and documents from each church’s archives.


Western Springs goes back in time for one day at the Western Springs Historical Society’s MayFest

The Western Springs Historical Society (WSHS), presented an afternoon of old-fashioned family fun during MayFest, a new biennial event designed to raise awareness of the Society and its Preservation Awards. The event took place Sunday, May 4 at the Tower Green.

The afternoon featured traditional carnival games, old-fashioned entertainment, food and crafts. Carnival games included nostalgic favorites like the milk can toss, bucket drop and a scavenger hunt with a raffle prize. Entertainment featured a juggler, unicyclists, Maypole dancers, and the Western Springs-based Allegro fiddle and dance ensemble. Food included lemonade, popcorn, cotton candy and an old-fashioned candy table. Craft tables offered boys and girls the opportunity to create crafts from another time, like May baskets, crowns and pennants. Children, preschool through grade 4th grade, participated in a coloring contest. We have a terrific Photo Montage for May Fest here.

Community businesses chipped in to support the event and include: Event Sponsor: Realty Executives. Activity Sponsors: Core Pilates, Elements Massage, First Congregational Preschool, Dr. Phillip Girgis D.D.S., j2 Santi Builders, Village Veterinary Practice and the Western Springs Garden Club.


Historic Home Ownership: Challenges and Rewards presented by Charlie Pipal, AIA, Thursday, April 17th @ 7 pm, Thomas Ford Library (lower level)

Thanks to all who attended this informative program. Here are some photos from that evening:

Ownership of an older home poses interesting challenges.  Design flexibility, outdated mechanical systems, electrical and plumbing issues, lack of insulation and leaky windows are just a few of the many problems confronted by owners of older homes.  Join architect Charles Pipal as he discusses specific issues and solutions to historic home stewardship.

Charles Pipal, AIA is a practicing architect and professor in the Historic Preservation Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Landscape Architecture and a Master’s Degree in Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with a concentration in historic preservation.  He is a past director of Landmarks Illinois, where he served as chair of the Fund and Easement Committee and currently serves as the Chair of the Riverside Preservation Commission and Vice President of the Pleasant Home Foundation.  Professor Pipal’s particular professional and academic focus has been on the physical documentation and rehabilitation of historic resources.

The Western Springs Historical Society (WSHS) presented “The Evolution of Education in Western Springs” Wed. Feb. 26, 2014

Vicki's school presentation

WSHS president, Vicki Lezon, shared research findings on the history of schools in Western Springs dating back to 1874, in a humorous and enlightening presentation at a free lecture Wednesday, February 26 at 7pm in the McClure Junior High Library. Participants heard how education in Western Springs has changed over the past 140 years and how it has stayed the same.