Adult Education Lecture Series

The Western Springs Historical Society hosts an annual lecture series on subjects of interest to local residents. There are three lectures each program year – in the fall, winter, and spring respectively. Lectures are open to the general public and are free of charge. Locations and start times vary so please see the homepage for information on the next lecture in this year’s series. If you have a suggestion for a future lecture, please e-mail us at

WSHS 2017 Winter Adult Ed Lecture

Have you ever wondered about your family’s history? Interested in learning more but unsure where to start or what resources are readily available to the amateur genealogist? If so, please join us on Thursday, January 26th 2017 at 7 p.m. in the Siem Room at First Congregational Church for the Historical Society’s winter Adult Ed lecture. A presenter from the Naperville Family History Center will walk us through the basics of how to research your family’s roots, strategies for overcoming dead ends, and some of the many resources available to the public in the western suburbs.  This talk is free and open to all so we hope you will join us for what promises to be an interesting and informative evening!

Fall 2016 Adult Ed Lecture

Do you have old family letters, photos or other documents tucked away in the attic that you don’t know what to do with? Unsure of how to preserve them or, if they are damaged, how to restore them? If yes, please join us in the Seim Room at First Congregational Church of Western Springs on Wednesday, October 5th at 7 p.m. when Russ Maki, President of Graphic Conservation, will talk about paper conservation, particularly as it relates to family documents. Russ will discuss how paper based works can degrade over time and share before and after examples of various works on paper, including some of national historic importance that Graphic Conservation has had the honor to work on. Attendees are welcome to bring an old family document with them to the lecture – there will time after the presentation when Russ can offer advice on restoring and preserving your family treasures. This talk is free and open to all. Please enter the Christian Ed building through the north doors off the parking lot. The Seim Room is on the 2nd floor at the top of the stairs in the center of the building.

Vaughan’s Seed Company & The History of Horticulture in Chicago

The third and final lecture in the 2015/2016 Adult Ed series will be held on Thursday, May 19th at 7 pm in First Congregational Church’s Siem Room in the Christian Education Building. The subject for this spring’s talk is local powerhouse Vaughan’s Seed Company and their impact on the history of horticulture in the Chicagoland area. Come out and learn about the role that this international company, which once called Western Springs home, played in setting garden fashion from the late 1800’s on!

Upcoming Adult Ed Lecture on Saturday, January 30th at 2 pm

Have you ever wondered how Western Springs came to be? How the village’s boundaries have changed over time and different neighborhoods got their names? How about the history of a specific house you’ve always admired?  If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you will want to join us on Saturday, January 30th for our upcoming lecture on the development of Western Springs’ various neighborhoods. The talk, which will be held on the 2nd floor of the Grand Avenue Community Center, will be followed by an opportunity for attendees to look up information on their homes in the Society’s Archives. Volunteers will be available to help search through our records and make copies of any documents you would like for your own files. All are welcome and the presentation is free of charge.

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.

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.

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

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.