2018 Preservation Award Nominations Now Being Accepted!

2018 Biennial Preservation Awards

The awards, which the Historical Society has been giving since 1996, recognize owners for restoring or preserving their residences while maintaining the architectural and historic integrity of the structure. Houses must be at least 50 years old for two categories and only the building’s exterior is considered. Judges use criteria that have been established by the US Department of the Interior and are recommended by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

The final category, The Good Neighbor Award, is for a new structure, either residential or commercial, that fits the scale and historic style of Western Springs.

The Historical Society appreciates the efforts by all homeowners to maintain their homes. A resident’s commitment to preserving their home or adding to it in a period appropriate manner contributes greatly to the charm and historic character of our village. The Preservation Awards are held biennially in even numbered years. Nominations for the 2018 awards will be accepted until February 28th and can be submitted using this form.

Save The Date for the WSHS 2017 House Walk!


WESTERN SPRINGS, March 22, 2017 — The Western Springs Historical Society’s biennial fundraiser returns to the Chicago suburb Sunday, May 21, 2017 from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. The day will be a celebration of Western Springs’ rich history and a chance to gather design and architectural inspiration.

Purchase Tickets

“We are thrilled with the variety of architectural styles on this year’s Walk,” said Laurel Schumm, Event Co-Chair. “The generosity of our homeowners is much appreciated by the Historical Society. We can’t wait to unveil the dramatic homes featured on this year’s fundraiser.” The 2017 House Walk focuses on the history of Western Springs’ different neighborhoods via program notes and docent commentary.

This year’s six homes cover five areas of Western Springs:

OLD TOWN: 1000 Maple & 4359 Woodland

FIELD PARK: 3941 Clausen

RIDGE ACRES: 4607 Harvey

FOREST HILLS: 5048 Woodland

SPRINGDALE: 658 Courtland Circle

For those interested in attending, tickets are $35 in advance and $45 on the day of, and will be available starting April 15th at Clever Girl, the Thomas Ford Memorial Library, the Water Tower (Saturday mornings only) and on our web site. All proceeds benefit the Western Springs Historical Society, an all-volunteer organization dedicated to instilling an appreciation of the village’s history in residents of all ages. Proceeds from the event will fund the Society’s operating budget, as well as help develop exhibits for the Ekdahl House and the Tower Museum, and provide programs and archival materials for residents.

The Historical Society wishes to thank all those who have helped make this event possible, especially the local businesses that have stepped up as sponsors: Bonus Builders, Community Bank of Western Springs, County Line Properties (Amy Avakian & Jen Pasko), First National Bank of LaGrange, Foxford Station, Heartland Bank, j2Santi Builders, Liam Brex, Normandy Remodeling, Plymouth Place, Realty Executives (Ann Marie Hickey), Re/Max Properties (Carol Walsh Rosentreter), RSB Property Development, and Smothers Realty Group (Aaron Airhart). We could not host an event like this without their support and hope that the community will recognize their commitment by patronizing these businesses.


House Walk media contact: Robin Carroll, racwriter@gmail.com or 773-551-7218.

Residents Respond to WSHS Community Wide Survey

In December, 2016 the Historical Society solicited community feedback about the type and quality of services it provides via an on-line survey.  The survey also strove to identify user demographics. A synopsis of the survey results is as follows:

151 people took the survey and the number of responses were evenly split between members and non-members.  Most of the respondents had lived in WS for 10 or more years (71%).  Almost one-half of our members have supported the Historical Society for over 10 years (46%) and most non-members have been aware of the Society for over 10 years (51%).

Most of our members visited the Water Tower Museum & Children’s Museum (27%), visited the Ekdahl House Museum (16%), and attended an Adult Education Lecture (13%).  Most of the non-members attended the 2015 House Walk (27%), visited the Water Tower Museum & Children’s Museum (19%), and had a child participate in the 3rd grade tour of the Water Tower Museum.

We received 30 comments regarding the House Walk.  These have been reviewed and several of the suggestions are being implemented in the 2017 House Walk.

Respondents strongly agreed that the three most important functions of the WSHS provides are; preserving the history of the Village for future generations, informing residents and visitors for all ages about the Village’s past and helping to create a sense of community.  The most important programs and services we provide related to our ongoing collection of history related items as well as their preservation and display.

We thank all those who took time to complete our first ever WSHS survey.  The information will assist us in the evaluation of existing programs and help provide guidance for future programs.  As always, if you have questions, comments, or concerns that you would like to share with us, please contact us at info@westernspringshistory.org or 708-246-9230.


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!

Planning For The Future

The Western Springs Historical Society is seeking community feedback about the type and quality of services the Society provides. We are gathering input via a short on-line survey so that we can evaluate existing programs and provide future programs that are meaningful. We urge you to make your opinions known by completing this survey before December 1, 2016. Thank you for participating!

WSHS Launches New Temporary Exhibit on Vaughan’s Seed Company


Please join us in the historic Water Tower on Friday, October 7th from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. during the Western Springs Business Association’s Annual Fall Festival. In addition to our permanent exhibits, you can check out our newest display entitled “Vaughan’s Seed Company: The Art of The Sale”. This exhibit, which features a variety of different artifacts, explores how Vaughan’s used it’s sales and marketing expertise to grow into one of the largest seed companies in the world. The Water Tower Museum is also open every Saturday morning from 10 to noon.

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!