WHM Blog


Exploring Collections at Home – Civil Rights on the North Shore

By |June 3, 2020|

In 1946, shortly after the end of World War II, red swastikas were painted on the North Shore Congregation Israel synagogue in Glencoe. In response to this act of desecration, a group of residents organized the North Shore Citizens’ Committee, an interfaith, interracial group of about 500 North Shore families. The group, based in the Winnetka Community House, actively worked to promote integration on the North Shore. Among their projects [...]

Remembering Those Who Served this Memorial Day

By |May 21, 2020|

Once again, Memorial Day weekend has snuck up on us. As we take the time to remember and thank those who have served in the Armed Forces across the nation, let us also remember Wilmette’s local involvement and rich history through challenging times of war and crisis. Here at the Wilmette Historical Museum, there is a wealth of resources that detail what Wilmette and Gross Point were like during [...]

Exploring Collections at Home – Victory Gardens Return

By |May 7, 2020|

Wilmettians have long been proud of their beautiful gardens, but if you find yourself with an itch to grow your own food these days too, you are not alone.Many of us hear the phrase "victory garden" and think of WWII, when patriotism was directly linked to growing one's own food.(Left) William H. Gage in a garden, 1914, Wilmette Historical Museum Collections Online. William Gage, son of Katherine and Stanley, lived [...]

Exploring Collections at Home – Journals and Diaries

By |April 22, 2020|

John Gage used this marbled cover notebook in our collection as a journal beginning on June 7, 1830. On the first page he explained his purpose quite clearly: "Bot this book this day. I paid 4/ for it calculating to use it for a private journal of what transpires from day to day." John, his wife Portia, and their three sons were early land developers of Wilmette and helped build much [...]

Exploring Collections at Home – Fingerprinting Camera

By |April 5, 2020|

In our collections we have a somewhat unusual device: a police fingerprinting camera used by the Wilmette Police Department. This highly specialized camera was manufactured by the Folmer & Schwing (Graflex) division of Kodak in 1921. The Wilmette Police Department used this camera, which takes closeup images of fingerprints, from approximately 1921 to at least 1937.We're not sure how often the camera was used or how effective it was in nabbing criminals, but [...]

Exploring Collections at Home – Libby’s: A Chicago Food Business

By |March 27, 2020|

Despite our museum being closed for now, we want to stay engaged with you, our members and community. So, we’ve decided to create these blog posts to highlight our collections. We’ll start with an artifact or photograph from our own holdings and tell you more about it, plus share ways to dig deeper on your own. Don’t forget that you can take a look at the rest of what’s [...]

Armistice Day in Wilmette, 1918

By |November 10, 2018|

Father Edward J. Vattmann was a retired U.S. Army chaplain who lived at 1733 Lake Avenue in Wilmette. Active in local affairs, he was a familiar and well-loved figure around the village.  His close friend, Theodore Roosevelt, was known to pay a visit to him at that house on occasion. During World War I, Father Vattmann came out of retirement to serve at Fort Sheridan. When the news came to [...]

Groovy Threads

By |January 26, 2016|

A guest blog post by Jane Textor, the Museum's Costume Curator: Our past exhibit on the 1960s gave me the opportunity to display one of my favorite pieces housed here at the museum; a dress made of paper! It has vivid colors, a psychedelic print, and it was worn right here in Wilmette. Mid-sixties dressing was all about youth and fun; from mini-skirts, to body paints, to go-go boots, [...]

Woman’s Club of Wilmette

By |February 18, 2015|

For 100 years and more, the Woman's Club of Wilmette at Tenth and Greenleaf has been a center of community life. On February 17, 2015, our village sustained a terrible loss when fire destroyed much of that historic and still vital building. The clubhouse, with its distinctive facing of Lannon limestone from Wisconsin, was built in 1929, incorporating a smaller building erected in 1912. But it isn't only the [...]

That’s a lot of snow

By |January 6, 2015|

The earliest Wilmette blizzard for which we have good records hit the village on Saturday, January 5, 1918, and even old-timers couldn't remember a worse one.  Snow fell for thirty continuous hours, as powerful winds whipped up huge eight-foot snowdrifts that blanketed the whole community.  All traffic shut down, and most people had no choice but to stay home.  An emergency call went out for men and horses to help [...]

The Garage Fire, 1922

By |September 9, 2014|

A Wilmette native and old friend of the WHM, Harold Lundberg, Jr., stopped by the other day with some snapshots that had belonged to his dad.  This one in particular caught our eye.  On the back, in pencil, is the note, "Photo by Waldo. The garage fire in 1922."  We don't know who "Waldo" was, but we'd run across mention of the 1922 garage fire, which made the front page [...]

Phantom Parties of Early Wilmette

By |March 15, 2014|

On April 7, 1916, the Annual Meeting of Ye Olde Towne Folkes welcomed Asceneth “Carrie” Stolp as guest speaker. In the speech she gave that night, Stolp recalled a history of Wilmette from the days of the Ouilmette reservation to the founding of Ye Olde Towne Folkes in 1892. Throughout the presentation, which was transcribed and is available to us at the Museum, life in early Wilmette is described [...]


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