Community history comes alive as part of the modern world with a variety of public programs and events throughout the year. Please note that we do not issue refunds.  We appreciate your support of the La Grange Area Historical Society!

Upcoming Events

 

Exhibit Grand Opening – UPDATE!  The original Grand Opening date of April 4th has been postponed until further notice. We will be monitoring COVID-19 safety protocol, and we will announce a new opening date when we can confirm that it is safe for us to open to the public.

The LGAHS is excited to announce our new exhibit opening this spring: Remarkable Women of the La Grange Area ~ A Century of Fashion, Passion and Progress. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, we are highlighting inspiring and influential women and women’s organizations from throughout the years in the La Grange Area.

 

Alice Paul: Winning Votes for Women – UPDATE! This event will now take place on line via Zoom.  It will be a live presentation with an opportunity for Q & A with Ms. Goddard afterwards. Register now, and on the day of the event you will be sent a link to join the presentation.
 
On June 4th at 7:00 pm we will present Alice Paul: Winning Votes for Women.  In this living-history portrayal, actress and scholar Leslie Goddard, Ph.D., portrays suffragist Alice Paul, one of the most dynamic leaders in the fight to win votes for women. An innovative and tireless worker, Paul arranged parades, organized the first picketing demonstrations outside the White House, lobbied politicians, and endured imprisonment for women’s suffrage.  As fearless as she was pioneering, she remains an icon in the struggle for women’s rights. Presentation begins at 7:00 pm.  Doors will open at 6:30 for mingling and refreshments. This event is free but registration is required due to limited seating. Click here to register.
 

Madam President: The Secret President of Edith WilsonUPDATE!  This event will now be presented on line via Zoom.  Register now, and on the day of the event you will be sent a link to join the presentation.  This presentation is brought to you in partnership with the La Grange Library and registrations is taking place on their website.  Click here to register.

On July 9th at 7:00 pm we will welcome William Hazelgrove for his presentation Madam President.  After President Woodrow Wilson suffered a paralyzing stroke in the fall of 1919, his wife, First Lady Edith Wilson, began to handle the day-to-day responsibilities of the Executive Office. In the tenuous peace following the end of World War I, Mrs. Wilson dedicated herself to managing the office of the President, reading all correspondence intended for her bedridden husband. Though her Oval Office authority was acknowledged in Washington, D.C. circles at the time–one senator called her “the Presidentress who had fulfilled the dream of suffragettes by changing her title from First Lady to Acting First Man”–her legacy as “First Woman President” is now largely forgotten.William Hazelgrove’s Madam President is a vivid, engaging portrait of the woman who became the acting President of the United States in 1919, months before women officially won the right to vote.

 

Walking Tours – UPDATE  What’s Wright and Heart of La Grange have been cancelled due to COVID-19 safety protocol. But you can still mark your calendar and register for the West End tour. Cost for tours is $10 for members and $15 for non-members.  Click below to register! 
 
  • What’s Wright in LaGrange: May 17th 1:30 pm.  This popular guided walking tour is given by LGAHS member John Burns. After a short introductory presentation at the Vial House Museum, learn what Frank Lloyd Wright designed in La Grange in the 1890’s and early 1900’s, and what his designs have to do with bootlegging. Then, view four Wright designed homes as you walk through a historic and picturesque La Grange neighborhood.
  • Heart of La Grange Then & Now: June 14th 1:30 pm. A Guided Walking Tour of Historic Fifth Avenue   LGAHS member John Burns will guide you through the heart of downtown La Grange on Fifth Avenue from the railroad station on Burlington to Elm Street. Find out who’s entombed in the façade of a prominent downtown building. Discover where the Sears Roebuck, Montgomery Ward, and S. S. Kresge stores were once located.
  • La Grange’s West End: September 13th 1:30 pm. Join our historian John Burns for an interesting tour that focuses on La Grange’s west end.  John will provide tour goers with some surprising tales of the village near Stone Avenue Station.

Please note that we do not issue refunds.  We appreciate your support of the La Grange Area Historical Society!

 
 

Past Programs

La Grange Home and History Tour – The 2019 Home and History Tour took place on Saturday, September 14th. Guests visited five unique homes as well as two historic buildings that are not residences and learned about the history and interesting stories behind these properties.  The tour offered a rare opportunity to enter some of the La Grange area’s finest private homes and experience the architecture, design and collections that are treasured by families but rarely shared with the public. The tour will return next September!  If you think your home would a nice addition to the tour, please contact us.

Roaring Twenties Murder Mystery Evening – Guests got dolled up for a swanky evening at “The Rose Club,” the most exclusive Speakeasy in town! La Grange’s most ruthless mobsters and elegant flappers gathered for a night of glamour, scandal, and murder! Each guest had a role to play, clues to share, and secrets to conceal as we worked together to unmask the killer! Included in the registration fee was a sampling of Prohibition Era cocktails and light snacks.  

Hometown Trivia Celebrating 140th Birthday of La Grange – Guests tested their knowledge of La Grange and celebrated 140 years!  It was a fun evening of lighthearted trivia celebrating the heritage of our wonderful community.
 
Rising from the Ashes: Celebrating La Grange History at Emmanuel Episcopal – The community celebrated Emmanuel Episcopal Church’s recent designation to the National Register of Historic Places.   The rich history of this landmark building and its many roles at the center of the growing community of La Grange were highlighted. 
 
So, You Want to Climb Your Family Tree? – Local genealogist Tom Veeser shared suggestions on how to research your family tree. Topics included how to gather family information, choosing genealogy software, researching on the internet, and using local resources such as libraries, historical societies, and public archives.
 
Wheels to La Grange: Transportation Through the Years – Guests learned how transportation to La Grange evolved over the years from trails, mud & plank roads, horse wagons & buggies and railroads to the automobile by the turn of the 19th century. David Wilson, a local transportation author writing a history of suburbs along the Metra BNSF train line enriched us with his engaging presentation on the history of regional transportation.
 
Women of WWII – The La Grange Area Historical Society highlighted the many contributions of women during World War II during a special program featuring author, Barb Warner Deane, who has written a book on the topic, and gave her presentation,
Women of World War II: On the Front Lines & the Home Front. The event will provide insight into the necessary roles held by women between from 1939 to 1945, while millions of men and boys were deployed in the U.S. and overseas during WWII. It included a focus on the American Red Cross Clubmobile program, and all the important ways in which American women helped win the war. As part of the program, Navistar, headquartered in Lisle, IL, brought their WWII Clubmobile to the event, which will be available for touring after the presentation. Navistar historian, Tom Clark, was on hand to answer questions.

History Comes Alive! – History came alive for kids on Saturdays in July with fun and games from decades past.  There were family friendly activities set in a different decade each week!  Kids could learn to disco or experience what it would have been like at the Chicago World’s Fair or a 50’s sock hop!  

Spooky Storytime for Kids – Also new in October, we hosted Spooky Story time for kids! Children listened to spooky and silly interactive Halloween stories and learned about how Halloween has been celebrated throughout history! Snacks were served and children took home a goody bag.  All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Hauntings of La Grange – Guests joined us at the LaGrange Area Historical Society’s Vial House for an evening of haunting, disquieting, and out of the ordinary tales that are embedded in the La Grange area’s past.  Guests shared their own strange, haunting stories to contribute to the society’s collection. Light refreshments were served.

West End Walking Tour – Join our historian John Burns for an interesting tour that focuses on La Grange’s west end.  John will provide tour goers with some surprising tales of the village near Stone Avenue Station.

Heart of La Grange: Now & Then – A Guided Walking Tour of Historic Fifth Avenue   LGAHS member John Burns will guide you through the heart of downtown La Grange on Fifth Avenue from the railroad station on Burlington to Elm Street. Find out who’s entombed in the façade of a prominent downtown building. Discover where the Sears Roebuck, Montgomery Ward, and S. S. Kresge stores were once located.

What’s Wright in La Grange? – This popular guided walking tour is given by LGAHS member John Burns. After a short introductory presentation at the Vial House Museum, learn what Frank Lloyd Wright designed in La Grange in the 1890’s and early 1900’s, and what his designs have to do with bootlegging. Then, view four Wright designed homes as you walk through a historic and picturesque La Grange neighborhood.

School and Group Visits to the La Grange Historical Society offer resources and learning opportunities designed to make history come alive.

Holiday Open House The museum is open free of charge offering: visits with Santa, a vintage toy display and exquisite vintage Christmas decorations.

Victorian Ornaments A program and discussion on the history of Victorian holiday traditions and the exquisite collection of hand made ornaments created by local resident Carol Norling.

Storytime with Santa Bring your children for a fun and cozy gathering with Santa.  Enjoy cookies and cocoa as Santa reads classic and contemporary Christmas stories. There are opportunities for photos with Santa, and each child will receive a souvenir cocoa mug.

Tea with your Doll Our annual Tea with your Doll highlights a different period in time each year.  Guests will learn about music, fashion, and customs of the time and enjoy refreshments typical of the era. Each child receives a goodie bag and American Girl themed prizes will be raffled off. Adult chaperone required, dolls and other lovies welcome! Ages 5+

Four WWII Veterans: A Discussion (October 26, 2014) R. Bruce Dold, Editorial Page Editor Chicago Tribune moderates this panel. Charles Battaglia, James Docherty, Edgar Gifford, and Raymond Vavra share their memories of wartime and beyond. The Veteran’s History Project preserves the personal experiences of American service people. “Asking them to tell their own stories is one way we can acknowledge and thank them. As their numbers grow fewer, we haven’t much time to record and publicly recognize how local men and women served our country during WWII,” Jeannine McLaughlin historical society president.

The Mavor Collection – Grand Opening Event Featuring: A Downton Abbey Discussion (April 12, 2015) this newest exhibit features a wide variety of unique artifacts given to us over the years by members of the Mavor family. The family has been in La Grange since 1893: their youngest grandchild, Mary Forester, still resides in town. Join us for tea and a discussion about prominent social issues in Downton Abbey, and learn about a local connection between La Grange and Lady Cora Crawley.