Community history comes alive as part of the modern world with a variety of public programs and events throughout the year. View our most recent newsletter.

Upcoming Events

Current Exhibit –  Military Salute – In Honor of the 100th Anniversary of the End of WWI  View our military collection as we honor the veterans and war heroes of the La Grange Area. The exhibit will be available through September. We will be open on Saturdays from 11:00 – 2:00 from June 1st – August 24th.

Hometown Trivia Celebrating 140th Birthday of La Grange – Test your knowledge of La Grange and celebrate 140 years!  August 28th from 6:00 – 9:00 pm on the rooftop at 1416 Restaurant.  Cost to participate is $10 for members and $15 for non-members – admission includes half price draft wine and beer.  The full menu at 1416 will be available for purchase, and there will be a silent auction. So brush up on your La Grange trivia and join us for a fun evening celebrating the heritage of our wonderful community! Click here to register.

La Grange Home and History Tour – We excited to invite you to the 2019 Home and History Tour on Saturday, September 14th from 12:00 – 5:00.  Guests will visit five unique homes as well as two historic buildings that are not residences and learn about the history and interesting stories behind these properties.  The tour offers 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.

Advance ticket prices are $30 for Historical Society members and $40 for non-members. Ticket prices increase by $5 on the day of the tour. Your printed receipt will be exchanged for your program guide at check-in locations, which are the at the Historical Society and Emmanuel Episcopal Church. Guests can then proceed through the tour in any order they choose.  Click here for tickets.

Stone Avenue Station Tours – Visit us at Stone Avenue Station at the West End Arts Festival on Saturday, September 7th.  We will be conducting mini-tours of the interior and exterior of this iconic building on the hour from 12:00 – 3:00 pm.

Viewing and Discussion of  “Lost and Found: The Legacy of the U.S.S. Lagarto” – Sunday, September 15th from 3:00 – 4:30 pm. This compelling documentary was produced in 2009 and won three Midwest Emmy’s for Best Documentary, Best Writing, and Best Musical Score. Appearing in the video are La Grange residents, Nancy Kenney, John Kenney Jr., and Beth Augustine. Former La Grange resident Bill Mabin perished aboard the Lagarto and his daughter, Nancy Kenney will provide insight into her father’s story and how the experience impacted their family. This event is free, but please register here so we can provide enough seating.


Past Programs

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.  

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!  

Annual Kentucky Derby Party We were excited to invite you to our inaugural benefit event this spring as we hosted a Derby Day celebration in the garden at the Vial House.   Guests enjoyed live music, Southern snacks, and an exclusive exhibit of our vintage hat collection. Ticket price also included bourbon tastings from a variety of distilleries with signature mixers provided by Barrel House Social.  

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 Victorian 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 evening 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.