Berwyn Historical Society

Berwyn Historical Society 501(c)3 Non-Profit
(11)

When homes are nearing a hundred years old or older, it is inevitable that things have been changed on them over the yea...
01/10/2024

When homes are nearing a hundred years old or older, it is inevitable that things have been changed on them over the years. The two rooms that are the most likely to have seen changes are the kitchen and the bathroom. Those two rooms get a lot of use and wear, and they've seen so many changes in style. So, it's rare to find an entirely original bathroom in Berwyn. This bathroom dates from 1928, and it is one of the earliest bathrooms to feature colored fixtures.

As the years roll by, fewer and fewer Berwynites are aware that the CTA Douglas line ran out through Berwyn as far as Oa...
01/08/2024

As the years roll by, fewer and fewer Berwynites are aware that the CTA Douglas line ran out through Berwyn as far as Oak Park Avenue from 1924 to 1952. That handy parking strip just north of Cermak Road was where the train track ran. There were even plans to extend it as far West as Harlem. But, in a draconian cost saving move, the CTA decided to eliminate service west of Cicero. You can imagine how unhappy people in town were about that. If you have an interest, please read a fuller history of this at the link below.

The Oak Park Avenue station was one of the terminal of a short extension of the Douglas Park branch from 62nd Avenue in 1924, one of several piecemeal extensions of the branch westward as the surrounding territory developed. Property was also purchased to extend the tracks another half mile west to....

Berwyn's Fitzgerald's is applying for National Landmark designation.This is a very interesting article about it.  Good l...
01/07/2024

Berwyn's Fitzgerald's is applying for National Landmark designation.This is a very interesting article about it. Good luck, Fitzgerald's! It would certainly be a feather in our cap!

When Jessica King and Will Duncan purchased FitzGerald’s nightclub just days before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down the world in 2020, the couple knew they were buying more than just a music venue. Local sentiment about the Berwyn venue was significant.

This is a charming, handmade drawing of a Berwyn bungalow done by the Brazilian artist Laura Barrichello. Interestingly,...
01/05/2024

This is a charming, handmade drawing of a Berwyn bungalow done by the Brazilian artist Laura Barrichello. Interestingly, the artist has never been to Berwyn and did the picture from a photograph. She does architectural drawings like this for people all over the world and was commissioned, in this case, by a Berwyn homeowner who loves their bungalow. Does this house look familiar to you? Over the last few months we have featured it in one of our posts.

For the past few days, people have generously shared memories of the many shows they attended at Berwyn's four lost movi...
01/04/2024

For the past few days, people have generously shared memories of the many shows they attended at Berwyn's four lost movie theaters. Some of these memories have dated back as far as the late 1940's and 50s. But, these theaters existed way before that. Some of these theatres actually hosted Vaudeville shows, and all of them - with the exception of the Oakwyn Theater (1937-1951) - were built for the Silent Film Era. Think of the Berwyn history that they saw over the years.

01/01/2024

Best wishes for prosperity, health, and happiness in 2024!
Happy New Year!

Once Upon a Time, Berwyn had four movie theatres operating in town at the same time: the Ritz, the Roxy, the Oakwyn, and...
12/31/2023

Once Upon a Time, Berwyn had four movie theatres operating in town at the same time: the Ritz, the Roxy, the Oakwyn, and the Berwyn. Although some of the buildings are still in use, it's sad that none of the theatres are still in operation. Now many towns have lost their old theatres, but the ones who have managed to keep theirs going are rewarded with a living institution that continues to draw people together.

After the Parthenon/Berwyn Theater was demolished in the 1990s, LaSalle Bank took over the corner of Cermak and Ridgelan...
12/29/2023

After the Parthenon/Berwyn Theater was demolished in the 1990s, LaSalle Bank took over the corner of Cermak and Ridgeland. Eventually, Bank of America bought LaSalle and it occupies that corner today. Stop by sometime. Partially hidden behind overgrown bushes, you will be able to see an historic marker of sorts - a mosaic mural of the lost theater on the facade of the bank. Step inside, and there are even parts of the elaborate green and white terracotta preserved.

The Parthenon Theater did not keep that name for long. Within 3 years, ownership had changed hands and it had been renam...
12/28/2023

The Parthenon Theater did not keep that name for long. Within 3 years, ownership had changed hands and it had been renamed The Berwyn Theater. But, changes did not stop there. By 1930, it was under new management again. And by 1937, it had been redesigned. The original 1924 facade had had a profusion of white and green glazed terracotta decoration. By 1937, a gigantic electric sign had been attached to the terracotta and braced by iron work rising behind the sign and attaching to the roof. A theater that had been built for the silent movies, was now competing for the attention of cars racing down Cermak Road.

It's hard to imagine how elegant a street Cermak Road was in it's heyday. This large multi purpose building was built in...
12/27/2023

It's hard to imagine how elegant a street Cermak Road was in it's heyday. This large multi purpose building was built in 1924 at the corner of Cermak Road and Ridgeland. It included shops, offices, apartments, and an elegant theater. The Parthenon Theater, as it was known when it opened, later became The Berwyn Theater. It continued in operation until 1990, when a fire in the building shuttered its doors. 10 years later it was demolished.

Peace on Earth...Have a. Merry Christmas!
12/24/2023

Peace on Earth...

Have a. Merry Christmas!

A Berwyn Bungalow, all dressed up for the holidays.
12/21/2023

A Berwyn Bungalow, all dressed up for the holidays.

One of the best ways to appreciate Berwyn's wealth of beautiful stained glass windows is at night.
12/18/2023

One of the best ways to appreciate Berwyn's wealth of beautiful stained glass windows is at night.

Yesterday, our Museum was opened to visitors. But our volunteer ran into delays and we were not able to open on schedule...
12/17/2023

Yesterday, our Museum was opened to visitors. But our volunteer ran into delays and we were not able to open on schedule. Our apologies to those of you who showed up early and found that the doors were locked. Nevertheless, it was great to meet so many of you a bit later. Thanks for stopping in. By the way, this is a photo from our collection. Mayor Frank Novotny in the 1920s (white hat) standing in front of the old Town Hall on Cermak Rd.

The Corner Store. Before there were shopping malls and supermarkets, much of our daily shopping was done at the corner s...
12/13/2023

The Corner Store. Before there were shopping malls and supermarkets, much of our daily shopping was done at the corner store - part grocery store, convenience store, and General Store. In 2011, the Berwyn Historical Society acquired a classic 1920's corner store as its new home. It houses our offices, our archives, and our museum. Open only one day a month, our Museum will be open this Saturday, December 16th, 10-2. We'd love to see you that day. 1401 Grove Avenue, Berwyn - of course!

Stop by and meet us! 1401 Grove Avenue in Berwyn.
12/12/2023

Stop by and meet us! 1401 Grove Avenue in Berwyn.

The Berwyn Historical Society was born in 1979 when the old train station in Berwyn was slated for demolition. The Histo...
12/11/2023

The Berwyn Historical Society was born in 1979 when the old train station in Berwyn was slated for demolition. The Historical Society led the effort to save the old station and see it restored.

12/11/2023
A number of people in Berwyn have had this situation, where their stained glass windows were hidden behind masonry walls...
12/10/2023

A number of people in Berwyn have had this situation, where their stained glass windows were hidden behind masonry walls. There are always questions about how to uncover them again.

With the warm weather over the last few days, there have been a lot of holiday decorations going up in town. Take a walk...
12/10/2023

With the warm weather over the last few days, there have been a lot of holiday decorations going up in town. Take a walk at dusk and see what your neighbors have been up to.

Even though North Berwyn was not included by the National Register for Historic Places in its Central Berwyn Historic Bu...
12/08/2023

Even though North Berwyn was not included by the National Register for Historic Places in its Central Berwyn Historic Bungalow District, that doesn't that you won't find exceptional vintage homes there. This fine French Normandy home sits prominently on a corner in North Berwyn.

12/07/2023

The Berwyn Historical Society joins the rest of Berwyn in saying goodbye to Vesecky's Bakery. We'll remember the sweet times.

Many people wanted to know what the exact location of the National Historic Register's Central Berwyn Bungalow Historic ...
12/05/2023

Many people wanted to know what the exact location of the National Historic Register's Central Berwyn Bungalow Historic District is. The boundaries are Cermak Road on the North, Home Avenue on the west, Ridgeland and Cuyler Avenue on the East and 26th Street on the south.

We'd love to take an informal survey of how many you aware that Berwyn is on the National Register of Historic Places fo...
12/03/2023

We'd love to take an informal survey of how many you aware that Berwyn is on the National Register of Historic Places for its large and exemplary collection of Chicago style bungalows? They designated a chunk of central Berwyn as the Central Berwyn Bungalow Historic District. There are 1358 bungalows in that area alone - and they didn't even count anything north of Cermak road!

This huge American Foursquare home is also located in South Berwyn. It shows it's Craftsman style, which points to the f...
12/01/2023

This huge American Foursquare home is also located in South Berwyn. It shows it's Craftsman style, which points to the first couple of decades of the 20th century. Pre Bungalow Boom.

Most of the bungalows in Berwyn were built in the 1920s. They'll be celebrating their 100th birthday very soon. But if y...
11/29/2023

Most of the bungalows in Berwyn were built in the 1920s. They'll be celebrating their 100th birthday very soon. But if you drive down to South Berwyn, you will see that many homes there were built 20-30 years before that. And there is a wide variety of different architectural types.

On the corner, just next to the yellow clapboard home we just posted, stands another fine 'Victorian' home - this one wi...
11/28/2023

On the corner, just next to the yellow clapboard home we just posted, stands another fine 'Victorian' home - this one with a corner pergola. Both constructed from George F. Barber designs.

Most Chicagoans might think that Berwyn is basically bungalows. They have no idea that Berwyn was made up of three disti...
11/26/2023

Most Chicagoans might think that Berwyn is basically bungalows. They have no idea that Berwyn was made up of three distinct communities, each with its own character to this day. Explore South Berwyn and you will find many older homes, some dating back to the late 19th century. It was a time when families were large and homes were, too.

Joseph and Burcu Shorey fell in love with this 1892 home 21 years ago and haven't stopped lavishing attention on it ever...
11/23/2023

Joseph and Burcu Shorey fell in love with this 1892 home 21 years ago and haven't stopped lavishing attention on it ever since. I have a story about this home which will illustrate that. I used to live a couple of blocks away. During the summers, when it was hot, I would take my dogs for their long walk in the evening. Frequently our walks would take us in front of the Shorey's home, where I'd see a man in the dark on a scaffold hand stripping the side of his home by large flood lights. I was amazed that anyone would do this, but he seemed downright cheerful about it. Now that I've met Joseph Shorey I think I understand. Not only has this house been totally restored , it has been improved and buffed up until it shines. Earlier this month they invited me over to tell me about their work and show me the results. I took a few photos of the main floor to share with you.

Address

1401 Grove Avenue
Berwyn, IL
60402

Opening Hours

Saturday 9am - 1pm
Sunday 9am - 1pm

Telephone

(708) 484-0020

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when Berwyn Historical Society posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Museum

Send a message to Berwyn Historical Society:

Videos

Share

Category

Museum Hours

Most Saturdays from 10am - 12pm. Other times by appointment.


Other Museums in Berwyn

Show All