Elgin History Museum

Elgin History Museum The Elgin History Museum operates in a 1856 landmark building located in Elgin, IL. The museum is also home to the vibrant Elgin Area Historical Society.
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The Museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Through permanent and changing exhibits, the museum brings to life Elgin's rich heritage. The first floor is dedicated to the telling of Elgin's history from its founding to its role into the 20th century. Various exhibit rooms explore Elgin's pioneer past, the importance of the Fox River, the railroads and the Elgin National Watch Company. Various hands on activities for all ages can help children and adults alike make a link with Elgin's past. The second floor is dedicated on its east wing to the Elgin National Watch factory room which is a permanent exhibit that speaks to the history of an important industry that put Elgin on the map. While walking the second floor check out our rotating exhibits that highlight special features noted on the first floor. Two great examples are Elgin architecture and the important Hiawatha Pagent that entranced generations of Elginites. The main portion of the west wing of the second floor is meeting hall and exhibit space. This space is deticated to dual purposes and is home for various programs and at times meeting space for the historical society. The third floor is home to the Carl Reber Research Library and houses a vast object and photograph archive collection. This is also the offices of the museum with a dedicated and passionate core made up of staff and volunteers. If you are interested in doing research related to Elgin this is the place you can come after making an appointment with the staff so they can have everything ready you need at your fingertips.

Daniel Brewbaker was an incredible musical talent. Come to the museum and listen to his music in our Education for All: ...
04/06/2019
Kane County History: Remembering Elgin High Grad, Renowned Composer Daniel Brewbaker, 1951 – 2017

Daniel Brewbaker was an incredible musical talent. Come to the museum and listen to his music in our Education for All: 150 Years of Elgin High School exhibit.
#elginproud
http://kanecountyconnects.com/2019/04/kane-county-history-remembering-elgin-high-grad-renowned-composer-daniel-brewbaker-1951-2017/

Editor’s Note: This article is part of a weekly series on Kane County’s amazing history. Today’s article was contributed by Elizabeth Marston, director of the Elgin History Museum. Daniel Brewbaker…

Our exhibit Dairies to Prairies is on view at the Friends of the West Chicago City Museum through April 27th. Look at th...
03/27/2019

Our exhibit Dairies to Prairies is on view at the Friends of the West Chicago City Museum through April 27th. Look at the amazing kids area they created to go along with the exhibit!!! Like Old Main, their building is on the National Register of Historic Places and dates to 1884.

2019 Historic Architectural Rehabilitation Grant applications are available! The deadline to submit applications and sup...
03/27/2019

2019 Historic Architectural Rehabilitation Grant applications are available! The deadline to submit applications and supporting documentation is Friday, April 26, 2019. Please take a look at the application - it's pretty extensive, but it could really help you improve your historic home!

Download from cityofelgin.org/historicgrants or pick up at the Community Development Department at City Hall.

The Historic Architectural Rehabilitation Grant Program provides residential property owners of structures in designated historic districts with reimbursement grants of up to $20,000 for the restoration of exterior architectural features.
Eligible grant application properties are those that are either located within Elgin’s five historic districts or have been designated as individual landmarks.

Coming up - April 13th! It's going to be a fun day - bring the kids!
03/27/2019

Coming up - April 13th! It's going to be a fun day - bring the kids!

During the Ramble, experience a selection of string, wood, and brass instruments at an instrument petting zoo! Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra (EYSO) and Elgin History Museum are teaming up for a fun and interactive day of music. No experience necessary! Student volunteers will be there to assist. Open to all ages. Stop by between 11 am – 4 pm. No museum entry fee for those attending the instrument petting zoo. Did we mention giveaways? Yes, free stuff too!

Calling EHS 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation students! Your memories are needed. 😀 Contact history teacher John Devine by ...
03/23/2019

Calling EHS 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation students! Your memories are needed. 😀 Contact history teacher John Devine by email [email protected]. #WeareU46

Are you a legacy student? Did your parents attend EHS? Your grandparents? We'd like to interview you if you are a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th generation EHS student! See or email Mr. Devine if you are interested.

Cool story!! Remember to always take care when remodeling an old home - you never know what you might find. We have our ...
03/23/2019
Found: A Historic Trolley Hidden Inside a House

Cool story!! Remember to always take care when remodeling an old home - you never know what you might find.
We have our own discovery story right here in Elgin! Remember when All Around Home Improvements shared the story of the sukkah they found at 278 Douglas?
https://www.facebook.com/pg/allaroundhomeimprovements/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1928042933940716

When Trenton's streetcars came to a halt in the 1930s, one literally found a home.

Look at this great kids area to accompany the Dairies to Prairies exhibit on view at the West Chicago City Museum!! The ...
03/22/2019

Look at this great kids area to accompany the Dairies to Prairies exhibit on view at the West Chicago City Museum!! The exhibit is on view through April 27th. Take a ride down to West Chicago and take a look!
http://www.wegohistory.com/

Come check out our updated kids' area on the first floor! We have a barn and some prairie flowers to go along with our Dairies to Prairies exhibit, through April 27. Look how tall that Compass Plant is!

Tomorrow night at the U-46 Planetarium!! There are 2 programs - one at 4:30pm and another at 6:30pm. Learn about the upc...
03/14/2019

Tomorrow night at the U-46 Planetarium!! There are 2 programs - one at 4:30pm and another at 6:30pm. Learn about the upcoming supermoon and vernal equinox. This building is so important to the history of the Elgin National Watch Company. How do you think they kept the watches accurate to one-hundredth of a second? Find out!!

Coming up April 13th! Mark your calendar for this great event at Elgin High School.
03/13/2019

Coming up April 13th! Mark your calendar for this great event at Elgin High School.

We are only ONE MONTH away from our All Class Reunion! Please join us on April 13th to celebrate 150 years of Maroon Pride! Share this digital poster and get the word out!

John Devine and Norma! Even if you couldn’t make it for John’s talk, be sure to visit our new Elgin High School 150 ...
03/10/2019

John Devine and Norma! Even if you couldn’t make it for John’s talk, be sure to visit our new Elgin High School 150 Anniversy exhibit. You can leave your favorite memories on our chalkboard!! #WeAreU46 #loveelginhistory

We are getting close to finishing our new exhibit on the 150th Anniversary of Elgin High School! One of the fun parts is...
03/08/2019

We are getting close to finishing our new exhibit on the 150th Anniversary of Elgin High School! One of the fun parts is looking through the many interesting artifacts we have and deciding what to display. Will you see everything in these photos? You will have to come to the museum on SUNDAY, March 10th at 2pm to hear EHS History Teacher John Devine honor the history, achievements and pride of the 150 year old Maroon family. The new exhibit will be OPEN! (No fee for members, $3 for guests) #WeAreU46

Just a little taste of our upcoming Elgin High School 150th Anniversary exhibit! SUNDAY, March 10th at 2pm, history teac...
03/06/2019

Just a little taste of our upcoming Elgin High School 150th Anniversary exhibit! SUNDAY, March 10th at 2pm, history teacher John Devine will be speaking about the history, achievements, and pride of the 150 year old Maroon family. Yes, there will be a (fun trivia) quiz. 😟 But there will be cake. 😀

2019 Historic Architectural Rehabilitation Grant applications are available! The deadline to submit applications and sup...
03/05/2019

2019 Historic Architectural Rehabilitation Grant applications are available! The deadline to submit applications and supporting documentation is Friday, April 26, 2019. Please take a look at the application - it's pretty extensive, but it could really help you improve your historic home!

Download from cityofelgin.org/historicgrants or pick up at the Community Development Department at City Hall.

The Historic Architectural Rehabilitation Grant Program provides residential property owners of structures in designated historic districts with reimbursement grants of up to $20,000 for the restoration of exterior architectural features.
Eligible grant application properties are those that are either located within Elgin’s five historic districts or have been designated as individual landmarks.

We are getting excited about our upcoming new exhibit to celebrate Elgin High School's 150th Anniversary! It will be ope...
03/01/2019
‘Education For All’: Elgin High School Celebrates 150-Year History — 1869-2019

We are getting excited about our upcoming new exhibit to celebrate Elgin High School's 150th Anniversary! It will be open for John Devine's talk at the Museum on March 10th. In the meantime, check out our blog post on Kane County Connects. It's a great overview of the history of Elgin High School. #WeAreU46 #U46Proud
http://kanecountyconnects.com/2019/03/education-for-all-elgin-high-school-celebrates-150-year-history-1869-2019/

Editor’s Note: This article is part of a weekly series on Kane County’s amazing history. Today’s article was written by Elizabeth Marston, director of the Elgin History Museum. Elgin High School is…

{heavy sigh} Some of the buildings on this list are magnificent - and every single building/landmark has remarkable hist...
02/28/2019
These 9 landmarks are in danger, preservation group warns

{heavy sigh} Some of the buildings on this list are magnificent - and every single building/landmark has remarkable history. Preservation is SUCH important work.

Threats to the city's landmarks are "so extensive," Preservation Chicago announced, that it expanded its annual list of endangered places to nine from the usual seven.

Happy Birthday to the Champion Buiding! Join the Museum at Soulful Sparrow on Friday and Saturday giving tours of the re...
02/26/2019

Happy Birthday to the Champion Buiding! Join the Museum at Soulful Sparrow on Friday and Saturday giving tours of the residential loft upstairs. Plus, don't miss the Oddball Art Labs vending machine. Where else can you get an original piece of art for $5? See you this weekend!

Vintage Shop Hop • Birthday Event for the Champion Building - https://mailchi.mp/51b02e3f0605/vintage-shop-hop-birthday-event-for-the-champion-building
Join us for the #VintageShopHop
March 1st and 2nd.
We are celebrating the 140th birthday of the Champion Bldg. We are serving refreshments for your road trip & handing out a party favor with a discount offer. The upstairs residential loft will be open for guided tours for a $5 suggested donation. In addition we are the hosting Vintage Mobile Art Machine. For a $5 token it dispenses a fun piece of original local art.

We had such a fun week at the Museum - schools visiting for educational programs for the last 3 days!! Today we welcomed...
02/22/2019

We had such a fun week at the Museum - schools visiting for educational programs for the last 3 days!! Today we welcomed Howard B. Thomas grade school to learn what it was like to work at the watch factory. @CentralSchoolDistrict301
Please contact us if you want to book an educational program for your group! We have many programs to choose from, or we can work with you to customize something that matches with your needs.

Whoa.
02/22/2019
Virginia Genealogical Society

Whoa.

"In an uh-oh episode of historic proportions, hand grenades from the last major battle of the Revolutionary War recently and repeatedly scrambled bomb squads in Virginia’s capital city....Wait – they had hand grenades in the Revolutionary War? Indeed. Hollow iron balls, filled with black powder, outfitted with a fuse, then lit and thrown...And more than two dozen have been sitting in cardboard boxes at the Department of Historic Resources, undetected for 30 years...
"https://www.dailypress.com/features/history/dp-nws-revolutionary-war-shots-richmond-20190220-story.html

Project 231
02/22/2019

Project 231

Mark your calendars for Thursday, February 28th when we release the final act of Project 2-3-1 entitled "One City" on our YouTube channel. In the meantime, enjoy these photos of Green's Fried Chicken float in the 1950 Labor Day parade, where it won a $100 prize.
Green's Fried Chicken was opened by Arthur Green and his wife Adellia at the corner of Hickory St. and Dundee Ave. It was a popular take out restaurant from 1947-1957. The Green's were also very active in the Fremont Center and had carnivals in their yard to raise money for the youth organization.

Prairieview School having fun at the Museum yesterday learning what it was like to work at the watch factory! Our educat...
02/21/2019

Prairieview School having fun at the Museum yesterday learning what it was like to work at the watch factory!

Our educational programs offer hands-on components tailored to be developmentally appropriate for groups of all ages and learning styles. We can customize the program to meet your groups needs.

To celebrate Black History Month, our traveling exhibit Project 2-3-1 is almost finished making its tour around School D...
02/21/2019

To celebrate Black History Month, our traveling exhibit Project 2-3-1 is almost finished making its tour around School District 300. Yesterday it moved from Jacobs High School in Algonquin to Hampshire High School in Hampshire! Many huge thanks to our staff and volunteers who help move the exhibit from place to place!! District 300

02/18/2019
WGN TV

Very excited about this! Who watched and loves WGN's Bozo the Clown? I bet there are more than a few of you!

Not from Chicago? Younger than 30? Here's a primer on what was the great Bozo's Circus on WGN.

Tonight at 7 WGN presents Bozo's Circus: The 1960s, featuring rarely seen, un-edited footage unearthed from the WGN vault. We'll also stream it at https://wgntv.com/on-air/live-streaming/

02/15/2019
Metra to offer free rides for a weekend | Metra

Tell all your city friends there are no more excuses not to come to Elgin. FREE METRA RIDES this weekend! Come visit the museum - we're open Saturday from 11am to 4pm.
https://metrarail.com/about-metra/newsroom/metra-offer-free-rides-weekend?fbclid=IwAR3x65YNjICG3ZgZdnsUV-How1734NC6PFh7fp6igScgouaf0THjfOMWh8Q

(February 11, 2019) - For the first time in its history, Metra will offer free rides for an entire weekend, Feb. 16-17, in an effort to boost weekend ridership and give its riders and area residents a pat on the back for coping with last week’s extreme cold. “We survived the polar vortex – n...

The Project 2-3-1 traveling exhibit is on the move again. We enjoyed our stay at Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersv...
02/13/2019

The Project 2-3-1 traveling exhibit is on the move again. We enjoyed our stay at Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville, and today we landed at Jacobs High School in Algonquin. Thank you to school district 300 for letting us share this wonderful history with your students. (And thanks to our volunteers for helping with take-down and set-up! We couldn't do it without you!)

Just wanted to make sure everyone has seen this gem. I know the weather has been frightful, but as soon as it warms up, ...
02/13/2019

Just wanted to make sure everyone has seen this gem. I know the weather has been frightful, but as soon as it warms up, take a walk or ride down to Pratt's Castle on the Fox River Trail. It has a great history and it's part of what makes Elgin such a fantastic, unique place.

In 1937, history buff Harold S. Pratt built this imposing replica, which was modeled on a castle he saw along the Rhine River while serving in World War I, as a private museum to house his personal collection of medieval artifacts and a part-time summer residence.
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Located in the middle of a wooded area along the Fox River, the 50 ft tall tower is surrounded by a mini moat and a working draw bridge. Pratt also installed a catapult in the castle’s walled-in courtyard and a portcullis —a heavy, barred gate— that could be lowered over the castles entrance.
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After Pratt died in 1974, the castle was sold to the Born family who owned it for 25 years. They discovered a dark & dusty dungeon where a human skeleton nicknamed “Humey” by the family— dangled from rusty shackles in a make shift prison cell. (The Elgin History Museum is currently researching validity of this.). They also found a wishing well — old coins hidden in nooks and crannies— as well as a collapsed escape tunnel with a trapdoor. The castle is still in private hands.
Visit the Elgin History Museum for more info and to see interior photos! https://historicelgin.com/pratts-castle/

Photo: @theamericanhome

#exploreelgin #elginil #foxriver #castle #towerlove #prattscastle #towertuesday #enjoyillinois #travel #tourism

To celebrate Black History Month, we are releasing our award winning documentary, Project 2-3-1: Two Boxcars, Three Bloc...
02/08/2019

To celebrate Black History Month, we are releasing our award winning documentary, Project 2-3-1: Two Boxcars, Three Blocks, One City: A Story of Elgin’s African American Heritage, on our new YouTube channel in three installments.
The 75-minute documentary contains extensive interviews, many never seen photos and in-depth histories that will bring to life the story of Elgin’s African American Heritage. YouTube viewing is free with internet connection and can be live-streamed to schools, churches, and community organizations to start a discussion on African American history, social justice, and civil rights.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqFtxziwfNBD0i0sZEj2KNQ

So glad they salvaged these pieces of history. Has anyone been to the City Museum in St. Louis? I have seen the website ...
02/07/2019

So glad they salvaged these pieces of history. Has anyone been to the City Museum in St. Louis? I have seen the website and can't wait to road trip down there!

saving sections of adler and sullivan's buff-colored chicago stock exchange terra cotta cornice during its demolition for future reconstruction and public display in locations across midwest (in this case, city museum, st. louis.
three oaks wrecking, richard nickel, and john vinci, were instrumental in salvaging ornament from the 13-story building completed in 1894 during its demolition in 1972. the stock exchange's terra cotta was executed by the northwestern.

images courtesy of richard nickel and eric j. norstrom, and ryerson and burnham library, art institute of chicago.

If you are available this morning at 9:30am-1130am (Tuesday, February 5th) and are interested in genealogy, head over to...
02/05/2019

If you are available this morning at 9:30am-1130am (Tuesday, February 5th) and are interested in genealogy, head over to the main branch of the Gail Borden Public Library.
At the monthly meeting of the Elgin Genealogical Society, Maureen Brady will present “What’s New in Family Search”. The free family history website offers access to its resources online at FamilySearch.org. The presentation will discuss the latest Family Search developments, including new features, historic records, classes/webinars, and more.

Come see us today at the Gail Borden Public Library for the Black History Family Festival! We have a great surprise in s...
02/02/2019

Come see us today at the Gail Borden Public Library for the Black History Family Festival! We have a great surprise in store to celebrate Black History Month...stay tuned!

We don't have anything quite this old in Elgin..but that is truly amazing!
02/02/2019

We don't have anything quite this old in Elgin..but that is truly amazing!

Dating back to the year 1592, the Crooked House of Windsor is the oldest Teahouse in all of England. Construction began over 420 years ago!

Address

360 Park St
Elgin, IL
60120

Metra stops at National Street and Elgin (on Chicago Ave.) stop on the Milwaukee District West Line. To plan out your trip on Metra click this link: http://metrarail.com/content/metra/en/home/maps_schedules/metra_system_map.html

General information

The facility is handicapped-accessible with an elevator to all three floors and bathrooms on the second floor. Adult admission: $3.00 Children under 5: FREE Students: $1.00 Members:FREE

Opening Hours

Wednesday 11:00 - 16:00
Thursday 11:00 - 16:00
Friday 11:00 - 16:00
Saturday 11:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(847) 742-4248

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