Lake Bluff History Museum

Lake Bluff History Museum The Lake Bluff History Museum preserves and celebrates the history of Lake Bluff, Illinois, a village on Chicago's North Shore whose development, people and issues mirror those of the U.S.A.
The original Vliet Center was founded in 1982 as an adjunct to the Lake Bluff Elementary School District. Elmer Vliet, a long time resident and village historian, donated his extensive collection of local photographs and artifacts to the Center. The purpose of the Center was to provide a place to learn about Lake Bluff's past, and how the history of Lake Bluff represents a microcosm of American history. In 1995 the Vliet Center moved out of the school building and became a self sustaining, volunteer, not-for-profit organization. In 1998 the Village of Lake Bluff, the Public Library, and the Vliet Center formed a public/private partnership to raise funds for an addition to the library. The addition opened on September 21, 2002. The museum was called The Vliet Museum of Lake Bluff History until August 2011, when the name was changed to Lake Bluff History Museum. This change was made to simplify access for individuals seeking information on Lake Bluff History.

John Gutt was perusing car sales on Ebay when he came across a listing for a 1955 Chevrolet Nomad. His teenage daughter ...
07/09/2019

John Gutt was perusing car sales on Ebay when he came across a listing for a 1955 Chevrolet Nomad. His teenage daughter Sallie liked the color -- Regal Turquoise/ India Ivory – and he had always liked Nomads, preferring the 1955 to the ’56 or ’57 version. He tapped the keyboard to place a low bid, thinking nothing would come of it.

A few days later he owned the car.

Professionally Gutt is a corporate pilot with Supaire Inc. in Wheeling. He describes himself as “one of those car guys” who restores cars as a hobby and has had his share of old classics. Currently the ’55 Nomad is the only classic car he owns, and on June 22 it won Best in Show at the Lake Bluff History Museum Auto Show – an event that attracted nearly 150 classic vehicles to downtown Lake Bluff for a spectacular day of cars and community – and, thankfully, sunshine after weeks of rain and fog.

The Nomad was in decent shape when Gutt received it. “It was a fun drive,” he remembers, but it had some issues. “Things leaked and made noise, and once in a while it would just stop running.” He decided to undertake a resto-mod--- meaning he restored the car while also making improvements such as better brakes, a more reliable engine, and better-fitting body panels.

“We ended up with a late-model car with the classic looks of an older car,” Gutt says.

On June 22, it didn’t take the LBHM Auto Show judges long to choose the Chevy Nomad for Best in Show 2019. “The paint on the car was outstanding and the color was the original Chevy color combination,’ says Ray Kracik, LBHM Auto Show co-founder and organizer. “The power train was updated with a 350-horse power engine and many of the components were chrome. The interior colors were also original Chevy white and blue. The car was meticulous in every aspect.”

Gutt says he was thrilled to win Best in Show – but also surprised … and motivated. Surprised because there were so many great cars at the show that day. And motivated because one of them caught his eye—a 1956 Chevy 3100 pickup.

His daughter Sallie liked it too.

“She says we need to do a 1955 Chevy Pickup next,” says her dad.

Lake Bluff History Museum's cover photo
07/08/2019

Lake Bluff History Museum's cover photo

You’ve probably heard that early Lake Bluff was a summer resort and Methodist Camp Meeting. Did you know many of the s...
07/08/2019

You’ve probably heard that early Lake Bluff was a summer resort and Methodist Camp Meeting. Did you know many of the summer cottages from the late 19th Century are still in use today as year-round homes? Join us for a Lake Bluff Walking Tour on July 14 that focusses on Camp Meeting Cottages and Country Houses. This is the second of three docent-led walking tours hosted by the Museum in 2019. It takes place on Sunday July 14 starting at 1pm and runs about 90 minutes.

07/08/2019
Lake Bluff 4th of July Parade Committee

The 2019 Lake Bluff 4th of July Parade was outstanding!

Many thanks to everyone who joined us in Lake Bluff and online to enjoy the parade today!

Check out this fun footage taken while the fire trucks closed out the parade 🚒🚒🚒

We hope to see you again in 2020! 🇺🇸

The beloved Lake Bluff History Museum Ice Truck in the parade!
07/04/2019

The beloved Lake Bluff History Museum Ice Truck in the parade!

Going to the 4th of July pancake breakfast in Lake Bluff? Here's a photo of the famed event back during the 1976 bicente...
07/04/2019

Going to the 4th of July pancake breakfast in Lake Bluff? Here's a photo of the famed event back during the 1976 bicentennial in Lake Bluff.

The Lake Bluff 4th of July Parade Book is always a big accomplishment, going back in time. Here's one that dates back 10...
07/03/2019

The Lake Bluff 4th of July Parade Book is always a big accomplishment, going back in time. Here's one that dates back 105 years! This 8-page book plus front and back cover, was staple-bound, and dates to 1914.

In this trip down parade-memory lane, one thing that sure hasn't changed since 1947 is that children today still love fi...
07/03/2019

In this trip down parade-memory lane, one thing that sure hasn't changed since 1947 is that children today still love fire trucks! This photo shows children riding a Lake Bluff Fire Department truck in the 4th of July parade of 1947.

In this photo from the museum's archives, a man shows off a pig to a small crowd in the Lake Bluff 4th of July Parade c....
07/02/2019

In this photo from the museum's archives, a man shows off a pig to a small crowd in the Lake Bluff 4th of July Parade c. 1950.

We're feeling nostalgic for America's Bicentennial, especially as the Village of Lake Bluff is planning its Quasquicente...
07/02/2019

We're feeling nostalgic for America's Bicentennial, especially as the Village of Lake Bluff is planning its Quasquicentennial celebration in 2020! Here's a photo of a "Town and Tennis" float from the '76 Lake Bluff 4th of July Parade.

A presentation of the Queen of Lake Bluff at the 1976 4th of July Parade celebration, with Robert McClory --- back when ...
07/02/2019

A presentation of the Queen of Lake Bluff at the 1976 4th of July Parade celebration, with Robert McClory --- back when there such things were done.

We're looking forward to the Lake Bluff 4th of July Parade  by looking back! In this photo, a crowd gathers to watch a w...
07/01/2019

We're looking forward to the Lake Bluff 4th of July Parade by looking back! In this photo, a crowd gathers to watch a water fight between firefighters in the 1976 parade.

Woohoo!! It's July 1 and the countdown to the Lake Bluff 4th of July Parade has begun! Here's a trip down memory lane --...
07/01/2019

Woohoo!! It's July 1 and the countdown to the Lake Bluff 4th of July Parade has begun! Here's a trip down memory lane -- a photo of a band on a float in the 1976 parade. Recognize anyone here?

Range Rovers are popular cars around here and this one was a fan favorite at the Lake Bluff History Museum Auto Show las...
06/27/2019

Range Rovers are popular cars around here and this one was a fan favorite at the Lake Bluff History Museum Auto Show last week. Look at the interior!

339 E. Scranton Avenue is one of our Distinguished Home Award winners of 2019.  Built in 1927, the Mediterranean Revival...
06/26/2019

339 E. Scranton Avenue is one of our Distinguished Home Award winners of 2019. Built in 1927, the Mediterranean Revival-style house was identified in the Chicago Tribune as one of its Distinguished Homes of the Year for young suburbanites at the time, and an Italian-American architect won a Tribune design contest for his plans for the house. The home also was featured in Better Homes & Gardens magazine at that time.

I love this photo from the Lake Bluff History Museum Auto Show with the gazebo in the background.
06/26/2019

I love this photo from the Lake Bluff History Museum
Auto Show with the gazebo in the background.

What a day! We had nearly 150 classic vehicles in town for the annual Lake Bluff History Museum Auto Show on June 22. Th...
06/24/2019

What a day! We had nearly 150 classic vehicles in town for the annual Lake Bluff History Museum Auto Show on June 22. The sun was shining, and so were all the fenders, head lights, grilles and other car parts! We'll post photos to the Lake Bluff History Museum page throughout the week. Here are a few favorites -- thank you Marcus Norman for capturing the great spirit of the day.

Lake Bluff History Museum's cover photo
06/24/2019

Lake Bluff History Museum's cover photo

2019 Civil War Days is Canceled Due to Safety Concerns - General News - News | Lake County Forest Preserves
06/24/2019
2019 Civil War Days is Canceled Due to Safety Concerns - General News - News | Lake County Forest Preserves

2019 Civil War Days is Canceled Due to Safety Concerns - General News - News | Lake County Forest Preserves

"After consulting with local and state law enforcement agencies, we made the decision to cancel the event due to public safety concerns. Our number one concern is the safety of participating Lake County residents and visitors, reenactors and vendors, as well as our staff and volunteers oper...

These guys!!! The hub of the Lake Bluff History Museum Auto Show. Yesterday the village was packed with nearly 150 class...
06/23/2019

These guys!!! The hub of the Lake Bluff History Museum Auto Show. Yesterday the village was packed with nearly 150 classic cars and hundreds of people out enjoying the display, the food, libations and local shops. Such a fun community event.

From left, Steve Willard, John Tiffany, Mark Dewart and Ray Kracik

06/22/2019

The cars are rolling into town!

Game On! The sun is shining, the weather forecast is lovely and the Lake Bluff History Museum Auto Show IS Happening! We...
06/22/2019

Game On! The sun is shining, the weather forecast is lovely and the Lake Bluff History Museum Auto Show IS Happening! We hope to see you all in downtown Lake Bluff from 3 to 6 pm!

06/21/2019
Lake Bluff's Most Distinguished Homes of 2019

This has a been a busy spring at the Lake Bluff History Museum! We held the Distinguished Home Awards reception in May, bequeathing DHA plaques to six homes and their homeowners. In this video, LBHM board member Paul Bergmann hands out the awards and outlines the unique architecture and historic significance to each of the homes. Take a look! Who knows-- maybe your home is distinguished, too!

The Lake Bluff History Museum recently chose six homes for the 2019 Distinguished Home Awards out of an application pool of 45. The DHA program recognizes ho...

06/21/2019
We're HOPING for Good Weather on Saturday, BUT if it rains, we will announce the Lake Bluff History Museum Auto Show's s...
06/20/2019

We're HOPING for Good Weather on Saturday, BUT if it rains, we will announce the Lake Bluff History Museum Auto Show's status by 9am Saturday morning. (We will communicate this on Facebook, on the LBHM website, and via email to registrants) ....

WHO KNOWS! It could turn out to be a lovely day! We've got our fingers crossed and hope to see everyone on Saturday!

Lake Bluff History Museum's cover photo
06/19/2019

Lake Bluff History Museum's cover photo

06/19/2019
IMG 3352

Check out this video from last year's Lake Bluff History Museum Auto Show. It was a huge hit, with more than 100 cars and trucks on display, spanning the history of the 20th Century from the early-1900s to the mid-1980s. It was FUN!

Lake Bluff History Museum's Auto Show, June 23, 2108 included over 100 spectacular cars and attracted fans young and old.

Get revved! The Lake Bluff History Museum Auto Show is this Saturday, June 22. We're expecting more than 100 classic car...
06/19/2019

Get revved! The Lake Bluff History Museum Auto Show is this Saturday, June 22. We're expecting more than 100 classic cars and trucks from the early 1900s to the mid-1980s. From 3 to 6 pm the village's downtown shopping district will morph into a gorgeous antique car museum! Bring the family and an appetite as the local restaurants will have provisions available for purchase.

Let's hope we get the same great weather!

Lake Bluff Children's Home
06/17/2019

Lake Bluff Children's Home

My dad, Jim Stoltz, was one of the many "house parents" at LBCH. He and my mom Maggie were there from 1957-62. In honor of Father's Day, I'm sharing a couple pictures of them with some of their kids. I was lucky to have grown up with lots of older brothers and sisters. They loved their years at LBCH. (Karen Stoltz)

Can you guess what era this dress is from? The pillbox hat shown on the bride in the photo is an easy clue! Linda Hegg c...
06/14/2019

Can you guess what era this dress is from? The pillbox hat shown on the bride in the photo is an easy clue! Linda Hegg came to the Museum recently to visit the gown, which was designed, made and worn by her sister Nancy Zabkowicz English for her 1963 wedding. The dress is on loan to the Museum for our summer "Weddings: A Century of Memories" exhibit. You are cordially invited to stop by for a visit -- no RSVP necessary!

Sandy Ragsdale stopped by the Lake Bluff History Museum to see the new exhibit, "Weddings: A Century of Memories", which...
06/13/2019

Sandy Ragsdale stopped by the Lake Bluff History Museum to see the new exhibit, "Weddings: A Century of Memories", which includes her gorgeous wedding dress. The dress originally was made in Paris circa 1910 for her great-aunt's graduation from Ferry Hall in Lake Forest. Sandy and her sister Juli both wore it in their weddings, and the dress -- and Sandy --are just as pretty today.

06/12/2019
Here Comes The Bride ... and Groom!

Here are highlights from a much longer video that's on display in the museum's "Weddings: A Century of Memories" exhibit. See anyone you know? Please share with friends who are in the video!

Lake Bluff History Museum's cover photo
06/10/2019

Lake Bluff History Museum's cover photo

The museum's new wedding exhibit is a beautiful display of gorgeous dresses and brides alike! Thank you to Marcus Norman...
06/10/2019

The museum's new wedding exhibit is a beautiful display of gorgeous dresses and brides alike! Thank you to Marcus Norman for these great photos.

Thank you to everyone who helped out at the Lake Bluff History Museum’s Sno-Cone table at Friday’s Lake Bluff Block ...
06/08/2019

Thank you to everyone who helped out at the Lake Bluff History Museum’s Sno-Cone table at Friday’s Lake Bluff Block Party! And thank you to all the parents and kids who donated money to help the Museum!

School's out in Lake Bluff --- but that doesn't mean the learning has to end! Take your kiddos to the Lake Bluff History...
06/07/2019

School's out in Lake Bluff --- but that doesn't mean the learning has to end! Take your kiddos to the Lake Bluff History Museum! These LBES students stopped by the museum today after school got out and had a great time (the kids as well as the docent!) They perused the collections and were genuinely curious about the Children's Home, Hotel Irving, the "treasure trunk", the old grocer's scale, the wedding gowns, the swimsuits people "in the olden days" wore to the beach ... and everything else. We are lucky to have such smart and interesting children growing up in Lake Bluff!

Lake Bluff Public Library
06/05/2019

Lake Bluff Public Library

Come stop by our Circulation Desk and see the model of the old Lake Bluff Public Library in its brand new display case. The display case was built by former Lake Bluff Village Engineer, George Russell.

This building was the home of local pharmacist, Dr. Graham Munch. In 1959, when Dr. Munch retired he donated the building to the library on the condition that he could live on the second floor for the rest of his life. Dr. Munch's home served as our library from 1959 to 1975 when our current library was constructed.

The intricate details inside are just so much fun to look at!

Congratulations the owners of 526 E. Scranton Avenue, a classic “three over two” Georgian Revival home, one of six D...
06/04/2019

Congratulations the owners of 526 E. Scranton Avenue, a classic “three over two” Georgian Revival home, one of six Distinguished Home Award winners in 2019 from a pool of 45 candidates.

The fourth of six Distinguished Home Award winners in 2019 is 608 Ravine Avenue. This American Four-Square house has a l...
06/04/2019

The fourth of six Distinguished Home Award winners in 2019 is 608 Ravine Avenue. This American Four-Square house has a large front porch and curved “eyebrow” dormer windows on the third floor. American Four-Square homes were designed to maximize space and were often purchased by mail from companies such as Sears Roebuck and other kit home marketers.

Lake Bluff History Museum
06/03/2019

Lake Bluff History Museum

Lake Bluff History Museum's cover photo
06/03/2019

Lake Bluff History Museum's cover photo

Lake Bluff History Museum's cover photo
06/03/2019

Lake Bluff History Museum's cover photo

The Lake Bluff History Museum's June 4 event on the Rondout Train Robbery is sold out! We are sorry to disappoint people...
06/03/2019

The Lake Bluff History Museum's June 4 event on the Rondout Train Robbery is sold out! We are sorry to disappoint people who have tried to purchase tickets online, and we are looking into scheduling a 2nd event on the Rondout train robbery later this summer. We'll relay that information here on Facebook as soon as we have things lined up, so stay tuned! It's a very interesting narrative.

Among the six 2019 Distinguished Home Award winners is 708 Park Place, an outstanding example of adaptive reuse. It has ...
06/02/2019

Among the six 2019 Distinguished Home Award winners is 708 Park Place, an outstanding example of adaptive reuse. It has been lovingly restored over many years. It was built in the 1880s as a horse stable for a livery service operated by the Swift family, whose home faced Park Place on Prospect Avenue. For years 708 Park Place was owned by Lucian Cary, a well-known writer of articles and short stories for the Saturday Evening Post and other periodicals.

One of the 2019 Distinguished Home Awards went to 421 Center Avenue. The home represents the design theories of American...
06/01/2019

One of the 2019 Distinguished Home Awards went to 421 Center Avenue. The home represents the design theories of American landscape designer and Gothic Revival advocate Andrew Jackson Downing, a founder of American landscape architecture and a moralist who is credited with such statements as “A good house will lead to a good civilization.”

Built in 1905, this Italianate-style cottage is known as the Cornish House, named after Fred Cornish, a real estate developer who helped develop the original Methodist Camp Meeting cottages into full-time homes. Originally from England, Cornish was the second Village of Lake Bluff president.

Address

127 E Scranton Ave
Lake Bluff, IL
60044

General information

The museum sponsors a variety of programs and fundraisers that support its mission to "keep Lake Bluff history alive." Among the more well-known programs are the Ghost Walk that takes place every other year before Halloween, House & Garden Walks, the Pink Rabbit Ball and casino. All of these introduce our famous "voices of the past" telling the stories of past residents. Since the Center's founding, well over 300 residents have taken active roles in producing the various community activities sponsored by the museum.

Opening Hours

Monday 11:00 - 16:00
Tuesday 13:00 - 16:00
Wednesday 11:00 - 16:00
Thursday 13:00 - 16:00
Friday 11:00 - 16:00
Saturday 10:00 - 13:00

Telephone

(847) 482-1571

Website

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