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.
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We stumbled across this c. 1962 black & white photograph of a class sitting outdoors on bleachers at East School, Lake B...
01/03/2020

We stumbled across this c. 1962 black & white photograph of a class sitting outdoors on bleachers at East School, Lake Bluff. Photo includes Cathy Muto, Cindy Johnson, Mary Jo Gergathy, Diane Sorenson, ... Turpel, Jack Dayton, Mary Sinclair, Mary Jane Hall, Lu LeGoff, Rick Surkamer. Recognize others? Let us know in the comments!

Lake Bluff History Museum's cover photo
01/03/2020

Lake Bluff History Museum's cover photo

2019 Highlights Part 4: The I am Lake Bluff History campaign celebrated the people and events that contributed to the ta...
12/27/2019

2019 Highlights Part 4: The I am Lake Bluff History campaign celebrated the people and events that contributed to the tapestry of not just Lake Bluff but the world. This new story-telling effort included outdoor banners displayed throughout downtown Lake Bluff, as well as social media posts and profiles of each subject on the museum’s website.

Highlights of 2019 Part 3: After a chilly and wet spring, the sun finally broke through in time for the Lake Bluff Histo...
12/26/2019

Highlights of 2019 Part 3: After a chilly and wet spring, the sun finally broke through in time for the Lake Bluff History Museum Auto Show, which brought more than 100 cars and some 1,000 visitors to downtown Lake Bluff on a summer Saturday in June.

The Christmas Home Tour was a MAJOR highlight of the museum's 2019 year. Thank you to the homeowners who opened their do...
12/25/2019

The Christmas Home Tour was a MAJOR highlight of the museum's 2019 year. Thank you to the homeowners who opened their doors, the docents who helped people navigate the tour, the designers who helped the homeowners decorate their abodes ... and especially to every single one of our guests. We had a record-breaking ticket sales and are grateful for the support of our little museum!

And thank you Vicki Lidstrom of Leggy Bird Designs. WOW what a stunner the Barbie Dream House is! Vicki capitalizes on two things: Light and Reality! The upper-level rooms are situated to capture the natural light to the utmost. And the basement, which is naturally dark because it is, well, in the basement, becomes a speakeasy!

Here are photos from Vicki's Honey Bird cottage (aka Lake Bluff's Barbie Dream Home).

Photography by Phillip Ross

Happy Holidays from the archives of the Lake Bluff History Museum. Here is a  Christmas card color photograph of Yolande...
12/23/2019

Happy Holidays from the archives of the Lake Bluff History Museum. Here is a Christmas card color photograph of Yolande and Cornelia Beall showing the view from their front porch of Sunrise Park, 1973.

Highland Park Historical Society
12/23/2019
Highland Park Historical Society

Highland Park Historical Society

The Carnegie Library will be the new home of the Waukegan History archives as well as a museum. The best outcome for the society and this building.

Here are photos from Cathy McKechney's amazing Queen Anne, which she has brought to life with help from Hazel James Home...
12/20/2019

Here are photos from Cathy McKechney's amazing Queen Anne, which she has brought to life with help from Hazel James Home and Jory Cathlina.

The museum ‘s Christmas Home Tour was so much fun. Thank you to the homeowners who opened their doors, the docents who helped people navigate the tour, the designers who helped the homeowners decorate their abodes ... and especially to every single one of our guests. We had record-breaking ticket sales and are grateful for the support of our little museum!

Photos by Phillip Ross

The Christmas Home Tour was a MAJOR highlight of the museum's 2019 year. Thank you to the homeowners who opened their do...
12/20/2019

The Christmas Home Tour was a MAJOR highlight of the museum's 2019 year. Thank you to the homeowners who opened their doors, the docents who helped people navigate the tour, the designers who helped the homeowners decorate their abodes ... and especially to every single one of our guests. We had a record-breaking ticket sales and are grateful for the support of our little museum!

Here are photos from Lisa Sayad Grube's amazing home. Many wonderful local companies helped give life to this refined and classic home, including Soledad Zitzewitz Interiors, Inc.; Great Oaks Landscaping; Lurvey Garden Center & Landscape Supply; Landmark Luxury Group and general contractor Zoran Mijatovic.

Photography by Phillip Ross.

Seasons Greetings, Lake Bluff! We hope you have a wonderful holiday full of love and laughter. The museum will be open b...
12/20/2019

Seasons Greetings, Lake Bluff! We hope you have a wonderful holiday full of love and laughter. The museum will be open by appointment-only from December 21 to January 1. If you have out-of-town guests or if you want to keep your kids busy or if you just feel like getting out of the house and brushing up on the stories of Lake Bluff, please contact us at (847) 482-1571 or [email protected] to discuss times and dates, and a board member will meet you at the museum.

The museum will reopen on January 2 with regular hours of Monday through Friday from 1 to 4 pm and Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm.

Thank you to Sue Raymoure for this photo of the village green the morning of December 20.

2019 Museum highlights Part 2: One of our favorite things of the year was naming a beer for Lake Bluff Brewing Company! ...
12/19/2019

2019 Museum highlights Part 2: One of our favorite things of the year was naming a beer for
Lake Bluff Brewing Company! We called it Swan Island after a small island in the middle of Artesian Lake, a long-gone, 10-acre body of water that was popular for boating, fishing and picnicking during the village's Camp Meeting days.

Sales reports indicated people loved the beer as much as early campers loved the island!

The museum had a great year in 2019! This really iS the little museum that could. Over the next few days we'll post high...
12/18/2019

The museum had a great year in 2019! This really iS the little museum that could. Over the next few days we'll post highlights of 2019. Here's part 1: Distilling History Series.

This new programming series opened in July with three sold-out events on the Great Rondout Train Robbery. The headliner in October, Spirits in the Night, also sold out and was just as fun -- only scarier, as it featured local ghost stories told in a format resembling the Moth Radio Hour. The series took place at North Shore Distillery and included cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.

We're looking to furthering our partnership with North Shore Distillery and other local businesses in 2020!

Lake Bluff History Museum's cover photo
12/18/2019

Lake Bluff History Museum's cover photo

Santa will be driven around Lake Bluff on Sunday morning (December 15) between 10 am and noon!
12/13/2019

Santa will be driven around Lake Bluff on Sunday morning (December 15) between 10 am and noon!

Lake Bluff History Museum's cover photo
12/13/2019

Lake Bluff History Museum's cover photo

Thank you peter kaspari and the staff of the Lake Forest Leader newspaper for covering the museum's Christmas Home Tour!...
12/13/2019

Thank you peter kaspari and the staff of the Lake Forest Leader newspaper for covering the museum's Christmas Home Tour! The photos and articles beautifully capture the spirit, warmth and sense of community of the day.

The homes were simply gorgeous. When you think of all the people who were involved in each house -- and not just on December 8 but going back to the architects and builders, the homeowners both current and past, and the designers of today who helped bring out the holiday style in three of the homes -- Soledad Zitzewitz Interiors, Inc., Hazel James Home, Leggy Bird Designs/Vicki Lidstrom. What an amazing collection of talent through the ages!

Thank you to all of our guests --we had a record-breaking day and are so very grateful to each and every person who joined us on the tour.

Looking for a unique holiday gift that says "Lake Bluff" like nothing ever has before or ever will again? Purchase a dog...
12/10/2019

Looking for a unique holiday gift that says "Lake Bluff" like nothing ever has before or ever will again? Purchase a dog! Not a living dog! A fiberglass one! To celebrate Lake Bluff’s 125th year, the LB-125 Committee, which is sponsored by the Lake Bluff History Museum, is selling fiberglass dog sculptures for a public art display known as Dogs on the Bluff.

Do you remember Chicago’s painted cows? Dogs on the Bluff will be like the cows, only better because, well, dogs!

The deadline to purchase a Dogs on the Bluff sculpture is December 31 — just in time for a fabulous holiday surprise. The sculptures come in various sizes and price points — there are dogs, puppies and fire hydrants. The public art display will be out around the village from June through September 2020 — culminating in the village’s big 125th birthday bash on September 26.

Visit LB-125 for more info: https://lakebluff125.org/dogs-on-the-bluff/

Lake Bluff turns 125 in 2020!

The Christmas Home Tour today was so much fun! We hope you enjoyed the tour as much as we did! And now, to top off the o...
12/08/2019
Lake Bluff 125 Years-9216

The Christmas Home Tour today was so much fun! We hope you enjoyed the tour as much as we did! And now, to top off the outstanding weekend of Lake Bluff-centered activities, here's one more idea: Purchase LB-125 wear for the holiday gift season! The deadline is tonight, December 8!!!

https://lb125.itemorder.com/sale

Online ordering for Lake Bluff 125 Years-9216

Here are a few more photos of one of our Christmas Home Tour homes, courtesy of designer Jory Cathlina of Hazel James Ho...
12/08/2019

Here are a few more photos of one of our Christmas Home Tour homes, courtesy of designer Jory Cathlina of Hazel James Home. Such a beautiful holiday expression in this historic Lake Bluff home!

The tour is today from 11 am to 4 pm. Stop by the museum at 127 E. Scranton Avenue to purchase tickets if you haven't already!

Today is the Lake Bluff History Museum Christmas Home Tour! It's a great day for a walk or short drive around the villag...
12/08/2019

Today is the Lake Bluff History Museum Christmas Home Tour! It's a great day for a walk or short drive around the village, seeing old friends and meeting new ones while exploring some of the village's most beautiful homes. Stop by the museum to pick up your program (which has all the addresses and a short history of each home on the tour plus the two boutique homes). If you haven't purchased a ticket online you can buy it in the museum today! This is such a fun community event -- and the museum's biggest fundraiser. Please join us in celebration of home and holiday!

One of the homes on the Lake Bluff History Museum Christmas Home Tour -- which is on Sunday December 8! -- is a circa 19...
12/07/2019

One of the homes on the Lake Bluff History Museum Christmas Home Tour -- which is on Sunday December 8! -- is a circa 1905 Queen Anne-style house that looks like it could be the setting of a Hollywood Christmas movie, with its wrap-around porch, original oak paneling, cut-glass windows and crown molding – not to mention the old-fashioned Santa in the turret window on the third floor. The connection to Hollywood has merit: The home was built by John J. Murdock, the so-called “Vaudeville King” who went on to found (with Joseph P. Kennedy) RKO Pictures, one of the Big Five movie studios during Hollywood’s Golden Age.

This is a house little girls dream about when imagining their someday homes. Everything about the house says graciousness and harkens back to a time when craftsmanship was a badge of honor. Spaces are designed to accommodate impromptu musical performances and holiday dinners while maintaining an elegance appropriate for this historic house.

“My directive here was to let the details from the ornate plaster moldings, the carved fireplace, built-ins and leaded glass windows take center stage and have the furnishings be clean counterpoints to those details,” said Jory Cathlina, interior designer and owner of Hazel James Home, a new store in Highland Park.

Here we go! One more day to the Lake Bluff History Museum Christmas Home Tour. Here are some glimpses into one of the ho...
12/07/2019

Here we go! One more day to the Lake Bluff History Museum Christmas Home Tour. Here are some glimpses into one of the homes on the tour -- the mid-century farmhouse-style home that was built in the 1950s and lovingly restored in the past two years from top to bottom. The homeowner has been working closely with interior designer Soledad Zitzewitz, who has used a mixture of lacquers, velvets, antiques, custom-scene wallpaper and walls with paintings that go from floor to ceiling to give life to the home’s refined and classic interiors. The rehabbing extends to the exterior, with new landscaping, hardscaping, a circular driveway, and a new roof, siding, windows, shutters, garage door – even a “she shed” with a matching roof!

Many local companies have helped give life to this home, while others have sweetened it for the museum’s Christmas Home Tour, including Soledad Zitzewitz Interiors, Inc.; Great Oaks Landscaping; Scotty's On Sheridan; The Frosted Baker; Lurvey Landscape Supply; and Landmark Luxury Group/general contractor Zoran Mijatovic.

The weather forecast for Sunday in Lake Bluff is just perfect  for the Lake Bluff History Museum Christmas Home Tour:  h...
12/06/2019

The weather forecast for Sunday in Lake Bluff is just perfect for the Lake Bluff History Museum Christmas Home Tour: high 40s, and no snow or rain. Though snow sure does look wonderful in this photo of one of the homes on our tour. Even without the snow the house is magical. It was built in the 1930s as the gatehouse to an impressive estate, and it has been modernized without losing any of its charm. It's just one of the treats to discover on the tour.

Tickets are available online! https://lakebluffhistory.org/events/2019-christmas-home-tour-is-december-8/

Lake Bluff History Museum's cover photo
12/06/2019

Lake Bluff History Museum's cover photo

What will you see on the Lake Bluff History Museum Christmas Home Tour? You'll span the decades from the 20th to the 21s...
12/05/2019

What will you see on the Lake Bluff History Museum Christmas Home Tour? You'll span the decades from the 20th to the 21st centuries, and you'll get a flavor for each homeowner's personal style. Some of the homes are decorated by the homeowners themselves, while others have had a little help from interior designers Soledad Zitzewitz of Soledad Zitzewitz Interiors, Inc., Vicki Lidstrom of Leggy Bird Designs, and Jory Cathlina of Hazel James Homes.

It's going to be a festive event -- Sunday December 8 from 11 am to 4 pm. Follow this link to purchase tickets online:

https://lakebluffhistory.org/events/2019-christmas-home-tour-is-december-8/

Christmas is coming! The goose is getting fat! Will you please put a penny in an old man's hat? ... Can we even call peo...
12/05/2019

Christmas is coming! The goose is getting fat! Will you please put a penny in an old man's hat? ... Can we even call people of a certain age "old" anymore? Is the word "fat" not PC? We don't know! But we do know that the Lake Bluff History Museum Christmas Home Tour is going to be loads of fun, as it is every year. Please join us! If you're not in the holiday spirit today, you will be on Sunday!

https://lakebluffhistory.org/events/2019-christmas-home-tour-is-december-8/

Today at the Lake Bluff History Museum people keep popping in to ask about the Christmas Home Tour on December 8. Excite...
12/04/2019

Today at the Lake Bluff History Museum people keep popping in to ask about the Christmas Home Tour on December 8. Excitement is percolating and tickets are selling! This is one of Lake Bluff's most charming events, a truly wonderful way to enjoy an afternoon with friends while visiting village homes that are primed and ready for the holidays. The tour includes six homes that span the ages from 1905 to 2014!

Purchase your ticket here: https://lakebluffhistory.org/events/2019-christmas-home-tour-is-december-8/

Lake Bluff celebrates the 125th anniversary of its incorporation in 2020 and the 125th committee is offering merchandise...
12/04/2019

Lake Bluff celebrates the 125th anniversary of its incorporation in 2020 and the 125th committee is offering merchandise that makes great holiday gifts. Check out their pop-up store now.

Shop the Pop-Up! Lake Bluff turns 125 in 2020 and we have the merchandise to get you ready for the year-long celebration. Order online now for home delivery before the holidays. The pop-up closes at midnight on December 8.

https://lb125.itemorder.com/sale

Hello Everyone! Santa & Mrs. Claus will be at the Lake Bluff History Museum on Saturday December 7 from 1 to 4 p.m. to v...
12/03/2019

Hello Everyone! Santa & Mrs. Claus will be at the Lake Bluff History Museum on Saturday December 7 from 1 to 4 p.m. to visit with local children! AND THEN!!! On December 15 from 10 a.m. to noon Santa Claus will return to Lake Bluff to drive around the village atop a Lake Bluff Fire truck, passing out candy to all the good little girls and boys. Save these dates!

Today is Giving Tuesday and if you are not asleep or in a forest without wifi, you’ve likely seen appeals for your money...
12/03/2019

Today is Giving Tuesday and if you are not asleep or in a forest without wifi, you’ve likely seen appeals for your money. The Lake Bluff History Museum needs it too!

https://lakebluffhistory.org/donate/

We rely on financial contributions to operate the museum and fulfill our key missions to preserve and share the stories of our village’s past while building community in the Lake Bluff of today. We preserve by managing and archiving an ever-growing collection of Lake Bluff documents and memorabilia. We share the stories of our wonderful town via newsletters, news articles, social media posts, and emails and with history talks and tours in the museum for scout troops, summer camps and alumni groups. We build community outside the museum with our beloved programs, such as the Ghost Walk, Christmas Home Tour, Auto Show, Distilling History Series, Walking Tours and more. And we build community inside the museum with exhibits like Made in Lake Bluff and A Century of Weddings – and by manning the museum with docents six days a week.

The Lake Bluff History Museum is the only history organization fully dedicated to preserving, sharing and celebrating the people, places and events that make up the fabric of our village. Please help us by making a financial contribution to the museum!

https://lakebluffhistory.org/donate/

Lake Bluff History Museum's cover photo
12/02/2019

Lake Bluff History Museum's cover photo

Santa and Mrs. Claus are coming to the Lake Bluff History Museum on Saturday, December 7 from 1 to 4 pm. to visit with c...
12/02/2019

Santa and Mrs. Claus are coming to the Lake Bluff History Museum on Saturday, December 7 from 1 to 4 pm. to visit with children. Bring your kiddies and their wish lists for this cherished tradition!

Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you have a wonderful time today with family, friends and neighbors. This is perhaps not the ...
11/28/2019

Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you have a wonderful time today with family, friends and neighbors. This is perhaps not the best time to pause and reflect on the wild turkey that brought our town together-- given that so many of us will be eating turkey today. But let's do remember the collective joy Most of us felt when that wild bird took up residence in the Rockland Woods at Green Bay Road and Route 176 in 2010 for several weeks. With that spirit of community in mind, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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

Telephone

(847) 482-1571

Website

Alerts

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Sharing Lake Bluff’s Stories

Lake Bluff History Museum is the only history organization fully committed to preserving, sharing and celebrating the history of Lake Bluff, Illinois, a small town with a big story!

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2,977 flags for 9/11
Here are highlights of a video of Lake Bluff brides and grooms— take a look and see if you recognize anyone you know! And if you’d like to see the full video, stop by the museum to see our summer exhibit, “Weddings: A Century of Memories”.
Visit the Lake Bluff History Museum's wedding exhibit where many of our local residents share their wedding memories in Lake Bluff from the 1880's till today. The Ragsdale's Fourth of July wedding story is a Lake Bluff treasure.
Here are highlights of a video of Lake Bluff brides and grooms— take a look and see if you recognize anyone you know! And if you’d like to see the full video, stop by the museum to see our summer exhibit, “Weddings: A Century of Memories”.
The new exhibit at the Lake Bluff History Museum. Gowns from every decade including the war years.
This year's tour is going to be fabulous! See you there!
Our next event: an incredible tour of Crab Tree Farm Arts & Crafts Collection on September 22. Buy your tickets online at lakebluffhistory.org! Or purchase them in the museum.