+1.630.469.1867

The History Center  800 N. Main St. Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

A Reception Celebrating Early American Life Magazine Publisher Tess Rosch and Her Staff

Saturday, July 22   1:30 - 4:30 p.m.

3:00 p.m. Program: Tess Rosch on "Early American Life: History, Old Houses, and the People Who Love Them" 

Come join us for this delightful opportunity to meet the publisher of the nation's leading Americana magazine, Early American Life, honoring its many contributions to history and preservation. Everyone is invited to "meet and greet" Tess Rosch and her staff for this rare Midwestern visit. Refreshments will be served. Early American Life, renowned over its 40-year history for adhering to its original concept, has been rewarded with a dedicated and loyal readership of almost 100,000. The magazine is noted for outstanding and authoritative articles on traditional decorating, antiques, folk art, restoration, historic preservation, and American history, as well as a special yearly issue focusing on outstanding contemporary artisans and craftspeople. Don't miss this exciting opportunity to peek behind the scenes and learn more about this incredibly interesting and popular magazine. Want to learn more about the magazine? Early American Life magazine is sold in our gift shop, Stacy's Corners Store. Hope you can join us! A free event


Between Two Comets: The Life of Mark Twain

Tuesday, July 25    7 p.m.

American writer Mark Twain lived his life between the Halley's Comets of 1835 and 1910. During that time, he penned some of the most interesting, beloved and controversial literature of the 19th century. Come enjoy one of our favorite performers, Terry Lynch, portray Mark Twain as "Twain" shares his life, writings, his struggle to support his family with his work and to be accepted by society. Refreshments. $10 Adults, $8 GEHS Members, $5 Students 18 and under


Summer Story Time at the History Center

​Tuesday, August 1  10:30 a.m. - 11:15

Aunt Tillie is away this summer, but story time will continue. Come enjoy a free story, craft and activity time. This summer story time is geared to 3 - 6 year olds, but children of all ages (and grownups) welcome too -- anyone young at heart!  Free! No reservation required -- just come!


Historic Revolving Jails​​

Tuesday, August 8    7 p.m.

Did you know that there was a time in the 1800's when some jail cell blocks were round and revolved? This unique architectural style was only used for a short time in jail construction, but is a wonderful example of architectural ingenuity. There is only one remaining example of this style that still revolves: the Rotary Jail Museum in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Come learn about rotary (rotating) jails -- why they were built, why the style had such a short life span, and how they were part of a changing philosophy of incarceration. The history of the Rotary Jail Museum in Crawfordsville, including the two legal hangings there, will also be discussed. Free!


Members Kick-off Reception

Tuesday, August 29  5:30 - 7 p.m.

Members of the Glen Ellyn Historical Society are invited to a reception to kick off the fall season of events. Free to members! Refreshments served.


The Eastland Disaster: A Multi-Media Presentation

Tuesday, August 29  7 p.m.

The Eastland Disaster Historical Society will be presenting a multi-media presentation on this 1915 Chicago River tragedy. The S.S. Eastland, known as the "Speed Queen of the Great Lakes," was part of a fleet of five excursion boats assigned to take Western Electric employees, families and friends across Lake Michigan to Michigan City, Indiana, for a day of fun and fellowship. But the festivities were short-lived and quickly turned tragic. The Eastland, docked at the Clark Street Bridge, never left the Chicago River. Tragedy struck as the ship rolled over into the river at the wharf's edge. More than 2,500 passengers and crew members were on board that day – and 844 people lost their lives, including 22 entire families. 

As youngsters growing up in the Chicago area, sisters Susan Decker and Barbara Decker Wachholz listened to their grandmother tell them her story of staying afloat in a compartment between decks for hours while surviving the Eastland Disaster. Years later, Susan and Barbara co-founded the Eastland Disaster Historical Society, and thereby assumed their grandmother’s former role of storytelling. Of course, the stories that Susan and Barbara tell today are the stories of the thousands of people whose lives intersected on the day of the Eastland Disaster. Their presentation, which also includes Ted Wachholz, includes the three recently discovered motion picture videos taken in 1915; dozens of photographs; compelling firsthand narrative delivered by descendants of a survivor; a brief video with ABC’s Ron Magers interviewing several survivors; animation depicting the listing of the Eastland while passengers were boarding, and the moment the ship capsized; and a brief video revealing how George “Papa Bear” Halas arrived too late to board the Eastland (a fortunate bit of fate that guaranteed the future of the Chicago Bears and the National Football League). Join us for a compelling and memorable evening. Adults $10, GEHS Members $8, Students 18 and under $5. Refreshments served.


Summer Story Time at the History Center

​Tuesday, September 5  10:30 a.m. - 11:15

Aunt Tillie is away this summer, but story time will continue. Come enjoy a free story, craft and activity time. This summer story time is geared to 3 - 6 year olds, but children of all ages (and grownups) welcome too -- anyone young at heart!  Free! No reservation required -- just come!


Book Discussion Group: Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story by David Maraniss

Thursday, September 7   10 a.m.

Detroit in 1963 is on top of the world. The city’s leaders are among the most visionary in America: grandson of the first Ford, Henry Ford II; Motown’s founder Berry Gordy; the Reverend C.L. Franklin and his daughter, the incredible Aretha; Governor George Romney, Mormon and Civil Rights advocate; car salesman Lee Iacocca; Police Commissioner George Edwards; Martin Luther King, Jr. The time was full of promise. The auto industry was selling more cars than ever before. Yet the shadows of collapse were evident even then, deeply rooted in its own prosperity. Detroit was being abandoned by the new world economy and by the transfer of American prosperity to the information and service industries. “Maraniss has written a book about the fall of Detroit, and done it, ingeniously.” Free! Open to everyone.


The History of Chicago's Parks

Tuesday, September 12   7 p.m.

​Hear the fascinating history of Chicago’s parks from author and historian Julia S. Bachrach. In 1837, when Chicago’s nascent government adopted the motto “Urbs in horto,” a Latin phrase meaning “City in a Garden,” the small village of 4000 residents was far from garden-like. But the slogan proved to be prophetic. For nearly two centuries, Chicago’s citizens have rallied for the creation and protection of green space and the city’s parks have served as testing grounds for seminal ideas and social movements. Nationally acclaimed architects, landscape architects and artists such as Daniel H. Burnham, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jens Jensen, Alfred Caldwell, and Lorado Taft helped shape Chicago’s parks. Author and historian Julia S. Bachrach will illuminate the history of Chicago’s parks and highlight new additions such as the 606 and Palmisano Park that contribute to the city’s great park legacy. Julia Bachrach is an author, lecturer, historian, and preservationist who recently established Julia Bachrach Consulting LLC. Prior to March first of this year, she had served as Chicago Park District’s historian and preservationist for 28 years. Julia has written extensively on Chicago’s historic landscapes. Her books include The City in a Garden: A History of Chicago’s Parks and Inspired by Nature: The Garfield Park Conservatory and Chicago’s West Side. She also contributed to many other books such as Midwestern Landscape Architecture, The Oxford Companion to the Garden, The AIA Guide to Chicago Architecture, and The Encyclopedia of Chicago History. Refreshments served. Adults $10, GEHS Members $8, Students 18 and under $5.


Tavern Day: A Living History Celebration of Stacy's Tavern Museum and Life in the 1840's

​Sunday, September 24

Details forthcoming.


​​Story Time with Aunt Tillie

Tuesday, October 3   10:30 - 11:15 a.m.

Come join Aunt Tillie (Dr. Maria Bakalis from Curtain Up Classroom) with her endearing puppet, Grandma Trudy for a wonderful story time. Story Time is geared to 2 - 5 year-olds, but everyone young at heart is welcome. Caregivers are asked to stay with their children for this special story and activity time. Free! No reservations required -- just come! 


Ghosts of Lincoln: Discovering His Paranormal Legacy

Saturday, October 7   2:00 p.m.

For years, stories have circulated about Lincoln haunting the White House, attending seances, and predicting his own death. Investigating everything from obscure seance transcripts and forgotten newspaper articles to the most peculiar paranormal claims, author Adam Selzer digs deep into the annals of history and reveals the fascinating true stories behind the tales, rumors and lore. Come join us for a fascinating program! Refreshments. $10 Adults, $8 GEHS Members, $5 Students 18 and under


Hysteria in Salem: The Salem Witch Trials

Saturday, October 14   2:00 p.m.

In June of 1692, the special Court of Oyer (to hear) and Terminer (to decide) sat in Salem, Massachusetts to hear allegations of witchcraft. Presided over by Chief Justice William Stoughton, the court was made up of magistrates and jurors. The first to be tried was Bridget Bishop of Salem who was found guilty and was hanged on June 10. Thirteen women and five men from all stations of life followed her to the gallows on three successive hanging days before the court was disbanded by Governor William Phipps in October of that year. Join the chief magistrate of the Salem Witch Trials, John Hathorne (portrayed by actor and professional speaker Terry Lynch) as he recounts the hysteria, paranoia, and resulting trials that took place during the late-17th century in Salem. Refreshments. $10 Adults, $8 GEHS Members, $5 Students 18 and under


Madame Zelda Joins the Circus: Halloween Under the Big Top

A Fun Family Halloween Event for Families and Children

Saturday, October 21

Join us for a special fun Halloween event for elementary children and their families, sponsored by Curtain Up Classroom in partnership with the Historical Society. Details forthcoming!


Book Discussion Group: The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution by Jonathan Eig

Thursday, November 2   10 a.m.

Readers know it simply as “the pill,” yet its development was anything but simple. Spanning the years from Margaret Sanger’s heady Greenwich Village days in the early twentieth century to trial tests in Puerto Rico in the 1950s to the cusp of the sexual revolution in the 1960s, this is a grand story of radical feminist politics, scientific ingenuity, establishment opposition, and, ultimately, a sea of change in social attitudes. Brilliantly researched and briskly written, The Birth of the Pill is gripping social, cultural, and scientific history. A Chicago Tribune "Best Books of 2014" Free! Everyone welcome.


Annual Business Meeting: Glen Ellyn Historical Society

Thursday, November 2    7:00 p.m.

Members of the Historical Society are invited for the annual business meeting, held at the History Center. The program will be on Marcellus Jones, the Danby resident who fired the first shot at the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War. Refreshments served. (Must be a current GEHS member to attend.)


Members Appreciation Day at Stacy's Corners Store

​Saturday,  Nov. 4  10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Members of the Glen Ellyn Historical Society will enjoy 25% off most of their purchases at Stacy's Corners Store ALL DAY LONG!  No coupon necessary. Just one of the many benefits of being a member!


It’s a Wonderful Life: The Making of a Holiday Classic 

Saturday, Nov. 4   2:00 p.m.

Did you know Cary Grant was supposed to star in It’s a Wonderful Life? That the famous gym-floor-turned-swimming-pool was real? That the movie bombed at the box office? Even if you’ve seen the classic holiday film 150 times, you’ll love this fun program that explores the story of the movie’s creation including how the script evolved, how the cast was chosen, and the technical challenges that were overcome. You'll find out what happened to the cast and enjoy rare photographs taken behind the scenes. Rediscover Frank Capra’s masterpiece like you’ve never seen it before. This is an illustrated lecture by beloved historian Leslie Goddard, Ph.D. Refreshments. $10 Adults, $8 GEHS Members, $5 Students 18 and under


Story Time with Aunt Tillie

Tuesday, Nov. 7   10:30 - 11:15 a.m.

Come join Aunt Tillie (Dr. Maria Bakalis from Curtain Up Classroom) with her endearing puppet, Grandma Trudy for a wonderful story time. Story Time is geared to 2 - 5 year-olds, but everyone young at heart is welcome. Caregivers are asked to stay with their children for this special story and activity time. Free! No reservations required -- just come! 


Gingerbread and Candlelight: A Holiday Celebration for the Entire Family

Saturday, Dec. 2   4:00 - 7:00 p.m.

​This holiday open house runs from 4 -7 p.m. Begin at the Glen Ellyn History Center and see the wonderful Gingerbread House creations from our Gingerbread House Contest. Take a candlelight tour of Stacy's Tavern Museum. Enjoy our craft station for kids. Sip on hot chocolate (or coffee/tea) and enjoy some delicious cookies. Adults $5  Children free with paid adult admission.


​Story Time with Aunt Tillie

Tuesday, Dec. 5   10:30 - 11:15 a.m.

Come join Aunt Tillie (Dr. Maria Bakalis from Curtain Up Classroom) with her endearing puppet, Grandma Trudy for a wonderful story time. Story Time is geared to 2 - 5 year-olds, but everyone young at heart is welcome. Caregivers are asked to stay with their children for this special story and activity time. Free! No reservations required -- just come! 


Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Clause

Dates and Times TBA: the second weekend of December

Come join the Curtain Up Players for a holiday production of the classic, Yes, Virginia: There is a Santa Claus.

More details soon!

___________

Coming in 2018

​Rachel Carson: The Woman Who Launched the Environmental Movement

Sat. April 21, 2018    2:00 p.m.

Biologist and author Rachel Carson warned the world of the potentially dire environmental impact of chemical pesticides in her best-selling 1962 book, Silent Spring. In this brand-new living-history program, set in 1963, actress and historian Leslie Goddard portrays Carson as she discusses her childhood love for the living world, her passion for writing, and her work to awaken the world to the beauty and fragility of nature. Refreshments Served. $12 Adults, $10 GEHS Members, $5 Students 18 and under


Fifth Annual Vintage Auto Fest

Saturday, June 2, 2018   10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Come out to our Vintage Auto Fest and see a great selection of antique and vintage vehicles. Enjoy delicious baked goods by Historical Society bakers. Tour Stacy's Tavern Museum. Shop at Stacy's Corners Store's annual sidewalk sale. Take your kids to our activity table for great coloring pages of vintage vehicles and more. This is a free event to the public. More information on registering your vehicle for the show will be coming in 2018.


Just a note: Have many of the events on this list happened already? Your browser may be bringing up a cached version of the web page. You can refresh the page, or bring up an incognito window with your browser and try again. We try to update this page weekly to keep events current. Not sure? Just call us at 630-469-1867. Thanks!

Note: All events occur at the History Center at 800 N. Main St. Glen Ellyn, IL 60137 unless otherwise noted. Free parking is available at the building and on surrounding lots and streets. The History Center is wheelchair accessible and has wheelchair accessible restrooms.

Upcoming Events



Glen Ellyn

Historical Society