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

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.

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H.H. Holmes: The True History Of the White City Devil 
An Encore Presentation
Saturday, February 2    2 p.m.

Given Adam's sold out presentation in September, we have re-booked him so all who want to hear him can enjoy this fascinating program. Come enjoy Adam Selzer talk about the topic of his book on the "White City Devil" H.H. Holmes, and learn more details about this 19th century Chicago serial killer. Adam leads tours of mysterious sites in Chicago, and has written a book about this infamous killer. His book is considered the first truly comprehensive biography of Holmes, drawn from thousands of primary sources, many of which had been unseen since the 1890s. It has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, and more. You may have seen Adam on The History Channel,The Travel Channel, or in one of his many media appearances.

“Enthralling history” – Library Journal  “Comprehensive.” – Booklist   “Masterful Sleuthing” – NYT Bestselling author Steve Hodel

Adam Selzer is a fascinating speaker, and you are sure to love this interesting talk about the "true" history of H.H. Holmes. Adults $8.00, GEHS Members $6.00. Refreshments. (Not recommended for children.) Given that the previous presentation sold out, we do recommend advance purchase of tickets at Stacy's Corners Store or by phone at 630-469-1867.

Story Time with Aunt Tillie

Tuesday, February 12   10:30 - 11:15 a.m.

Come join Aunt Tillie (Dr. Maria Bakalis from Curtain Up Classroom) 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!

​Mary Lincoln's Photograph Album: An Illustrated Lecture by Laura Keyes

Saturday, February 23    2 p.m.

​Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of our 16th President, lived a life filled with triumphs and tragedies but few people know her story. One piece to the myriad puzzle of her life is her personal photograph album, which was compiled over many years. This precious artifact tells not only Mary Lincoln’s story, but the Lincoln Family story as well. Come to hear scholar Laura Keyes share the history of this personal item, Mary Lincoln’s photograph album, and see for yourself what photographs Mrs. Lincoln kept (and the ones she didn’t). Laura Keyes graduated from UW-Madison with a Master’s Degree in Library Studies, and is a lifetime member of the Association of Lincoln Presenters. She enjoys researching literary symbolism, and is contracted to write a book on that subject. In her non-existent spare time, Laura is a wonderful baker and accomplished vocalist. In 2017, Mrs. Keyes won the Mary Todd Lincoln oratory contest at the Lincoln Days Celebration in Hodgenville, Kentucky. Adults $8, GEHS members $6, Students 18 and under $5. Refreshments.

Wright Brothers, Wrong Story: How Wilbur Wright Solved the Problem of Manned Flight

Saturday, March 2    2 p.m.

Join author William Hazelgrove as he talks about the Wright Brothers, the topic of his newest book. He deconstructs the myth of the brothers, and provides insight into their distrinctive roles in creating the first "flying machine." How could two misanthropic brothers who never left home, were high-school dropouts, and made a living as bicycle mechanics have figured out the secret of manned flight? Combing through original archives and family letters, Hazelgrove reveals the differences in the brothers’ personalities and abilities. He examines how the Wright Brothers’ myth was born when Wilbur Wright died early and left Orville to write their history with personal friend John Kelly. Hazelgrove’s richly researched and well-told tale of the Wright Brothers’ landmark achievement captures the excitement of the times at the start of the “American century.” Adults $8, GEHS members $6, Students 18 and under $5. Refreshments.​

Book Discussion Group

Thursday, March 7    10 a.m.

Book Selection: They Thought They Were Free by Milton Mayer
First published in 1955 – a study of ten Germans and their lives during 1933-45 based on interviews conducted after World War II. 

This group is open to everyone. While it is a lot more fun if you have read the book, if you have an interest in the topic, you are welcome to join in the discussion. Free! Just come!

Story Time with Aunt Tillie

Tuesday, March 12   10:30 - 11:15 a.m.

Come join Aunt Tillie (Dr. Maria Bakalis from Curtain Up Classroom) 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!

The Lady and the Locket:  The Loves of John Wilkes Booth

Saturday, March 23   2 p.m.

The Lady, the Locket and the Loves of John Wilkes Booth, an original play by Dr. Maria Boundas Bakalis, weaves a mysterious tale surrounding  a woman’s locket, a locket once presented to a lover from the infamous John Wilkes Booth, a name that evokes images of the mad man who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. But Booth was also a well-known and successful actor, son of one of the greatest actors of the era, Junius Brutas Booth, and brother to Edwin Booth.The Booths of Maryland were revered by theatre audiences throughout the country. John Wilkes Booth was described as strikingly handsome, a man who captured the hearts of many women. Dr. Bakalis invites the audience to meet this complicated and complex character. John Wilkes Booth a man of many passions -- one of which was his pursuit of women. One of these women is the Lady of the Locket, the woman who conquered Booth’s heart. Who of the many wore the locket around her neck?  You the audience will decide. Refreshments. Adults $10, GEHS Members $8, Students 18 and under $5.

Emmett Till: The Spark of the Modern Civil Rights Movement

Saturday, March 30   2 p.m.

Find out why many historians believe the murder of a 14-year-old Chicago boy resulted in the development of the modern Civil Rights Movement in 1955. Our guest speaker, Mike Small, and his wife Tina were very close to Emmett’s mother, Mamie Till, until her death in 2003. Mike was a pall bearer at her funeral. Being involved in the Emmett Till story for close to twenty years, they have made many presentations all over the world at major universities, high schools, and to various other audiences. They helped establish the “Emmett Till Trail” in Mississippi and played a major role in re-opening the Emmett Till Case in 2007. Mike and Tina have been featured on NBC TV several times. Join us for a moving and informative program. Refreshments. Free.

Glen Ellyn Civic Center Jail Lives On: Exhibit Grand Opening!

Saturday, April 2  11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

​On Saturday, April 6, Stacy’s Corners Store at the Glen Ellyn Historical Society will have the grand opening of a new exhibit on the “old” Glen Ellyn jail. Originally located in the Civic Center, the jail was closed after decades of use when the new Glen Ellyn Police Department building was opened in 2017. Part of the original jail at the Civic Center has been reconstructed at the Historical Society, including cell doors, a bunk, toilet, and the wooden bench in the holding area.

In partnership with the Glen Ellyn Police Department, the exhibit will have its grand opening on Saturday, April 6 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. The Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce will have a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m. The Police Department will have a DARE car and two other police vehicles on site. There will be activities for kids. And bring your cameras, because there will be a great photo opportunity in the old jail cell. At 2 p.m., a speaker from the Police Department will be talking about the organization. Everyone is welcome to this free event. No reservations required. Just come! For more information, phone 630.469.1867.

Story Time with Aunt Tillie

Tuesday, April 9   10:30 - 11:15 a.m.

Come join Aunt Tillie (Dr. Maria Bakalis from Curtain Up Classroom) 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!

​Sheldon Peck Documentary: Portrait of an Ordinary Man in Extraordinary Times

​Tuesday, April 30   7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

The Lombard Historical Society and Tim Frakes Productions, Inc. are proud to present a new 37 minute documentary on the life of Lombard’s famous son, Sheldon Peck: radical abolitionist, 19th century primitive folk artist, public education advocate and verified conductor of the Underground Railroad. Historian and Executive Director of the Lombard Historical Society, Sarah Richardt, will introduce the program and entertain questions for the 37-minute documentary, Sheldon Peck: Portrait of an Ordinary Man in Extraordinary Times.

Sheldon Peck, as many of you know, was a renowned 19th century portrait folk artist, radical abolitionist, progressive advocate for temperance and public education, and conductor on the Underground Railroad. He lived right here in Lombard (then called Babcock’s Grove) at Grace and Parkside, and was good friends with many of the founding families of Glen Ellyn. His portraits of the Churchills hang in Stacy's Tavern Museum. A portion of the documentary was filmed right here at Stacy's Tavern Museum -- you are sure to recognize it!

This documentary coincides with a first time ever exhibit of Sheldon Peck original paintings, Sheldon Peck: Footsteps of His Life, Noted Folk Artist, 1797-1868, from June 4 – August 31, 2019, in Peck’s original Lombard homestead built in 1839.
Free event! Refreshments.

Book Discussion Group

Thursday, May 2    10 a.m.

Book Selection: May 2: Empire of Light:  Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Electrify the World by Jill Jonnes
Three brilliant and visionary titans of America’s Gilded Age battled bitterly to create a vast and powerful electrical empire and transform the world.

This group is open to everyone. While it is a lot more fun if you have read the book, if you have an interest in the topic, you are welcome to join in the discussion. Free! Just come!

Story Time with Aunt Tillie

Tuesday, May 14   10:30 - 11:15 a.m.

Come join Aunt Tillie (Dr. Maria Bakalis from Curtain Up Classroom) 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!

Sixth Annual Vintage Auto Fest

​Saturday, June 1

10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Come join us at the 6th Annual Glen Ellyn Vintage Auto Fest! The event will be held on Saturday, June 1, 2019 from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Admission is free to visitors attending the show. (Interested in registering your vehicle? See below.) The show has great vintage vehicles on display in the space between Stacy's Tavern Museum and the Glen Ellyn History Center. And much, much more!

*Free talks on automobile history will be happening in the History Center
*Enjoy lunch by Heavenly Hot Dogs from 11 - 2
*Free mini-tours of Stacy's Tavern Museum
*Annual bake sale by members/bakers of the Historical Society
*Annual Sidewalk Sale at Stacy's Corners Store, the gift shop of the Historical Society
*An activity center for children to color drawings of vintage vehicles

Interested in registering your vintage/antique vehicle for our show? Please submit $10.00 per vehicle with check or money order payable to the Glen Ellyn Historical Society, along with your registration form (or you can call us with your credit card information). The registrant will receive 2 free tickets to Stacy’s Tavern Museum to be used during 2019, a discount coupon for Stacy’s Corners Store, and a dash plaque. (Vehicle registration at the gate will be $15.00 and the dash plaque will not be guaranteed.) Local Packard, Studebaker and Cadillac Club members will be attending and all vintage, antique and classic vehicles and clubs are welcome. Registrants will vote on Best of Show awards to be given at 2:45 p.m. 

For more information about the event, contact Karen Hall, Executive Director, Glen Ellyn Historical Society at 630-469-1867 or director@gehs.org or Jim Manak, Secretary, Packards of Chicagoland, lelp@xnet.com, 630-858-6092. To receive a printable registration form you can mail in or email, email Karen at director@gehs.org or call 630-469-1867, or pick one up at the Historical Society at 800 N. Main St. Glen Ellyn. (Open 10 - 5, Tuesday thru Saturday)

Second Annual Vintage and Antique Market: A GEHS Fundraiser

June 20 - 22

​(Items may be donated June 13 - 15.)

The Historical Society will have a fundraising sale selling vintage and antique items which have been donated to us for this purpose. The sale will be held in the Anderson Multi-Purpose Room at the History Center, 800 N. Main St. during business hours, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., June 20 - 22. Come check out all the unique finds! Stacy’s Corners Store will also have an indoor sidewalk sale!

Would you like to contribute to the sale? Vintage and antique items in good condition can be brought to the History Center June 13 - 15 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Remaining items that are left after the end of the sale will either be retained by the Historical Society for future sale or be donated to local charities. Small items like jewelry, collectibles and household items can be accepted for sale prior to the 13th, but furniture and large items will need to be brought on the 13th - 15th. As a guide to item donors: while the term "vintage" does not refer to a specific set of years, for this sale we are suggesting 1970's and earlier. Questions? Contact Karen Hall at director@gehs.org or 630.469.1867.

Book Discussion Group

Thursday, July 11    10 a.m.

Book Selection: The Last Palace:  Europe’s Turbulent Century in Five Lives and One Legendary House by Norman Eisen
Europe’s story of the twentieth century through a tale of the house that now serves as the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Prague and the people who have lived there.

This group is open to everyone. While it is a lot more fun if you have read the book, if you have an interest in the topic, you are welcome to join in the discussion. Free! Just come!

​Apollo 11: One Giant Leap

Tuesday, July 30    7 p.m.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first moon walk on July 20, 1969, actor Terry Lynch will be portraying astronaut Neil Armstrong. He will recount the lead up to the first moon walk, as well as a series of other "firsts" associated with the mission, such as the first color television transmission from Earth and the first time a U.S. Dept. of Customs form was completed from another realm!  Admission $5. Refreshments.

Book Discussion Group

Thursday, September 5    10 a.m.

Book Selection: Leadership in Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin
An exploration into the development, growth and exercise of leadership of four Presidents:  Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.

This group is open to everyone. While it is a lot more fun if you have read the book, if you have an interest in the topic, you are welcome to join in the discussion. Free! Just come!

Becoming Queen Elizabeth II: A Leslie Goddard Program

Thursday, September 12    7 p.m.

​In this new historical portrayal, set at the time of Queen Elizabeth II's silver jubilee, historian Leslie Goddard, Ph.D., explores the life of Britain’s famous monarch, from her childhood, the abdication of her uncle, her marriage to a navy officer named Philip, her World War II service, and her struggle to balance her roles as queen and mother.. Get to know the woman behind the images, her sense of humor and savvy intelligence with which she meets her demanding obligations. Refreshments. $10 Adults, $8 GEHS Members, $5 students 18 and under.


Smithsonian Museum Day Live!

Saturday, September 21

The Glen Ellyn Historical Society partners with the Smithsonian Magazine for this annual event, where admission is free for two people to local museums on September 21, 2019. Just visit their website and download a free ticket, print it out or show it on your phone. This event is designed for individuals and families; we regret that we cannot schedule group tours for this event.

Tavern Day: A Living History Celebration of Stacy's Tavern Museum

​Sunday, September 29   1- 4:30 p.m.

Come see what life was like for the early settlers of Glen Ellyn, on the same spot where early residents lived! Try your hand at 1840's life. There will be live farm animals, craft-making for kids, make your own candles, corn shelling, apple peeling, help with vegetable harvest, pioneer games and toys, how to rope a bed, do laundry 1840’s style, experience 1840's school in an outdoor classroom, make rope, tour the Tavern, and much, much more! Adults $8, GEHS Members $6; Children (3-17) $4, GEHS Members Children $3; children under 3 are free.

The History of Fermilab

Saturday, October 12   2 p.m.

Dr. Bruce L. Chrisman, who retired in 2013 as Chief Operating Officer of Fermilab, will be presenting a program about the history of America's particle physics and accelerator laboratory. They bring the world together to solve the mysteries of matter, energy, space and time. What are we made of? How did the universe begin? What secrets do the smallest, most elemental particles of matter hold, and how can they help us understand the intricacies of space and time? Since 1967, Fermilab has worked to answer these fundamental questions and enhance our understanding of everything we see around us. Their 6800 acre site in Batavia has more than 1750 employees, and they collaborate with more than 50 countries on physics experiments.

Dr. Chrisman has held multiple positions since he joined Fermilab in 1970, including head of Business Services, CFO, and Associate Director for Administration. He was Vice President of Yale University in the early 1980's where he received an honorary MFA, the first Associate Director of Administration for the Superconducting Super Collider Laboratory, and he spent two years as Administrator of a 200 attorney law firm in Chicago.  Dr. Chrisman has lived in Glen Ellyn for 42 years and for eight years was a member of the Glen Ellyn District 41 School Board. 

Please join us for a fascinating and free program. Refreshments served.

Monster Mayhem of the Midwest

Saturday, October 19    2 p.m.

Lock all the doors! There are monsters in Illinois! Ghoulish stories such as the Murphysboro Mud Monster, Headless Horseman of Illinois, Nellie the Lion, Bigfoot in Illinois, the Mad Gasser of Mattoon, and more will chill your bones! Come join speaker Terry Lynch as he shares stories about what might have once been stirring in the Midwest United States. $7 Adults, $5 GEHS Members and Students 18 & under. Refreshments.

Book Discussion Group

Thursday, November 7   10 a.m.

Book Selection: The Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler’s Atomic Bomb by Neal Bascomb
The epic adventure and spy story about the greatest act of sabotage in World War II – keeping Hitler and the Nazis from building the atomic bomb. (This is the story behind the movie, “The Heroes of Telemark”  and a 6-part television drama,“The Heavy Water War”.)

This group is open to everyone. While it is a lot more fun if you have read the book, if you have an interest in the topic, you are welcome to join in the discussion. Free! Just come!

Historical Society Annual Business Meeting

​Thursday, November 7    7 p.m.

Members of the Historical Society are invited to attend our annual business meeting, to discuss the past year as well as our upcoming one. Refreshments. Free, but must be a current GEHS member to participate.

Member Appreciation Day at Stacy's Corners Store

Saturday, November 9     10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Come enjoy one of the benefits of being a member and supporter of the Glen Ellyn Historical Society! This is one of two special appreciation days where we honor our members with 25% off most purchases at Stacy's Corners Store ALL DAY LONG! Not a member yet? You can purchase a membership that day and still receive the benefit!

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

A Leslie Goddard Program

Saturday, November 9    2 p.m.

​Did you know Cary Grant was supposed to star in It's a Wonderful Life? That the gym-floor-turned-swimming-pool was real? That the movie bombed at the box office? Even if you've seen the holiday classic It's a Wonderful Life 150 times, you'll have fun exploring the movie's creation including how the script evolved, how the cast was chosen, and the technical challenges that were overcome. Enjoy rare photographs taken behind-the-scenes and find out what happened to the cast. We are having an encore presentation of this delightful Leslie Goddard, Ph.D., program in response to requests after Leslie presented here two years ago. If you missed it once, make sure you enjoy it this year! (And frankly, the program is so packed with trivia, most folks will learn more a second time.) Refreshments. $10 Adults, $8 GEHS Members, $5 Students 18 and under.

​Fourth Annual Gingerbread House Contest

Houses will be on display Saturday, December 7 from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m.

We are continuing our new holiday tradition with our fourth annual gingerbread house contest! This year admission to the contest is free, but you must pre-register by Thursday, Dec, 5th at 5 p.m. by returning a completed entry form, either by mail, in person, or by email to director@gehs.org. There are awards for individuals and groups; for children, teens, and adults. Categories for Buildings include: Best Depiction of Glen Ellyn Building or Event, Best Depiction of Historical Building or Event, Best House for Dogs (or Other Companion Animals), Best House for Birds (or Wild Animals). The bases do not need to be edible (plywood is recommended), but all visible materials should be edible. 

For complete rules, email director@gehs.org or pick up a copy at the History Center.

​Local businesses and organizations are welcome to participate, too. You can even leave give-aways/coupons by your gingerbread house at no extra charge.

Gingerbread and Candlelight: A Holiday Celebration for the Entire Family

​Saturday, December 7    4:00 - 7:00 p.m.

​Join the Historical Society in their fourth annual holiday celebration. Stacy's Tavern Museum will be open for candlelight tours. See the remarkable gingerbread houses from our third gingerbread house contest. Craft-making for kids...and adults too! Enjoy refreshments -- delicious cookies and hot chocolate/coffee/tea. Admission is $5 for adults; children are free with paid adult admission.​ Begin at the History Center, 800 N. Main St. in Glen Ellyn.


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Upcoming Events

Glen Ellyn

Historical Society