Preservation Week Celebrates Wheaton History

Wheaton’s Preservation Week is an annual event coordinated by the City of Wheaton Historic Commission as part of the annual national celebration in May by the National Trust for Historic Preservation known as Preservation Month. This year’s Preservation Week will be held from May 2-12, 2014, with several local organizations participating. The Historic Commission is pleased to promote this year’s special activities and events.

Pride in Preservation Signs

As part of Preservation Week, the Historic Commission places “Pride in Preservation” purple lawn signs throughout Wheaton at various sites designated Wheaton Historic Landmarks and locations listed on the Wheaton Register of Historic Places. Many of these sites include a plaque with the estimated date of construction or a permanent interpretive sign with more information.

See an online tour of some of these sites with images and brief information on the City's website by selecting “Wheaton’s Landmark Homes.”  

"Landmarks of Wheaton" Photography Exhibit

Date: Friday, May 2 (exhibit open May 2-12)
Time: 6-8 p.m. opening reception; (otherwise exhibit open during museum hours) 
Location: DuPage County Historical Museum, 102 E. Wesley St.
Contact information: www.dupagemuseum.org, 630-510-4941

Preservation Week kicks off with a special exhibit opening of “Landmarks of Wheaton.” DuPage County Historical Museum is excited to feature images of architectural landmarks of Wheaton photographed by William D’Arcy. Visitors will be able to view these photographs juxtaposed with historical images from the archive of the DuPage County Historical Museum. This temporary exhibit celebrates Preservation Month, an annual event that honors historic places organized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The exhibit will also coincide with the weeklong series of events planned by the Wheaton Historic Commission May 2-12, 2014. Please join us for the opening reception on Friday, May 2 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

City of Wheaton Historic Commission and Wheaton Public Library present Home History Research Help

Date: Saturday, May 3
Time: 1-4 p.m.
Location: Wheaton Public Library, 225 N. Cross St., first floor Reference Department
Contact information: www.wheatonlibrary.org, 630-668-1374

Ever wonder how old your house is? Who lived there in the past? What it looked like originally? Whether your interest is a home’s construction date, past owners, or its architecture, drop by WPL to discover available resources, where to find them and what each reveals. Learn about the Wheaton Register of Historic Places and getting your house listed. Assistance provided by City of Wheaton Historic Commission members and Wheaton Public Library staff in conjunction with Wheaton Preservation Week. The event is free and open to the public at the Wheaton Public Library, 1st Floor Reference Department, as a “Drop-in event.”

City of Wheaton Historic Commission presents “The Churches of Edward Dart”

Date: Monday, May 5
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: St. Matthew United Church of Christ, 1420 S. Gables Blvd.
Contact information: http://www.stmatthewucc.org, 630-665-1236

Chicago modernist-architect Edward Dart designed numerous buildings throughout Chicago and its suburbs, including about a dozen homes, and one church, St. Matthew United Church of Christ, in Wheaton. Come hear Matt Seymour, who has written extensively on Dart, present on the architect’s life, design philosophy, Mid-Century religious design, and his churches, both historically and in their current status. The lecture will be followed with a short discussion on Dart’s residential design in Wheaton. Come with your questions and information about Dart, as more documentation remains to be gathered about this under-appreciated architect. Matt Seymour works as an assistant project manager for Central Building & Preservation LP in Chicago. Matt earned a MS in Historic Preservation from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he completed his thesis on Edward Dart. He has written articles for the Association for Preservation Technology Bulletin, the Chicago Modern: More than Meis website, and he has been quoted in Preservation magazine. Meet in the main church sanctuary (addition) at St. Matthew United Church of Christ on Monday, May 5 at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served, followed by an optional tour of the church.

Lecture: “Shadows of the Past: Wheaton in the Civil War”

Date: Wednesday, May 7
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Wheaton Public Library, 225 N. Cross St., Lower Level Large Meeting Room
Contact information: www.wheatonlibrary.org, 630-668-1374

In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, Robert Girardi, past president of the Chicago Civil War Roundtable and popular speaker, author, and historian on the Civil War, will discuss our nation’s struggle for freedom. The lecture, “Shadows of the Past: Wheaton in the Civil War,” will include the role played by Wheaton and DuPage County soldiers and civilians during the war, and the memories of them that survive around us today. Wheaton sent men into a number of regiments, most notably the 8th Illinois Cavalry and the 105th Illinois Infantry. These men fought in some of the hardest campaigns and battles, and the survivors returned home to become leaders in the community. Their legacy still surrounds us today. The lecture will last 45 minutes with 15 minutes for questions and comments. The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

"Discover Wheaton" Mystery Hunt

Date: Saturday, May 10
Time: 1 p.m.
Location: Begins at Center for History, 315 W. Front St., Second Floor
Contact information: www.wheatonhistory.org, 630-835-6584

Search the clues in a Mystery Hunt and enjoy a leisurely stroll of downtown Wheaton. The amusement begins at the Center for History’s museum at 315 W. Front St., 2nd Floor (above Gino’s East Pizza). Explore the exhibits at the museum to find interesting facts about Wheaton and solve the Mystery Hunt. The fascinating tales told during the Hunt and walking tour will have people laughing at times and shaking their heads in amazement at other times. Intriguing details of people, businesses and government along with the growth of Wheaton will be revealed. If you never heard how Wheaton College got its name, why there are so many trains running through town, where the first high school in DuPage County was, or the entire story of the “Midnight Raid” you better sign up for this event. Rewards will be presented for solving the mysteries in the Mystery Hunt. Refreshments will be served at the museum. Call 630-835-6584 or email info@wheatonhistory.com to register. Fee applies. 

City of Wheaton Historic Commission and Wheaton Public Library present Home History Exhibit at Wheaton Public Library

Dates: Throughout May
Times: Library hours
Location: Wheaton Public Library, 225 N. Cross St.
Contact information: www.wheatonlibrary.org, 630-668-1374

Interested in learning more about your old home — when it was built, what architectural style it is, or who used to live there? During the month of May, visit the Wheaton Public Library for a display on home history research methods and materials. Learn what records reveal and explore city directories, newspapers, census returns, Sanborn maps, aerial views, cemetery records and local histories. Featured this year is the special challenge of researching houses that have been moved. The exhibit is presented by the City of Wheaton Historic Commission and the Wheaton Public Library in recognition of Wheaton's Preservation Week and the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Preservation Month.

DuPage County Historical Museum hosts downtown Wheaton historic walking tours

Dates: May 2-12 by appointment
Times: by appointment between 9-5 Monday through Friday, 10-4 weekends
Location: DuPage County Historical Museum, 102 E. Wesley St.
Contact information: 630-510-4941 or email dupagemuseum@wheatonparks.org to arrange a tour

DuPage County Historical Museum offers two architecture walking tours to celebrate the City of Wheaton Preservation Week. The tours are offered at various times on a reservation-basis. Fee applies.
1. Architectural Walking Tour
Enjoy a stroll through historic Downtown Wheaton. Learn about the people, businesses and important events that shaped our area. The tour begins at the DuPage County Historical Museum and proceeds through town. Discover the stories behind the railroad, the County Courthouse and more. Participants should wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather. Approximately 1.5 miles are covered during the tour.
2. All About Architecture (For Kids!)
Buildings are works of art in which we live, work and learn. Join us on a special architecture tour especially for kids. Discover the stories behind the railroad, the County Courthouse and more. Participants should wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather. Approximately 1.5 miles are covered during the tour.

Cantigny Park offers free parking to Wheaton residents

Dates: May 2-12
Times: Park hours
Location: 1S151 Winfield Road
Contact information: www.Cantigny.org, 630-668-5161

During Preservation Week, from May 2 to May 12, Cantigny Park will provide free parking days for Wheaton residents. Just show proof of Wheaton residency at the parking booth for admittance. A valid driver’s license is preferred. Museums, gardens and other attractions inside the park are always free admission.

Cantigny Park, part of the Chicago-based Robert R. McCormick Foundations, is the 500-acre estate of Robert R. McCormick (1880-1955), longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. It is home to 30 acres of spectacular gardens, the Robert R. McCormick Museum, the First Division Museum and a spectacular 27-hole golf course. All are open to the public. The Robert R. McCormick Museum was listed on the Wheaton Register of Historic Places in 2011 by the City of Wheaton Historic Commission. 

 

Related Upcoming Programs

The Wheaton Historic Commission plans to unveil a new historical marker later this year at Wheaton’s Masonic Temple (120 W. Wesley St.) and help promote a historic bike tour in cooperation with the Environmental Improvement Commission. Watch for more forth coming information at the city’s website:
https://www.wheaton.il.us/government/commissions/historic/

Meanwhile, the Wheaton Historic Commission also suggests several upcoming programs beyond Preservation Week related to Wheaton-area history.

 

Milton Township Cemetery Authority / Friends of Pioneer Cemetery hosts free events in May and June

Jewel Grove Cemetery Memorial Day Civil War Ceremony:

A ceremony to commemorate Memorial Day, buried Civil War veterans among others, and the restoration of the Jewel Grove Cemetery will be held on Saturday, May 24 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. and will feature Civil War period characters. The event is free and open to the public.
Details: Jewel Grove Cemetery is on the west side of Champion Forest Court (a dead end street) just south of Jewel Road. Park in the nearby Carl Sandburg Elementary School parking lot, and walk south from the parking lot. Suggested arrival of 10:30 a.m.

Pleasant Hill Cemetery Patriotic & Family Day:

An annual celebratory event for all ages featuring the American Legion Band from Aurora, IL playing patriotic songs, the appearance of Civil War period characters, a canon firing, and refreshments will be held on Saturday, June 28 starting at 11 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.
Details: Pleasant Hill Cemetery is at the southeast corner of Geneva Road and Coventry Street. Park in the nearby Wheaton Bowl parking lot (2031 North Gary Avenue, Wheaton, IL) and ride the shuttle bus to the cemetery. Suggested arrival of 10:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m.

The Milton Township Cemeteries Authority / 1492 North Main Street / Wheaton, IL 60187
Website: www.twp.milton.il.us/cemeteryauth.html / Phone: 630-668-7551

Center for History local history programming for 2nd graders.

This year the Center for History is expanding its local history program for 2nd graders with ten Heritage Panels to be hung at the participating schools. For over a decade students have Discovered Wheaton with the Images of Wheaton presentation at the schools and a government walking tour of downtown Wheaton and City Hall. Some schools will host a Wheaton Day. This year the Center is offering grants for the programs and walking tours, plus assisting with the special event at the schools. For details call 630-835-6584 or email info@wheatonhistory.com. The Center is a privately funded 501(c)(3) organization supported by fees and donations dedicated to preserving and promoting Wheaton’s heritage. Information at: 630-835-6584 or info@wheatonhistory.com
Center for History / 315 W. Front St. - 2nd Floor / Wheaton, IL 60187-0373
Website: www.wheatonhistory.org / Phone: 630-835-6584

Other Local Organizations to Investigate:

Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections
501 College Ave., Wheaton, IL 60187
Website: http://www2.wheaton.edu/learnres/ARCSC
Phone: 630-752-5705

Billy Graham Center
500 College Ave., Wheaton, IL 60187
Website: www.wheaton.edu/bgc
Phone: (630) 752-5910

Theosophical Society in America
1926 N. Main St., Wheaton IL 60187
Website: http://www.theosophical.org
Phone: 630-668-1571

For more on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Preservation Month, see:
http://www.preservationnation.org/issues/preservation-month-2014-embark-inspire-engage.html 
 

Incorporated on February 24, 1859