The Museum at 411 Linden Street has two exhibit galleries:
Our permanent exhibit, Creating Community: A History of Winnetka is now open in the Carol and Jim Hansen Gallery. It features seven subject areas: Tracking the Green Bay Trail, Trails to Rails, Envisioning a Village, A Progressive Tradition, Building Neighborhoods, Where Community Happens, and Common Ground.
Loosen Your Corset, Roll Up Your Sleeves: Progressive Era Winnetka: 1890-1920 examines the transformation of a sleepy rural village into a forward-looking, modern suburb.
This was a time when Americans recognized the need to fix problems created by urbanization and industrialization. Social reformers actively addressed urban troubles through government and private efforts so as to alleviate suffering and provide better access to the opportunities offered by a free and open society.
Winnetka embraced the spirit of reform in this era both in Chicago, a hotbed of Progressivism, and at home via infrastructure improvement and social experimentation.
Social reform in Winnetka included dramatic change in village governance, schools, and organized children’s activities. The creation of the Winnetka Community House was part of this effort, offering scouting, sports activities and clubs for girls and boys, as well as providing a gathering place for all. The Winnetka Caucus was organized to provide clear communication between residents and their elected leaders. Prominent Winnetkans such as Henry Demarest Lloyd (a close friend of Jane Addams, founder of Hull House) offered direct assistance to the settlement house movement in Chicago.
Via the Winnetka Woman’s Club and the Village Improvement Association, Winnetkans lobbied for garbage pickup, a water plant, sewer system and electric street lights. Governmental ownership of utilities was a hot topic of the day – Winnetka took the unique position that our local government should control our utilities by building – and retaining – our own power plant. A decision made one hundred years ago provides us with cost-efficient electricity today.
The Progressive Era was a time of direct engagement, active problem solving and willingness to experiment across social classes for the greater good. The era introduced Winnetka to new concepts that have become the social bedrock of the Village that we know today.
Our permanent exhibit, housed in the Carol and Jim Hansen gallery, features seven subject areas encompassing Winnetka history. Browse through photos, articles and artifacts that tell the story of Winnetka…