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Curator's Cache: A Token of Love

Curator’s Cache: A Token of Love

Valentine’s Day Cards, c.1880.  Winnetkan Susan Garland received these cards sometime in the 1880s.  While valentines were still sent to romantic loves, in the 1800s, people began to send greetings to a larger circle of loved ones or friends. Victorian valentines were often hand-decorated with ribbon, lace, or sometimes feathers and real plants and flowers. These valentines […]

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In Memoriam: David James, 1923-2016

Being the first African-American to buy a house in Winnetka was just one of many milestones in the eventful life of David James. His multi-faceted personality and lifelong work for social justice were recalled at the July 29th funeral mass at Sacred Heart, where he was a longtime parishioner. Born in St. Louis, Mr. James […]

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Winnetka’s Spiegel Family: Installment Credit Pioneers

By Tane Beecham For more than four decades, 410 Sheridan Road was home to the Spiegels, founding family of the Chicago-based mail order company, Spiegel Inc., and its iconic “Spiegel Catalog.” Universally known to consumers in the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s, the company opened its doors in 1865 under the name “J. Spiegel & Company” […]

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The Laundry: Still Fresh at 40

By Laurie Petersen In January, 1976 the Winnetka Talk featured the surprising headline, “Doing the Laundry can be fun.” This was because a large commercial laundry building in the middle of the Village would no longer be taking in dirty clothing—it would instead offer elegant new apparel for sale. It would also have stores offering […]

A sleigh ride on Chatfield Road, c. 1994

Curator’s Cache: Season’s Greetings!

Christmas tree hat, 1965. Gift of Eleanor Tippens. Velvet and white fur hat and stole, 1897. Gift of Frances Drummer Logan. Beaver fur top hat, c. 1930. Gift of Elizabeth Knode Greeley. The Winnetka Historical Society has approximately 800 hats in our collection. Because they are rarely seen, we thought it would be fun to […]

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Curator’s Cache: Burgundy Velvet Visiting Costume

Burgundy visiting costume, c. 1883. Velvet, silk faille, taffeta and voided velvet; ornamented with glass beads and a small amount of chiffon ruffle at the cuff. Found in Collection.   For November’s Curator’s Cache we feature this exquisite deep burgundy velvet suit, c. 1883. It was selected as a companion to Silhouette: An Intimate History of Undergarments […]

Map showing geological context of the Skokie Lagoons.

Getting to Know Winnetka’s Own Science Guy

An interview with WHS Board President Charlie Shabica By Sally Schneiders It all started just prior to a recent Winnetka Historical Society board meeting when Charlie Shabica plunked down on the table a replica of a Tully Monster, an antique flintlock pistol and a seventeenth century silver Spanish dollar. Charlie passed each artifact around so […]

660 Prospect in 1971

House of the Season: 660 Prospect Avenue

by Justine Hourihane Rounding the bend of Prospect Avenue, on an elevated parcel of land within walking distance to the lake and town, the Sturgis family saw the ideal location for their custom home to be designed by renowned architect William Otis. Originally from France, Charles Inches Sturgis started working as a clerk at the […]

Winnetka Fourth of July Foundations

By Susan Whitcomb The Fourth of July was designated a national holiday by the United States Congress in 1870, just one year after Winnetka was granted its village charter by the State of Illinois. The oldest official evidence of Winnetka’s independence celebration is a printed program from 1873. Headlined as a “National Celebration,” it took […]