19th Century Churches


The “Church on the Hill”: The Storied History of Winnetka’s First Church

In 1847, John and Susannah Garland stopped in Winnetka at the Patterson Tavern en route from New York to Wisconsin. The weary travelers were so enchanted with the area that they decided to stay, later purchasing the tavern from the Pattersons. When Susannah died in 1869, John decided to build Garland Church (now Christ Church) across the street in her honor. Learn more about the long history of Winnetka’s first church. Read HERE.

Learn more about the current Christ Church parish complex HERE.


Original Christ Church (formerly Garland Church) building, 1898.

First building used by the Winnetka Bible Church, c. 1905. This building was the original Christ Church building before it was moved to Elm Street.

The Winnetka Bible Church’s Early Scandinavian Roots

In the late 19th century, many of Winnetka’s Swedish-American settlers began meeting regularly for bible study and fellowship in an empty store downtown. In 1904, the group found their first church home when Christ Church donated their original building to the Swedish congregation. The First Scandinavian Church continued to expand, changing its name to the Winnetka Bible Church in 1937 and moving into a new, larger building in 1964.

Read more about the roots and development of the Winnetka Bible Church HERE.

Winnetka Congregational Church

While many parishes in Winnetka have moved, none have done so more than the Winnetka Congregational Church. The church, which was founded 1874, first occupied the building that formerly housed Winnetka’s first public school. Learn more about the history of this longstanding church, including the various historic structures the parish has occupied over time. Read HERE.

Learn about the church’s historic Rummage Sale HERE.

First building used by the Winnetka Congregational Church, c. 1860. This image was taken when the building still housed the Unitarian Church.

Postcard of the original Sacred Heart Catholic Church, c. 1907. This building was torn down in 1908 to make way for the new building.

Sacred Heart: Winnetka’s First Catholic Church

While Winnetka was home to many Catholic families in the 19th century, the Village did not have its own Catholic Church until Sacred Heart (now called Divine Mercy Parish) was founded in 1897. Learn about the foundation and development of Winnetka’s first Catholic Church. Read HERE.

Learn about the Sacred Heart School, founded by Sacred Heart’s first pastor in 1902 HERE.