My great-grandmother was Anita Willets-Burnham and I remember visiting the log house years ago. Could you please show our family the house when we visit Winnetka?
–Karen Rogers, Texas
On a sunny day this summer, the Rogers family arrived from Texas to see their ancestor’s home, our very own Schmidt-Burnham Log House. Karen Rogers is the great-granddaughter of Anita Willets-Burnham and had last visited the house as a young adult when Anita’s daughters Carol-Lou and Ann were living in it on Tower Road. Ann Hibbard Burnham Smith donated the Log House to the Winnetka Historical Society in 2001.
We were pleased to provide a tour of the Village, showing off our favorite sites: the beach, the Village Hall, the Village Green, and finally, the site where the Log House was located when the Burnham family occupied it at 1407 Tower Road. From there we traced the path taken by the house during its 2003 move to its present location in Crow Island Woods, and we explained that Anita herself had moved the house from what is now the Indian Hill Club golf course.
Karen’s daughter Kendyl, age 9, was especially enraptured by the house as well as stories of her great-great-grandmother, and spent the visit documenting her thoughts in a journal:
We are on the train to the log house and going to see a play in the log house that they planned just for us. See, a actor might play my great, great grandma. It is going to be so cool! We are still on the train and mom says we have a long way to go. I wish we were already there so much. But it is sooooo worth it! Well, I’ll see you later at the log house. Bye! P.S. I’m part of the family!
We finally got off the train and we are meeting people that planned this for us. Now they’re giving us a tour of the village. They are showing us where the log house used to be. Now it is a golf course and the tour goes on. I’m learning from them! She is telling us about very old, old cars. She is showing us about where the wagons and stuff like that used to be. There is a lot of big and nice houses. A pond is behind some houses. On some of the street, it used to not be a street, it was just like woods and animals and Indians used to be by the woods. I think deer came by more often. The address on the log house used to be 1407. The log house is a very, very, very old house. By the log house there are ponds, a lake, and some dams. Some of the house was handmade and you can see where people chopped the logs. I learned that my great great Grandma let her kids roller skate in the house which would be fun.
The family was delighted to see the house restored and open to the public. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to the living history of the house by sharing it with family members.
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Ellie Carlson, Curator of Costumes who portrays Anita Willets-Burnham, met descendants of the Burnham family at the Art Institute and showed them around.