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WHM Blog

Despite our museum being closed for now, we want to stay engaged with you, our members and community. So, we’ve decided to create these blog posts to highlight our collections. We’ll start with an artifact or photograph from our own holdings and tell you more about it, plus share ways to dig deeper on your own.

Don’t forget that you can take a look at the rest of what’s available at wilmettehistory.pastperfectonline.com, where thousands of photographs, artifacts, and archives are posted online. Even though we may have to stay apart for now, we...


Father Edward J. Vattmann was a retired U.S. Army chaplain who lived at 1733 Lake Avenue in Wilmette. Active in local affairs, he was a familiar and well-loved figure around the village.  His close friend, Theodore Roosevelt, was known to pay a visit to him at that house on occasion. During World War I, Father Vattmann came out of retirement to serve at Fort Sheridan.

When the news came to Wilmette that World War I had ended, Father Vattmann put on his full dress uniform, arranged for a band, and went across the street to St. Joseph School, where he insisted that all the students...


A guest blog post by Jane Textor, the Museum's Costume Curator:

Our past exhibit on the 1960s gave me the opportunity to display one of my favorite pieces housed here at the museum; a dress made of paper!  It has vivid colors, a psychedelic print, and it was worn right here in Wilmette.

Mid-sixties dressing was all about youth and fun; from mini-skirts, to body paints, to go-go boots, every fad had its moment in the sun.  Paper dresses began with warehouses full of rolls of unsaleable, industrial paper and a promotional gimmick --  $1.25 bought you a...


For 100 years and more, the Woman's Club of Wilmette at Tenth and Greenleaf has been a center of community life. On February 17, 2015, our village sustained a terrible loss when fire destroyed much of that historic and still vital building. The clubhouse, with its distinctive facing of Lannon limestone from Wisconsin, was built in 1929, incorporating a smaller building erected in 1912. But it isn't only the lovely old building itself that people here are mourning this week -- it's the life that has gone on inside it for so long.

Many people who don't know about the woman's club...


The earliest Wilmette blizzard for which we have good records hit the village on Saturday, January 5, 1918, and even old-timers couldn't remember a worse one.  Snow fell for thirty continuous hours, as powerful winds whipped up huge eight-foot snowdrifts that blanketed the whole community.  All traffic shut down, and most people had no choice but to stay home.  An emergency call went out for men and horses to help clear the streets.  The photo above shows one of these teams of horses pulling a snow plow in front of 1411 Lake Ave., while two-year-old Freddie Aschbacher looks on.  (Freddie...


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