“A Sense of Place” is a blog written by the West Chicago City Museum staff and/or members of the Friends of the Museum, to spotlight West Chicago’s local history. Through brief capsules of local history the blog aims to prove that history is not dry and dusty, but alive and entertaining.
132 Main Street
West Chicago, IL 60185
Phone: (630) 231-3376
Hours of Operation
December – February:
Thursdays 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Fridays 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
March – November:
Thursdays 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.,
Fridays and Saturdays 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
As part of Women’s History Month, the City Museum is featuring a local female artist who lived and worked in West Chicago. Zelda DeTray was also featured during our 2016 Tales Tombstones Tell at Glen Oak Cemetery. Zelda Jewel DeTray was born in Quincy, Illinois, on July 6, 1895. She lived there for just a […]Read More
During our 2015 Tales Tombstones Tell, we highlighted some of the graves that shed light on disease and medicine through our community’s history. We ended the tour at the grave of Walter M McAuley who suffered from a common 19th century disease, tuberculosis. Walter McAuley was born in 1826 in New York to George and […]Read More
As we approach the 26th year of Tales Tombstones Tell, the annual cemetery walk, we remember Dr. Joseph and Mary McConnell who gave the land for Oakwood Cemetery, our oldest cemetery in town. This story of the McConnell’s was featured in last year’s 25th Anniversary of the event. Joseph McConnell and his wife, Mary Thompson Fuller, came […]Read More
Helen Hills The Hills family was a prominent family in the early days of West Chicago. The Hills have been featured over the years in City Museum exhibits and in our annual Tales Tombstones Tell Oakwood Cemetery walk. Albert Hills was an important man in the early days of our community. He worked as a […]Read More
An immigrant from Albania, Michael Lellios first came to the United States in 1912. Within a couple of years he had moved to West Chicago and had purchased property on Main Street, eventually going into business with his brothers. Since that time, the family has continued to own property here and supported downtown business growth […]Read More
The Belding family came west from Pennsylvania in 1854, and Edgar Belding was born the next year in Rock Creek, Illinois (Carroll County). He was one of the 10 children of Daniel and Harriet Blank Belding. When Edgar was 21, he married 16-year-old Caroline Holmes in 1875, and they moved to western Kansas with their […]Read More
If you’ve been in Reed-Keppler Park since April 3, 2013, you may have noticed a red caboose with “The J” and “508” painted on the side of it sitting near the parking lot of the Turtle Splash Water Park. Anyone growing up before technology changed communication methods on trains in the 1980s knows that almost […]Read More
American women of every race, creed and ethnic background helped found and build our Nation in countless recorded and unrecorded ways…. As volunteers, women have provided invaluable service and leadership in American charitable, philanthropic and cultural endeavors. [Proclamation 4903 – Women’s History Week, 1982] Harriette Elizabeth Hills lived almost her entire life in a house […]Read More
On July 1, 2012, as West Chicago was hit with a violent storm, in less than a half hour over 400 city owned parkway trees were wiped out. Coupled with the recent attack of the ash borer, and the resulting loss of trees from their activity, parts of our tree-lined streets have suddenly been stripped. […]Read More
December of 1858 came to a close in Turner with the creation of Oakwood Cemetery, signed into existence on Christmas Day. Daniel Wood was one of those signatories and served as a founding director. He was a man who had lived the majority of his life in Vermont before selling his farm to move to […]Read More