Event: Women’s Clubs: Ravinia Village House and the Highland Park Women’s Club


Women’s Clubs: Ravinia Village House and the Highland Park Women’s Club

Highland Park—-  Highland Park Historical Society will host on Thursday March 10th at 7:00 PM ‘Women’s Clubs: Ravinia Village House and the Highland Park Women’s Club,’ presented by Amy Lohlmolder and Archivist Nancy Webster.

After the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848, woman led clubs sprouted around the young nation.  The rate of clubs accelerated as the General Federation of Women’s Clubs formed in 1890 and century closed. Highland Park, Illinois posed no exception.  The Highland Park Woman’s Club (HPWC) held its first meeting in 1899.   In addition to education, suffrage and temperance, these fledgling clubs sought to participate in a designated space in the public sphere.  Community House, built as the Clubhouse of the HPWC; and the club itself, represent American democracy and the development of the local community and culture.  The process of funding and building both the building and the club empowered women outside of the home as full participants in the social contract.

Ravinia resident Amy Lohlmolder will share the story of how Ravinia neighbors came together around 1913 to create the Ravinia Village House to serve as the hub for cultural and civic activity. Lohlmolder delved into the history of the village house for a centennial celebration in 2013.

According to a Chicago Daily News report when the village house opened, each of the 70 householders in the neighborhood pledged to raise $10 through some form of work apart from what they ordinarily did for a living.

 According to the report, residents offered services to their neighbors like berry harvesting, apron making, maple-syrup tapping, swimming lessons and child care. Some fun-loving souls came up with stunts, like winter-water dousings of a local resident for 25 cents a bucket. The newspaper noted the fundraising was so novel that the village house fulfilled its purpose of bringing neighbors together before it was even dedicated.

“It is a fun bit of history that also feels like an inspiration for our current times,” said Lohlmolder during a 2013 interview.

‘‘Women’s Clubs: Ravinia Village House and the Highland Park Women’s Club,’  will be presented at the Highland Park Public Library Auditorium 494 Laurel Avenue, Highland Park. For further information, please contact the Highland Park Historical Society: 847.432.7090 or is free.

Highland Park Historical Society’s archives have moved to the Highland Park Public Library at494 Laurel Avenue. Archivist Nancy Webster will be available Tuesday-Friday from 11:00 am until 4:00 pm and Sunday from 2:00 pm until 4:00 pm. It is best to call in advance for an appointment.