Events & Exhibits


Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad’s Completion

The Big Boy No. 4014, a one-million pound steam locomotive, will be touring the Union Pacific system, taking it through Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Wyoming.  On Friday July 26th sometime between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. one the largest steam locomotive ever built is going to be passing through Highland Park on the railroad tracks west of route 41.  The trip is part of a nationwide tour celebrating the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad.  In honor of the event the HP Historical Society is presenting a program on the building of the transcontinental RR and the history of passenger rail through Highland Park.

A History of Preservation in Lake County

Lake County has a rich history of preservation. Join Lake County’s Dunn Museum curator, Diana Dretske, for an introduction to individuals whose efforts preserved the county's historical and natural heritage, including Bess Bower Dunn, Edward DeWolf, Jesse Lowe Smith, Robert Vogel and Ethel Untermyer. Diana Dretske is the Curator and Lake County historian for the Bess Bower Dunn Museum of Lake County. Dretske is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Illinois State Historical Society for making outstanding contributions in promoting, preserving and commemorating Illinois history. Primary areas of expertise for research and programming include the history of Lake County, Illinois.

The Archaeology of Two Nineteenth Century Cabins in Kenosha County

Archaeological field research at two nineteenth century Euro-American cabins near UW-Parkside in the Kenosha area in southeastern Wisconsin illustrates what we can learn about day-to-day life in our region at different times in the past. Trapper Jacob Montgomery and his family built a cabin in a lush and supportive forest setting near the Pike River in 1834, and lived there until 1839. Around 1855, another cabin was built some 150 feet away, and was occupied by carpenter Edward Coonley and his family until approximately 1870. Each of these short site occupations give us snapshots of many aspects of Nineteenth Century life in our region, including the early era of pioneer settlement. The remains of the houses and the materials left behind by these families comprise “the tangible debris of everyday life.” What we’ve learned about these two cabins adds significantly to the very limited historical information recorded for the people living at this locality.

Chicago’s Black Metropolis

Highland Park Historical Society presents ‘Chicago’s Black Metropolis’, focusing on African-Americans whose energy and ingenuity helped Chicago become the commercial and  cultural  center of the American Midwest. The program will be held in the auditorium of the Highland Park Public Library, 494 Laurel Avenue, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 19, 2019.           The program was initially presented to an audience in Paramaribo, Suriname in 2013 by Highland Park Historical Society Board Member Jeff Stern at the request of his daughter, who was then the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy there.

Family Heirloom Recipes from the Illinois State Fair, an Illinois Bicentennial Project

Come join us as the Highland Park Historical Societys' own Catherine Lambrecht dishes on her book, Family Heirloom Recipes from the Illinois State Fair, an Illinois Bicentennial Project. The book is based on Cathy’s work through The Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance, and was also inspired by her own family’s heirloom recipes. Since 2009, Greater Midwest Foodways has sponsored and judged Family Heirloom Recipes contests in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Ohio, Minnesota, Missouri, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Cathy has compiled many of the winning recipes from 1950 or earlier, along with their histories, in what many are already considering a landmark book. “If nothing else, should this book inspire you to document a family favorite recipe to share with loved ones, then we have accomplished our mission,” Cathy says. 

World War II: The Defense of Bastogne, Fourth Annual Veterans Roundtable

The 101st Airborne Division's heroic denial of the crucial Belgian transportation hub of Bastogne to attacking German forces during the Battle of the Bulge and the charging advance of elements of General George S Patton Jr's US Third Army to break the enemy encirclement have entered legendary status in military history. Less recognized was the stubborn resistance by overwhelmed infantry and armored units at key road junctions in Belgium and Luxembourg. Without their willingness to sacrifice all in holding their ground, the defense of Bastogne would have never happen. Join battlefield expert Robert Mueller in reviewing individual contributions to defeat Hitler's 1944 Winter Offense.

200 Objects that Made History in Lake and McHenry Counties

Every artifact tells a story.  Learn about the history of Lake County through the artifacts featured in the new book 200 Objects that Made History in Lake and McHenry Counties.  Debbie Fandrei, curator of the Raupp Museum in Buffalo Grove and project manager for the book, will show pictures and share stories of 30 of the different artifacts, ranging from a mammoth bone to a 1940s football. She will also talk about the collaboration between 23 different museums which produced the book. Members of the Deerfield, Highland Park and Highwood Historical Societies will offer complimentary local history to this program.