Events & Exhibits


Sears Homes of Chicagoland

Do you love old homes? On October 14, come explore the Sears Homes of Chicagoland. From 1908 to 1942, Sears Roebuck and Company sold ready-to-build kit homes through catalogs. Despite the rash of teardowns in the Chicago area, some of these houses have managed to survive.  Learn about the Sears homes still standing in Highland Park and neighboring communities, and how to identify them. Lara Solonickne is the creator of the Sears Homes of Chicagoland website ( She is an architecture enthusiast who enjoys uncovering the hidden stories behind old houses. She holds a degree from Northwestern University. Her research and blog have been featured by FOX 32 News, Curbed, McMansion Hell, the Chicago Tribune, Yale University Press, The Birmingham News, and more.

Pieces of the Past, The Armchair Traveler’s Tour

To celebrate Highland Park’s 150th Anniversary, the Highland Park Historical Society and HP-150 Archives, History and Lakefront Committee, with Catherine Lambrecht, Jeffrey Stern and Nancy Webster co-curating, this open-air exhibit was inspired by a similar effort by the Waukegan Historical Society to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Waukegan Park District. Highland Park has been very fortunate to have historically inclined residents who photographed and documented its people and places for future study. Railroads helped transition this settlement from farms to summer residences to year-round living. Those striving to make the community a permanent place to live created schools, a library and municipal services, such as police and fire departments and water supply systems. Some who served in the military and those who qualified for Olympic competition are also highlighted. Others who were creative in the arts and in producing early telephone and electric devices are featured among the many stories that the 64 puzzle pieces represent.

Stupey Cabin Harvest Fest 2019

The Highland Park Historical Society invites the community to celebrate the city’s pioneer history and step back in time on Saturday, September 14, from 3:00 pm until 7:00 pm at the Stupey Cabin, on St. Johns Avenue between the Highland Park Library and City Hall. The celebration will include live music by the Ravinia Ramblers and Linda Iovino, food, and tours of the Stupey Cabin. Among activities for children will be a petting zoo, pony rides, Woof Pack Dog Rescue simulations and storytelling. PaperSource will provide crafts.There will also be live demonstrations of metal forging and cloth dying.

Big Boy Rolls Through Highland Park Today!

 The Big Boy No. 4014, a one-million pound steam locomotive, is estimated to be crossing Gurnee at 10:45 am on July 25th and perhaps through Highland Park about 30 minutes later (but get there a little earlier).  The train will pass on the freight railroad tracks west of 41. You can track the engine via the internet for the latest information here: This train is on a tour celebrating the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railway will be in West Chicago, IL until Monday.

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.