Winnetka Historical Society
Civic Organizations, Clubs and Services
In 1932, a small group of Winnetka “old-timers” to organized the Winnetka Historical Society. Membership was open to anyone, young or old who was interested Winnetka’s past. Annual dues were $1.00 per year per family.
In its first year of existence, Frank Windes described the general mission of the Society: “Let us find out all we can, preserve all we can, and hand down all we can to the future generations for their help and guidance.” In the early days, WHS members met to give papers on Winnetka history. The offerings included personal reminiscences, retelling of lore and scholarly studies. In 1941 the Society was chartered as a not-for-profit corporation, and by 1943 four chests of memorabilia were being kept in vaults at the Winnetka Trust & Savings Bank. Later the collection was stored under lock and key in a basement room in the public library. Finally, in 1987 the growing collection found a home in the shuttered Skokie School when the Winnetka Village Council funded the Village’s first museum. The museum was managed initially by a committee of Winnetka residents appointed by the Village Council. In 1993 the Directors of the Society assumed responsibility for its operations. When The Skokie School reopened in 1998, the Society was homeless. In 2004 the Society moved into their new Museum and offices at 411 Linden Avenue, a home built in 1857. In 2003, WHS moved Winnetka’s oldest home – the Schmidt-Burnham Log House — from Tower Road to a site in Crow Island Woods. It is preserved and tended by WHS today and is open to the public at specified times.