Preserving History for Glencoe
On a Sunday afternoon in February 1937, a small group of dedicated Glencoe residents met at the public library because they believed that something should be done to gather and preserve the early history of our village. Out of this meeting, the Glencoe Historical Society was born.
For the first decades of its existence, GHS operated out of the Glencoe Public Library, which was then located at the former Hawthorn School, 654 Greenleaf Avenue. The collection consisted primarily of documents assembled by the head librarians, Sarah Hammond and Helen Beckwith, and housed in two file cabinets.
In the mid-1980s, the Glencoe Park District offered several rooms atop the Watts Ice Rink at 305 Randolph Street. This donation allowed GHS to mount its first exhibits and provided additional space to help expand the collection of photos, artifacts and textiles. GHS remained at Watts until the late 1990s.
In 2000, Sara “Sally” Eklund donated the building at 377 Park Avenue and its garden to the GHS for use as a museum. After some renovation, the first exhibit, “Wake Up Glencoe! Posters of World War I and World War II,” opened in November of 2001.
Sally Eklund bequeathed the building at 375 Park Avenue to GHS upon her death in October of 2004. Initially, GHS rented the entire building, but in May 2011, GHS took over the first floor for additional museum space.
In the 80 years since its birth, GHS has grown from a few documents in two small file cabinets to a thriving museum campus that hosts exhibits, events and a research center – all through the generous contributions of dedicated volunteers and community residents.