Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Behind the scenes at the Museum: CLYDE COMES HOME!

Yesterday was a very special day here at the Arlington Heights Historical Museum. Our life-size, fiberglass horse, named Clyde, returned home.

He had been on loan to the Buffalo Grove 's Raupp Museum for many years. He is currently in storage,  but we have some big plans for him!

We are so thankful to the Buffalo Grove Park District for taking care of him & getting him home safely.

Staff at the Museum would have loved to see the looks on people's faces as this drove past them on Arlington Heights Road, but since we can't, we figured we would share the pictures with world, and hopefully bring a smile to someone's face.

For more information on upcoming events and programs at the Museum, please click below.

"Um. Hey. We have your horse."
Clyde on Euclid
Welcome home Clyde!
Huge thank you to the Buffalo Park District crew!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Historical Arlington War Stories

Civil War – In 1865 nineteen-year-old John E. Best signed up to fight the Southern Rebellion with his older brother, James. They were placed in the 95th Regiment of Illinois Volunteers. Both boys survived the battles but a bout of measles killed John’s brother. John also suffered the disease, the conditions of the wartime hospitals had a tremendous effect on his thinking. After the war, John Best graduated from Rush Medical College in 1870. He returned to Arlington Heights (then called Dunton) to practice his craft.

WWI – The attitude towards Germans in the U.S. at the time was of course negative. Nonetheless the community continued to print its newspaper in both English and German editions during the war, even writing articles in defense of the German originated families residing there. 4 days before the war actually ended, resident Nathaniel Banta (original owner of Banta House on the Arlington Heights Historical Museum property) received faulty news by telephone that the war was over. He proceeded to rouse the entire town in the wee hours of the morning. Schools were closed and a holiday was announced. 4 days later when the official announcement of victory emerged, town officials cautiously doubled-checked the information before again closing schools and celebrating. In all 133 men enlisted from Arlington Heights. Two boys, Theodore Heismoth and David H. Hodges failed to return.

WWII – A unique effort to other support to servicemen during World War II was by Lil and Mar Johnson. Lil and Mar owned the Park View Tavern, a popular social establishment. Every Saturday throughout wartime they would leave a toy ambulance bank on top of the counter to gather loose change and donations. At the end of the night whatever was in the bank would be turned into a money order and mailed off to an Arlington Heights serviceman. At some points the amount in the jar amounted to as much as $100. This community effort demonstrated to the servicemen that they were being kept in the community’s thoughts.
There are many more stories that we wish we had time to share. The Arlington heights Historical Museum thanks all Veterans for their incredible sacrifice and service.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Halloween and the Autumn season

The earliest records of Halloween come from ancient Celtic records. “Samhain” was celebrated on November 1st and marked the Celtic New Year. This was the beginning of the “dark half” of the year, which ended May 1st. The Celtic people also used this time to celebrate the harvest with a time of feasting. At the same time though, it was a celebration of death as well. Crops were harvested, livestock were butchered, and Winter was coming. Winter was when most human deaths happened because of cold and food shortages made people especially vulnerable. In New Year tradition, life was celebrated as well. The Celtic people believed all good things started in the darkness. It was not scary or frightening. Halloween was adopted by Catholics as All Saints Day, which is celebrated on Nov. 1st. Dressing up became popular in France during the 14th and 15th centuries. Many other cultures and religions vary on how they celebrate the holiday, but they all mirror the early Celtic celebrations.

To some people, Halloween might also mean the start to the Holiday Season, or the coming of the cold. The Museum has some really great upcoming programs to help you celebrate and keep warm.

Oct. 30th- deadline to bring in wreaths for Festival of the Wreaths

Nov. 14th - Get Ready for Thanksgiving
Learn about how Thanksgiving would have been celebrated differently for the early residents of Arlington Heights. We will explore the traditions and how the food was prepared. Kids will also make a centerpiece that they get to take home for their celebrations. One adult must be attend this program with children.

Nov. 27-29 –  Festival of the Wreaths (viewing of wreaths, open to the public)

Dec. 1st - Holiday Fairy Door

Every house should have a fairy or two, so shouldn't they have a door of their own. Paint your own fairy door and add some holiday trim for a unique decoration that you can change with the seasons. 

Dec. 5th- Get ready for the Holidays

Get in the holiday spirit and make some decorations, a wreath and personalized wrapping paper for the season. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Festival of the Wreaths: What You Can Do With a Silver Platter Class, September 19, 2015

Remember those engraved silver platters that you received as a wedding gift or heirloom, but now lie in a pile somewhere in a closet? The Arlington Heights Historical Society will show you how to re-purpose those platters at 1p.m. Saturday, September 19, in a class called What You Can do With a Silver Platter.

                “No one wants to polish silver anymore,” says Betsy Kmiecik, president of the society, who is using the class as a way to introduce the Festival of the Wreaths to the community, a fundraising effort being sponsored by the society on November, 27, 28 and 29. “But silver platters with some tarnish actually look good with some patina, and we will show you how to re-use them in a fresh, unique way that you can use as gifts for upcoming holidays,” says Kmiecik.

                The Silver Platter class costs $25 and will be held at the Historical Museum, located at 110 W. Fremont Street, near the Arlington Heights Memorial Library. Class goers are asked to bring their own family silver platter, or can purchase one at the class. The $25 fee includes floral supplies, ribbons, hanger and other items to choose from. Go to to register online for class 3523-5, or call 847-577-3000 for more information.

Kmiecik says the Festival of the Wreaths is patterned after other cities who ask their residents to make and donate any type of wreaths to the Historical Society for a silent auction that coincides with the village’s Tree Lighting Ceremony in North School Park on Friday, November 27. The deadline for registering your wreath is Friday, October 16; you must bring your finished wreath to the Historical Museum by Friday, October 30. There will be an invitation-only preview party at the museum for those donating wreaths, and awards for wreaths in various categories will be announced.

The Festival of the Wreaths begins right after the Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, November 27, when people can view the wreaths and vote for the People’s Choice Awards for individual wreaths. The Festival of the Wreaths silent auction begins at 1:30 pm Saturday, November 28 and ends at 4:30 pm Sunday, November 29. For more information call 847-255-1225, or to register your wreath, go to

Friday, May 29, 2015

New exhibit at the Arlington Heights Historical Museum


Are you dreaming of a trip to an exotic country? Good news! The new Martha Mills Doll exhibit, “Dolls of Many Lands” is now open for your pleasure. 

Join Charmin’ Chatty as she flies around the world to visits dolls of other countries. 
Over 150 dolls are dressed in their native costumes for all visitors to enjoy.  

The Museum's collection is home to over 1,000 dolls of all types and this exhibit highlights the diversity of the collection, and how cultures have changed over time. 

They are located on the second floor of the Banta House. You may view them during the Arlington Heights Historical Society’s museum tours on Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 pm. 

This is a truly unique exhibit that you do not want to miss!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Celebrating Arlington's Awesome Mothers!

This week is all about MOMS at the Arlington Heights Historical Museum. It’s not Throwback Thursday, or Flashback Friday, but we’d like to take the time to highlight some mothers from the history of Arlington Heights.

The first mother we want to showcase is Mrs. Wilhelmina (Boeger) Redeker. Mrs. Redeker is pictured below, year unknown, with her husband Fred and her two children. The Redeker family came to Arlington Heights from Germany. In 1893, they opened the Redeker General Store, which until recently was Harry’s Restaurant in downtown Arlington Heights.

The next photo features five generations of Kennicott women. The Kennicotts were an influential family all over this area. This photo was taken in 1911, when the family matriarch, Mary Kennicott, was ninety years old. Mary saw a lot in her life. She was born in 1821 and raised her family in Arlington Heights. Her son Warren Kennicott was killed in the Civil War at the Battle of Gettysburg.

1st row L to R: Mary Kennicott, Eva M. Little, Grace Little Herbst
Back row L to R: Eva K. Williams, May Allison

Last, but not least, we have Martha Mills. Martha Mills was born in Indiana in 1893 and moved to Arlington Heights in 1930. While in Arlington Heights, her contagious passion for dolls came to fruition. Martha grew up with a strict mother who only allowed her to have two dolls. While recuperating from an illness in 1949, Martha began to make to make dolls. She made them out of any material she could find; soap, wood, wax, clay, etc. Her apple head dolls won her multiple awards all over the country. In addition to making dolls, she collected them. She collected dolls for all of her adult life and then donated these to the Arlington Heights Historical Museum. Some of these dolls are on display in the Museum’s Banta House.

Now that we’ve covered some historical moms, it’s time to celebrate the fantastic mothers in the area today. Daddy & Me Make a Mother’s Day Surprise is a program that you don’t want to miss! Children will get to decorate a frame, as well as a backdrop, then have their picture taken by a professional photographer. For more details, check the website below. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

#TBT Spring time in Arlington Heights

Pioneer Park, 1986
Come defrost from Winter at the Arlington Heights Historical Museum!

We searched our collections and found some really interesting pictures of Spring time in Arlington Heights. Don’t forget to  check out all the upcoming programs and events going on at the Museum as well!
Spring time at North School Park, 2000
March 11th: Lucky Leprechauns

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day by making a small, fairy house for any leprechauns who are tired from all their mischief and planting a leprechaun garden!

Click to learn more

March 26th: Cooking with Chef Dave
These hands on classes are led by Dave Esau, chef and owner of Dave's Specialty Foods, Inc. of Mount Prospect. Join Chef Dave for lively cooking activities. Each class features a different culinary experience. Chef Dave explains healthy food choices, while having fun together. Thursday, March 26 - National Nutrition Month. Learn about nutrition while making healthy snacks.
Click to learn more

April 3rd: School Day Off Adventures
Spend days off of school at the Arlington Heights Historical Museum and learn a little more about why you have the day off, but with crafts and activities that make it fun for everyone! April 3: Arbor Day/Earth Day- Decorate your very own reusable shopping tote and learn what we can do to help the environment with other "up-cycled" crafts and activities.
Click to learn more

Easter at North School Park, 1992
 April 4th: FREE Easter Egg Hunt sponsored by the Historical Society
11:00 am
Stop by the Museum for a fun egg hunt and other egg-related children’s activities.
Please call 847-255-1225 to register your child.

April 19th: Discovery Days – Celebrate Spring!
The Arlington Heights Historical Museum is making learning about history fun for the whole family! Each unique session will include activities for kids of varying ages. Children must be accompanied by an adult, but that adult DOES NOT need to register for the class too. Celebrate Spring at the museum by making your very own sun-catcher and discover how you can capture the magic of the season in a bottle.
Click to learn more

North School Park, 2000

April 26th- Daddy & Me Make a Mother’s Day Surprise!
Shhh...Don't tell Mom that we are taking a professional photo of her kids, with a chalkboard backdrop and decorated frame. This is an adult-child activity, please register the child. Register by April 18, refunds will not be available after that date due to contractual agreements. Limited enrollment.

Don’t forget to check ot our current Heritage Gallery exhibit, Fun Times in Arlington Heights. This exhibit features artifacts and pictures from the Museum’s collection that show how having fun in Arlington Heights has changed over the years. The photos we chose for this blog are all from the Park District collection cause we want to wish the Arlington Heights Park District a happy 90th birthday!
And, while it may seem far away, we promise you that summer will return, we hope these #TBT pictures keep you warm until then!
Pioneer Park, year unknown

Recreation Park Pool, opening day 1938
Current job openings at the Museum:
School & Scout Program Coordinator


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Fun Times in Arlington Heights! New exhibit at the A.H. Historical Museum

Fun Times in Arlington Heights

Our new exhibit doesn’t open for a few days, but we’re giving you a sneak peek!

Fun Times in Arlington Heights explores the changing types of entertainment that have pleased village residents from the early days to the present.

Today, both young and old in Arlington Heights can participate in all kinds of fun activities in virtually any part of the village. However, the early settlers to the area did not have many options and often the homestead was the center of entertainment. Over time, as the village grew and prospered, many alternatives became available. Visitors to this exhibit will learn about Arlington Heights, and the broader historical context, through photographs and artifacts.

Below are some examples of the Arlington Heights Historical Society's collections that may be on display as part of the exhibit.

Union Hotel circa 1860s
The Union Hotel was located on the triangle of land bounded by Myrtle Avenue (now Dunton Avenue), Davis Street, and Campbell Street. The tavern section of the Union Hotel operated until the 1950s.

Fife and Drum CorpsCirca 1908
First Row (L-R): Jim McElhose, Bill Landeck, Unknown, Art Lauterburg, Frank E. Meyer, Frank Meyer, Walter Sieberg. Second Row (L-R): Herman Bauman, Unknown, Harry Schiffman, Ed Sieburg, Unknown, Harry Fairchild. Third Row (L-R): Bill Kuhs, Herman Niemeyer, Eddie Kuhs, William Meyer, Unknown, Henry Lorenzen (Leader).

Fun Times in Arlington Heights can be viewed in the Heritage Gallery February 7th, 2015 thru May 31st 2015. The Heritage Gallery and Shop is located on the Arlington Heights Historical Museum Campus at 112 West Fremont Street. Gallery hours are Friday through Sunday, 1:30p.m. to 4:30p.m. There is no admission fee for the Gallery, but a suggested donation of $2.00 is recommended. Don’t forget to stop by The Heritage Shop while you’re there! They offer a selection of historical toys and books, along with local history memorabilia.

This exhibit is partially sponsored by Frontier Days, INC, who, year after year, proudly bring us one of our most favorite "Fun Times in Arlington Heights", Frontier Days Festival. Below is a photo of the famous group Sha-na-na preforming at the Festival in 1996.

For more information about Fun Times in Arlington Heights contact the museum at (847) 255-1225, or visit the museum’s website:

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Upcoming Programs at the Museum

Upcoming Programs at the Museum

Saturday January 31st, Magic Show at the Museum
1:45 pm
Free family event!

Saturday Feb. 7th, Vintage Valentines
1:00 – 3:00 pm
Make your valentines really stand out this year! We have all the supplies for children to make their own cards for their classroom celebrations. While using vintage valentines as inspiration, children will learn about the history of the holiday and see how it was celebrated in the past. Grades k-5.

Sunday, Feb. 8th,  Trivia Night at the Museum
4:00 pm
There is still room for teams to participate in this fun, entertaining fundraiser for the Arlington Heights Historical Society and the Arlington Heights Crime-stoppers Organization. Cash bar provided by Tuscan Market. Call 847-255-1225 for more details.

Sunday Feb. 15th, Frozen Fun!
1:00-4:00 pm
Learn what Arlington Heights has in common with the movie Frozen through different activities and crafts. This family event is part of our Discovery Days series.

Monday Feb. 16th, School Day Off Adventures
1:00-3:00 pm
Learn about the lives of some recent presidents and make your own powdered wig like George Washington wore.

Sunday Feb. 22nd Girl Scout World Thinking Day
10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Each year on World Thinking Day, girls participate in activities and projects with global themes to honor their sister Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in other countries. The theme for World Thinking Day 2015 is girls worldwide say "Creating Peace through Partnerships"  It is especially focused on empowering girls so that they can empower the world to live more peacefully. This theme is based on United Nation's Millennium Development Goal 8, Develop a Global Partnership for Development. Thinking Day not only gives girls a chance to celebrate international friendships, but is also a reminder that Girl Scouts of the USA is part of a global community—one of nearly 150 countries with Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. Join other girl scouts in our community as we learn about how our voices can bring about peace, as well as participate in activities to discover how we can help improve the lives of those in the world's poorest countries.

Thursday Feb. 26th, Cooking with Chef Dave
4:00-5:30 pm
Celebrate various national months of food observances and holidays with these hands on classes led by Dave Esau, chef and owner of Dave's Specialty Foods, Inc. of Mount Prospect. Join Chef Dave for lively cooking activities. Each class features a different culinary experience. Grades 1-5. This month we’ll be celebrating National Pie Day. Yum!

Crafting Circle meets weekly to work on different projects. Call 847-255-1225 for more information.

Friday, January 9, 2015

We've seen it all Old Man Winter, you can't scare us! A look back on some of the worst Winter storms in Chicagoland

As it does every year, Old Man Winter has come and tightened his grip on the Chicagoland, and Arlington Heights, area. To celebrate, we thought this blog post should take a trip down memory lane and look at winter storms of the past. We say celebrate because after looking at the photographs below, we are celebrating that things could, and have been, worse for the residents of Arlington Heights. To find some good photos, we dug through the Museum’s collections for photographs of such storms and they are below.

This newspaper clipping is from 1936. There was no other information about the photograph, but just looking at this picture makes me shiver thinking about traveling snow covered roads without snowplows.

In 1965, these youngsters were able to make the best of ice covered sidewalks and a loss of electricity in the homes of many residents.

The blizzard of 1967 is one that many people still remember vividly, and for good reason. Chicago’s alltime record snowfall of 23.0 inches was established. The snow began on a Thursday morning and didn't let up until the next day. The city of Chicago, including OHare Airport, was shut down for several days. An estimated 20,000 cars and 500 buses were stranded on roads everywhere, hampering snow removal efforts.

The winters of 1976-1979 were three of the worst on record for Chicagoland, with 1979 culminating in 89.7 inches of snow that fell is the alltime season record. One of Chicago's worst blizzards occurred in January 1979. The storm total was 18.8 inches of snow. Roofs collapsed from the weight of the snow, people                                                 fought over parking spaces, 
                                                snow was as high as street signs.

There have been plenty of storms since this one that probably also deserve mentioning, but we’ll save those stories for the next wave of snow.

Until then, check out the museum’s website & calendar for opportunities to stay warm with us, while you learn a little about Arlington Heights.