Around Town: A Guide to Culture in Elmhurst

Dated: April 25 2022

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Elmhurst is known for its popular restaurants, unique shops, beautiful parks, and highly-rated schools. But did you know Elmhurst also features a great deal of culture? Check out this list of just some of the cultural organizations and locations within Elmhurst.


The Elmhurst Great Western Prairie

History in Nature

The Elmhurst Great Western Prairie
Located within Wild Meadows Trace just north of the Prairie Path between Spring Road and Salt Creek, this living museum is older than any building or artifact in Elmhurst. This stretch of the Illinois Prairie Path is one of only a few remnants of the pre-settlement landscape.

Wilder Park Conservatory
The origins of the Wilder Park Conservatory, now a part of the Elmhurst Park District, date back to Seth Wadhams' 1868 property purchase and his efforts to surround his home with a variety of species of trees. He added the greenhouse, now located to the rear of the conservatory, to try to help console his wife when their son passed away. The property has been owned by several families since the Wadhams, including horticulture and gardening author Louisa King, with the last owner, Thomas E. Wilder, leaving the property, including the original greenhouse, to the City of Elmhurst.


Glos Mausoleum

Landmarks

Bicentennial Fountain
As part of the July 1976 celebration of United States Bicentennial Festival Week, Elmhurst constructed this fountain. It is located in Wild Meadows Trace on York Street.

Glos Mausoleum
Located in Glos Memorial Park on Park Avenue, this official historic landmark was built in 1899 after Village President Henry Glos received permission from the Village of Elmhurst to build a mausoleum on his property. He and his wife, Lucy Glos, are buried there.

Great Chicago Fire Artifact: Cook County Courthouse Roof Finial
Elmhurst's own historical artifact, a ruin from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, can be found in Wilder Park. This roof finial from the Cook County Courthouse, which burned in the fire, is the remaining one of two (the other having deteriorated) purchased by Seth Wadhams, original owner of Wilder Mansion.

Hill Cottage Tavern Plaque
Located just north of St. Charles Road on Cottage Hill Avenue, this plaque marks the original location of Hill Cottage, a residence, tavern, and stagecoach stop built in 1843.

Sesquicentennial Clock
This clock, designed and constructed by sculptor Joseph A. Burlini, commemorates the 1986 celebration of Elmhurst's Sesquicentennial (150 years) and can be found at the corner of York Street and Park Avenue.

TIP: For more information about arts, culture, parks, monuments, restaurants, shops, and more, visit Explore Elmhurst.


Elmhurst History Museum

Museums/Exhibits

Churchville Schoolhouse
Owned by the City of Elmhurst and managed by the Elmhurst History Museum, this one-room schoolhouse sits on its original location just north of Elmhurst in Bensenville. Built circa 1950, the building hosts field trips and community programs as an authentic living history experience. Led by a schoolmarm, visitors are immersed in the same daily lessons the farm children of DuPage would have experienced in 1910.

Elmhurst Art Museum
The Elmhurst Art Museum, originally established in 1981 and remodeled in 1997 to incorporate the Mies van der Rohe-designed McCormick House into its campus, features rotating exhibits by contemporary artists. The museum also offers educational programming to children and adults. (Also listed below under Visual Arts)

Elmhurst History Museum
The City of Elmhurst brings educational programming and exhibits to the public at this award-winning museum, which was founded in 1957. The museum, along with its extensive collections and archives, is located in historic Glos Mansion, the home built by Elmhurst Village President Henry Gloss and his wife, Lucy, in 1892.

Elmhurst Model Railroad Club
Check out the Elmhurst Model Railroad Club's HO, HOn3, and N scale layouts during their open hours. Visitors are encouraged to ring the steam locomotive bell at the entrance of the club, a real bell from a Santa Fe prairie-type locomotive (a 2-6-2).

Wilder Mansion
Before the mansion was acquired by the park district in 1921, this historic landmark was home to several prominent Elmhurst families, including its first owner, Seth Wadhams, who named it White Birch after he purchased the property in 1868. From 1922 to 1994, the mansion was home to the Elmhurst Public Library.

TIP: Elmhurst Public Library cardholders can visit local museums for free with the library's Museum Adventure Pass program.


Elmhurst Children's Theatre

Performing Arts

Elmhurst Center for Performing Arts
A nonprofit organization dedicated to building a performing arts center in Elmhurst.

Elmhurst Children's Theatre
Founded in 1937, this non-profit children's theatre brings the community together to enjoy two full productions, one summer production, and the Unintentionally Hilarious Sketch Comedy Troupe each year. ECT typically casts children in 5th to 8th grade and offers classes to children in 3rd to 8th grade.

Elmhurst Choral Union
The Elmhurst Choral Union, founded in 1952, is made up of auditioned volunteers who sing with a professional orchestra and soloists.

Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra
The Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra, led by Music Director and Conductor Stephen Alltop, features professional and accomplished volunteer musicians. The orchestra performs several concerts every season.

Greenman Troupe
Formed in 2003, Greenman Troupe features a four-show season as well as classes and workshops. The troupe also hosts an annual murder mystery event.


Elmhurst Art Museum

Visual Arts

Elmhurst Art Museum
The Elmhurst Art Museum, originally established in 1981 and remodeled in 1997 to incorporate the Mies van der Rohe-designed McCormick House into its campus, features rotating exhibits by contemporary artists. The museum also offers educational programming to children and adults. (also listed above under Museums)

Elmhurst Artists Guild
Incorporated in 1946, the Elmhurst Artists Guild hosts events, exhibits, classes, and more. The Elmhurst Art Museum is home to the Elmhurst Artists Guild.

Elmhurst University Art Collection
The Elmhurst University Art Collection features more than 150 works of art, mostly by artists working in Chicago between 1950 and today.

Once Upon a Time Sculpture
This&nbspFrank Eliscu bronze sculpture was a gift to the Elmhurst Public Library in 1989 and can be found on the south side of the building.

Millennium Fountain
Created by Dan Kainz, this interactive water sculpture is in the Elmhurst City Hall Courtyard on York Street.

Niebuhr Monument
Visit this 1997 Robert Berks sculpture of Elmhurst University alumnus, theologian, and author Reinhold Niebuhr on Elmhurst University's campus.

There Was Vision Mural
People waiting in line at Elmhurst's post office have likely noticed its George Melville Smith mural. Hung in 1937, the mural depicts Elmhurst's frontier roots.

Willis Tower Globe Sculpture
This 25-foot diameter globe sculpture was originally installed in front of the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower and can now be found in front of Christopher Glass & Aluminum in Elmhurst.


Memorial to the Veterans of the Vietnam War

War & 9-11 Memorials

Elmhurst Remembers Memorial
A contemplation garden, flag, and black granite monument featuring a map of the United States with stars marking the locations of the events of 9-11 were dedicated in 2004. The memorial sits on the east side of Spring Road just north of the Illinois Prairie Path.

Memorial to the Veterans of the Vietnam War
Located on the north side of Wilder Park and originally dedicated in 1988, this memorial includes the names of 14 Elmhurst servicemen who gave their lives during the Vietnam War. In 2015, the memorial was relocated and rededicated after Elmhurst resident Kevin Calkins raised money to improve the damaged memorial and make it more visible.

Veterans Memorial
A ceremony honoring United States veterans is held at this memorial following Elmhurst's annual Memorial Day Parade. It was dedicated on Memorial Day in 1993 and is located south of Wilder Mansion in Wilder Park.

World War One Elmhurst Veterans Memorial
This memorial, located at the entrance to Veterans Memorial in Wilder Park, was dedicated in 1927 to Ernest H. Timrott, Richard Hintz, and Kingsley C. Buck, three Elmhurst residents who were killed in action in World War One. In 1977, THB Post 187 of the American Legion re-dedicated it to all those who gave their lives in freedom's name.

Whether you buy tickets to Greenman Troupe's next show, stop by the Elmhurst Model Railroad Club during their open house hours, or stop by a veteran's memorial to pay tribute, take some time to enjoy the significant history and culture that is such a big part of Elmhurst.


With over 70 years in the Elmhurst community, LW Reedy real estate agents know this town and the surrounding areas, from museums and culture to schools and neighborhoods. If you're thinking of buying or selling a home in Elmhurst or the surrounding areas, contactyour LW Reedy Realtor. We would love to help.

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