The first Edgewater Hospital building ca 1930
1908 building on Clark at Balmoral having the brick facade replaced
Delivery wagons next to Gengler store on Summerdale at Clark, 1902
Facade of Trumbull School on Foster Avenue, 1908
2009 Kitchen Exhibit at the Museum
Firehouse at Balmoral & Ashland
Firetruck housed at the original firehouse
2011 Edgewater Grocery Stores Exhibit
Greenhouses in the 1930s
Andersonville school view looking south down Ashland 1880
2010 Home Tour (Edgewater North)
Parade on Clark Street, 1966
Maybelline building at Ridge and Clark, ca. 1930s
Postcard of original Edgewater Post Office on Broadway at Catalpa
Postcard of Senn High School prior to the additions, ca. 1920
Saddle & Cycle Club at Foster Ave. 1900
Saddle & Cycle Club at Foster Ave. 1900
Postcard of Edgewater Beach Hotel, pre-1923
Postcard of Edgewater Beach Hotel Yacht Club
2010 Memorial Day Parade

A tree grows in Edgewater!

Edgewater is one of Chicago’s premier neighborhoods for trees. Over the past year, dedicated volunteers working with the Edgewater Historical Society (EHS) have surveyed and documented all our community’s “Heritage Trees” – or those which are 50 years and older.* The results may surprise you!

Please join EHS for our Arbor Day festivities on Friday, April 26, at 5 p.m. at our museum, located at 5358 N. Ashland Ave., where we will:

  • reveal the results of our survey, including which block clubs had the most trees
  • discuss some of the key findings of our campaign
  • identify looming challenges to Edgewater’s – and Chicago’s – tree canopy
  • discuss next steps for continuing our crusade for our leafy friends

Special guests at the program will include local alderpersons, members of the Mayoral Urban Forestry Committee, OpenLands, representatives of the Save the Ash Tree campaign, and other tree advocates. Refreshments, including adult beverages, will be served.

* The Edgewater Glen Association block club initiated Edgewater’s first tree survey in 2023 and was the inspiration for the larger community effort.

Unpacking Chicago’s Community Areas

Saturday, May 4, 2024 at 10:00 a.m.
Edgewater Branch, Chicago Public Library
Betty A. Barclay Community Room
6000 N. Broadway, Chicago 60660

Chicago’s official map of 77 community areas has remained unchanged since Edgewater received its designation in 1980. Now, an effort is under way by University of Chicago Professor Emily Talen to possibly change that map to more closely reflect where community residents think they belong. Prof. Talen will lead a lively examination of how Chicago first got its community map, how it has served the City for the past 100 years, and how it could change. Click here for a flyer.

2024 Annual Meeting (Past)

Geoff SmithThe Edgewater Historical Society invites you to the 2024 Annual Meeting, presenting candidates for your Board of Directors and telling you about plans for 2023-24. The meeting will be on Saturday, March 23, 2024 at 10:00 a.m. in the Betty A. Barclay Community Room of the Edgewater Branch Library, 6000 N. Broadway. Click here for a flyer.

Our speaker, Geoff Smith, Executive Director and Principal Investigator of DePaul University’s Institute for Housing Studies, is perhaps the Chicago area’s leading expert on the challenge in affordable housing. He will discuss recent trends in the housing market, and how a difficult situation is being further strained by the recent influx of refugees to the Chicago area.

Click here to view Geoff Smith’s presentation.

Homegrown history: Honoring Edgewater's heritage trees (2023)

After a non-winter and very cold spring, summer finally seems to be coming to Chicago. So what better time for the Edgewater Historical Society (EHS) to launch its latest initiative – Honoring Edgewater’s Heritage Trees. The initiative is multi-faceted and features an exhibit at our museum, a series of tree-related lecture programs, and most importantly a survey of all of Edgewater’s “heritage trees” or those that are more than 50 years old.

This ambitious program grew out of an effort by the Edgewater Glen Association (EGA) block club, when residents became concerned after seeing a number of their majestic parkway trees cut down in recent years. Spearheaded by local resident Andrea Raila, a complete survey of EGA’s parkway trees – along Norwood, Glenlake, Hood and Granville – was conducted over the past year, and the findings and methodology of the survey are documented in the Heritage Tree Audit booklet and the Tree Survey instructions.

New exhibit: As Time Goes By in Edgewater - 1885 to the Present

“As Time Goes By” is the title of the newest exhibit at the Edgewater Historical Society Museum, 5358 N. Ashland, which opens the weekend of May 28-29, and will continue for many months.

The exhibit features 150 photos of the story of Edgewater from 1885 to the present. A special section tells the story of the Edgewater Beach Hotel. In the months to come there will be more features on the Schools and Churches in Edgewater.

The exhibit will be open during regular museum hours, but special tours may be arranged for a small donation.

New Exhibit: Indigenous Edgewater: Exploring Native History

EHS presents our newest exhibit, “Indigenous Edgewater - Exploring Native History.” The exhibit documents Indigenous culture from 10,000 years ago to the present day. The Indigenous Edgewater exhibit will be available on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. at 5358 N. Ashland Ave.

Natives have lived in the Edgewater area for over 10,000 years. Marsha Holland, exhibit co-curator, discusses Native history in the greater Edgewater area, focusing on the archeological findings of Bowmanville Village and beyond. To view, click here.

Without Natives, would we have Chicago as we know it? Marjorie Fritz-Birch, exhibit co-curator, explores Native contributions to the greater Edgewater area and beyond. To view, click here.

"Remembering Edgewater Beach Hotel" interviews

There have been two recent radio interviews with Kathy Gemperle and John Holden, the authors of “Remembering Edgewater Beach Hotel.” If you want to hear the interviews, they can be found at:

WGN Radio: After Hours with Rick Hogan on July 25, 2021

WCPT Radio: Where Are They Now with Art Andros on November 20, 2021

Virtual Museum exhibits

EHS MuseumWe invite you on a virtual curator’s tour of our recent exhibits:

Edgewater Beach Hotel: 100 Years Later

The Chicago Conspiracy Trial: One Juror’s Ordeal

High Water and Hell: Rising Lake Puts Chicago on Edge

Here is another past exhibit you may remember:

Greetings from Edgewater (2012): description and video

Chicago History Book Group (Past)

The next meeting of the Chicago History Book Club will be Saturday, April 13, 2024 at 10:00 a.m. in the Betty A. Barclay Community Room at the Edgewater Branch of the Chicago Public Library, 6000 N. Broadway.

The subject of the meeting is “Broken Icarus: The 1933 Chicago’s World Fair, the Golden Age of Aviation, and the Rise of Fascism” By David Hanna. Click here for a flyer.

Riding the Rails in Chicago (Past)

Saturday, January 13, 2024 at 10:00 a.m.
Edgewater Branch, Chicago Public Library
Betty A. Barclay Community Room
6000 N. Broadway, Chicago 60660

David Sadowski is a lifelong Chicagoan who grew up riding the “L” all over the city. He has leveraged his love of public transit into a busy writing career and is the author of Chicago Trolleys, Building Chicago’s Subways, Chicago’s Lost “L”s and The North Shore Line, all from Arcadia Publishing. He will draw from several of his books as he discusses the history of rail riding on Chicago’s North Side. A limited number of books will be available for purchase. This program is in partnership with the Edgewater Branch. Click here for a flyer.

This is an in-person event. Masks are strongly encouraged in all CPL locations.

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