Our Exhibits

Our exhibits provide a look at local history and highlight topics deserving a more detailed look. These exhibits trace Lake Bluff’s evolution from rural farm community, to summer resort, to suburban community, and link it to the bigger picture: what was happening in our nation as a whole.

Summer Resort/Camp Meeting

The Lake Bluff Camp Meeting Association, established in 1875, provided a summer retreat attracting thousands of visitors each summer. more...

Lake Bluff History Overview

First settled in 1836, Lake Bluff history parallels United States history and is preserved by the museum through photographs, documents, artifacts and stories. more...

Early Settlers

The nation’s westward expansion opened Lake Bluff to settlement in the 1830s and attracted first-generation immigrants who laid claim to land near the Green Bay Trail. more...

Lake Bluff Children’s Home

In April 1894, Miss Abigail Simonds of the Chicago Deaconess Home brought six homeless children from Chicago to Lake Bluff. more...

A Community Develops

In the 1900s, Lake Bluff continued to attract both summer residents and a growing population of permanent residents. Cottages became year-round homes, estates were built and the Village grew as a suburb. more...

Architecture

Lake Bluff is a suburban community characterized by a commercial district on the National Historic Register and architectural diversity that mixes old with new. more...

Police Department

The Village was incorporated in September of 1895. Police protection in Lake Bluff began with a single Village Marshal, Franklin Pearce, appointed in 1896. more...

Fire Department

In 1897 a simple bucket brigade extending from the beach Prospect & Maple could not save the 500-room Hotel Irving. This disaster prompted formation of Lake Bluff’s volunteer fire department. more...

Artists Colony

In contrast to the austere Camp Meeting crowd were intellectuals and avant-garde who lived, worked and visited Lake Bluff in the early 20th Century. The area where this group stayed was called the Artists’ Colony. more...

Downtown/Commercial District

Since the late 1800s, Lake Bluff’s commercial district has been concentrated in an area east of the railroad tracks. In 2007, Lake Bluff’s Commercial District was formally recognized as a National Historic District. more...