Open Elgin

Open Elgin

Discover historic Elgin by touring schools, churches, downtown office buildings and businesses not normally open to the public. Free admission!

For more information/map: https://www.openelgin.com/
Time: 12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Elgin Genealogical Society: Show and Tell

Gail Borden Public Library (map)

Join Elgin Genealogical Society Members for an informal show and tell! Participants are encouraged to bring a treasured object from home, or a photo of the item to share with the group. What family heirlooms have been passed down to you? Was it a family quilt, letter, dish, or memento. If you would like to share an heirloom with the group, please prepare a short story to tell (less than 5 minutes) that illustrates what you know about the item and whose it may have been. Or, you can enjoy listening to stories about favorite family heirlooms. No registration needed.

Location:  Gail Borden Public Library, 270 N. Grove Avenue, Meadows Comm. Rooms A-B-C
Contact: 847-429-4680
Time: 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Elgin's 28th Annual Mayor's Awards

Elgin's 28th Annual Mayor's Awards

Elgin Heritage Commission honors outstanding contributors to Elgin’s heritage. Honorees have demonstrated their dedication to older architecture, neighborhoods and history.  Sponsored by the Elgin Heritage Commission.
Contact/RSVP:  Registration requested. City of Elgin Community Development
Department at 847-931–5920 (by Friday, April 27).
Location: Old Elgin High School - Gymnasium, 355 E. Chicago St., Elgin, IL; enter through Gifford Park Street Entrance; accessible entrance on Chicago Street
Time: 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Reception at 6:00 p.m.; Ceremony at 7:00 p.m.)

Elgin Alive Program – Documenting the Preservation Movement in Elgin

Gail Borden Public Library (map)

Join in viewing the documentary film, “25 Years of Preservation in Elgin.” The film chronicles the first twenty-five years of the preservation movement in Elgin. Then enjoy a slide presentation by Gifford Park Association representative, Dan Miller, showing preservation accomplishments in the following ten years. Dan and others involved in the movement will discuss what local preservationists are doing now and where the preservation movement is headed. Sponsors: ECN, Elgin Area Historical Society. No registration needed.
Location:  Gail Borden Public Library, 270 N. Grove Avenue, Meadows Comm. Rooms A-B-C
Contact: 847-429-4680
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Planetarium Public Shows

Elgin National Watch Company Observatory (map)

Come early and tour the building (upstairs telescope and displays downstairs) before a sky/star show with a focus on the building’s connection to Elgin National Watch Company. Admission: $3.00 per person or max $10.00 per family (cash only). No reservations; first come, first served seating. Free parking at Raymond St. and National St.
Contact/RSVP: Peggy Hernandez at 847-888-5324
Location: Elgin National Watch Company Observatory, 312 Watch Street
Time:  Doors open at 4:00 p.m. Shows will begin at 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Candle Light Museum Tour

Elgin History Museum (map)

Visit the Elgin History Museum in candlelight and meet characters from the past as you go from room to room. Wine and cheese refreshments after your peculiar nighttime visit.
Admission:  Tickets at $10 per person online at www.elginhistory.org   
Location: Elgin History Museum, 360 Park St
Contact: Elgin History Museum, 847-742-4248
Time: 7:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Continuing the Tradition – Lords Park Zoo Celebration

Lords Park Animal Zoo Area (map)

As part of the Elgin’s Heritage Month, join the Friends of the Lords Park Zoo in celebrating the zoo’s history and learn more about the events and programs planned throughout the summer. Volunteers from the Stillman Valley Nature Center featuring owls, hawks and other rescued raptors will join the festivities. Local organizations such as Elgin Public museum, Elgin Historical Society, Izaak Walton League, Elgin Fire Barn Museum, the Gail Borden Library, and Hanover Township Services will have information available. Friends of the Lord’s Park Zoo accepts volunteers for Zoo Greeters. Free popcorn, cake, bottled water, balloons, and more!
Location: Lords Park-Farm Animal Zoo Area, 100 Oakwood Blvd.
Contact: Terry Gabel, 847-638-3458
Time: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Mid-Century Modern Downtown Historic Tour

Elgin City Hall (map)

Prolonged economic buoyancy derived from Elgin’s world famous watch factory, along with prosperous post-WWII America, allowed Elgin to step into the modern-era. Although many buildings were razed to pave the way for this new look, today’s downtown shows a layer of design elements paying homage to each bygone era. This downtown walking tour, hosted by the Downtown Neighborhood Association – Design Committee, is a unique opportunity to explore the modern movement in Elgin’s civic, and commercial structures. Tour will be led by Bill Briska, President – Elgin Area Historical Society, and Christen Sundquist, Historic Preservation Planner- City of Elgin.
Admission:  Suggested donation: $5.00
Location: Meet in front of City Hall (150 Dexter Court)
Contact/RSVP: Downtown Neighborhood Association, 847-488-1456
Time:  6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Elgin: An Outdoor Museum of Architecture

Gail Borden Public Library (map)

Elgin has a treasure trove of residential architecture. This program explains how buildings can be used to interpret the history of Elgin, or almost any other city. Amaze your family and friends when you drive through a city and comment on its past having never even been there before! Presenter: Bill Briska, President – Elgin Area Historical Society
Location:  Gail Borden Public Library, 270 N. Grove Avenue, Meadows Comm. Rms. A-B-C
Contact/RSVP: Registration requested. Please visit “gailborden.info/register,” call 847-429-4680, or visit in person at the Registration Desk in the Lobby.
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Brown Bag Lunch: Abraham Lincoln Quiz

Elgin History Museum (map)

Celebrate Illinois’ Bicentennial year by learning more about our favorite president and show off your Lincoln knowledge to win prizes. Past President Carl Flaks will host an Abraham Lincoln Quiz. Bring your lunch and play the game! FREE admission as part of International Museum Day!
Location: Elgin History Museum (360 Park Street)
Contact/RSVP: Elgin History Museum, 847-742-4248
Time:  12:00 p.m. (Noon)

What’s Old is New Again

Gail Borden Public Library (map)

Discover your past, preserve your memories, and explore historic Elgin. Tour the Elgin Area Collection, discover genealogy search databases, and sample the Preservation Station. No registration needed.

Location:  Gail Borden Public Library, 270 N. Grove Ave, Main Library Grove Room
Contact: 847-429-4680
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.; Tuesday, June 5th: 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Elgin Genealogical Society – DNA: A Power Tool in the Genealogist’s Tool Box

Gail Borden Public Library (map)

The monthly meeting of the Elgin Genealogical Society at which speaker Karen Stanbary, will present “DNA: A Power Tool in the Genealogist’s Tool Box.” She will discuss the many different ways DNA test results can confirm and advance your traditional paper trail research through case examples. Karen will explore the types of DNA tests and the three major testing companies who offer them. She will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each company for specific types of research problems.
Location:  Gail Borden Public Library, 270 N. Grove Avenue, Meadows Comm. Rooms A-B
Contact: 847-429-4680, or visit in person at the Registration Desk in the Lobby.
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.

13th Annual Bowl for Preservation Event

Elgin Lanes (map)

Join ABODE for retro fun to raise funds supporting historic preservation activities in Elgin. Admission:  $25 adults; $20 ages 6-18; free - children under 6. The admission price includes door prize raffle ticket, dinner, shoe rental, and up to 2 games of bowling. $15 for dinner only.
Location: Elgin Lanes, 401 Shepard Dr. (Must enter off of Fleetwood from the east), Elgin, IL 60123
Contact: Jennifer Phillips/ABODE, 224-588-7034; [email protected]
Time: 6:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Walking Tour of Elgin Mental Health Center Cemetery

Highlands Golf Course (map)

The EMHC cemetery is more than a burial ground. It is an artifact of a by-gone era's social safety net and healthcare policy. Tour this little location with Elgin Mental Health Center historian Bill Briska.   
Location: Meet at Highlands Golf Course East Parking Lot,  Elgin Sports Complex, 875 Sports Way, Elgin, IL 60123
Contact/RSVP: Bill Briska, 847-421-4022
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

A History of Lord’s Park

Lords Park Pavilion (map)

Jerry Turnquist will be presenting, "A History of Lord's Park" and Linda Rock will be portraying Mary Carpenter Lord. Co-sponsored by Friends of the Lords Park Zoo and Elgin Area Historical Society.
Location: Lord’s Park Pavilion, 100 Oakwood Boulevard
Contact: Terry Gabel, 847-638-3458
Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Research Your House in Kane County

Gail Borden Public Library (map)

A house is historical in relation to its location, date of construction, architectural style, architect, and ownership. House research is a fascinating combination of legal, architectural, genealogical and cartographical studies. Seeking information about the history of a house is becoming faster and easier as governmental agencies make records available on the Internet. In this hands-on seminar, you can begin to look up online information about your house.  Presenter Rebecca Hunter has been engaged in historical architectural research since 1997.
Location:  Gail Borden Public Library, 270 N. Grove Avenue, Computer Training Room
Contact/RSVP: Registration requested. Please visit “gailborden.info/register,” call 847-429-4680, or visit in person at the Registration Desk in the Lobby.
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Memorial Day at Bluff City Cemetery

Bluff City Cemetery (map)

This year’s program will pay tribute to the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. The keynote speaker will be freelance reporter and historian, Dave Gathman, who will reflect on the war and Elgin’s involvement in the conflict. This ceremony will also include the Elgin Master Chorale and Elgin High School Band. Local students will continue the long held tradition of reading Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and General John Logan’s Orders which established Memorial Day.
 

The most solemn moment of the morning will be the laying of organizational wreaths at the Grand Army of the Republic memorial – an observance akin to the laying of wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Washington D.C.  Activities will include a roll call of deceased veterans, a rifle salute, and the playing of Taps.
Co-Sponsored by the Elgin Patriotic Memorial Association and the City of Elgin.

Contact:  Please visit www.elginmemorialday.org
Location: Bluff City Cemetery, 945 Bluff City Blvd.
Time: 11:00 a.m.

What’s Old is New Again

Gail Borden Public Library (map)

Discover your past, preserve your memories, and explore historic Elgin. Tour the Elgin Area Collection, discover genealogy search databases, and sample the Preservation Station. No registration needed.

Location:  Gail Borden Public Library, 270 N. Grove Ave, Main Library Grove Room
Contact: 847-429-4680
Time: 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.