WHEATON – Residents will soon be able to immerse themselves in Wheaton’s history during the city’s annual Preservation Week, which begins Friday.
The undertaking is organized by the Wheaton Historic Commission, in accordance with several other organizations, and is inspired by the national event of the same name spearheaded by the American Library Association.
Wheaton’s version will feature 10 days of festivities, including downtown walking tours, lectures and signs throughout the community highlighting some of the city’s oldest buildings.
“I think from a community standpoint, it gives us a sense of identity,” said Wheaton Mayor Mike Gresk. “The city has been around as an incorporated entity for more than 150 years and was founded back in the 1830s, so this gives perspective of where we come from and gives a good basis for where we’re headed.”
Commission Chair Trent Nichols echoed Gresk’s sentiment, saying the week gives residents a better appreciation of where they come from and who came before.
“I think it appeals to many Wheaton residents, including people who have just moved to the area or longtime people who may just not be familiar with the history,” he said. “I think it can help residents of all stripes become more engaged.”
That sense of shared history has been lost in recent generations, said Wheaton History Center President and CEO Alberta Adamson.
“There are so many people who don’t realize how old Wheaton is,” she said. “There are all these signs downtown that say ‘Historic Downtown Wheaton,’ but they don’t know what that history means.”
Preservation Week events
Pride in Preservation signs (free)
What: More than 150 buildings identified as historic landmarks will have purple signs highlighting the site's history. When: Monday to Friday Where: Citywide Info: www.wheaton.il.us/about/tour/default.aspx?id=940
'Landmarks of Wheaton' photography exhibit (free)
What: The DuPage County Historical Museum will have a temporary exhibit featuring current photos of Wheaton architectural landmarks alongside historical images from the museum's archive. When: Reception 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, exhibit open through Preservation Week Where: DuPage County Historical Museum, 102 E. Wesley St. Info: www.dupagemuseum.org, 630-510-4941
Home History Research Help (free)
What: Residents can learn to research their home's history. When: 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday Where: Wheaton Public Library, 225, N. Cross St. Info: www.wheatonlibrary.org, 630-668-1374
'The Churches of Edward Dart' (free)
What: Writer Matt Seymour holds a presentation on modernist architect Edward Dart and his influential work in Wheaton. When: 7 p.m. Monday Where: St. Matthew United Church of Christ, 1420 S. Gables Blvd. Info: www.stmatthewucc.org, 630-665-1236
'Shadows of the Past: Wheaton in the Civil War' (free)
What: Author and historian Robert Girardi, past president of the Chicago Civil War Roundtable, will speak about the war in commemoration of its 150th anniversary. When: 7 p.m. Wednesday Where: Wheaton Public Library, 225 N. Cross St. Info: www.wheatonlibrary.org, 630-668-1374
'Discover Wheaton' Mystery Hunt
What: Visitors can search for clues amongst the Wheaton Center for History's extensive exhibits on local people, businesses and government and enjoy a stroll downtown. When: 1 p.m. May 10 Where: Center for History, 315 W. Front St., second floor Info: Call 630-835-6584 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Downtown Wheaton Historic Walking Tours
What: The DuPage County Historical Museum kicks off its annual architecture and kids walking tour programs. When: Through September by appointment Where: DuPage County Historical Museum, 102 E. Wesley St. Info: Call 630-510-4941 or email email@example.com for reservations.
Free parking at Cantigny Park for Wheaton residents
What: Cantigny will provide free parking for Wheaton residents during Preservation Week. When: May 2 to 12, normal business hours Where: Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road Info: www.Cantigny.org, 630-668-5161
Notable historic locations open to the public
• Hurley Gardens – 1010 Creekside Drive • Original 10 blocks of Wheaton – Front and Main streets to Hale Drive and Liberty Street • Former home of Marcellus E. Jones – 221 E. Illinois St. • Grote Reber radio telescope construction site – 212 W. Karlskoga Ave. • Adams Park – 201 N. Main St. • Warren Lyons Wheaton home site – 623 S. Naperville Road • Memorial Park, former home of Judge Elbert Gary – 208 W. Union Ave. • Wheaton Cemetery – 1209 Warrenville Road