Skokie History Project

In 2001, Skokie Public Library partnered with the Skokie Historical Society and digitized more than 450 photographs, maps, and documents from the Historical Society. The project was funded by a grant from the Illinois State Library, Jesse White, State Librarian.

If you have questions or comments about this project or about Skokie history, send an email to a Skokie Public Library Reference Librarian or contact the Information Services Desk at 847.673.3733.

Aerial photographs

Artifacts, documents, and signs

Businesses

Fire and police departments

Houses and apartment buildings

Maps

Metropolitan Sanitary Water District

Municipal buildings and services

 

Organizations

Parks and recreation

People and families

Religious buildings and congregations

Schools and class pictures

Street scenes

Train stations


Aerial Photographs

photograph from Aerial Photgraphs collectionThis is a collection of aerial photographs of Niles Center and Skokie, Illinois from 1890 to 1994. These photographs include true aerial photographs taken from airplanes as well as photographs taken of Skokie from above street level, such as from a roof or window. Be sure to look at the photographs taken over time, looking south from the steeple of St. Peter Catholic Church at the intersection of Niles Center Road and Lincoln Avenue. For street-level views of businesses in Skokie, see the Businesses Collection or of schools, see the Schools and Class Pictures Collection, or of street scenes, see the Street Scenes Collection.

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Artifacts, Documents, and Signs

photograph from Artifacts, Documents and Signs collectionThis is a collection of artifacts and documents from the collection of the Skokie Historical Society. The documents include the incorporation papers for the village of Niles Center, Illinois from 1888 and mail cancellations from the day before and the day after the name of the village was changed from Niles Center to Skokie in 1940. The artifacts include: a photograph of a nineteenth century vise, a sign from the Skokie Village Centennial celebration, and an auto vehicle tag from the 1940s. All of these materials are part of the collection of Skokie Historical Society. To see other documents, such as invoices from Niles Center businesses in the late 19th century, see the Businesses Collection  and for brochures from local organizations, see the Organizations Collection.

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Businesses

photograph from Business collectionThis is a collection of photographs and documents that help to tell the history of businesses in Skokie. Included here are photographs of businesses in Skokie, from the Klehm Brothers Store established in the 1860s, to the greenhouses used by the many farmers in Niles Center in the early history of the Village, to the changing businesses over time in Skokie from the 1800s to G.D. Searle in the 1980s, and to photographs of Skokie's oldest family-owned business, the Haben Funeral Home (formerly the Bradley and Haben Funeral Home). Also included in this collection are invoices from some of Skokie's early businesses, such as Peter Blameuser’s purchase of eight new horseshoes from Hermann Gehrhardt in January of 1903.

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Fire and Police Departments

photograph from Fire and Police Departments collectionThis is a collection of photographs of fire stations, fire fighters, and police officers in Niles Center and Skokie from 1851 to 1987. Included here are photographs of the Skokie Police Department with their motorcycles, circa 1950, and of the Niles Center Volunteer Fire Department in 1898.

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Houses and Apartment Buildings

photograph from Houses and Apartments collectionThis is a collection of photographs and documents of houses and apartment buildings in Skokie, Illinois and Niles Center, Illinois from the collection of the Skokie Historical Society. This collection includes photographs of the house of Henry Harms, one of Niles Center's founders, photographs of a historic log cabin, the construction of bungalows in 1926, and of the Bronx Apartment Building on Skokie Boulevard.

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Maps

image from Maps collectionThis is a collection of maps from the Skokie Historical Society. These maps include a surveyors' map of Gross Point Road from 1896 showing the properties owned by early Niles Center residents and a telephone exchange map from 1912.

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Metropolitan Sanitary Water District

photograph from Metropolitan Sanitary Water District collectionThis is a collection of photographs of the construction of the North Shore channel of the Metropolitan Sanitary Water District in Skokie, Illinois (formerly Niles Center, Illinois) and the District's facilities. These photographs are part of the collection of the Skokie Historical Society.

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Municipal Buildings and Services

photograph from Municipal Buildings and Services collectionThis is a collection of photographs of municipal buildings and related services in Niles Center, Illinois and Skokie, Illinois from the Skokie Historical Society. This collection includes images of the construction of the Skokie Village Hall, the Niles Center Post Office, and the Cook County Court House. Take a look at the Fire and Police Department Collection to see pictures of firehouses and fire fighters, and police officers and vehicles. Photographs of the construction of the Metropolitan Sanitary Water District are available. The Parks and Recreation Collection includes pictures of Oakton Park pool and Klehm's Picnic Grove. Photographs of schools in Niles Center and Skokie can be found in the Schools and Class Pictures Collection. The 1888 incorporation papers for Niles Center are in the Artifacts and Documents Collection.

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Organizations

photograph from Organizations collectionThis is a collection of photographs of Niles Center and Skokie, Illinois organizations and some related documents, such as brochures, directories, and incorporation papers from the Skokie Historical Society. This collection includes photographs of groups such as: the Luxembourg Brotherhood, Niles Center Athletic Baseball Team, the Bachelor Maiden Club, the Glamour Girls, the Skokie Drum and Bugle Corps, and the Jewish War Veterans Post 328.

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Parks and Recreation

photograph from Parks and Recreation collectionThis is a collection of photographs of public parks, amusement parks, and other recreational facilities in organizations and some related documents, such as brochures and directories. This collection includes photographs of George Klehm's Picnic Grove in 1928, the Skokie Park District's Oakton Park, and the Fun Fair Amusement Park from 1950s and 1960s.

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People and Families

photograph from People and Families collectionThis is a collection of photographs of people who lived in Skokie and Niles Center, Illinois from the collection of the Skokie Historical Society. These pictures include images of Skokie’s mayors and other officials as well as Niles Center’s early settlers and founders, including a tintype of Margaret Harrer Meyer in the 1800s, a picture of the Klehm family at the turn of the century, a photograph of Henry Harms in 1914, a group picture of Village officials ceremonially sweeping the street in the 1950s, and a portrait of Mayor Albert J. Smith in the 1960s.

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Religious Buildings and Congregations

photograph from Religious Buildings and Congregations collectionThis is a collection of photographs of churches and synagogues in Skokie, Illinois and Niles Center, Illinois from the Skokie Historical Society. This collection includes photographs of: St. Peter Evangelical Church, the Niles Township Jewish Congregation Building, St. Peter’s Catholic Church and some of their congregations.

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Schools and Class Pictures

photograph from Schools and Class Pictures collectionThis is a collection of photographs of public, private, home, and parochial school buildings and class portraits from Skokie, Illinois and Niles Center, Illinois from the Skokie Historical Society. Here you will find pictures from the Cook County School Home Garden Club in 1910, the Hillel Torah North Suburban Day School in 1985, and class portraits of children from the Fairview School in 1904, 1914, and 1931. Related documents such as report cards and graduation programs also are included.

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Street Scenes

photograph from Street Scenes collectionThis is a collection of photographs of street scenes and groups of buildings, both commercial and residential in Skokie, Illinois and Niles Center, Illinois from the Skokie Historical Society from the 1880s to the 1980s. Images in this collection include views of Dempster Street west from Bronx Avenue in 1926, Lincoln Avenue at Oakton Street in the 1960s, and the intersection of Cleveland Street and Floral Avenue in 1916.

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Train Stations

photograph from Train Stations collectionThis is a collection of photographs of trains and train stations in Skokie, Illinois and Niles Center, Illinois from the Skokie Historical Society. This collection of images includes a postcard of the Oakton Street “el” station around 1900 and the Dempster Street “el” dedication ceremony in 1926.