About WilmetteThe site of Wilmette, on Lake Michigan, originally belonged to a Native American woman named Archange, who received a land grant under the Treaty of Prairie du Chien in 1829. She named the property for her French-Canadian husband, Antoine Ouilmette.
As the community developed, a small portion became known as “No Man's Land,” as it was at this site that fireworks, illegal in other localities, were sold; the area was annexed into Wilmette in 1942. Wilmette attained further notoriety in 1860, when a lumber schooner struck the Lady Elgin and 293 people died. Dramatic changes took place 1908-10 when the Chicago Sanitary District experimented with a new waterway system. The landfills created by this work were later transformed into Gillson Park. The city is an exclusive residential area with many old homes on large acreages.
Exhibits describing Wilmette’s history are housed in the Wilmette Historical Museum , 609 Ridge Rd.; phone (847) 853-7666. Occupying the 1896 Gross Point Village Hall, the museum describes the community’s origins and its German heritage through displays of antiques, clothing and photographs. A limestone jail cell in the building’s basement has been refurbished to appear as it did in the early 20th century.
Visitor Centers Wilmette/Kenilworth Chamber of Commerce 351 Linden Ave. Wilmette, IL 60091. Phone:(847)251-3800
Things to Do Baha'i House of Worship
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