The Evanston History Center lives at the Dawes House.
The Evanston History Center collects, preserves, and interprets the rich history of the City of Evanston and all its people through tours, exhibits, educational programs, community events, and research facilities.
Step into the home of Former U.S. Vice President, ambassador to Great Britain, and Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Charles Gates Dawes’ magnificent home, now a National Historic Landmark, was built by Dr. Robert Sheppard in 1894 on two acres overlooking Lake Michigan. It served as the Dawes family home from 1909 until 1957.
Faithfully restored and carefully conserved, this chateauesque residence, designed by architect Henry Edwards-Ficken, of New York, has twenty-five rooms, including a cherry paneled library, a vaulted dining room with a musicians’ gallery, six bedrooms, and twelve fireplaces.
Our home is your home.
Each year, the Evanston History Center welcomes 4,500 visitors to the National historic Landmark Charles Gates Dawes House to learn about Dawes and Evanston’s history, tour the house, and research families and homes.
We offer lively docent-led walking tours of Evanston neighborhoods, downtown, and the lakefront. The tours provide fun and fascinating insights into the history of Evanston, its architecture, and the cultural landscape.
Lectures, like the Under the Buffalo series, reach a broad audience interested in history, art, and culture. Topics range widely—from green architecture and the underground railroad to Vivian Maier, woman’s suffrage, and sustainable farming.
Friends and neighbors explore neighborhoods during the Annual Mothers Day Walk, cool off at the annual ice cream social in July, and celebrate the holidays at the winter open house.
See how Evanston’s past informs today.
Explore the area that would become Evanston in 1863 and learn about the city’s growth and development.
Discover Daniel Burnham and why he called Evanston “the most beautiful city in the world.”
Explore the wonderful diversity of Evanston’s beautiful architecture, from the Greek Revival and Gothic, through Queen Anne and Tudor Revival, to the Prairie School and mid-century modern.
Discover the architecture of Evanston’s hometown architects: Daniel Burnham, William Holabird, Dwight Perkins, Myron Hunt, and Thomas Tallmadge. Learn the stories of the homeowners who hired them, as well as architects, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Burley Griffin, George Maher, and John Van Bergen.
Learn more about families, houses, neighborhoods, and the city of Evanston.
Beginning with an early record book rescued from a dustbin in 1898, Evanston History Center’s collections have grown to more than 100,000 artifacts, including decorative arts, rare books, documents, maps, photographs and oral histories, and a nationally renowned costume collection.
Our research room provides access to a significant archive of historical materials and records, including biographical files, city directories and phone books, building permits, and local newspapers, among other sources.