Waukegan Park District

Waukegan Historical Society Information

Waukegan History Museum

Historical Happenings - Waukegan Historical Society

The Waukegan History Museum is located in Bowen Park-1917 N. Sheridan Road, Waukegan, IL 60087 and is operated by the Waukegan Historical Society and the Waukegan Park District.  For more information please contact the Waukegan Historical Society at 847-336-1859, email museum@waukeganhistorical.org, or visit www.waukeganhistorical.org














Waukegan History Book, available for purchase.


Waukegan: A History

The Waukegan Historical Society is pleased to announce their new publication Waukegan: A History by local historian/author Ed Link.

Waukegan is a city that has evolved from an area inhabited by Native Americans, to a trading post, to an agricultural hub, to a destination of industry, and finally to a service-based economy.  It is a city that reflects the unique cultures and heritages of people who have come from all over the world to call Waukegan their home. 

Ed Link’s lively text explores the rich and diverse history of Waukegan and takes the reader from its earliest beginnings to today.

Over 200 photographs, maps, and other images from the Waukegan Historical Society archives and other sources, including many never previously published, bring the story of Waukegan to life.

Book is available for purchase at the Waukegan History Museum -1917 N. Sheridan Road, Waukegan, IL 60087.


Tour: Beautiful Bowen Park Guided Tour

Schedule a time to take a free guided tour of beautiful Bowen Park! On the tour you will learn about the early years of the property when it was a farm, the 50 years when the Jane Addams Hull House operated the Bowen Country Club, and the later years as Waukegan’s largest park. The Bowen Country Club, operated by the Jane Addams Hull House of Chicago was a summer camp for the underprivileged children of Chicago that operated from 1912 to 1962.  You will learn about the buildings that were constructed for the camp and the many things that were offered to the campers.  Walking on the trails in the park, flowers and wildlife will be pointed out along with discussion on how the park’s natural habitat is being preserved. The tour will start outside of the Waukegan History Museum and will conclude with a tour of Lilac Cottage. The tour will last approximately 1 to 1.5 hours.  Walking will include hills, trails, and uneven ground.  Please contact the Waukegan History Museum to schedule a tour.



Historic Guided Walking Tour Waukegan’s Civil War Sites

Waukegan History Museum of the Waukegan Park District and the Waukegan Historical Society has a free guided walking tour titled "Waukegan’s Civil War Sites" on Saturday, September 6, 2014 (ID #4571).  

On the walking tour, led by Museum Supervisor, Ty Rohrer, participants will learn the history of Waukegan relating to the time of the Civil War (1861-1865).  The reactions to the start of the war, local war efforts, famous local soldiers as well as events leading up to the war including the Underground Railroad and Abraham Lincoln's visit to Waukegan will be highlighted throughout the tour.  This free guided walking tour starts promptly at 9:30am at the Waukegan Park District’s Veterans Memorial Plaza located on the southwest corner of Washington Street and West Street in Washington Park.  The tour lasts approximately 1.5 hours. 

For all walking tours, please dress accordingly with comfortable walking shoes and also bring something to drink.  Tours will be cancelled if raining or other inclement weather. 

To register for this free guided walking tours, please call the Waukegan Park District Jack Benny Center for the Arts at 847-360-4740.  Location of the Jack Benny Center is 39 Jack Benny Drive in Bowen Park.  Register online at www.waukeganparks.org.  Pre-registration is required.



Tour of Homes

Sunday, June TBA 2015

The annual Tour of Homes is a self-guided tour that showcases selected, beautiful homes in Waukegan. Participants are able to learn the history of some of the finest homes in the city as well as tour their interiors.  The Tour of Homes, started in 1969, is the main fundraiser of the Waukegan Historical Society.

General Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Jack Benny Center, 39 Jack Benny Drive, Bowen Park. Exact cash or checks only




Oakwood Cemetery Walk

The 20th Annual Oakwood Cemetery Walk's event theme is "Firsts in Waukegan". The event will be on Saturday, September 20 from 12-3:30pm, rain or shine.

Featured stories include:  1st Waukegan Fair, 1st Waukegan Baseball Team, Local Inventions, Glen Rock Pop, 1st Airplane Ride, Academy Theatre, 1st Telephone, 1st Lighthouse

Ticket prices are: $3 in advance and $5 day of. Advanced tickets can be purchased at: the Jack Benny Center for the Arts, 39 Jack Benny Center Dr in Bowen Park.

Online registration is available @ www.waukeganparks.org, please use the following program numbers:

12:00pm bus - #4605

12:30pm bus - 4606

1:30pm bus - #4607

2:00pm bus - #4608

3:15pm bus - #4609

*there is no public parking at Oakwood Cemetery during this event


Click here for flyer.



Outreach Programs

Free History Programs from the Waukegan Historical Society and Waukegan Park District

For your organization, group, social event, or classroom.

Native American History of the Waukegan Area

*Early settlers of Little Fort

Waukegan and the Underground Railroad

Abraham Lincoln Goes to Waukegan

The Civil War: The War Efforts in Waukegan

*Waukegan’s Famous Civil War Drummer Boys

*The Early Industry Worker

“Firsts” in Waukegan

Waukegan: A History of Immigration

Lake Michigan History and the Lady Elgin Shipwreck

Waukegan’s African American History

Influential Women of Waukegan’s Past

Prominent Events and Visitors of Waukegan

Edward Amet and the Motion Picture Industry in Waukegan

Ray Bradbury: Waukegan’s Influence on a Visionary

Jack Benny: From Waukegan to Hollywood

*Haunted Waukegan

*“What-Cha-Ma-Call-It” History Trunk (hands on program)

*Guided Neighborhood Walking Tours

*for school groups only (all other programs are for both school and adult groups)

  • Program length is 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Many programs are multimedia presentations with hands-on artifacts.
  • Programs presented in the schools are based on Illinois Social Sciences Performance Standards.
  • Programs can be given for multiple classrooms on the same day.
  • Programs able to be scheduled to be given on a weekly basis.
  • Presenter is the Supervisor of the Waukegan History Museum.
  • 250 programs presented in the last 2 years reaching over 5,000 students and adults.


Waukegan History Museum

1917 N. Sheridan Road

Waukegan, IL 60087






For Educators and Youth Leaders
All programs are free!
We offer:

  • Guided Museum Tours (All Grades)
  • Guided Bus Tours (All Grades)
  • Classroom Presentations (All Grades)          
  • Library Research (All Grades)
  • Research assistance of Chicago Metro History Fair (All Grades)
  • The History of Waukegan, Illinois Teacher’s Guide (4th Grade)

For more information please contact us.

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