Western Springs archives open while museum closed to replace stairs
Kimberly Knake and Walter Knake wrap up fragile items as volunteers take pictures off the walls and packing up fragile items in the Western Springs Historical Museum. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 21, 2012 1:22PM
WESTERN SPRINGS — History lovers can still dive into the past through the Western Springs Historical Society’s archives while the museum is temporarily closed.
Volunteers took down pictures and began wrapping artifacts Sept. 13 while the museum is closed during a project to replace the original limestone stairs from 1899.
Though actual construction is expected to begin Sept. 24, volunteers need time to pack everything up and cover the interior with plastic tarps, said Allyson Zak, historical society president.
“We are wrapping all breakables so that no vibrations form the demolition will break them,” Zak explained. “With round walls, we worry that everything will fall down when jack hammering starts.”
During construction, expected to take about six weeks, residents are invited to the Grand Avenue Community Center, 4211 Grand Ave., to visit the society’s archives on the second floor.
A special open house will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 6 in addition to the regularly scheduled hours from 9 to noon on Tuesdays. The archives house a variety of files on homes, families and businesses, as well as photos.
“We are excited to invite people who have an interest in researching their homes to our archives,” Zak said. “Sometimes we have large files on homes and for others, we have nothing. It just depends what people have given us about their homes, or if something newsworthy happened in the home.”
Matt Supert, director of Municipal Services, said the water tower stairs will be replaced with a concrete mixture matching the stone in parts of the structure, largely made of red brick.
The village has budgeted $100,000 for the project, and a citizens group has raised an additional $40,000 for enhancements around the tower and surrounding park. One component is a commemorative medallion to be embedded in a sidewalk in front of the tower.
After the construction, Zak said volunteers will return to clean up and put everything back in place.
“We are hoping to be open in time for the Western Springs Christmas Walk with some new exhibits, kind of a grand re-opening,” she said.