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THE HISTORY OF THE GLOS MANSION The Glos mansion is a historical landmark of Elmhurst Illinois.
The original building was built in 1874 on the southeast corner of York street and park avenue. This house is also Victorian. A Victorian house is a type of house popularized in the Victorian era. The victorian era was from 1837 to 1901. They are often three stories high with an octagonal or rounded tower, a wraparound porch and great attention paid to detail.glos_web_1.jpg In 1886 the first addition was added to the house Henry decided to build off the south end of the house. Then again in 1896 he put another addition on the house and this time he added a 3rd story to the house which was used as a public hall. This hall had many uses some of them were dances, music recitals, patriotic pageants, and
even school programs at times.
After Henry added on the 3rd story to his house the Elmhurst Enterprise reported that the improvements on Henry Glos’s business block are about finished making it one of the finest buildings in the county.GlosBlockOrn_web_1.jpg
After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Elmhurst became a permanent refuge for a number of Chicago families.
Some new homes were built in the northwest section, on a tract of land called the Emerson subdivision. Several new businesses opened along York Street, including the hardware store of Adam S. Glos in 1872, and Henry L. Glos's general store 1874. This wasn’t the only thing besides a house and a public hall that this mansion would be. Over the years the Glos mansion was a post office, grocery store and even the first bank in Elmhurst. This mansion was massive enough to house the first public library in 1916.

What Elmhurst Was Like in the 1900's

Golf had an early beginning in Elmhurst. In 1900, a nine-hole golf course opened known as The Elmhurst Golf Club. The course was a total of 70 acres. It reached from Grace Avenue west to Quarry Road and from Elm Park Avenue north to Alexander Boulevard. The clubhouse was designed by Prairie style architect Walter Burley Griffin. In 1905 the annual membership fee was $25.00. Today the golf course is still in operation at 900 N. Wood Dale Road in Addison. It was renamed Oak Meadows Golf Course in 1986. Today you can pay $32 per player to golf 18 holes or $22 per player to golf 9 holes.

Elmhurst had an airport for almost 30 years. The airport, originally covering 160 acres, was located between Lake Street and Grand Avenue and between Church Road and Route 83. It started when Joe James landed his biplane on some land in north Elmhurst in 1923. The Elmhurst Airport was incorporated in the year of 1929. The airport had flight schools, commercial and private planes and support services. The airport had two grass runways. There were no runway lights until the last years of the airport’s operation. This made landing during the night very challenging.

The condition of the streets was a major issue at the time. On March 7, 1921 City Council passed an ordinance to pave York Street from Lake Street to St. Charles Road; First Street from Haven to Addison; and Park Avenue from Kenilworth to Prospect. The American Asphalt Paving Company got the job for $175,615 and a promise to complete it within 90 days. People of Elmhurst realized that the paving would be completed on Labor Day, so they thought it would be appropriate to plan a celebration to mark the occasion.yorkrd_web.jpg

In 1900 Elmhurst had 1,728 residents. Elmhurst was incorporated as a city in 1882. There were many issues addressed by the Village Board. Some included installation of cement sidewalks, streetlights, sewers, stone crosswalks, and the development of new subdivisions. In 1900 they passed an ordinance providing a street numbering plan. The village limits were from North Ave. to St. Charles Road and from Poplar Ave. to Myrtle/Hagans with an extension west to Villa Ave. and a small triangular area at Lake Street, North Avenue and Emroy. The village consisted of large homes, small brick and frame homes, and farms. There was a strong German influence on the community sense most of the residents were German.

There was a stone quarry at West Avenue in Elmhurst. The limestone ridge was a distinctive part of the quarry. Early settlers didn’t want to farm on high ground, which was what the quarry was. The settlers also used stone outcroppings for foundations and made bricks from broken-up clay. The railroad made it easy to quarry on a large scale. Just outside the city limits was a rail road that transferred cut stone and paving materials to much of the Midwest. The quarry was a big employer for many years.

.These people were the Elmhurst-Chicago Stone Company employees, 1894

-Visionary- An Elmhurst Retrospective

Artifacts and Exhibits of the Elmhurst Historical Museum
The Elmhurst Historical Museum has a large gallery with artifacts and exhibits. Built in 1892, the Museum was originally a mansion known as the Glos Mansion. Later, It became the Museum we know today.


The Museum has a job, believe it or not. The museum’s duty is to:

  • The museum cares and keeps track of significant artifacts, records and documents, photographs, audio-visual materials, and publications.
  • The staff takes care of the significant building, the Glos Mansion.
  • Presenting historical concepts and museum collections to the public through exhibits, educational programs, tours and publications.
  • Supporting research related to local history and Museum collections.
  • Offering cultural and leisure opportunities related to community history and heritage.

The Museum holds over 7,000 historical artifacts relating to the museum, a permanent collection of historic photographic images numbering 10,000; more than 300 linear feet of personal, business, and City records; a library of more than 500 books; microfilm copies of Elmhurst newspapers, censuses, and Sanborn Fire Insurance maps. The Museum's exhibits include a permanent exhibit examining Elmhurst as a model of suburbanization, temporary exhibits developed from the museum collection, and travelling exhibits from other museums and such. Educational programs are offered to adults, families, schools, and special audiences. These include, gallery tours, craft demonstrations, classroom visits, tours of Elmhurst neighborhoods, holiday programs, lectures, and symposia.

Here are a few currently ongoing exhibits in the museum:

Visions of Home
This exhibit tells the story of Elmhurst from its beginnings as a prairie village to a modern Midwestern suburb. You can examine items and images of our town's history from 1834 to the present.
From Mansion to Museum
This is a permanent display that traces the evolution of the Glos Mansion, from private residence, to public institution. Having served as both City Hall and a museum after being a home for 40 years, the Glos Mansion has changed a lot. The exhibit includes drawings and furnishings from various time periods.
50 Years of Collecting: You Won't Believe What's Here!
This exhibit celebrates the museum's 50th Anniversary with special artifacts like letters written to a local Civil War soldier, early maps of the area, and Carl Sandburg's hat. You can find out how items get into the museum, how it has changed over the years, and what the future has in store.

One of the major exhibits in the Museum are Etchings by Lee Sturges. He was a great artist and won several awards for his wonderful pictures. Lee made 150 etchings after 1910. His etchings would represent nature, or things related to it. Lee specialized in all types of etchings, such as line etching, soft ground, dry point, and aquatint. Etchings are mostly made on copper but occasionally zinc. He was a great artist and the museum has been able to recover his work.


Another collection in the museum that comes from Germany is the Dresden ornaments. These artifacts have amazing detail, and were made in Dresden and Leipzig Germany. They were made between 1800 and 1914. They look like they’re made out of metal or plastic, but they’re not. The Dresden ornaments are made out of embossed and cut cardboard. They are factory made for a while, before being given to workers. These workers would add the detail that the ornaments are known for. They were collected by a service man in World War 1, and donated to the museum. No one knows the name of the man that donated them.


The museum also collects antiques. The cameras in the museum are living proof of that. They were donated by various people. Interestingly, some of them were made in 1914! The cameras are still working, but outdated.