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The Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society collects, preserves and shares the story of the diverse community of Chicago’s far north side. Established in 1975 by local residents who believed their part of Chicago was a place with much to celebrate, the Society today serves the community through its publications, architectural tours, and various educational and outreach efforts.
December 1999 -- Since its inception on July 26, 1975, the Society has acquired an impressive collection of photographs, documents and memorabilia covering the communities of Rogers Park and West Ridge. Over 7,000 photographs, some dating to the 1870s, are in our collection. Many printed materials, including booklets, brochures, historical writeups and information related to local community organizations are also a part of the collection. Larger items, such as furniture, clothing and building artifacts have also been accumulated. Through donations and acquisitions, the collection is constantly expanding. Education is a primary concern of the Society. Activities include: rotating exhibits in the museum; slide presentations to local groups; exhibits of historical materials at area events; an ongoing oral history program; assistance to students researching local history; sponsorship of special interest programs, and the presentation of monetary awards to high school and elementary students for historical projects. Rogers Park and West Ridge are two of Chicago's most diverse communities. This diversity is reflected in its ethnic makeup, its religious associations and its economic spectrum. More than 77 languages are spoken in local grammar schools which is a testimonial to this diversity. Newcomers from around the world share the neighborhood with people whose ancestors arrived here as early as the 1830s. One of the ongoing goals is to include persons from diverse groups in leadership roles and in membership and to represent their pasts and cultures in the historical collections. The current history of Rogers Park and West Ridge is also a concern of the Society. Many members, through their involvement in civic organizations, local block clubs, beautification efforts and development projects, are making a positive impact for future generations. Through all of its activities, the Society hopes to promote growth and pride in the community. A fund started in 1989 enabled the Society to purchase a permanent facility to maintain a museum and educational research center. This potential landmark building was acquired in October of 1995 and has enabled the Society to display, organize, conserve and educate. Activities emphasize interactive learning experiences for varying ages and interest groups. Tours and special in-house programs are offered to school students, local residents and other visitors. One of the priorities will be a computerized research center. This will serve as a home-base for outreach programs. Volunteers are a mainstay of the organization. It is our hope to remain a permanent and vital institution with roots in the past, involvement in the present, and dedication to future generations of the community.
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