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The site of Wilmette, on Lake Michigan, originally belonged to an American Indian woman who received a land grant under the Treaty of Prairie du Chien in 1829. She named the property for her Canadian husband, Antoine Ouilmette.
As the community developed, a small portion became known as "No Man's Land," as it was at this site that fireworks, illegal in other localities, were sold. Wilmette attained further notoriety in 1860, when a lumber schooner struck the Lady Elgin and 293 people died. Dramatic changes took place from 1908-1910 when the Chicago Sanitary District experimented with a new waterway system. The landfills created by this work were later transformed into Gilson Park Beach. The site is an exclusive residential area with many old homes on large acreages.
Points of Interest
The Wilmette Chamber of Commerce is located at 1150 Wilmette AVE, Wilmette, IL 60091. Phone 847.251.3800.
The Baha'i House of Worship at Sheridan RD and Linden AVE, was built by the followers of Baha'u'llah, founder of the Baha'I faith. Symbolizing its basic principles of the oneness of God, religion and mankind, the temple is a nine-sided structure surmounted by a dome. Tours are available daily 10-5 by request. Devotions are held MON-SAT at 12:15 and SUN at 1:15 and are often followed by informative meetings in the visitor center. Free. Phone 847.853.2300.
The Kohl Children's Museum is at 165 Green Bay RD; take I-94 Lake AVE exit 3 miles east to Green Bay RD, then 5 blocks south. Based on the common concept that children learn by doing, the museum is structured to allow a hands-on understanding of the world of science, basic life skills, the arts, and world cultures. Exhibits include "People," a celebration of diversity; "All Aboard," a journey through Chicago; and the Starmax Technology Center, which is designed to encourage computer use. Allow 2 hours minimum. The museum is closed major holidays. Phone 847.256.6056 for prices and information.