Public Guided Tours
The Evanston History Center is located at 225 Greenwood Street, Evanston, IL 60201 (View map)
The Evanston History Center will fully reopen for tours on July 1st. Reservations for individual tours will no longer be required, and Sunday tours will be reinstated beginning July 11th. Tour days are Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons, beginning on the hour at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 PM. The house closes at 4:00 PM.
Groups of more than five people require an advance reservation. We reserve the right to restrict the number of people in the house for any given tour.
*Mask Policy: All visitors to the Evanston History Center must wear a mask for the duration of their visit inside the Dawes House.
Admission is $10 per person, payable by credit card (VISA and MasterCard only), check (payable to Evanston History Center) or cash (exact change). Members are always free!
The Dawes House is occasionally closed for tours, check for closures before planning your visit.
Admission for non-members is $10 per person. Members are always free! Click here to become a member.
Admission to the Dawes House includes a self-guided tour of the historic home of former Vice President Charles Gates Dawes, entrance to the permanent exhibit on Evanston history, Milestones & Memories, and entrance to the temporary exhibits.
Free street parking is available on Greenwood Street.
The Evanston History Center is wheelchair accessible on the first floor only. There is a wheelchair lift on the driveway and a ramp into the house. The lift must be operated by a staff person, please notify the front desk when upon arrival. The second floor has limited accessibility. An elevator goes to the second floor and basement, it does not accommodate modern wheelchairs and must be operated by a staff person..
There are 6 stairs up to the front door with railings. For additional information or specific inquires, please call 847-475-3410.
For guests’ comfort, the Center does have climate control throughout the year.
Photography is allowed at the Evanston History Center, with the following conditions:
- Photographs are for personal use only and may not be reproduced or sold without the written permission of the Center.
- Only non-flash photography is permitted.
Private Guided Tours
The EHC welcomes separate group tours, independent of regular tour hours, for groups of 8 or more. The tour takes approximately 45 minutes, with time at the end for viewing the exhibits.
Themed tours are available, such as servant life (“Front Stairs, Back Stairs”), the arts (“A Collection of Tiffanys”), architecture, technological change, and of course, “A Crowded Life: Charles Dawes”.Group tour fees are $7.50 for Seniors and Children 6-12, $10 for Adults.
To make a group tour reservation, please call 847-475-3410 or email Kris Hartzell. Reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance.
School Group Tours
School group tours are available. The tour includes an interactive exhibit on Evanston history.
Please visit the Education page for a selection of pre-and post-visit activities for the classroom. We can help tailor your school group tour according to a variety of lesson plans.
To get more information on school group tour options, please call 847-475-3410 or email Kris Hartzell.
$5 per person, group leaders are free
The Evanston History Center offers lively docent-led walking tours of Evanston neighborhoods, downtown, and the lakefront. The tours provide fun and fascinating insights into the history of Evanston, its architecture, and the cultural landscape.
2022 brings three NEW tours exploring Evanston’s Prairie School architecture!
Evanston’s collection of noteworthy Prairie School houses exceeds the limits of a single walking tour, so we are offering three distinct tours in three areas on three different dates. Purchase the package of all three for a special price.
Most tours, unless otherwise stated, meet at the Evanston History Center, 225 Greenwood Street, Evanston. Please be sure to confirm the location of the start of the tour.
Tours vary and are occasionally repeated.
Tours begin at 11:00 AM and last for 90 minutes.
The cost is $20 per person/$15 for members unless otherwise stated. Contactless payment is required when registering for a tour.
Prairie School package: $50, $40 for members.
Reservations and payments must be made in advance. RSVP to Kris Hartzell, or 847-475-3410.
There is a limit of 20 guests per tour. We do reserve the right to cancel due to weather or unforeseen circumstances.
Free street parking is available on Greenwood Street.
Types of Tours and tour dates
Prairie School #1 – Lakeshore Historic District – June 4, 2022
The first Prairie School tour will take place in the south-central area of the Lakeshore Historic District. Tour begins at the Evanston History Center and goes south to Lee Street and back. Highlights include the iconic Carter House by Walter Burley Griffin, the Linthicum House by Tallmadge & Watson, and the Ballard House by John Van Bergen.
Architectural Evanston – June 18, 2022
Trace the growth of Evanston through its architecture, from early Greek Revival farmhouses, through Gothic cottages, Colonial and Tudor Revivals, to contemporary updates of historic designs. Learn about the builders, the architects, and the homeowners who shaped today’s built environment.
Historic Apartment Buildings – July 9, 2022
This tour meets on the northwest corner of Hinman Avenue and Main Street
This tour through southeast Evanston will explore how different architectural styles popular for Evanston’s houses were also applied to its apartment buildings. Discover how multi-family housing emerged in Evanston and adapted to changes in taste and technology.
Burnham in Evanston – July 23
Daniel Burnham, Chicago’s most well-known architect, chose to live in what he called “bucolic Evanston.” Learn about his life and his relationship to the community while viewing the work he did in his neighborhood. Discover why he also called Evanston “the most beautiful city in the world.”
Prairie School #2 – North Evanston – August 6, 2022
This tour meets at Quinlan Park – the Intersection of Lincoln Street, Elm Street and Pioneer
Beginning in the park across from Dwight Perkins’ own home and Robert Spencer’s “dollhouses,” the tour also includes examples of Frank Lloyd Wright and Evanston native son Thomas Tallmadge. View their avant-garde designs and learn about their relationships to Evanston.
Evanston Brick by Brick – August 20, 2022
This tour meets at the corner of Hinman Avenue and Main Street
An exploration of the beautiful materials to compose Evanston’s remarkable architecture. Observe how the colors, textures, and patterns of building materials such as stone, terra cotta, brick, and tile enhance the design of a building.
Evanston’s Lakefront – September 3, 2022
Stroll along Evanston’s lakefront and explore how the natural environment of Evanston affected the development of the community and the University. See how the lake provided scenic beauty and economic opportunities, along with environmental risks.
Evanston Women’s History – September 17, 2022
This tour meets at Frances Willard House, 1730 Chicago Avenue, Evanston
Discover why so many Evanston women became leaders in the fight for women’s rights. Explore how Evanston’s environment fostered women’s independence and ability to succeed despite societal constraints. Tour begins at Willard House and travels through southeast Evanston.
Prairie School #3 – Ridge Historic District – October 1, 2022
This tour begins in front of Dewey School at Wesley Avenue and Elinor Place
The Ridge Historic District contains a rich concentration of Prairie School designs, making this a more geographically compact tour than the other two. Discover how one family fostered the growth of the movement and created this collection of treasures.
Downtown Evanston – October 15, 2022
This tour begins at Fountain Square
Evanston’s Fountain Square was planned as the central commercial district. Discover how the fountain and the square have transformed over time, reflecting changing urban norms. Explore the variety of buildings and architectural styles in the downtown area and discover the history of civic and commercial life, including the early and prolific history of Evanston’s Black professional community.
Group walking tours can be scheduled by appointment. To get more information on group walking tour options, please contact us at (847) 475-3410 or e-mail Kris Hartzell.