Brookfield Historical Society

Preserving the Past for the People of Today

8820 1/2 Brookfield Avenue, Brookfield, Illinois 60513

Wednesday, April 23, 7:30 pm – Meeting, speaker on history and role of MWRDGC

Sunday, May 4, 1:00-4:00 pm – Annual Open House celebrating 125 years

Sunday, May 25, 1:00-4:00 pm – Station open for visitors

Wednesday, May 28, 7:30 pm – Meeting and member show-and-tell

Sunday, June 22, 1:00-4:00 pm – Station open for visitors

Wednesday, June 25, 7:30 pm – Meeting, presentation on the 1871 Chicago Fire

Sunday, July 27, 1:00-4:00 pm – Station open for visitors

 

 

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Open the Doors and Come In!

Welcome to the Brookfield Historical Society site. We are based in the Grossdale Station, which is over 120 years old! We invite you to find out more by exploring this site, and by visiting the station.

The station, located on Brookfield Avenue next to Salt Creek, houses many momentoes and artifacts from Brookfield's past. The train station was built in 1889 by Samuel Eberly Gross, the founder of the village of Grossdale, which was renamed Brookfield in 1905. The station is the oldest surviving public building in Brookfield and the oldest surviving station on the Burlington commuter line. The bottom floor is a museum of Brookfield's past. On the second floor is a station master's apartment. This was occupied until the 1960s.

The station was saved from demolition in 1981 through the efforts of the society, and was moved to its current location from accross the street, just west of the present commuter station. Since saving and moving the building, the society has continued to make renovations and operate it as a museum. It is the village's only building listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The society holds monthly meetings on the fourth Friday of most months, at 7:30 PM. Several times a year it holds programs of special historical interest. Some programs have been on the play writing ability of S. E. Gross, Brookfield bungalows, and the history of local schools.

Thank you for your interest in preserving this valuable historical and cultural asset for our community.

About the Brookfield Historical Society

The first Brookfield Historical Society began in 1939, followed by a group formed for Brookfield's Diamond Jubilee celebration in 1968. The present society was formed in 1977 when Greg Gall ran an advertisement in a local newspaper asking other history minded citizens to join him in forming an historical society. His impetus was the Burlington Railroad's announced plans to demolish the 1889 train station, which had been allowed to deteriorate.The society proceeded, against almost overwhelming odds, to generate support and funding to have the old station moved from its original site south of the tracks near Prairie Avenue.

April 9, 1981 was the day of the move. The town was filled with an air of excitement. A large crowd was gathered with some people expecting to see the old building collapse into a pile of rubble. The event was even covered by the Chicago television stations. The tension was palpable as the workmen painstakingly coaxed the aged structure onto the moving truck bed. Inch by inch, over the better part of the day, the station was maneuvered across the tracks to where it now stands. Its present location is the site of the 1899 village hall.

Now, more than thirty years later, preserving the old Prairie Avenue (Grossdale) railroad station remains the society's number one goal. The station also serves as a museum about Brookfield and the surrounding area. Other goals are to add to the cultural activities in town and to provide education through information on Brookfield's history.

The society exists only through the efforts of our active and friendly members. We welcome your interest and inquiries. We cordially invite you to attend one of our meetings. Learn about joining or volunteering.