• frances willard slider

    Visionary Feminist

    Social Justice Advocate

    Political Activist

  • rest-cottage

    National Historic Landmark

    Original “Rest Cottage” Portion Built in 1865

    Part of “Old Timers Row” - Evanston’s Oldest Neighborhood

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6

Please note that Willard House is closed for tours at this time due to interior restoration work. However, SEE BELOW for updates on progress and upcoming events.

Announcements and Updates

Restoration Update

Things are picking up again here at the House. The trim in each room has already been sanded and primed. By the end of the week, all of the trim should have a two coats of finish paint. In order to prepare the rooms for painting, the edges of the carpets were removed so that the base shoe is painted all the way down to the flooring. This revealed the raw floor boards in each room. The most interesting revelation is in the Office. We can now see a section of the floor that was under two different heaters used at different times over the years. You can see a cut-out where the original heat source, the coal stove, used to sit. We do not have specific evidence, but likely the cut-out had a hearth pad on which the stove sat.  (Bad idea to put an object containing fire directly on a wood surface!) On either side of the cut-out, closer to the wall, are two metal disks which represent where the pipes for the original radiator in the room used to come through the floor.  We do not have an historic image that shows the coal stove, but we do have one that shows the original placement of the radiator.


Floor by the west wall of the Office

Floor by the west wall of the Office






Historic image (ca. 1930?) of the west wall of the Office showing a radiator

Historic image (ca. 1930?) of the west wall of the Office showing a radiator














What: Walking Tour through Evanston’s Amazing Women’s History

When: Saturday, June 18, 2016, 11 am-12:30 pm

Where: Frances Willard House, 1730 Chicago Avenue

Visit the places where Evanston women made history on this walking tour through downtown Evanston. Starting at the Frances Willard House (celebrating its 150th birthday this year!) and traveling through the nearby neighborhood, this tour will highlight the stories of Evanston women and women’s organizations. The tour is co-sponsored by the Frances Willard Historical Association and the Evanston Women’s History Project at the Evanston History Center. Kris Hartzell, EHC’s Director of Facilities and Visitor Services will give the tour.

The tour will take place on Saturday, June 18th from 11-12:30 pm and begin and end at the Willard House at 1730 Chicago Avenue. The fee is $20 per person ($15 for EHC and FWHA members) and reservations are suggested. Please RSVP to info@franceswillardhouse.org or you can make a reservation with your payment by going to our Donate Page.

Featured Collections Object

This music box was given to Frances Willard as a memorial gift after Mother Willard passed away in 1892.  It was made in Geneva, Switzerland and has a “double mandoline effect”.  It was given to Willard in 1894 by Countess Somers, the mother of Willard’s close friend and British counterpart Lady Henry Somerset. Knowing that Willard thought of purchasing a small music box Countess Somers told her that she would like to give her a music box and she told her that she might select the music it should play. Willard at once said “I had not thought that such a thing were possible but if I can have just exactly the music I would most prize in a music box it would be the six hymns that Mother loved the best.” The list was furnished for the manufacturers as it appears in the music box, but when Lady Henry arranged the music she did not recollect that the English tune for “Nearer My God to Thee” is different from the American tune for that hymn, hence the one on the list is unfamiliar to most Americans.

You can listen to a recording of the music box by clicking on the Play button below.


web design by cpe design