EVANSTON, IL – On Friday, February 1, 2019, a project was kicked off by the Center for Women’s History and Leadership (CWHL) to upgrade the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union’s (WCTU) Administration Building. Working with the Evanston architecture firm of McGuire Igleski & Associates, the project will focus on improvements for the safety and comfort of the staff and users of the Frances Willard Memorial Library and Archives and other areas of the building. The project is being funded in part by grants from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and from Landmarks Illinois.

The WCTU Administration Building, located at the back of 1730 Chicago Avenue in the WCTU Local Historic District in Evanston, was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. In 1910, the WCTU built the new Publications Building behind the Willard House to accommodate their publishing business. In 1922 the building was expanded to include offices for the WCTU headquarters and became the WCTU Administration Building. Both the original building and the addition were designed by noted architect Charles Ayars. In 1939, the centenary of Willard’s birth, Earl Reed, known for his skill as an architect of libraries, designed the addition to the building which was named the Frances Willard Memorial Library for Alcohol Research. Today, it houses the archives of Frances Willard, the WCTU, and related materials.

Glen Madeja, Executive Director of the CWHL, said, “This is a great step forward as part of our mission to safeguard the future of the property and ensure the legacy of the WCTU.  This and other activities recently completed and currently planned provide for the proper stewardship of the Frances Willard House Museum and the Frances Willard Memorial Library and Archives so that they remain open to the public and available to researchers long into the future.”


In 2018, the CWHL received a root2fruit alumni grant from the Evanston Community Foundation to fund a strategic planning and development initiative. The strategic plan is in process having identified eight critical success factors and ten key objectives grouped into four areas. The plans for each of the key objectives are in the process of being fleshed out. The development plan is also in process with plans being developed for upgraded fund-raising efforts and more focused appeals.

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