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Gregg House Museum

Gregg House Museum



Contact

Museum Phone: 630-969-8080
Curator’s Office: 630-969-8080 x104

Free Admission

Every Sunday: 1-3 pm
Every Wednesday: 1-3 pm
(Closed for the month of January)

Westmont Historical Society Membership

Membership forms can be mailed to 55 E. Richmond St. Westmont, IL 60559.

Become a member of the Westmont Historical Society and help preserve the rich heritage of Westmont. Call the Museum at (630) 969-8080 for more details.

Family membership: $25
Individual membership: $15

 

Westmont Historical Society Historical Marker Program:

  • The Framemakers

    Barb Latzel

    • Read more about The Framemakers Ceremony HERE.

MORE Businesses TO COME! 

Celebrate Westmont’s 100th Anniversary with Images of America: Westmont

Written by resident Maggie South, Images of America: Westmont includes over 100 historic photos recounting our history. Interested in purchasing a copy? You can get it from the Westmont Historical Society at a discounted rate of $17! Call (630) 969-8080, or visit 55 E. Richmond St., Westmont.

Volunteer Opportunities

The Museum and the Garden Club are seeking people of all ages who would like to make a difference in Westmont. Be a docent, assist with garden activities and upkeep, or digitize photos for our archives. We have volunteer opportunities to fit your interests. Call for more information.

Education and Scout Programs

Calling all teachers, students and scout groups! The Gregg House offers programs for elementary school aged children that fulfill state standards. Programs are available September through May. Scouts groups may earn badges for local lore and local history. Programs that include a craft will require a small fee.

Programs can be held at the Museum or are offered as outreach programs.

The following programs are available:

  • Excelsior Experience – Hands on architecture programs for grades 3 to 5
  • Gregg’s Mystery Gadgets -Identify items of the past for grades 2 to 5
  • Rural Westmont – Learn about the early days of Westmont for grades 1 to 3
  • Optical Toys – Zoetropes and Kaleidoscopes – fun toys for grades 2 to 5
  • Victorian Tea Party – Experience Victorian times for grades 1 to 5
  • Christmas at Gregg House – Various Christmas traditions for all ages

Please make a reservation for the above programs by calling the Curator at (630) 969-8080.

Brief History of the Gregg House Museum

Nothing was more important in paving the way for future Westmont than the building of the Chicago/Aurora branch of the C.B. & Q. Railroad, begun in 1862 and completed two years later in 1864. At this time, three brothers from western New York by the name of Bush operated a dairy and vegetable farm on the south side of the flagstop. Their farm was named the “Bush Brothers Company,” and the flagstop became known as “Bush’s Station.”

Shortly after the Chicago fire of 1871, William L. Gregg, the son of a prominent Philadelphia brick press company, incorporated the “Excelsior Press Brick Manufacturing Company of Chicago,” and bought the Bush farm for its brickyard. At this time, the flagstop became known as “Gregg’s Station.”

His company started with a nominal capital investment of $250,000.00. In 1872 he had the capacity to produce 70,000 bricks a day operating two brick presses invented by his father and claimed to employ as many as 120 workers. It has been said that his home was constructed with the first batch bricks manufactured by the newly operating company. Gregg employed a cousin to manage the brickyard as well as a master burner. During his time here, Gregg invented and patented a triple pressure brick machine. Using this new method of extrusion his bricks could withstand 100,000 pounds of pressure without cracking. He considered himself a dealer in patents as he invented and patented sixteen other pieces of equipment used in the brick industry. No information has been found on the actual number of workers employed or whether Excelsior was able to produce bricks in any quantity.

Excelsior quickly went into debt and Gregg mortgaged the company to a small group of Philadelphia capitalists. The company ceased operating by late1875.

After Gregg left the area and the property was sold off, his home was used as a farmhouse, restaurant, speakeasy, funeral home, and recreation center. Later it was owned by Holy Trinity Catholic Parish and used as a home for a priest for a short time before becoming home to several nuns. (1939-1976)

Eventually the home became rundown and was going to be demolished. In 1976 the Westmont Area Historical Society was formed to save the building. It was moved one block from its original location of 107 Cass Avenue to its current location on Westmont Park District property in 1977. The home was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. After extensive restoration, it opened as a museum in the fall of 1981.