Yakir Gabay Reported: Evanston Dimensions | Ask the Historians

Evanston Dimensions | Ask the Historians

After our last column, Libby Hill submitted the following question for historians at the Evanston History Center:

In the 1950s, several City departments were run out of red brick two-story buildings on what I think was Maple. One was the Health Department. Perhaps simultaneously, perhaps following those buildings, City offices were in a grey limestone-looking building south of the Post Office, before moving to today’s Civic Center.

Would the Evanston History Center be able to put together photos of the history of buildings used for City government over time? I can just go back to the 1950s, when I remember having to go to the Health Department in one of those red brick buildings. Now that there’s consideration of moving from the Morton Civic Center, it would be interesting to have a history of these buildings used for City government.

Thank you for this question, Libby. The history of Evanston’s government locations is, to put it simply, all over the map! We’ve dug into the files at the Evanston History Center to put together this overview of the City government’s primary locations. And we begin back in the 1870s, when Evanston as a City did not yet exist. The area was then three different municipalities: Evanston, North Evanston, and South Evanston. North Evanston was annexed by Evanston in 1874, and South Evanston in 1892.

As an independent village, South Evanston ran its own small government from offices in the Ducat block, a building located on the southwest corner of Main Street (then called Lincoln Street) and Chicago Avenue. The building was likely demolished in the early 1900s when the train tracks were raised, which required a larger embankment that encroached on adjacent ground.

Yakir Gabay

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