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Westmont Historical Society - Gregg House Museum

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Westmont Historical Society Membership
Become a member of the Westmont Historical Society and help preserve the rich heritage of Westmont. Family membership $15; Individual membership $10. Call the Museum for more details (630) 969-8080.

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, archive artifacts, or design a garden plan. 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. and Q. Railroad begun in 1862 and completed two years later. At this time, a large share of the future Westmont was bought up by the Phipps Industrial Land Trust. Shortly after the Chicago Fire of 1871, some of this land was sold to a number of brick manufacturers jumping at the chance to supply bricks for the rebuilding of Chicago.
The most memorable brick manufacturer was William L. Gregg who chose the highest point of land along the C.B. and Q. Railroad for his company so that shipping by steam locomotive would be downhill with a full load of brick. In the spring of 1872, Gregg began manufacturing bricks under the name of Excelsior Brick Company. His company started with a capital investment of $250,000.00, employed 120 people and produced 70,000 bricks a day. While here, Mr. Gregg invented and patented a triple pressure brick machine which revolutionized the brick industry. Using this method, his bricks could withstand 100,000 pounds of pressure without cracking or disturbance of any kind.

Gregg built his home to showcase his product. Records indicate he lived in the home for approximately three years. He considered himself a dealer in patents as he invented sixteen different pieces of brick making apparatus.
By 1900, brick making declined. The area continued to grow and the flag-stop on the “Q” was known as “Gregg’s Milk Station”. The name of the station was shortened to “Gregg”.

After Gregg left the area, the home had various owners and was used as a farm house, restaurant, funeral home, speak easy, 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.

Eventually the home became run down and was going to be demolished. In 1976 the Westmont Area Historical Society was formed to save the home. It was moved one block from its original location on Cass Ave. to its current location on Westmont Park District property. After extensive restoration, it opened as a museum in the fall of 1981.
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