Oak Lawn Local History

Aerial view of the Village of Oak Lawn suburban development, circa 1957

COMING THIS FALL!

Building the American Dream:
The Growth of Oak Lawn’s Subdivisions

Local History will unveil a new exhibit this fall illustrating the growth of Oak Lawn after World War II through the 1960s. With new subdivisions springing up at the time, Oak Lawn saw a steep increase in the size of the town, Village Hall, Library, Park District and schools. There will be much more to discover in this exhibit, including an immersive exploration of the styles of homes that rejuvenated the neighborhood. Visit our website for the latest details regarding an official opening date. If you have any photos or items that you would like to lend or donate, please contact Local Local History Coordinator Jean Crockett at jcrockett@olpl.org.

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Explore the Local History Collection

Search the Local History collection online and view more than 21,000 unique items including photos, documents, objects, yearbooks, telephone books and much more!

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Oak Lawn Newspaper Index

Check out the Library’s local newspaper index containing more than 87,000 references from 1988-present.

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Oak Lawn Obituary Index

Check out the Library’s local obituary index containing references to more than 245,000 obits and death notices from 1985-present.

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Microfilm

View digitized microfilm from the Oak Lawn Independent and the Village View newspapers! Issues range from 1933-2014 and are hosted by the Internet Archive.

Oak Lawn History Books from Arcadia Publishing

Oak Lawn History Books

Discover the history of Oak Lawn through the Images of America series by Arcadia Publishing! Both titles are available for checkout at the library or copies can be purchased online.

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Chicago History Books

Browse the library’s online catalog to find hundreds of books exploring the history of Chicago and its suburbs!

History Spotlight: Early Oak Lawn Postcards

Cook Avenue School, 1910

Cook Avenue School, Circa 1910

Opened in 1906, Cook Avenue School was the first multi-room educational facility in the village. Several years after this image was taken a second story was added.

William H. Gaddis home located at 9632 South Cook

William Gaddis home on South Cook Avenue

Looking north, this postcard features homes situated along Cook Avenue. The home on the left, constructed by William H. Gaddis, is still located at 9632 South Cook.

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Behrend’s Hardware Store

Located at 5300 West 95th Street, Behrend’s Hardware was an early Oak Lawn businesses. The store sold a number of different items including agricultural implements.

Oak Lawn Congregational Church in 1917

Oak Lawn Congregational Church, 1917

Built in the late 19th Century, the Oak Lawn Congregational Church was located at 9424 South 54th Avenue. Today this structure is a private residence.

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If you have a question, please email localhistory@olpl.org or fill out the form below.

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