Local History

Genealogy Resources graphic image

Welcome to OLPL’s Local History page. The Local History room is a small museum full of photos, objects, books, maps, stories and other items that chronicle and celebrate Oak Lawn’s colorful history. On this page you’ll find easy buttons to do specific searches, links to local history databases containing old newspapers and obituaries, and upcoming programs and events. The museum is located on the second floor of the Library.

Local History area has its own website where you can search our entire collection: https://olpl.pastperfectonline.com/


Black Aviation: The Coffey School of Aeronautics

Wednesday, Feb. 21 from 6-7 p.m.
Speaker Tyrone Haymore, Executive Director of the Robbins History Museum presents the Coffey School of Aeronautics, once located in Oak Lawn.

Pioneering Black aviators once operated out of Coffey Airfield in Oak Lawn. Celebrate Black History Month by learning about these accomplished local pilots. Register online between Feb. 1-15 to learn more about Oak Lawn’s fascinating history of Black Aviation!

Music Legends of Oak Lawn: Coming in April 2024

Did you know Oak Lawn Community High School hosted a famous Jazz Festival for nearly 30 years? From the 1960s-80s, high school jazz bands from all over Chicago and Illinois competed in this beloved festival. OLPL will exhibit photographs and memorabilia celebrating this era in the month of April. Please stay tuned for details in the coming months.

If you have memories or items from the jazz fest days, please help us by adding these items to our exhibit. Contact Tom Javorcic, tjavorcic@olpl.org.



Please contact Tom Javorcic with any questions or donations to our collection. Tjavorcic@olpl.org, or call (708) 422-4990, ext. 530


A sampling of select collections from our research website.
Click on photo or headline to start search…

Women’s History

View more than 900 items related to women’s history in Oak Lawn including photos, documents, objects and oral history interviews.


View more than 240 yearbooks from local schools and organizations including OLCHS, Harold L. Richards, Covington, Reavis, BICHS and more.

Black History

View items related to black history in Oak Lawn including photos, documents and oral history interviews.

Audio Record Collection

Listen to musical recordings from Oak Lawn Community High School, Harold L. Richards High School, local entertainers and more.

World War II

View more than 480 items connected to World War II including photos, oral history interviews, objects and more.

Oak Lawn Fire Department

Search over 1,202 records containing photos, documents and physical objects about Oak Lawn’s Fire Department.

Oak Lawn Police Department

Search over 600 records containing photos, documents and physical objects about Oak Lawn’s Police Department.


Click on photo or headline to start search…

Newspaper Index

The Newspaper Index contains more than 87,000 references to people, places and events from 1988 – present. Indexed papers include the Oak Lawn Independent, Village View, Reporter, Southtown and more.

Obituary Index

The obituary Index contains more than 245,000 references to obits and death notices from 1985 – present. Indexed papers include the Oak Lawn Independent, Village View, Reporter, Southtown and more.


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 Books

Two great Oak Lawn books written by former Local Historian Kevin Korst, published by Arcadia Publishing.

Oak Lawn Tornado of 1967   /     Oak Lawn

Chicago History

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