Grove Heritage Association Celebrates 50th Anniversary

The Grove will be celebrating the Grove Heritage Association’s 50th anniversary on September 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The free event will kick off with a presentation and dedication, followed by the unveiling of a special art installation for the occasion. Additional activities will include a scavenger hunt, photo ops, the signing of a special anniversary event banner, and giveaways.

Grove Heritage Association is a grassroots organization focused on developing the ecological, historical, and educational values of The Grove and continuing to preserve the National Historic Landmark status of The Grove.

The organization we know today began in 1973 with ten local women who recognized something special in a pristine oak hickory savanna and wetland ecosystem long known as “The Grove.” These women recognized the remarkable history of the land as well as the pioneer family, the Kennicotts, who settled there and made significant contributions to the fields of natural science.

This group of women began a “Save the Grove” campaign to preserve and protect the land from impending development. The committee soon became affectionately known as the “Frog and Fern Ladies,” a term that originated as a derogatory comment, but became a badge of honor for the group.

As a result of their determination and successful campaign, The Grove was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in August 1973. The Glenview Park District became involved in the efforts and, in October 1974, Glenview voters approved a $875,000 bond issue referendum to purchase, preserve and protect The Grove. The referendum passed by an overwhelming 89%.

After successfully protecting the land from development, the “Save the Grove” committee was restructured to form the Grove Heritage Association in November 1975. The purpose of this new group was to develop the ecological, historic and educational resources of The Grove by working with the Glenview Park District and other organizations.

Through their partnership, National Historic Landmark status was achieved by an Act of the United States Congress, with the dedication in July 1976, and Illinois Nature Preserve status would be achieved in May 1997. The Grove Heritage Association, now a non-profit citizen support group, has grown their successful partnership with the Glenview Park District for half a century.

This dedicated group has generated tens of millions of dollars to benefit The Grove through land acquisition, facility construction, special events, and projects such as:

  • Construction of buildings and facilities, including a Schoolhouse, Native American Lodge, Blacksmith Shop, Archives Building and Addition, Maintenance Facility, Wetland Greenhouse, Redfield Carriage House and Pavilion, and improvements to the Redfield Estate and Kennicott House interior, exterior, and grounds.
  • Special exhibits, books, program support and sponsorship of special events, including Arts and Craft Faire, Grove Folk Fest, Craft Beer and Wine Festival, Plant Sale, Christmas in the Woods, Holiday Market, and other fundraisers.
  • Additional land acquisition including the 40-acre MacArthur parcel, 20-acre Redemptorist Fathers parcel and funding toward the purchase of adjacent property on Portage Run and Kennicott Lane, helping The Grove grow to over 154 acres.
  • Undertaking special projects to commemorate this Golden Anniversary, including repair and conservation of the Kennicott House Signature Wall, conservation of the historic Grove Quilt and other irreplaceable artifacts, refurbishment of the Kennicott House with period-appropriate furniture and artifacts, and an exciting new art installation coming this fall.

This group of devoted individuals has worked tirelessly to protect, enhance and expand one of Glenview’s most treasured community assets. From humble beginnings, this group rose to the great challenge of preserving The Grove’s natural and historical significance and saving an important part of our heritage. This organization has truly lived up to its mission of, “Restoring the past… Preserving the future.”