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Library Display Traces History of Youth Campus Property

April 2, 2015 09:56 AM

During the month of April, the Library will be hosting a special exhibit by the Park Ridge Historical Society on the history of the School for Girls/Youth Campus property, located on Prospect Avenue.

Soon to be transformed into the new Prospect Park, the property has played an important role in Park Ridge for over a century. The Youth Campus is the last name used for the organization founded in 1877 as the Illinois Industrial School for Girls, which moved from Evanston to Park Ridge in 1908 and was renamed the Park Ridge School for Girls.  Eventually becoming the Youth Campus, the organization provided continuous care for children in need for 135 years. 

The display incorporates photographs and maps of the grounds, forty acres originally, which contained eight ‘cottages’ built between 1908 and 1914. Most of the cottages served as residences for girls left destitute or homeless by circumstance, while the other two served as the school building and offices. 

The purpose of the School was to offer the girls an opportunity for guidance, education, and vocational training, and a chance to find a place for themselves in life. Surrounding farmland was actively maintained by the students in the early years, both as cropland and for dairy pasture. 

The Historical Society plans to create a permanent display on the School for Girls/Youth Campus after it completes renovations on its new home in the historical Solomon Cottage, located on the property.


For more information on the April display at the Library, please contact Information Coordinator Mary Dalton at (847)720-3209.


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