The Frances Willard House

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1873 Woman's Crusades.
Early WCTU.
Frances Willard.
Willard House.
National Presidents of the WCTU.

The Frances Willard House is one of two vertical board-and-batten houses  remaining in Evanston, Illinois. The Willard House is both an Evanston Landmark and a National Historic Landmark. It is located at 1730 Chicago Avenue in  Evanston.

The south half of the Willard House was built in the Gothic Revival style by  Frances Willard's father, Josiah, in 1865. After the 1878 death of Oliver  Willard (Frances Willard's brother), the next year the house was enlarged to  house Oliver's widow, Mary Bannister Willard, and her four children.

The Willard House - Click on photo to see a larger view. Willard House - Click on the photo to see a larger image.

Willard House, referred to as Rest Cottage by Frances Willard, was her home from the time her father had it built in 1865 until her death in 1898. Her will, which bequeathed the house to the WCTU, gave a life interest to her secretary and good friend, Anna G. Gordon and her sister-in-law, Mary Willard. In 1900, Anna Gordon persuaded the WCTU to move its headquarters from Chicago to the Willard House in Evanston. In the  1920s the WCTU moved into the new Administrative Building located behind the Willard House.

In the late 1980s the WCTU began the exterior restoration of the Frances Willard House, using funds raised from the sale of the Washington, D. C. Union  Headquarters. Aware that the buildings at the National Headquarters and the  Willard collections require extensive and ongoing attention, in 1994 the WCTU formed the Frances Willard Historical Associaiton (FWHA), a not-for-profit 501 (c) 3 corporation. The FWHA is to oversee the preservation of and make available to the public the rich historic treasures of the Frances Willard House, the Library and Archives, and the Museum.

The Frances Willard House is open for guided tours on the first and third Sundays of each month from 1 pm to 4 pm (except holidays).  Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under; there is no charge for members of the WCTU or Frances Willard Historical Association . The Willard House Museum is also open for special tours by appointment. If you would like information about the Willard House, or to arrange a tour or become a docent, please call 847.328.7500 or email, or visit our  

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