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Celebrations Underway for 150th Anniversary

February 6, 2019 – The City of Highland Park is celebrating its sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) in 2019 with family-friendly, special community events, concerts, City tours, and more. All plans are guided by the HP150 Steering Committee and nine subcommittees comprised of over 100 volunteers. Highlighted below are a number of events and initiatives that will take place this year.

Opening of the Centennial Time Capsule – March 11
The opening of the City’s Centennial Time Capsule will take place on Monday, March 11, 2019 at 7 PM in the Council Chambers of Highland Park City Hall, 1707 St. Johns Avenue.  The Centennial Time Capsule was assembled in 1969 as part of the City’s 100 Year Anniversary under the supervision of the Highland Park Historical Society. Video from the time capsule opening will be uploaded to the City website following the event.

A Call for Service for HP150 – Ongoing
The HP150 Service Committee invites individuals, schools, clubs, businesses, and places of worship to give us information on how you serve others. If you are doing a service project or planning a new project in honor of the City of Highland Park’s 150th anniversary, please contact Marietta Stevens at the Volunteer Pool of Highland Park at or call 847.433.2190 with a short description of the service project, its impact, and a photograph after the project has been completed.

Service Projects for the 150th Celebration will receive special recognition on the City’s HP150 website (

Highland Park History Project Competition – February through July
The HP150 History and Lakefront Committee, in partnership with the Highland Park Historical Society, seeks submissions for the Highland Park History Project Competition. Researchers may write an essay or create a poster or other audio-visual material, such as a StoryCorps interview about a subject, person, or event in Highland Park history. Explore 1930s interviews with early pioneers recollecting crossing the Atlantic, review the Stupey family’s exit papers permitting emigration from the Prussian kingdom to the newly open Illinois wilderness, and much more. Adult submissions are due May 1, and youth submissions are due June 1. Details regarding the contest are available at Winners will be announced at the HP150 Big Bash on July 4.

The contest is sponsored by YEA! Highland Park.

 Artistic Map of Highland Park Released – March
Artist Mark McMahon has created an artistic map of Highland Park. The map will be available for purchase in March.

 Highland Park's Voices of the Past – April 13
East on Central and Highland Park Poetry teamed up on the HP150 Persona Poetry Project, telling the community story through verse. Witness Highland Park history from the perspective of those who lived it in these two special performances by ARTicuLIT Readers Theatre.

 Historic Home Initiative – April through May
The Historic Home Initiative will take place April through May and will highlight significant architecture within the Highland Park community through the use of lawn signs.

 Highland Park Architecture Bus Tours – April
The City will celebrate Architecture Month in April with bus tours of residential architecture. One tour will take place during Highland Park High School’s Focus on the Arts event. The other tour, which is open to the public, will take place April 28, at a cost of $10 per person. More information will be posted at

 The Chicago Architecture Center is offering additional Highland Park Architecture tours from May through October.

 The City is also excited to announce that a permanent web feature is being developed for the City website which will give information about historic buildings in the community. Accessible from smartphones, the website will show users historically significant buildings nearest to where they are. More information on the website will be available in summer 2019.

 Pieces of the Past – June through August
Jump into the past and learn more about Highland Park history with the upcoming outdoor, open-air exhibit “Pieces of the Past,” which will explore historic people, places, and events. If you have a piece of history that should be shared in this exhibit, please contact the City at

 The Big Bash (in conjunction with Fourth Fest) – July 4
Save the date for the biggest party of the year: July 4, 11 AM – 2 PM at Sunset Woods Park! Attend the City’s annual Fourth of July parade and follow the 150th Anniversary Cake parade float to Sunset Woods Park, where all the fun begins—entertainment, birthday cake, pie-eating contest, relay races, and other family-friendly games. A special HP150 fireworks show will take place at 9:30 p.m. at Wolters Field.

 The North Shore Venetian Night – August 17
The HP150 History and Lakefront Committee is planning a Venetian Night on the Lakefront in collaboration with the North Shore Yacht Club on August 3. The traditional event will feature an evening parade of boats decorated with festive lights and fun themes. Registration to participate in the parade is open to anyone with a US Coast Guard Compliant boat. The event may be viewed from the shore at Park Avenue Beach. Event details are forthcoming and will be available on the City’s website at

 Commemorative Book Release – September
A book commemorating 150 years of Highland Park will be available for purchase in September.

 Stupey Cabin Harvest Fest and Tours – September 14
Save the date for the Stupey Cabin Harvest Fest. Stupey Cabin, built in 1847, is Highland Park’s oldest standing structure and is located in Laurel Park between the Library and City Hall. Tours of Stupey Cabin will be available.

 Open Doors Highland Park – September 28
Open Doors Highland Park will take place on September 28, and will highlight interesting nonresidential buildings through an open house–style event. Attendees will be able to go inside buildings that aren’t ordinarily accessible, such as backstage at Ravinia, the sewage treatment plant, the former water tower, and more.

 HP150 Quilt Unveiling – September
A commemorative Highland Park quilt will be unveiled in September.

 HP150 Sculpture Unveiling – September
The City will unveil an outdoor sculpture to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Highland Park. The unveiling event will take place in September to celebrate the City’s vibrancy and the people who make it an outstanding place to live, work and visit.

 Sesquicentennial Time Capsule Dedication – December
The City will be assembling a Sesquicentennial Time Capsule as part of the City’s 150Year Anniversary. The time capsule will be stored at First Bank of Highland Park.

 Individuals, families, businesses, and organizations are encouraged to make a tax-deductible contribution to help fund the multitude of upcoming HP 150 events and programs. The sponsorship deadline has been extended to February 15, 2019. Though sponsorships will be accepted after that date, some sponsorship incentives may not be available. 

For a full list of events, activities, and initiatives, please visit

If you are planning an event, activity, or initiative to celebrate Highland Park’s Anniversary, please email or call 847.926.1000 to have your event included in the HP150 calendar*.

 *Events must meet certain criteria to be included in the HP150 calendar of events.