"Evanston Illinois" Top 5 Page for this destination Evanston by TRimer

Evanston Travel Guide: 97 reviews and 149 photos

I spent a little over two years living in Evanston while attending grad school. I loved the city then, and have recently fallen in love with it again. With new stores and revitilization of areas such as Central Avenue, the place has taken on a new feeling.

Methodist Roots

On May 31, 1850, nine devout Methodists gathered with a common vision - to found a university which would be a haven for 'sanctified learning' in the West. They chose a spot along the shores of Lake Michigan and in 1855 Northwestern University opened its doors. The nine founders, including John Evans, Orrington Lunt, and Andrew Brown, hoped their university would attain high standards of intellectual excellence. Northwestern's founders had a vision not only for a university, but also for the surrounding town of Ridgeville. In 1854 Brown and Evans submitted a plat to the county judge for a new community. These plans included laying out wider streets, adding parks, and renaming the town 'Evanston,' in honor of John Evans. The renaming of the town took place on February 15, 1857.

A Dry Town - until recently

Attending Northwestern for grad school I was surprised to find that it was difficult to buy alcohol in town. This was due largely to an amendment of Northwestern's charter passed in 1853, prohibiting the sale of alcohol within four miles of the university. When the town of Evanston was incorporated in 1863, one of the trustees' first official acts was to make the "four mile limit" a city ordinance. This act had a profound and continuing effect on the city, keeping it 'dry' until the 1970s. Evanston was a staunch supporter of the temperance and prohibition movements, partly due to the fact that one of its long-time residents was Frances E. Willard, president of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union from 1879 until her death in 1898.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Close to Chicago, quaint suburb
  • Cons:Lots of weird laws
  • In a nutshell:Close enough to commute
  • Last visit to Evanston: Aug 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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“Too many places to see, too little time (especially now that I have toddlers)”

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