Illinois Heritage Music with Chris Vallillo

Sunday, October 9, 1:30-2:30pm & 3:00-4:00pm
Adults $10, Seniors (62+) $8, Children under 12 $5
@ the Historic Prairie House, 11225 Constitution Drive, Westchester

Chris Vallillo is a folk artist like no other who shares his enthusiasm and knowledge of Illinois and the heritage of the Midwest from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s. Hear the songs, stories, and vintage instruments of the pioneers and farmers and the time of Abraham Lincoln. Clap your hands and sing along while you learn and have fun at the same time! (Lawn chairs are also welcome.)

Chris will be performing two sets, one from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm, and a second from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Separate tickets for each performance can be purchased ahead of time (at the Prairie House during Open House on Sundays from 3:00 to 5:00 pm) or at the door, starting at 1:00 pm on Sunday, October 9, 2022.

Refreshments will be available. This event will be held outdoors, if weather permits. If not, the performance will be held indoors, with smaller capacity limits.

Taking precautions against Covid spread will be encouraged.

The Annual Old Fashioned Prairie Fest

Saturday, September 10, 10:00am to 4:00pm
Free event @ the Historic Prairie House, 11225 Constitution Drive, Westchester

Save the Prairie Society’s invites you to a free community event: The Annual Old Fashioned Prairie Fest! at the parkway of the Prairie House. Rain date September 24.


  • Guided, prairie and 1850’s schoolhouse tours throughout the day
  • Join The Natural Naturalist, Kim White, as she talks about many animals, common and uncommon
  • The Dulcimer players will be sharing the music of the Appalachian Mountains on the front porch of the Prairie House starting at 11:30 am

Outdoors & More:

  • 20 crafters will be selling their beautiful, handmade items
  • The Food Pantry and Grassroots Garden Club will be sharing information and answering questions about their organizations
  • Native Plants for sale on the west side of the House
  • Handmade quilts on the Prairie House Porch
  • Enjoy refreshments

Researching the Prairie House: Capturing Local Proviso History

Sunday, August 28, 1:00-3:00pm
Free Event @ the Historic Prairie House, 11225 Constitution Drive, Westchester

Presenter: Patricia Reaves

You are invited to a presentation on research into the half-timbered, 1852-1858 schoolhouse at the heart of the recently updated Franzosenbusch Prairie House. The findings have yielded new insights into the history of the community along the border of Western Cook and DuPage Counties, located near the intersection of 22nd Street and Wolf Road. It is the history of the founders of the areas of Westchester, Hillside, La Grange Park and surroundings. It is also a presentation on early settlement on early history and migration, a look at what existed before the strip malls, businesses, homes and apartments became part of the Suburbs of the greater Chicago area.

It is the story of Wolf Road Prairie and its people – the main focus of the researchers of the history of the Prairie House – a chance for you to “meet” the early occupants of this site. Historic photos of the settlers and their early farmsteads will show their incredible drive and spirit which laid the foundations for a developing community. Take part in a visual exploration into an ongoing research and restoration project, take a walk back in time to the mid-19th century, and gain better understanding of the history of the area surrounding the natural wonders of Wolf Road Prairie.


Wild City: Human Ecosystem

Friday, July 29, 6:00pm
$1 donation requested @ the Historic Prairie House, 11225 Constitution Drive, Westchester

Wyatt Widmer, the Steward of Wolf Road Prairie will be our speaker.

Everywhere is an ecosystem, and everything is part of one, no matter what. That can prove difficult to understand in a world dominated by human beings who set themselves apart from the rest of their ecosystems.

However, the context of our society, our every life, is in ecology. The tools to improve everyone’s quality of life are in ecology. And the defenses against an uncertain future and a changing climate are in ecology. Come and learn how humans and our ecosystems can be good for each other, by learning the story of how Chicago came to be.


Birds: What and Where (and When)

Sunday, June 26, 3:00pm
Free event @ the Historic Prairie House, 11225 Constitution Drive, Westchester

Speaker John Cebula, a highly regarded member of the DuPage Birding Club, will by our guest speaker. John will be sharing birding tips including how to spot birds. Bring a friend and bring your questions!

About the speaker

May Flowers

Sunday, May 22, 3:00pm
Free event @ the Historic Prairie House, 11225 Constitution Drive, Westchester

Jack Shouba will be giving a spring walk for those interested in seeing the Prairie’s May Flowers. Jack was a Wolf Road Prairie defender at a time when investors were eager to turn the Prairie into yet another housing development (this was before Cook County Forest Preserves gained ownership of the Prairie).

Meet at the Prairie House. Even though we will be staying on the path, long pants and sturdy shoes are suggested.

The Fascinating World of Insects

Wednesday, April 27, 6:00pm
Free event @ the Historic Prairie House, 11225 Constitution Drive, Westchester


Volunteers at Wolf Road Prairie have been observing fewer insects such as bees and butterflies on site. How do scientists measure insect populations and their health? What is the diversity of insect specialists we can expect in our preserves? Forest Preserve naturalist Negin Almassi will discuss ways of monitoring insects and what we know about insect populations. She will offer insight into global insect populations and what declines have and have not been observed. A talk will be followed by the opportunity to examine Forest Preserve insect collections and enjoy a walk in the prairie.

Daring flight of WRP’S male woodcocks at dusk

Saturday, March 19th | Sunday, March 20th |  Friday, March 25th | Saturday, March 26th AT DUSK
Free event @ the Historic Prairie House, 11225 Constitution Drive, Westchester

Join our Woodcock experts at dusk to see the male woodcocks perform their daring courtship flight.

Every spring, our male Woodcocks return to an area a little north of the Prairie House deck. From that vantage point, one can watch their dramatic and dangerous flights. It is their way of attracting a female. They are showing off their courage. Just before the male takes off, he makes loud nasal peent calls that are preceded by soft throaty notes. Periodically, the male launches into flight flying higher and higher, about a hundred feet from the ground.

No other bird performs a more dangerous courtship flight. Join us and see and hear this unique and daring courtship flight from the deck of the Prairie house.

Winter Trees: How to tell your ash from a pole in the ground

Sunday, February 27, 1:00pm
Free event @ the Historic Prairie House, 11225 Constitution Drive, Westchester

Guest Speaker: Jack Shouba (The first president of Save The Prairie Society)

You know the old joke: “How do you tell a dogwood? By its bark.” This presentation on local trees shows how you can identify many trees by their bark, but also by their shape, color, branching pattern, habitat, leaves, flowers, and fruits. A close look at winter buds and twigs reveals fascinating details.

Everyone loves oak trees, but do you know how to tell our state tree from the other common oaks? You will if you know the oak song.

Suitable for anyone with an interest in trees.

An Old Fashioned Christmas

Sunday, December 12, 1:00pm to 5:00pm
Free event @ the Historic Prairie House, 11225 Constitution Drive, Westchester

Enjoy hot chocolate, spiced cider, Christmas music & Christmas decor that beckons back to the distant past.