By Bob Uphues
The Brookfield Historical Society will open its museum inside the historic Grossdale Station, 8820½ Brookfield Ave. to visitors on Thursday, July 4 from noon to 3 p.m., the first of three dates the building will welcome the public this summer.
With residents expected to flood the area for the village's Fourth of July parade and Party in the Park, historical society Director Kit Ketchmark said July 4 was a perfect day to showcase the museum, which houses artifacts and retains an archive of materials from Brookfield's past.
The Grossdale Station will also be open on Saturday, Aug. 3 and Saturday, Sept. 7 from 9 a.m. to noon. The Brookfield Farmers Market will be open on both dates, which is why they were chosen, according to Ketchmark, who also serves as village president.
"The idea is to make it available for as many people as we can," said Ketchmark.
There is no admission charge to visit the museum, which underwent an interior makeover last year in preparation for a celebration of the 125th anniversary of the village's incorporation as Grossdale in 1893. Residents voted to change the village's name to Brookfield in 1905.
The historical museum welcomed scores of visitors last November during a Founder's Day event, but it hasn't been open to the general public since. This will be the first time the museum has held open houses in the summer for years.
Ketchmark and other historical society members will be on hand during the open houses to answer questions and provide information about the artifacts on display and about the village's history.
Since last November, volunteers have cleared out the former train station's baggage room, which will provide another 150-square-feet of display space. The former ticket office, meanwhile, will in time house the museum's archives.
A recent $1,000 donation from a local Girl Scout troop will help the museum purchase new display cases.
The Grossdale Station is owned and operated by the historical society, whose members raised money to purchase and move the building to its present location in 1981. The building once stood south of the railroad tracks a bit east of the present Metra commuter rail station.
It is the only remaining public building constructed in 1889 by the village's founder, S.E. Gross, a Chicago real estate developer and is the only structure in the village listed on the National Register of Historic Places.