Western Springs Stories: 

An Oral History Project


Since its founding in 1886 (and even before), Western Springs, Illinois has been a city of stories.  Starting in 2023, the Curious City elective at McClure Junior High School began collecting oral histories of people who have been a part of our community in some way over the decades. Join us as we learn from their Western Springs Stories.

About the Class

Curious City is a podcast where hosts answer questions from listeners. They answer many questions about Chicago, Landmarks, People, and History. The hosts try to focus on telling stories of things that the listeners want to know about, and not what they should know about. This helped give the idea of a Western Springs addition to this podcast. It would be a class where the students can ask questions about things they want to know about Western Springs and we get to learn about them. We get to go on many field experiences and learn about the history of our town. We also get to research stories and talk to many people who have many personal experiences with Western Springs. We also have the chance to learn about many stories and events that have happened in Western Springs that a lot of people don’t know about.

About the Project

An oral history is like an interview, however the person you’re interviewing, or the “Narrator” does most of the talking. Oral histories are meant to be more of a conversation between the narrator and the interviewer. Unlike an interview, oral histories are a storytelling experience with less pointed questions towards the narrator. There is a lot less structure when people do oral histories; It’s structured this way to let the narrator expand on what they want to talk about, not what you want them to talk about. Oral histories are often also more relaxed without such structure, while interviews are much more rigid. 

Oral histories are important because you hear a primary source’s account on an event or something’s history. Our oral history project is important because we want to preserve Western Springs’ history and hear the many stories that often can go unheard. Western Springs is a village rich with history and by recording the many residents’ stories, we can learn more about stories that many haven’t heard before and create more connections and curiosity about our village’s history.

Winter 2024 Historians