Evanston Property History
Research the history of Evanston property using records and listings in our collections.
- Land books detailing the University's real estate holdings and transactions, 1856 -1942. These include maps of blocks divided into numbered lots (corresponding with the interactive map of Evanston, below) with a history of each lot's use, sales and ownership. Properties are located in Chicago, Wilmette and Wisconsin in addition to Evanston. See collection details.
- Evanston city directories, 1879 - 1960s. Residents are listed along address and, usually, occupation. Many contain a reverse-directory organized by street. Access directories in the Internet Archive.
- Northwestern University property abstracts, through 1920s. Legal abstracts of titles for Northwestern property, identified by block and lot numbers (corresponding with the interactive map of Evanston, below). These abstracts contain dimensions of the plot, complete record of conveyances and a map.
- Northwestern real estate transaction records, 1897-1942. These contain land deeds, warranty deeds, waivers of reversion, title abstracts and sales contracts, with most records from the 1920s and 1930s.
- Northwester property canceled leases. Leases are grouped by property and arranged numerically in order of property real estate number.
Interactive historic map
Published 1871 by Theodore Reese, the map shown below is believed to be the oldest printed map of the city. It was restored and digitized by the Northwestern University Library and Northwestern's Academic & Research Technologies department. As an interactive map, this can be navigated using the controls in the lower right-hand corner. Lot identification numbers correspond to the historical Evanston real estate records and Evanston city directories, making this a useful tool for tracing the history of a property.Click here to view the map full-screen.
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