This is the site of the Friends of the West Town Museum of Cultural History in Maywood, Illinois. The site serves to promote the institution and activities of the Museum and its affilate, Operation Uplift Inc.
Founded in 1995, under the Not-For-Profit umbrella of Operation UpLift, Inc. Its mission is to explore, research, interpret, preserve and educate society about the diverse and rich history of Maywood, Illinois and the surrounding suburban communities.
This history connects all people to the National and International spirit that embraces the human experience.
One of its prime missions is exhibited in our archives, of the existence of the Maywood—McDonald’s “Ten Mile House” stop on the Underground Railroad. It was a part of that runaway slave network which led African-Americans from the South, to the North and into Canada. As early as 1830, this abolitionist movement was active thru the efforts of the Father of the Underground, David Ruggles and later, the famous Harriett Tubman and others.
There are pictorial exhibits, including the 1869 founding of Maywood by Col. William T. Nichols, a hero of the Civil War. It also connects Maywood to abolitionist Zebina Eastman, Bessie Coleman, Charles Lindbergh and the Checkerboard Air Field.
The Museum also chronicles the lives of some of the first Black residents of Oak Park, River Forest, Melrose Park, LaGrange and Maywood. Also included is the profile of Dr. Percy L. Julian, world-renowned chemist, a civil rights leader and a Maywood resident between 1935-1950.
Annually, the Museum hosts special events during the holidays of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Black History Month.
Future expansion plans are to construct a new 3-story facility to include an all-purpose auditorium space.
The Museum is certified as the Maywood Public Museum; and is a member of the Illinois Association of Museums, the Maywood Historical Society and the Maywood Chamber of Commerce. We are promoting community pride and tourism.
COME VISIT US!
Calendar of Events
Jan 15- Dr. King Annual Event
Proposed Future West Town Museum Expansion Site
Over a thousand items and artifacts at the West Town Museum
Original Ten Mile Freedom House
This structure served as a freedom station for slaves during the Underground Railroad era in the 1800's. It was located at Lake Street along the bank of the Des Plaines River near 1st Ave in Maywood. An Undergorund Railroad Memorial has now been erected at the location. The West Town Museum helped sponsor the memorial and also features informative exhibits about this site, the Underground Railroad, and the slavery era within the museum galleries.
Underground Railroad Memorial
Located on Lake St. at the Des Plaines River Bridge
Sculptural symbolic representation of escaping from the chains of slavery bondage and entering the mysterious journey of the underground railroad to freedom is one feature of the Memorial.
Plaque text at the memorial
Unique Historical Exhibits
The museum has a variety of informative , unique historical exhibits about African American culture, Maywood and the Proviso Township area unlike no other place!
Annual Dr. King Celebrations
A room packed with supporters attend Operation Uplift's Annual Dr. King Celebration every January.
Past Award Recipients
Just a few of the past award recipients at the Dr. King Event are seen here.