Unitarians: Earliest Winnetka Leaders
The following blogpost is based on a Steve Vincent article as appeared in the Gazette: Spring 2001
The Lake Shore Unitarian Society, which meets Sundays at the Winnetka Community House, has proud roots in Winnetka’s past. Many of our earliest community leaders were Unitarians including Charles Peck, named “the founder of Winnetka.” He invited many of his Unitarian friends, including James Willson, two-term Village President, to come to the newly platted village around 1855 to purchase land from him. When Peck donated the land for the Village Green in 1869, his gift stipulated that no building sit on the land and that it remains open in perpetuity. The Unitarians bought the School District #2 building that stood on the Village Green and moved it to the southeast corner of Cherry and Maple Streets (near the Willson’s house).
The present Lake Shore Unitarian Society dates from 1963 and is an offshoot of the Unitarian Church of Evanston. The group initially met in Wilmette, then moved in the early 1980s to its present location at the Community House. Three ministers have served the congregation since its founding, including the Rev. Homer Jack, a distinguished social activist. Currently, the society is lay led. Sunday services center on experts in fields such as ethics, theology, philosophy, science, art, and current affairs.