about us

learn more about your community house
we serve

The Community House is a unique nonprofit organization on Chicago’s North Shore that has played a vital role in the community for more than a century. 

to artists

The Community House is home to the North Shore Art League and award-winning theatre programs.

we sprint into
the future

We are innovators that are always looking to introduce new programs and experiences.

we learn from
each other

We are proud to educate the next generation and create lifelong learners.

our history

The Community House is a unique and independent nonprofit organization in Winnetka that has played a special role in the community for more than a century. 

In addition to classes, programs, and special events for every age and interest, Community House has a full-service Fitness Center and a gymnasium available, all filled with activity every day of the week. Theater and dance productions are held year-round in historic Matz Hall, featuring Children’s Theater of Winnetka and the Village Follies and recitals from our School of Dance.

In addition to our programming and fitness offerings, the Community House also offers space for meaningful gatherings. With an array of unique spaces, we have a room for every wedding, bar/bat mitzvah, piano recital, backgammon tournament, and business meeting! We also serve as a home for other non-profit and educational organizations, including the North Shore Art League, the Junior League of Evanston / North Shore, the Women's Exchange, Winnetka Community Nursery School, and La Petite École.

Community House is a privately supported non-profit organization that does not receive tax dollars. You can read more about our mission here, and we hope you will support the Community House so we can continue to support the community!

A Brief History

The Community House, a 3-acre community center, was founded in 1911 as an outreach project of the Winnetka Congregational Church. With the land donated by Mr. & Mrs. Douglas Smith, architect Arthur Coffin designed the building primarily in the Tudor Revival style, although his design also incorporates elements of the Prairie School genre. The Community House building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.

The Community House remained part of the church until 1931, at which time it was determined that the Community House had become so well-established that the two entities should be separated. That separation was made legal in January of 1932 when the Community House became an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

The earliest programs were designed to foster "good character" and included several clubs for children, along with a variety of programs, including gymnasium classes, dancing, basketball, Scouts, Campfire Girls, photography, chorus, orchestra, and tennis. Adults were attracted by social activities, civic discussions, and sports. Community outreach, including English classes for immigrants and a community health nurse, was integral to early offerings.

Over the years, the Community House has served as many things to many people (anybody remember the bowling alley, or movies shown in Matz Hall?). Everything we do is consistently rooted in the idea that interconnectedness and gathering are the catalysts for people to become the best versions of themselves and create some of their fondest memories.