Closed since April, the Dawes House is once again open to the public. Yesterday, the Evanston History Center (EHC) welcomed visitors to its research room for the first time in ten months. Opening the research collection is the first step in a phased reopening of Dawes House made possible by EHC’s redressing several life-safety issues.

Dawes House has been home to EHC since 1960, but last April Northwestern University said it would not renew the Center’s long-term lease and, in fact, planned to sell the historic lakefront mansion at 225 Greenwood St. that was once the home of U.S. Vice President Charles Gates Dawes.

All that seems to be history now, as Northwestern is currently renegotiating its lease with EHC. Margaret Wold, EHC board president, said negotiations are “nearing completion, pending resolution of several complicated legal issues.” She said, “We’re hoping these negotiations will be finalized in the spring.”

Meantime, both Northwestern and the Evanston Fire Department okayed EHC’s plans to open its research room to the public after EHC spent $5,000 remediating several life-safety issues, said Ms. Wold. For example, she said, on the first floor and basement levels, EHC installed 13 combination emergency-light-exit signs, and on the third floor it cleared the collection stored there, moving parts to the basement and de-accessioning others.

Research-room visitors will be limited to five at a time, so a reservation system will be implemented. Research-room hours have been expanded to 1-4 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

To make reservations, visit or call 847-475-3410.

The next phase of the Dawes House re-opening comes in May, when EHC plans new tours, exhibits and programming to overlap with the annual Mother’s Day House Walk on May 10. The number of visitors on the first floor will be capped at 50 at a time, and no visitors will be allowed on the second or third floors.