From left around table, Benjamin, Nicholas and Spencer Janes and Van Heyer recognized most of the old household items – such as a hair curler and a toaster – on display at Jenny Thompson’s (left) tables. Kristen and Larry Janes watched but did not offer clues to the identity of the objects.

On July 25 the lawn of the Charles Gates Dawes house was filled with children, parents and grandparents eating ice cream, listening to the music of the Ridgeville Community Band and delighting in the magic of Kevin Kelly. A great deal of joy was in evidence at this year’s ice cream social, sponsored annually by the Evanston History Center, as last year’s gloom about an uncertain future was replaced a few weeks ago by the news that Northwestern University had deeded the property, 225 Greenleaf St., to the center just two days before.

The house itself, closed for several months, has received approval from the fire department to allow 100 users in the research room at one time – a big difference from the five allowed for the last year.  Also, tour groups of ten are allowed on the second floor for the first time since last April.  First-floor visitors are limited to 50 at a time until, or if, the back and front doors can be changed to swing outward instead of inward.

The Dawes House is open for tours on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m.; last tour begins at 3 p.m. Admission is $10; EHC members, free; children under six, free. The EHC research room is open 1-4 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.