The Estonian House in Chicago is a small piece of Estonia nestled on the Des Plaines River in the heartland of America. The closest counterparts are on the East and West coasts. It is not unusual for visitors to travel several hundred miles to reconnect with their Estonian roots at our community center.
The Chicago Estonian House is a cultural center that promotes Estonian culture, language and history and serves as a meeting place for people of Estonians heritage and friends of Estonia. Our Estonian School is in session two Sundays per month, the Estonian Lutheran Church conducts a monthly service and the library is open every Sunday. Annually, we celebrate Estonian Independence Day, Mid-Summer Night, Christmas and New Years Eve. On 40 Sundays of the year our dining room is open for lunch, and during the year we provide a stage for Estonian musicians, actors, artists and dignitaries.
In an effort to serve our surrounding community, the Estonian House provides a performance space for local arts organizations such as Theatre In The Woods, the Normennenes Singing Society and the Sibelius Male Choir. Chicago area Finnish organisatsions are members and active at the Estonian House. We also provide meeting space for neighborhood associations.
All activities at the Estonian House are organized and carried through by our members on a volunteer basis. At a time when many civic organizations are struggling, our existence is a testament to the desire of Estonians to hold on to their heritage.
As a not-for-profit corporation the Estonian House relies heavily on its members for financial support. Over 70% of our income comes from Estonian activities at the House and from donations with the remaining balance coming from rental activities.
Estonian House Inc. Chicago was founded in 1964. Fundraising commenced immediately in order to buy a “home” for the Estonian community. By 1967, a large plot of land with a private residence was identified in the suburb of Prairie view.
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