History of the Northfield Inn
The Northfield Inn was built circa 1894 at the corner of Shermer and Waukegan roads in unincorporated Northfield Township, hence the name Northfield Inn. The Inn was a well-known stopover on the road between Milwaukee and Chicago until the Bartelme family family purchased the Inn in 1901. They stopped renting rooms and concentrated on the tavern and restaurant business. Bartelme’s Northfield Inn was best was known for the delicious chicken dinners and lemon cream pies served in the dining room. The Inn was moved to its present location in 1975 and is now the home of the Northbrook Historical Society and Northbrook History Museum.
The landmark Inn served as a welcome stop on the two-day trip from Chicago to Milwaukee during the late 1800s. In 1901 the Frank Bartelme family moved their business from Chicago to Shermerville (now Northbrook) and established the Northfield Inn as one of the finest restaurants on the North Shore. The carriage trade flocked to Bartelme’s for all you could eat chicken dinners, complete with Mrs. Bartelme’s homemade salads and pastries for $1.00.
A dance pavilion, picnic area and bowling alleys added to the popularity of the Northfield Inn. Until its doors were closed for the last time in 1973, the Inn was a leading social and political center for Shermerville and Northbrook.
When the Bartelme property was sold, the new owner wanted to tear down the Inn to build condominiums. Through community support the Historical Society was able to save the Inn by raising the money necessary to move and restore it. From its original location at the corner of Shermer and Waukegan Roads, the Inn slowly rolled down Shermer Road and across the park to its new site on the Village Green on January 17, 1975.
Many hard working volunteers put in countless hours remodeling and repairing the old Inn. Following the extensive restoration, the Northfield Inn was dedicated and opened as a History Museum on July 4, 1976.