Walter Lee Brown


Walter Lee Brown was born on August 24, 1853, in Melrose, Massachusetts. The family moved to Chicago around 1861. As the son of Edward Lee Brown, who was for many years the president of the Chicago Citizens’ Association, Walter found himself exposed to civic reform efforts from an early age. Brown received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at Northwestern University and later attended the Columbia School of Mines and received a second degree. His life in Evanston began when he made the decision to depart from Chicago after the Great Fire of 1871.


The move to Evanston opened a new chapter in Brown’s life - he was devoted to his flourishing career in the science of Metallurgy. He later was appointed President of the Evanston Gas Company in 1890, a position he held for the next ten years.


Brown collected a number of rare books and first-edition copies of famous American authors. He served on the Board of Directors at the Evanston Public Library from June of 1894 until 1901. He joined the founding board of the Evanston Historical Society in 1898, serving as the society’s Treasurer. Brown died in Evanston on April 6, 1904.

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