History Of Naperville 2018-03-02T12:05:39-06:00

The History Behind The City Of Naperville

Joseph Naper is the man who founded Naperville in 1831 alongside the DuPage River. Naper drew the very first plat for this area in 1842 and became elected for presidency when the village in Naperville was formed in 1857.

Earlier families that included the Paines,Hobsons, Scotts and Napers came mainly from areas of the Northeast. In the early 1940s these families were soon joined by Scots, English, Germans and Pennsylvanians. This community built around 7 churches and four of these churches were run in German.

Naperville soon became a stop that was important at the crossroads of the two major stage routes which ran through Chicago onto Galena and then onto Ottawa. In the year 1932, the residents of the town had built stores, the Pre-Emption House hotel, gristmills and sawmills. This town became a country seat after DuPage County was recognized in the year 1839.

Eight of the Naperville businesses contributed and participated in the creation of Southwest Plank Road that connected Chicago, Naperville as well as Oswego. The business men in the area opposed the Naperville right-of-way in relation to the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad when the representatives prospected later that year in 1851. This meant that the Galena line ran through Wheaton. However, Naperville received another chance when the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad ran their line through the town in the year 1864.

The growth of Naperville that followed over a century was associated to the rail connection that was easy to Chicago. In 1870 the North Western College now known as The North Central College relocated its premises to Naperville in order to serve members and the community for the Evangelical Association Of North America. At the same time stone quarries multiplied that provided a lot of building materials to Chicago, particularly after a fire occurred in 1871. In addition the Strenger Brewery transported beer around the regions and Kroehler Manufacturing Company that resulted in being the largest employer for Naperville shipped furniture using rail into Chicago and onto other important markets.

Naperville became known as an organized city by the year 1890 and by the year 1900 this city was home to around 2.629 people. Between the years 1890 to 1920 the residents started receiving services such as telephones, electricity, sewers and water. By the year 1960 Naperville had grown to 12,933.

When what is known as the “suburban boom” took off in the western suburbs nearby, Naperville was not part of this growth till around 1954. This was due to the plans involved with the East-West toll road that included an interchange that linked Naperville to Chicago through the completed Eisenhower Expressway. Due to this access service, industrial, retail and residential industries grew around and in Naperville. This city expanded by 50 square miles back in 1993 and the population had increased to 128,358 by the year 2000. Amongst municipalities in these metropolitan areas only Chicago and Aurora are considered to be larger.

The majority of new enterprises that were attracted to this city were associated with development and research. During the late 1950’s into the 1960’s, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, AT and T Bell Laboratories, Amoco Research Center, Northern Illinois Gas and Argonne National Laboratory were either established near or in Naperville.

The North Central College that is mow Methodist-affiliated still serves the Naperville community. In the beginning stages of the 1980’s the area of the Riverwalk revitalized most of the downtown-area. Today this area features acres of paths and parks. Historic structures of Naperville serve as a focal point to the current Naperville communities.