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Old Posted Nov 8, 2009, 10:25 PM
aspiringArchitect aspiringArchitect is offline
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Suburban Chicago - Wheaton



Continuing with my series on Chicagoland's historical centers, I bring you now Wheaton; the county seat and one of the oldest communities in DuPage County. Wheaton got its name from the man who founded it in 1836 following the Indian Removal Act. It became incorporated in 1859 with the town's founder, Warren Wheaton as its first president, and re-incorporated in 1890 with it's first mayor Judge Elbert Gary, who founded the city of Gary, Indiana eleven years later. In 1857 an election was held to determine whether the county seat should be moved from Naperville to this more centrally located city. Although Wheaton lost at first, a second election was held later in 1867 in which it won by only 51 votes. Wheaton was the home of Robert McCormick, son of the founder of the Chicago Tribune. Named after a battle during World War 1, his father's estate (that he inherited) is today a suburban landmark, consisting of an 18 hole championship golf course, war museum, numurous gardens, as well as the McCormick's original 1897 mansion. The city remained relativley small until the 1970's when it recieved a population boom. Today, the population of this railroad town is about 55,000.

Wheaton is a really nice town to walk around. It has lots of beautiful old Painted Lady Victorians, as well as Italainate and other styled houes. There are plenty of new homes and the downtown is recieving a pretty good amount of inew nfill projects, the most notable being Courthouse Square, which you'll see in a few minutes. The city is also home to Wheaton College, a private institution established in 1860.

Wheaton is located approximetly 30 miles west of downtown Chicago, on the Union Pacific / West line.


The historic core and area I am covering in this thread.


We start at City Hall.




and then walk west toward Trinity Church, established in 1875




Some new condos across the street


and around the corner are these- not too sure if I like them very much




Now onto the historic neighborhood












This huge black fence went around the whole block, in front of every house. Reminds me of a jail or something - weird.


They one had a tennis court in it's yard.






















This is what I like to see. Everyone seemed to be outside doing something. Most were fixing up their homes.




The back of city hall viewed from across a school field.


One of the few trees with leaves still on it


This one just doesn't fit in with the rest of the neighborhood.






These look scary


A grand old something in the middle of a residential neighborhood. I think it may belong to the church net door?































big tree








There were still some small homes scattered around






I wish this was my house.


We are now aproaching Wheaton College. Those are their tennis courts in the background.




A more modern building on campus - notice all the bikes




















leaving Wheaton College now...




across the tracks is this new office building. The vacant lot in the foreground is supposedly gonna be new condos. But who knows now because of the recession.


Courthouse Square, more in a minute.


This is downtown's historic Adams Park.


The city's new library across from Adams Park. There are things that this city does well and others it dosen't. This is one that, in my opinion, they didn't do very well on.


Church across from Adams Park. Back in the day, this park was probably surrounded by beautiful homes. Today, aside from a few surviving structures, it is mostly surrounded by trash.


One of those still surviving is today the DuPage County Historical Society


detailing on the building next door


Although downtown may not always look in the best of shape, it is still very vibrant.










I think this is their post office


The Wheaton Theater needs to be renovated badly, and while this idea has been proposed, many residents don't think it's necessary because they'd have to pay for it out of their own pockets.



Across the tracks, here's that office building again:


and a view from the parking garage next door


Now finally, we reach Courthouse Square - the end of our trip. This is a pretty big project that involves converting the old county courthouse into very high end condos, as well as building new condos and apartments around it. Hopefully when this is finished (it has been stalled b/c of the recession) it will help revitalize its surroundings, which aren't in very good shape.









A copy of that building to the right is suppose to go right here.




The end.
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Last edited by aspiringArchitect; Nov 9, 2009 at 9:37 PM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Nov 8, 2009, 11:12 PM
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Looks pleasant.
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Old Posted Nov 9, 2009, 12:26 AM
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Ahh - the Bible Belt of Illinois and the Harvard of said Bible Belt.

Still, Wheaton has a pretty nice downtown and two Metra stops. There are also some interesting things outside like the Cosley Zoo or the McCormick Mansion in Cantigny.
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Old Posted Nov 9, 2009, 1:32 AM
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awesome! keep 'em comin'!
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Old Posted Nov 9, 2009, 5:39 PM
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Great series you've got going here.
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Old Posted Nov 9, 2009, 6:09 PM
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looks like a nice quaint small town. i've only ridden through on metra.

isn't wheaton college that cooky ultra-conservative christian school where the kids are forbidden from dancing and drinking and all the other things that make being a college student so much fun?
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Old Posted Nov 9, 2009, 8:29 PM
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Other tidbits about Wheaton:

Quote:
Wheaton has 63 churches within its limits, with an additional thirty in the bordering unincorporated areas.
This means about 5.5 churches per square mile, or a bit under 900 residents per church (of course many attend Wheaton churches while living outside the community).

Quote:
Wheaton College is located not far from downtown Wheaton. Its campus features the Billy Graham Center, named for the college's most famous alumnus, which contains a museum dedicated to both the history of American evangelism and the international ministry of Billy Graham. It features conceptual exhibits intended to convey Christian ideas.
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Old Posted Nov 9, 2009, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
looks like a nice quaint small town. i've only ridden through on metra.

isn't wheaton college that cooky ultra-conservative christian school where the kids are forbidden from dancing and drinking and all the other things that make being a college student so much fun?
It is widely regarded as the best evangelical Christian college in the world, pretty much across the spectrum. Both liberal evangelicals (like Tony Campolo) and conservative ones (like James Dobson) hold it in high regard. If you plan to live and work in those circles, a degree from there would be received nearly as well as (but not quite as well as) a Harvard education would be. If you aren't an evangelical Christian, the education is ranked in the Tier One level of national liberal arts schools by US News, which puts it in league with places like Depauw in Indiana, Union College in New York, Gettysburg in Pennsylvania, Reed in Oregon, Beloit in Wisconsin and Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York, etc. In comparison to other local schools, according to US News, Loyola is a first-tier national university, Depaul and Roosevelt are tier three, Columbia College is unranked.

Wheaton's policies are conservative, but they do allow dancing as of a few years ago, and only undergraduates are required to avoid alcohol. They have this funny idea that college should be primarily about education and not partying.

Last edited by emathias; Nov 9, 2009 at 11:16 PM.
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Old Posted Nov 10, 2009, 2:47 AM
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I'm assuming that, as with many places, any sort of typical college drinking and fraternizing occurs off-campus. There's also a self-selection aspect, too... people who enroll at such a place aren't really looking for a party scene. Such people do in fact exist.

As for Wheaton (the town)... I've always thought it was a pretty cool place, personally. The railroad takes a curvy alignment through the town, which is unusual in a state where railroads tend to be ramrod-straight to allow for maximum speed. Since the town developed around the railroad, it has led to an unusual town layout and a pretty nice character that reminds me of similarly old suburbs in the Northeast.

You should do Elmhurst next... it has possibly the most vibrant downtown in the western suburbs (ignoring Naperville) but it's not nearly as "rich white enclave"-ish as the others.
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Old Posted Nov 10, 2009, 10:13 PM
aspiringArchitect aspiringArchitect is offline
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Yeah thats a good idea ardecila. Although I am trying to stick to towns that are closer to me and that I am more familiar with right now. I was thinking about Itasca, Glen Ellyn, or Geneva; but hey, maybe i'll get to Elmhurst. I've never been there and i've heard its nice. Then again I also want to see Algonquin and West Dundee. There's alot to keep me busy I guess.
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Old Posted Nov 11, 2009, 4:31 AM
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There are probably a good half dozen historic downtowns worth visiting along the BNSF line.

Elmhurst is a good suggestion, and just down the UP-W from Wheaton.
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Old Posted Nov 11, 2009, 7:13 AM
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Courthouse Square

what does the new courthouse look like?
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Old Posted Nov 11, 2009, 8:59 PM
aspiringArchitect aspiringArchitect is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgoet View Post
what does the new courthouse look like?
Quite a bit larger compared to the old one.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/genospics/3026801689/
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Downtown and views | Views from the Trump | Urban bikeride
M Y O T H E R T H R E A D S
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Old Posted Nov 12, 2009, 10:38 PM
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I have been to Wheaton and liked it. I would like for you to take some pictures of Downers Grove, a place I stayed in a lot. It has a couple of Metra stops too. Nice little downtown and housing as well.
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