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?
There were still some small homes scattered around
I wish this was my
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.