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Villa Park Through the Years

Picturesque neighborhoods, modern schools which strive for academic excellence, a park and recreation department with abundant recreation facilities, comprehensive library services, and a vast network of bike trails, make Villa Park an enjoyable place to live, work, and raise a family.

Located in DuPage County – just 19 miles west of Chicago’s Loop – Villa Park’s history includes a combination of hard work, community spirit and preservation. Known as the Garden Village, the conveniently located Midwest community of 22,000 has direct access to

downtown Chicago, major highways, airports. Villa Park is bounded by the Village of Addison on the north, Lombard on the west, Oakbrook Terrace on the south and Elmhurst on the east.

Villa Park has four major shopping corridors and several historic business districts.

History

Villa Park boasts a proud history dating back to the early 1800s, when German immigrants purchased fertile farming land, and settled in the area. Villa Park’s deep roots are visible throughout the community today. Some of the original farmstead homes built in the pre-Civil War era still dot the community The first school house was built in 1857 at the corner of St. Charles and Westmore-Meyers Road to serve children of area families.

The arrival of the Chicago Aurora, & Elgin Railway, a double-track electric system, marked the beginning of a population explosion and the development of two new subdivisions-Villa Park (1908) and Ardmore in (1910). In 1914, the two communities merged and the Village of Ardmore was incorporated. Villa Park residents contested the name and in 1917 the town officially became known as Villa Park. The area attracted many Chicago builders, bankers and brokers seeking country lifestyles.

Commerce took root with the 1917 opening of the Wander Company factory, the makers of Ovaltine. During both World Wars, Ovaltine was used to aid soldiers in recuperating from combat fatigue. The company grew to become Villa Park’s largest industry and benefactor, especially during the Depression years.

Chicago residents soon discovered Villa Park’s small town charm and began building bungalows or ordering Sears homes.

Villa Park boasts a wide spectrum of housing options from smaller family homes appealing to first-time buyers to the larger move up homes. Today many of the homes and commercial buildings in Villa Park are architecturally unique.

Villa Park Historical Museum
220 S. Villa Ave. (at the Prairie Path)
Villa Park, IL 60181 • (630) 941-0223
www.vphistoricalsociety.com
Hours: 1-5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday
10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday & Sunday
Closed Mondays
(Closed late December to mid-April)

Located in a former CA& E train station built in 1929, the Villa Park Historical Museum also serves as the Official Visitor Center for Villa Park. The Station is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A case inside the museum displays advertisements and brochures from local businesses.

View Villa Park historical displays, railroad memorabilia, keepsakes from the closed Ovaltine Factory, and artifacts donated by residents depicting life in Villa Park. The Villa Park Historical Preservation Commission has created a Resource Center available for community use with a collection including information on Sears mail order homes, architectural home styles, and more.

Browse train memorabilia and novelty items for a unique selection of gifts at the Whistlestop Gift Shop and Grandma’s Attic. Window displays change seasonally.

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