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History

senior citizens

Westmont owes its beginnings to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. After the fire, city leaders, not wanting a repeat of this tragedy, declared that all new buildings were to be constructed of stone or brick.

A businessman named William L. Gregg, deciding to establish a brick-making company, traveled west along the Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy Railroad in search of a place to set up his business. Noting the natural clay in the land and the area’s high elevation, he chose the site now known as Westmont. The clay in the earth provided excellent brick-building material, while the high elevation was ideal for railroad cars loaded with bricks to coast downhill back to Chicago.

The Excelsior Brick Making Company stayed in business for 10 years, and a village grew around it. After the company closed, railroad cars continued to stop at the village known as “Gregg’s.” No longer transporting bricks, the railroad now picked up milk from local farmers.

Around 1920, land developer Arthur T. McIntosh began buying property in the area, seeking to start a town in which people of modest means could buy land for as little as $5 down. His plan was a success—by 1921, there were enough people living in the area for it to be incorporated as the Village of Westmont. The community was so named because it was the highest location west of Chicago along the railroad.

Throughout the years, Westmont has tripled in size, expanding north and south. It continues to accommodate those looking for a comfortable suburban lifestyle with big-city accessibility and assorted cultural, educational and recreational offerings.

Residents and visitors can learn more about Westmont’s history by visiting William L. Gregg’s original 1871 home. Now known as the Gregg House Museum, which houses the Westmont Historical Society, it displays artifacts and exhibits, proudly sharing Westmont’s history with all.

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