1836 - 1869
Around the time of 1836, when the first European settlers came to the area, which today is Elmhurst, much of the land was covered by thick prairie. Land along Salt Creek or wooded tracts of land attracted many of these early settlers. Hill Cottage Tavern opened in 1843 at the present intersection of St. Charles Rd. and Cottage Hill Ave. and soon became a stop on the stagecoach line between Chicago and the Fox River Valley. The small community of residents in the area continued to grow, and it was officially named Cottage Hill in 1845 upon the establishment of a post office. Just four years later the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad was granted a right-of-way through the young town, providing convenient rail access to and from Chicago for farmers, their produce, and residents. The community changed its name to Elmhurst in 1869.
1882 - 1900
Elmhurst was incorporated as a village in 1882. It had a population of 1,050 residents and included legal boundaries of St. Charles Road to North Ave. and one-half mile west of York St. to one-quarter mile east of York St. Public improvements were soon provided by the village; police protection, a volunteer fire department, sewers, and plank sidewalks. Such private companies as Elmhurst Spring Water Company, Elmhurst Electric Light Company, and Chicago Telephone Company introduced other new services in the late nineteenth century.
1920 - 1930
Elmhurst more than tripled in size during the 1920s, growing from 4,594 residents to 14,055. The community also enjoyed the benefits of such new, modern city services as cement sidewalks, paved streets, ornamental electric streetlights, a City water department, and new sewer service. Many present day institutions were organized in the 1920s as well: Elmhurst Park District dates to 1920, and Elmhurst Hospital was established in 1926.
Post World War II
The post World War II era was a time of dramatic change. Demands for housing led to the creation of Emery Manor and Brynhaven subdivisions. New neighborhood schools also blossomed during the 1950s.
Today, Elmhurst continues to change; however, the City of Elmhurst is committed to shepherding the community into and through the next century by continuing its long history of services of the highest quality for residents and visitors. Working together, residents and the City can make certain that Elmhurst will continue to be a wonderful place to live and raise families.
Elmhurst Historical Museum
Elmhurst Historical Museum is an exceptional resource for information about Elmhurst. Please visit it online or call the museum at (620) 833-1457 for more information about exhibits, public programs, and other services for residents.
Elmhurst is home to some notable organizations that have been a fixture of the community for many years. Elmhurst College is a four-year, independent, comprehensive college founded in 1871. This school ranks as one of the best liberal arts institutions in the Midwest.
Elmhurst Memorial Hospital
Elmhurst Memorial Hospital was founded in 1926 as the first hospital in DuPage County. This facility has grown into an entire health care system over the years and provides the community with their medical needs.
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