Villa Park, Illinois

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Villa Park is a suburb of Chicago in DuPage County, Illinois. The population was 22,075 at the 2000 census. A special census in 2003 set the population at 22,517. Estimated population in July 2006 was 22,528, a +2.1% change.

Contents

History

When Ovaltine established their factory, they needed a way to make sure their employees could get to and from work safely, no matter the weather, terrain or other issues. Villa Park was built originally for that reason.

Following the construction of a subdivision called Villa Park in 1908 and another called Ardmore in 1910 by the real estate firm Ballard & Pottinger, Villa Park was incorporated in 1914 by uniting the two subdivisions of 300 people. The first village president, William H. Calhoun, was elected on September 12, 1914. The town was originally called Ardmore, but changed its name to Villa Park in 1917. Villa Park was one of a number of suburbs directly west of downtown Chicago that flourished as a result of the electric interurban line, the Chicago Aurora and Elgin Railroad. The railroad ran from the Chicago Loop directly west to Wheaton, Illinois, where it then split into two lines, one traveling southwest to Aurora and the other northwest to Elgin. Two small commercial areas developed, one around the Villa Avenue station and the other around the Ardmore Avenue station. In 1957, the CA&E ceased to carry passengers resulting from a dramatic drop in ridership due to the loss of a one-seat ride stemming from the construction of the Eisenhower Expressway (I-290), and the general increase in use of personal automobiles. The right-of-way was eventually cleaned up and developed into a hiking and bicycling trail known as the Illinois Prairie Path. The Ardmore Station is now home to the Chamber of Commerce, and the Villa Avenue Station houses the Villa Park Historical Society.

Villa Park had been home to the Ovaltine chocolate factory until it closed in 1988. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1986 as building #86003781.[1] It has since been converted into loft apartments. [2]

Topper, a huge horse meat factory, was located on North Avenue.

A majority of the residents are of Eastern European heritage, including Polish, Czech, German, and Russian. There is also a significant Hispanic heritage.

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