WGN Radio’s Your Hometown series heads to Elmhurst on Thursday, January 27.
The western suburb of Elmhurst has a footprint in both DuPage and Cook counties. Originally settled along Salt Creek, the community was first called Cottage Hill after Hill Cottage, an inn, tavern, and stage coach stop that was also the first post office in town. A plaque designating the original location of Hill Cottage Tavern can be found on the east side of Cottage Hill Avenue, just north of St. Charles Road. In 1869, the town’s name changed to Elmhurst after the elm trees planted along its streets. Incorporated in 1882, Elmhurst was a farming community until the 1930s.
A college town, Elmhurst is home to the four-year private liberal arts Elmhurst University, formerly Elmhurst College, founded in 1871. A bronze statue of alumnus Reinhold Niebuhr who graduated in 1910 and is often credited with writing the Serenity Prayer can be found on the school’s campus.
Elmhurst is also home to the McCormick House, part of the Elmhurst Art Museum. Built in 1952, the home is one of only three single-family homes designed by Mies van der Rohe in the United States and one of only two open to the public. Those wanting to know more about Elmhurst will want to visit the historic Glos Mansion, built in 1893 for the town’s first president Henry Glos, and the location of the Elmhurst History Museum. Geographically located just past Elmhurst’s northern boundary in Bensenville is Churchville Schoolhouse, owned by the City of Elmhurst and managed by the Elmhurst History Museum. Built in 1846 and on the National Register of Historic Places, it is one of the few remaining one-room schoolhouses in Illinois on its original site.
In the center of town in land that was originally a cow pasture is Wilder Park offering many amenities to local residents. The Wilder Park Conservatory and an adornment from the Cook County Court House that survived the Great Chicago Fire are located within the park.
The “jewel of the Elmhurst Park District” is the Elmhurst Great Western Prairie, a living museum in Elmhurst. This six-acre rare prairie remnant is located just north of the Illinois Prairie Path between Spring Road and Salt Creek. Development has transformed the landscape, but this piece left by chance is a reminder of the prairie that once covered the state of Illinois.
Did you know this about Elmhurst:
- Elmhurst has had a Memorial Day Parade every year since 1918. In 2020 and 2021, the parade shifted to a convoy due to the pandemic.
- Elmhurst is home to the third largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Chicagoland.
- Elmhurst offers a seasonal free trolley service that runs a 30-minute loop.
- Mack’s Golden Pheasant Restaurant located on the southwest corner of North Avenue and Rt. 83 in Elmhurst is the oldest continuously owned restaurant in DuPage county.
- Poet, journalist and biographer Carl Sandburg lived in Elmhurst from 1919 through 1928.
- Keebler Company headquarters were located in Elmhurst until 2001.
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Your Hometown featuring The Magnificent Mile is sponsored by McDonald’s.