At the turn of the century, an electric railway called the Aurora, Elgin, and Chicago streaked across the prairie farmland. This land was owned by German farmers: the Cables, Meyers, Karnstedt, and Biermanns. They had settled here in the 1850's and 1860's.
Two subdivisions sprang up - Villa Park in 1908, and Ardmore in 1910. Summit Avenue was the dividing line. In 1914, the two were incorporated as Ardmore. In 1917, the name was changed to Villa Park.
Two wealthy men, 'Colonel' J.L. Calhoun, and Charles C. Heisen, figured prominently in the early development. The Wander Company of Bern, Switzerland opened its only American plant, Ovaltine, in 1917.
The population boomed in the 1920's. The Aurora, Elgin, and Chicago Railroad was largely responsible for the rapid growth. Professional and business people were attracted to 'country' living. Buyers of lots were given inducements of 20 apple trees, or 200 baby chicks. Schools were built, churches opened, community organizations were formed, and a 5¢ newspaper was introduced. Members of the Women's Club gathered books in a little red wagon for a library.
In the 1930's, when many banks closed, the Villa Park Trust and Savings Bank survived. The village grew rapidly during the post World War II period. The population soared from 8,000 to its peak of 25,000 in 1965. New churches came, businesses flourished, parks were created, and a beautiful new library was built.
Today, Villa Park provides a good life for its 22,517 residents. They enjoy a 'small town' atmosphere, excellent schools, outstanding police and fire protection, 'state of the art' paramedic service, and exceptional recreational facilities. Transportation is good, and health services are outstanding. Service clubs are very active.
Villa Park residents are comfortable with a wide variety of housing, and convenient shopping. An active society enabled Villa Park to have both Chicago, Aurora, and Elgin Railroad stations placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Both railroad stations are located on the Illinois Prairie Path, a national Historic Trail. In 1988, Villa Park received the coveted Governor's Hometown Honorable Mention Award, for their three year volunteer campaign to install ornamental memorial lighting on the Villa Park Prairie Path.
Business people and our community leaders continue to address problem areas in the village while planning for the future of Villa Park.