HistoryIn July 1831, Joseph Naper arrived at the west bank of the DuPage River with his family and friends to found what would be known as Naper's Settlement. Among those original settlers were Naper's wife Almeda Landon, his brother John with wife Betsy Goff, his sister Amy with husband John Murray (Naperville founder), John Murray, and his mother Sarah. Their arrival followed a nearly two-month voyage across three Great Lakes in the Naper brothers' schooner, the ''Telegraph''. Also on the journey were several families who remained in the settlement that would become Chicago, including that of Dexter Graves who is memorialized in Graceland Cemetery by the well-known Lorado Taft statue "Eternal Silence (sculpture), Eternal Silence" (also known as "the Dexter Graves Monument"). By 1832, over one hundred settlers had arrived at Naper's Settlement. Following the news of the Indian Creek massacre during the Black Hawk War, these settlers were temporarily displaced to Fort Dearborn for protection from an anticipated attack by the Sauk people, Sauk tribe. Fort Payne (Illinois), Fort Payne was built at Naper's Settlement, the settlers returned and the attack never materialized. The Pre-Emption House was constructed in 1834, as the Settlement became a stage-coach stop on the road from Chicago to Galena, Illinois, Galena. Reconstructions of Fort Payne and the Pre-Emption House stand as part of Naper Settlement List of open-air and living history museums in the United States, outdoor museum village, which was established by the Naperville Heritage Society and the Naperville Park District in 1969 to preserve some of the community's oldest buildings. In 1855, Sybil Dunbar came to Naperville as its first recorded black female resident; she died in 1868 and was buried in Naperville Cemetery on Washington Street. A commemorative marker honoring her was placed in the cemetery in 2015. After DuPage County was split from Cook County, Illinois, Cook County in 1839, Naper's Settlement became the DuPage county seat, a distinction it held until 1868. Naper's Settlement was incorporated as the Village of Naperville in 1857, at which time it had a population of 2,000. Reincorporation as a city occurred in 1890. In 1887, Peter Edward Kroehler established the Kroehler Manufacturing Company's factory in Naperville along the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy tracks. Kroehler Manufacturing became the world's largest furniture manufacturer, and a major employer in Naperville. The company closed the Naperville factory in 1978. In 1987, the site was redeveloped into upscale commercial and apartment properties, as Fifth Avenue Station. On April 26, 1946, Naperville was the site of one of the worst Naperville train disaster, train disasters in Chicago history. Two Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad trains, the ''Advance Flyer'' and the ''Exposition Flyer'', collided 'head to tail' on a single track just west of the Loomis Street grade crossing. The accident killed 45 and injured approximately 127 passengers and/or crew members. This event is commemorated in a metal inlay map of Naperville on the southeast corner of the Nichols Library's sidewalk area. In 2012, author Chuck Spinner published ''The Tragedy at the Loomis Street Crossing'' which details the tragedy and gives the stories of the 45 persons who perished.''The Tragedy at the Loomis Street Crossing'' 2012 By Chuck Spinner On April 26, 2014, a memorial entitled Tragedy to Triumph was dedicated at the train station. The sculpture by Paul Kuhn is dedicated not only to the crash victims but also to the rescuers at the site. A predominantly rural community for most of its existence, Naperville experienced a population explosion beginning in the 1960s and continuing into the 1980s and 1990s, following the construction of the East-West Tollway (now known as the Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway) and Interstate 355 (originally known as the North–South Tollway, now the Veterans Memorial Tollway). It has nearly quadrupled in size as the Chicago metropolitan area's urban sprawl brought corporations, employment, jobs, and wealth to the area. The March 2006 issue of ''Chicago (magazine), Chicago'' magazine cites a mid-1970s decision to make and keep all parking in downtown Naperville free to keep downtown Naperville "alive" in the face of competition with Westfield Fox Valley, Fox Valley Mall in Aurora and the subsequent sprawl of strip shopping malls. Parking meters were taken down, parking in garages built in the 1980s and 1990s is free, and parking is still available on major thoroughfares during non-peak hours. Naperville marked the 175th anniversary of its 1831 founding in 2006. The anniversary events included celebrations, concerts and a balloon parade.
GeographyAccording to the 2010 census, Naperville has an area of , of which (or 98.59%) is land and (or 1.41%) is water. Portions of the city of Naperville drain to the West Branch of the DuPage River within DuPage County, Illinois, DuPage County. Specifically, in the flood of 1996, downtown businesses in the City of Naperville incurred significant damage. Overall, however, Forest Preserve District ownership of a large amount of property along the West Branch has minimized development in flood plains and has helped reduce the damages from overbank flooding that have occurred in the county's more developed watersheds. Naperville is located in six townships in two counties. In Dupage County, the Northwest portion is in Winfield Township, DuPage County, Illinois, Winfield Township, the Northeast portion is in Milton Township, DuPage County, Illinois, Milton Township, the West central portion is in Naperville Township, DuPage County, Illinois, Naperville Township, and the East central portion is in Lisle Township, DuPage County, Illinois, Lisle Township. In Will County, the Southwest portion is in Wheatland Township, Will County, Illinois, Wheatland Township, and the Southeast portion is in DuPage Township, Will County, Illinois, DuPage Township. The largest number of Naperville residents live in Lisle Township, followed by Naperville Township.
DemographicsThere were 141,122 people, 53,408 households, and 36,289 families residing in the city. As of April 2016, Naperville was the 176th most populous city in the United States. According to the 2016 American Community Survey, the population density was 3708.8 inhabitants per square mile. There were 53,408 housing units. The racial makeup of the city was 76.5% White (U.S. Census), White, 4.7% African American (U.S. Census), African American, 14.9% Asian (U.S. Census), Asian and 5.3% Hispanic (U.S. Census), Hispanic or Latino (U.S. Census), Latino. There were 48,655 households, out of which 45.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 70.0% were married couples living together, 6.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.7% were non-families. 17.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 3.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.04 and the average family size was 3.55. In the city, the age distribution consisted of 30.2% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 26.7% from 45 to 64, and 6.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35.9 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.2 males. The median income for a household in the city was $105,585, and the median income for a family was $130,164. Males had a median income of $82,515 versus $46,533 for females. The per capita income for the city was $48,239. About 2.5% of the population was below the poverty line, including 1.2% of those under age 18 and 9.1% of those age 65 or over. In 2011, 14.9% of Naperville's residents were Asian, making it the Chicago suburb with the tenth highest percentage of Asians.Selvam, Ashok.
EconomyNaperville is within the Illinois Technology and Research Corridor. Employers contributing to the population explosion of the 1980s and 1990s included: Bell Labs and Western Electric (once Alcatel-Lucent, now Nokia), Amoco (now BP and Ineos), Nalco Holding Company, Nalco, Calamos, Nicor, and Edward Hospital. and ConAgra Foods, ConAgra's Grocery division branch office employs approximately 400 workers. Kraft Foods (now Mondelez International) opened their Naperville site in 1968, and employs over 200 individuals at the plant, which supplies all Triscuit products for North America. Naperville is also home to the headquarters of Dukane Precast, and their double-wall precast concrete manufacturing plant. Naperville was one of the ten fastest growing communities in the United States during the 1990s. The Naperville area is home to many popular retailers, restaurants and shopping centers, such as downtown Naperville, Freedom Commons, Springbrook Prairie Pavilion, and the Illinois Route 59, Route 59 and Ogden Avenue corridors. Naperville has over eleven automobile dealerships, and in October 2006, the city opened the country's first public-private automobile test track, situated on a course, at a cost of $1.5 million.
Top employersAccording to the city's 2019 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the city's top ten employers are:
Arts and culture
LibraryThe Naperville Public Library has been ranked number one in the United States each year from 1999 through 2010, for cities with populations between 100,000 and 249,999 by ''Hennen's American Public Library Ratings''. There are three public library locations within the city limits: *The Nichols Library is in downtown Naperville, at 200 W. Jefferson Street. It opened at this location in March 1986. It is a structure and is pictured at right. The previous library building still stands on Washington Street, just south of the YMCA building, at Washington and Van Buren. *The Naper Boulevard Library was dedicated in December 1992 and underwent internal renovations in 2015. It is at 2035 S. Naper Boulevard and is the smallest of the three buildings at *The 95th Street Library is near the intersection of 95th Street (Chicago), 95th Street and Illinois Route 59, Route 59, at 3015 Cedar Glade Drive (just west of Neuqua Valley High School). Opened in September 2003, it is the newest and largest of the three facilities at and features a modern, curving architectural style. This building was renovated in 2018 with the entire lower level reorganized to define social areas, maximize space, and go green. The three libraries are used heavily by the public, including around one and a half million visitors and a circulation of about five million items yearly.
ArtNaperville is home of the Naperville Independent Film Festival, an annual film festival which features the work of independent filmmakers. The Naperville Municipal Band is a nonprofit organization founded in 1859. They perform a summer concert series in Naperville's Central Park, as well as several other concerts around the city, and are made up of over 90 volunteer musicians.
TourismThe Naperville Historic District is a set of 613 buildings in the older eastern section of Naperville and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places listings in DuPage County, Illinois, National Register of Historic Places. The Old Nichols Library building, which served as Naperville's original public library, was designated a local landmark in 2017. Naper Settlement an outdoor history museum representing the era of Naperville's founding.
Moser Tower and Millennium CarillonIn 1999, Naperville was designated a White House Millennium Community, due to the construction of the Moser Tower and Millennium Carillon. The tower was started with a community lead fundraising effort in 1998. The 158-foot-tall Moser tower is just on north of Aurora Avenue and at the base of Rotary Hill within the Riverwalk Park complex. The tower's design won an award for "Best Custom Solution" from the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI). The Millennium Carillon is designated as one of the four largest carillons in the world, with 72 bronze bells weighing from 10 pounds to the 6-ton "Captain Joseph Naper Bell". It is one of only four in the world that span six octaves. It was dedicated in an Independence Day (United States), Independence Day event on June 29, 2000, with a reception attended by over 15,000, and a performance by the Naperville Municipal Band and the Naperville Men's Glee Club and Festival Chorus. The Carillon is both manually and also computer-playable, with most performances done by hand, but with half the bells played by a computer-controlled system at set times during the day. At present, the Carillon is operational and tours are available after concerts. In 2004, the City of Naperville took over control of the community venture that had run out of money. The Tower would later open in July 2007 with funding for completion of the site coming from the City of Naperville.
Naperville RiverwalkNaperville is known for the Naperville Riverwalk, built in 1981 to commemorate Naperville's 150th anniversary. The Riverwalk has many points of interest along its 1.75 mile path.
DuPage Children's MuseumThe DuPage Children's Museum was founded in 1987; and moved from Wheaton to its Naperville location in 2001. The Museum was rebuilt and redesigned in 2015.
Parks and recreationThe Naperville Park District manages and provides leisure and recreational activities for Naperville and nearby residents. The District was established by referendum in 1966. As of 2007, the Park District manages over of open space, including over 130 parks and four sports complexes. The Park District also manages two golf courses, Springbrook and Naperbrook. In addition, the Park District is responsible for the Naperville Riverwalk, construction of which began in 1981, marking the 150th anniversary of the first Joseph Naper's settlement. The Park District maintains and beautifies the riverwalk throughout the year with the help of community members. The Naperville Riverwalk is 1.75 miles long and runs along the West Branch of the DuPage River. It is made up of brick paths, fountains, and covered bridges. In addition, the riverwalk features the Dandelion Fountain, the Naperville Century Walk, the Riverwalk Eatery, and the Commander Dan Shanower-Sep 11 Memorial. The memorial also includes over 140 faces made by local school children symbolizing the casualties of September 11. As of April 2015, a 2.4 acre Water Street District development has started just south of the Naperville Riverwalk between Main and Webster streets. The city of Naperville and Naperville Park District are planning to expand the riverwalk to add an art wall and seating areas. The Water Street project is expected to be completed in the fall of 2016. North Central College with the help of the city of Naperville is planning to construct a park along the riverwalk, but the project has been suspended for the time being. Some of the other facilities managed by the Park District include: *Centennial Beach, with adjacent Centennial Park. *Two parks dedicated to skateboarding and in-line skating, at Frontier Sports Complex and Centennial Park. *Commissioners Park (Naperville, Illinois), Commissioners Park, which includes Naperville's first official Cricket pitch, opened in 2006. *Alfred Rubin Riverwalk Community Center *Community Garden Plots, on West Street. *Knoch Knolls Park, which includes a small, but recently extended, mountain biking trail and eighteen-hole frisbee golf course, located south between Ring Road and 95th Street. *Naperville Sportsman's Club, Public trap shooting range The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County manages several forest preserves and parks that are within Naperville *Springbrook Prairie, which is 1,829 acres of land, 13 miles of trails, activities including bird watching, kayaking, model-aircraft area, fishing, biking, running, and other recreational activities. *Greene Valley Forest Preserve, which offers hiking, biking, picnicking, model airplane area, and youth camping. *Herrick Lake Forest Preserve, where there are trails for hiking, cycling, and horseback riding, a lake for fishing and boating, and picnic areas. *McDowell Grove Forest Preserve, where activities include picnicking, fishing, watercraft access to the DuPage River, hiking, cycling, cross-country skiing, and horseback riding on trails. *Pioneer Park, the location of the Hobson monument and grist mill; a section of the DuPage River Trail used for walking, running, and cycling; and access to the DuPage River for fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. The Forest Preserve District of Will County manages Whalon Lake Forest Preserve. The North Central College Cardinal sports teams use multiple venues in Naperville. Players Indoor Sports Center hosts lacrosse and soccer games at the facility. New Wave Lacrosse Club also uses multiple parks in Naperville.
Colleges and universities*North Central College is on a campus in Downtown Naperville on Chicago Avenue. It was founded by a predecessor church to the United Methodist Church in 1861 and has been in Naperville since 1870. The college remains affiliated with the United Methodist Church. *Northern Illinois University maintains a satellite campus on Diehl Road offering several degrees at its facility. *The College of DuPage Naperville Regional Center is on Rickert Drive. *DeVry University maintains a satellite campus on Diehl Road in Naperville. *Governors State University maintains a satellite campus on West 95th Street in Naperville. *Indiana Institute of Technology, Indiana Tech maintains a satellite campus on North Aurora Road. *The University of Illinois system opened a Business & Industry Services campus in Naperville in 2007. It closed its doors in September 2020 in response to reduced business stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Primary and secondary schools
Public schoolsTwo K-12 public school districts serve the city of Naperville (along with a number of private, parochial schools, including private schools in neighboring Aurora, Illinois, Aurora and Lisle, Illinois, Lisle). Within the state of Illinois, school districts are numbered by their county. Naperville Community Unit School District 203, established in 1972 through the merger of elementary and high school districts, serves central and northern Naperville (as well as portions of neighboring Lisle and Bolingbrook, Illinois, Bolingbrook). The current District 203 school buildings were constructed between 1928 (Ellsworth) and 2010 (Ann Reid Early Childhood Center). The 203 school district has two high schools: Naperville Central High School and Naperville North High School, 5 junior high schools and 15 elementary schools within Naperville city limits. Additionally, the school district has one junior high and one elementary school in Lisle. Indian Prairie School District 204 (IPSD) was also formed through merged districts in 1972. Neuqua Valley High School, along with three middle schools and 19 elementary schools from this district, are within Naperville city limits in the southern part. In total, IPSD runs and maintains 4 high schools (Neuqua Valley High School, Metea Valley High School, Wheatland Academy and Waubonsie Valley High School), 7 junior high schools, 21 elementary schools, 1 preschool, and 1 alternative high school. The district serves western and southwestern Naperville, along with eastern Aurora and parts of Bolingbrook and Plainfield.
Private schoolsPrivate schools in the city limits include: *All Saints Catholic Academy, founded in 2005, preschool through 8th grade *Bethany Lutheran School, preschool through 8th grade *Calvary Christian School, kindergarten through 8th grade *Chesterbrook Academy, kindergarten through 5th grade *Covenant Classical School, kindergarten through 8th grade *Naperville Academy, established by law in 1841, incorporated in 1851, and opened in 1852. It became a public school in 1860 and the school building stood until 1928. *Naperville Christian Academy, Classical Christian education, Classical Christian school, preschool through 12th grade *St. Raphael School, Roman Catholic school, kindergarten through 8th grade *Saints Peter and Paul School, opened in 1855, Catholic school, kindergarten through 8th grade
Television* Naperville Community Television, NCTV17 (Channel 17) – Community-based programming that includes news, sports, and talk shows.
Newspapers* ''Daily Herald (Arlington Heights), Daily Herald'' is a daily newspaper served suburban Chicago. It was started in 1872 and prospered by Hosea Paddock and his posterity since 1889. * ''Naperville Sun'' is a local newspaper served Naperville, Illinois and published three days a week, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. It was founded in 1935 and now is owned by Chicago Tribune Media Group. *Shaw Media includes daily and weekly print and online publications located in Illinois and Iowa.
Radio* 1610-AM WPFP 929, AM 1610 – emergency, city and road information * Stop and Go Radio – Internet community radio station * WONC (89.1 FM) – album oriented rock format, owned by North Central College * WCKG (1530 AM) – The Voice of Dupage County and Naperville's News/Talk. Providing local Dupage County weather and suburban news
Health systemsEdward Hospital in Naperville, Illinois, was first established in 1907 as Edward Sanitarium, and became Edward Hospital in 1955. It merged with Elmhurst Hospital in 2013 to create Edward-Elmhurst Health. Edward Hospital is a full-service hospital with 352 private patient rooms. For many years, Edward Hospital and others have tried to introduce a new hospital into Naperville only to have their request turned down. Thus, Naperville remains the only large Illinois city with only one hospital. Edward Hospital currently is trying to open a hospital in nearby Plainfield, Illinois, Plainfield to help Naperville citizens with travel times to Edward Hospital. DuPage Medical Group has 17 locations in Naperville. The University of Chicago Medical Center has two locations at Naperville providing Pediatric and ENT services.
Post officeIn 1941, New Deal artist Rainey Bennett painted an oil on canvas mural for the Naperville post office titled, ''George Martin's Home Overlooking Old Naper Hill''. The main post office in Naperville is at 1750 W. Ogden Ave. The downtown post office building at 5 S. Washington St. has been redeveloped as a bank, with a space for a smaller post office to continue to serve downtown customers. An additional smaller post office branch is located on the Southwest side of the city at 3075 Book Rd., Naperville.
RoadsThe Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway (the tolled portion of Interstate 88 (west), Interstate 88) passes through northern Naperville. US Route 34 (Ogden Avenue) enters Naperville in the west at Illinois Route 59. A diverging diamond interchange, the first in Northeast Illinois, was completed in 2015 at the junction of Route 59 and Interstate 88.
Train serviceThe first rail link to Chicago dates to 1864, established by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. Naperville currently has three tracks belonging to the BNSF Railway that run through the north end of town, with passenger rail service provided by Metra and Amtrak. Amtrak's four daily trains through Naperville are the ''Illinois Zephyr'' and ''Carl Sandburg (train), Carl Sandburg'' (both destined for Quincy, Illinois), the ''California Zephyr'' (destined for Emeryville, California), and the ''Southwest Chief'' (destined for Los Angeles). A third Metra station was planned on the Suburban Transit Access Route, Suburban Transit Access Route ("STAR") at Wolf's Crossing. The project is no longer active since 2012.
Bus servicePace (transit), Pace provides rush hour bus service to the Metra stations, and previously, through 2008, had provided for local midday service. Both services have always been operated under contract; First Student, a national transportation management firm, is the current contract operator. In addition, Pace directly operates bus route 530 from Naperville to Aurora, Illinois, Aurora (which serves Aurora's Fox Valley Mall) and bus route 714 from Naperville to Wheaton, Illinois, Wheaton (which serves the College of DuPage), both through its Fox Valley division. Pace also directly operates route 888, a rush hour express route named the "Tri-State Flyer", from Homewood, Illinois, Homewood and South Holland, Illinois, South Holland to corporate employment sites in the western suburbs, including those in the northern part of Naperville; this route is operated by Pace through its South division. Intercity bus service in Naperville consists of a route from Chicago and Naperville to Davenport, Iowa, and points further west, operated by both Burlington Trailways and Greyhound Lines. The Burlington Trailways buses stop at the Naperville (Amtrak station), Naperville Metra and Amtrak station, downtown on Fourth Avenue; the Greyhound Lines buses stop at the Route 59 (Metra station), Route 59 Metra station.
AirportO'Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport are approx. away from Naperville, respectively. The DuPage Airport, a general aviation airport serving private and charter jets, is 14 miles from downtown Naperville. There is also one private airport, the Naper Aero Club field, designation LL-10, on the western edge of town. The field is notable for being the home of the Lima Lima Flight Team.
Sister cities* Nitra, Slovakia since November 17, 1993. * Pátzcuaro, Mexico since November 13, 2010.
Further reading* *