Kane/DuPage county (IL) toponym origins
Several towns named after founders and heroes BY KATHRYN GRONDIN Daily Herald Staff Writer When settlers in Kane and DuPage counties chose township names, they opted for the greats. Great poets: Virgil. Great philosophers: Plato. Great writers: Homer. Great American politicians: politicians: Jefferson. When they chose town names, they often got personal, picking names to which they were more attached. The honored former homelands, friends, local legends and themselves. themselves. And they recognized their towns' natural features. Some names stuck, while others did not often because of duplicate names elsewhere in the state. Here's a look at how some towns in Kane and DuPage counties got their names, according to historical historical society and library documents and local historians. • • • Addison: One of the first settlers settlers who arrived in 1833, Hezekiah Dunklee staked a claim near a grove of trees. So the town was first known as Dunkley's Grove, different spelling and all. That lasted until 1842 when Addision Township formed. The village followed followed about 1884, and local lore says the name Addison comes from a town in England. Batavia: The city was named by Judge Isaac Wilson, one of its first settlers, in honor of his hometown of Batavia, N.Y. Bensenville: The town was part of what now is known as Addison Addison Township, The name Tipga, reflecting the town's Native American American history, appeared on some maps. Bensenville later was selected after early settler Henry Schuette said the town reminded him of his former home in Bensen, Germany. Bloomingdale: It was thought to be named after a town in Vermont, Vermont, but town officials later discovered discovered there was no such place in the eastern state. Silas Harvey and Lyman Meacham settled in area in 1833 and originally called it Mcacham's Grove. Carol Stream: Developer Jay Stream, who was the first to build houses in the area, named his subdivision subdivision after his daughter, Carol, who had survived a serious car accident in August 1957. Unable to link with an adjacent town, he built the houses and then residents petitioned to become a village in 1958. Elburn: Originally, called Blackberry Blackberry Station likely because of the abundance of blackberries in the area and the train depot being built. The railroad asked the name be changed because Blackberry Center and Blackberry Township already was confusing enough. So in 1885, settlers chose Melbourne. But the railway said there were too many Melbournes, so they dropped a few letters and got Elburn. Geneva: For a time it was known as LaFox, Big Spring and Herrington's Ford after the first family to settle in the area. Several settlers later chose honor their hometown of Geneva, N.Y. Glendale Heights: It got its original name of Glendale because it was between Glen Ellyn and Bloomingdale. But because there was another Glendale, postal officials officials asked for another name, so Harold Ruskin added Heights. • • • Glen Ellyn: The town has had seven names, starting with Babcock's Babcock's Grove in 1833 after three brothers who settled the area, which also included Lombard. It later was called DuPage Center; Stacy's Corners after the Stacy family; Newton's Station; Danby after the birth place in Vermont of Dr. Lewey Quitterfield Newton, who owned much of the current business district and donated land for the train depot; and Prospect Park, which is rumored to be because the town had a beautiful park and the prospect was pleasing. pleasing. In 1885, the town was renamed Glen Ellyn by then village President President Thomas E. Hill after the Welsh version of his wife Ellen's name. Glen refers to the area's geography. Itasca: It originally was called Pierce after Charlie Pierce, who ran a trading post in town in the 1850s. In 1864, it was renamed Sagon. The town then incorporated incorporated as Itasca in 1890 after the lake in Minnesota that is the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Kaneville: The town first was called Royalton but when a town representative went to Springfield to apply for the name officially, he found out it was taken. So on the spur of moment, he chose Kaneville after Elias Kane, for whom the co_unty is named. Keeneyville: The area, which never incorporated, was named after after the pioneer developer Albert Keeney, who was among the early settlers and a town leader. LaFox: The name likely comes from the City of Geneva, which originally was called LaFox. Settlers Settlers picked Geneva when it incorporated, incorporated, but the post office to the west kept the name LaFox. So when the railroad came through in 1854, the town adopted the post office's name of LaFox. Lily Lake: Originally located north of the current hub, it previously previously was called Canada Corners after the large number of Canadians Canadians who settled near Route 47 and Empire Road. The town relocated when the railway came in and took its name from a nearby lake that featured an abundance of lilies. Lisle: The name was suggested in 1839 by A.B. Chatfield, who had lived near a town called Lisle in New York, which is said to have been named for an area in France. New Yorkers are believed to have chosen the name to honor Marquis de Lafayette, who served in the colonial army. Lombard: It first was named Babcock's Grove after brothers Ralph and Morgan Babcock, who actually settled farther west near the DuPage River. Townspeople later voted to name it after real estate developer Josia Lewis Lombard, Lombard, who mapped out plans for the town in 1868. Medinah: The town gets its name from Medinah Country Club, which stems from a group of Shri- ners from Chicago's Medinah Temple who wanted to build the best country club in North America. America. They selected several parcels of land then known as Meacham after a family that once owned the land. Naperville: It was known as Naper Settlement in 1832 after siblings siblings John Naper and Joseph Naper who were among the earliest earliest settlers. Between 1834 and 1837, it became Naperville. Oak Brook: In 1851, it was known as Fullersburg after early settler Ben Fuller who arrived in 1834 between Hinsdale and Oak Brook. The area featured two majestic oaks and majestic streams, which historians believe spurred the name. Oakbrook Terrace: It first was known as Utopia, at the suggestion of an Elmhurst postmaster with a sense of humor. He offered the name when settlers came to him complaining of trouble with mail delivery. Residents voted in June 1958 in favor of the City of Utopia, but later voted in November 1959 to change it to Oakbrook Terrace. Roselle: It was named after Rosell Hough, a colonel in the Civil War, whose family owned much of the land. Originally, it was part of Bloomingdale and was named Meacham's Grove after early settlers. settlers. Roselle incorporated in 1922 and became its own town. St. Charles: It originally was called Charleston but around 1839 the name was changed to St. Charles because there was a Charleston in central Illinois. An educated guess by historians is that early settler Steven Jones took the first name from a town on the East Coast. Villa Park: Several tales speculate speculate how it was named: It started with a subdivision named for two of its principal roads — Villa Avenue and Park Boulevard; it was suggested by an early wealthy resident, Charles C. Hciscn, who owned an estate in Florida by that name; it resulted from developers who had planned to build villa- style homes in a park-like setting; and, the town originally was called Ardmore after its topography. No reason has been given for the change, except that a majority of villagers agreed in 1917. Warrenville: The city gets its name from Daniel Warren, one of the town's original settlers who arrived in 1833 and staked a claim. Col. Warren was elected to the state legislature in 1844. Wasco: It first was named Compton after an early family in the area, but later was changed. The reason is elusive. Wayne: It first was called Wayne Station in 1850s with the advent of the railroad, named after "Mad" Anthony Wayne, who was an American general in the Revolution Revolution and opened the territory for settlement. Wayne as a town incorporated in 1961. West Chicago: It was first known as Junction because it was the first railroad junction in the state in 1850. Then it was known as the town of Turner in 1873 in honor of John B. Turner, who was president president of the Galena & Chicago Union Ry., until 1896 when it became became West Chicago. Businessmen in town chose the name with hopes of boosting industry by allying allying the town with the vitality of Chicago. Wheaton: It was named after brothers Warren and Jesse Wheaton, who owned much land in town and donated 3 miles of right- of-way to the railroad in 1848. The grateful railroad named the train depot after them and subsequently the town developed around it. Winfield: It briefly was known as Fredericksburg in 1853. But in 1854 Winfield appeared on maps probably chosen because of the township's name, which was after General Winfield Scott who stopped in the area during Black Hawk War in 1832-33. Wood Dale: The town first was known as Lester's Station after an early settler, John Lester. A portion portion of town was called Sagone in 1850. Later that year, it became Wood Dale after a subdivision built in a forest in town.