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Wheaton, Illinois
County: DuPage
Township: Milton
Mayor: Michael J. Gresk
ZIP code(s): 60187, 60188, 60189
Area code(s): 630 and 331
Population (2000): 55,416
Density: 4,938.5/mi² (1,907/km²)
Area: 11.3 mi² (29.2 km²)
Per capita income: $36,147
(median: $88,385)
Home value: $248,251
(median: $352,300 (2005))
White Black Hispanic Asian
89.85% 2.82% 3.65% 4.85%
Islander Native Other
0.02% 0.11% 1.03%

Wheaton is an affluent community, located in DuPage County, Illinois, approximately 25 miles (40 km) west of Chicago and Lake Michigan. Wheaton is the county seat of DuPage County. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 55,676. It is a part of the Chicago metropolitan area and the Illinois Technology and Research Corridor.



The city dates its founding to 1836 and 1837, following the Indian Removal Act, when Erastus Gary laid claim to 790 acres (3.2 km2) of land near present-day Warrenville. In 1837, Warren Wheaton laid claim to 640 acres (2.6 km2) of land in the center of town. Jesse Wheaton later made claim to 300 acres (1.2 km2) of land just west of Warren's. In 1848, they gave the Chicago and Galena Railroad three miles (5 km) of right-of-way, upon which railroad officials named the depot Wheaton. In 1850, ten blocks of land were platted and anyone who was willing to build immediately was granted free land. In 1853 the lots were surveyed and a formal plat for the city was filed with the county. The city was then incorporated in 1859 with Warren serving as its first President. The city was re-incorporated on March 1, 1890 when the first mayor of the city was selected, Judge Elbert Gary, son of Erastus Gary and founder of Gary, Indiana.

DuPage County Government Center

Establishment as county seat

In 1857 the Illinois state legislature authorized an election to be held to decide the question of whether the DuPage county seat should remain in Naperville or be moved to the more centrally located Wheaton, which was on the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad. Naperville won the election by a vote of 1,542 to 762. Hostility between the two towns continued for the next decade and another election was held in 1867, of which Wheaton narrowly won by a vote of 1,686 to 1,635. At a cost of $20,000, the City of Wheaton quickly built a courthouse to house a courtroom, county offices and a county jail. The building was dedicated on July 4, 1868.[2]

However, animosity between the two towns continued, and in 1868, as records were moved from the old Naperville courthouse to the new one in Wheaton, Naperville refused to turn over remaining county records, prompting a band of Civil War veterans from Wheaton to conduct what came to be known as the Midnight Raid on the Naperville courthouse. As Wheatonites fled back on Wheaton-Naperville Road, Napervillians were able to secure some last remaining records, which were taken to the Cook County Recorder in Chicago for safekeeping. During this time, Naperville was mounting a lawsuit against Wheaton accusing election judges of leaving their posts during the vote. As the courts deliberated the fate of the county seat, the records were destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Shortly thereafter, Wheaton was officially proclaimed the county seat.[3]

As demand for space increased, the courthouse was rebuilt in 1887 at a cost of $69,390, modeled after the courthouse in Aledo. This structure was used for the next 94 years until the county's rapid growth prompted the building of a brand new complex.[4] The old courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and was formerly used by National-Louis University until National-Louis moved to Lisle in 2004. It is currently being developed into luxury condominiums.

On November 2, 1990, the courthouse moved to a building about two miles (3 km) west in a new 57-acre (230,000 m2) complex at the corner of County Farm Road and Manchester Road. It was built at a cost of $52,500,000 and includes a 300,000-square-foot (30,000 m2) judicial building. In 1992, the county sued the architect and contractor for $4 million after several employees became ill from the ventilation system.[5] In the end, however, the county received only $120,000 for minor repairs and the jury sided with the defendants, finding that the alleged problems were caused, primarily, by the county's negligent operation and maintenance of the ventilation system.

Other institutions

In 1873 Charles M. Barnes set up a small shop in his home as a part of his printshop. Barnes & Noble would later be established when Barnes' son William partnered with G. Clifford Noble in 1917 in New York City.[6] The company has since grown to more than 900 stores in all fifty states, including one in Wheaton's Towne Square shopping complex which has since been closed.

Built in 1926, the national headquarters of the Theosophical Society in America is located on the north side of Wheaton. The estate includes large grounds with a labyrinth and tennis court, a mansion with a beautiful two-story library, a New Age bookstore called Quest Books, and the Theosophical Publishing House. The Theosophical Society holds classes and lectures, and Ram Dass and Rupert Sheldrake, among others, have spoken there. This is also now the North American Headquarters for the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Established in 1972 by the Wheaton Franciscan Sisters, Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital is a rehabilitation hospital located on the west side of Wheaton on Roosevelt Road, half a mile south of the DuPage County Government Center. Marianjoy specializes in inpatient, comprehensive outpatient and subacute rehabilitation services.

Recent history

Wheaton Center, from the pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks
Wheaton, south of Roosevelt Road, including Cantigny Golf Course on the left, Arrowhead Golf Club on the bottom, and Chicago Golf Club in the center.

Wheaton has rapidly expanded since the 1950s, although population growth has slowed since the early 1990s, as the city has become increasingly landlocked. Downtown lost much business after the county courthouse facility moved two miles (3 km) west in 1990, but in the decade since the downtown has seen a renaissance of sorts, with the creation of several significant condominium and business developments. One of the most recognizable landmarks of the city is Wheaton Center, a 758-unit apartment complex on 14 acres (57,000 m2) in Downtown Wheaton. The six building complex includes two twenty-story high-rise buildings built in 1975.

As south Wheaton began to expand in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, with the Farnham, Stonehedge, Arrowhead, and Scottdale subdivisions, and major shopping districts including Danada Square and Town Square, it has increasingly become more divided both geographically and sociologically into a Northside and a Southside with Roosevelt Road, which roughly divides the school boundaries. The Northside of Wheaton is most commonly associated with Wheaton North High School, downtown Wheaton, and the community's historic residential district, which in recent years has been the subject of increasing controversy regarding the number of "teardowns" of older and historic homes. In Wheaton, there were 74 teardowns in 2004 and in 2005 there were 63. The Southside of Wheaton is most commonly associated with newer homes and subdivisions, Wheaton Warrenville South High School, and the Danada shopping area.

Up until 1985, Wheaton had a prohibition on the sale and service of all alcohol products. This applied to all supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants and other establishments.[7] The city's ban had little effect on residents, as many would simply purchase or consume alcoholic beverages in neighboring communities. This prompted residents to repeal its ban in order to attract upscale restaurants and increase sales tax revenue.

According to local realtors, single family housing in Wheaton increased in value by 10 percent in 2004 and 10.1 percent in 2005, continuing a steady increase which has been enjoyed by home owners over the last several years. The 2005 average sale price for a single family home in Wheaton was $409,927.


Wheaton has 63 churches within its limits, with an additional thirty in the bordering unincorporated areas. The Genius Edition of Trivial Pursuit claims Wheaton has "more churches per capita than any town in America."

On March 18, 2002, St. Michael Catholic Church in Downtown Wheaton was destroyed by arson by a Wheaton resident and parishioner,[8] now serving 39 years in prison.[9] He has lost his appeal, but still maintains his innocence. The church has since been rebuilt, which reopened on March 18, 2006 at a cost of $13 million.

Wheaton has the most Churches per unit area then any other city



Higher education

Wheaton College is located not far from downtown Wheaton. Its campus features the Billy Graham Center, named for the college's most famous alumnus, which contains a museum dedicated to both the history of American evangelism and the international ministry of Billy Graham. It features conceptual exhibits intended to convey Christian ideas.

The Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology is also located in Wheaton, and is home to the Center for Professional Development and offers technology-oriented education and training for working professionals.

Private schools

Several of the private schools in Wheaton are located near the town center, in addition, St. Francis High School is on the far west side and Wheaton Academy moved to West Chicago in 1945.

Public Schools

Wheaton is part of the highly-rated Community Unit School District 200.

High Schools:

Middle Schools:

  • Monroe
  • Franklin
  • Edison
  • Hubble

Elementary Schools:

  • Sandburg
  • Pleasant Hill
  • Emerson
  • Whittier
  • Wiesbrook
  • Lowell
  • Bower
  • Hawthorne
  • Johnson
  • Lincoln
  • Longfellow
  • Madison
  • Washington
  • Briar Glen


  • Jefferson
  • Toddler's Campus Pre-school

One elementary school that's located in Wheaton, Briar Glen Elementary School, is actually part of Glen Ellyn's Community Consolidated School District 89.

Leisure and recreation

The Illinois Prairie Path in Wheaton.

Parks and golf

  • The Wheaton Park District has received the National Gold Medal for Excellence by the National Park & Recreation Association three times in the past fifteen years.[10] It boasts 52 parks covering more than 800 acres (3.2 km2), including:
    • The 135-acre (0.5 km2) Lincoln Marsh, with over 300 species of plants and animals, and a regionally acclaimed ropes course.
    • Cosley Zoo, a free-admission zoo which was founded in 1974.
    • Two public swimming pools, including Rice Pool and Water Park with three water slides.
    • The 27-hole Arrowhead Golf Club, which was built in 1927 and completely renovated throughout the 1990s. A new clubhouse built in 2004-2005 makes it a place to go.
  • The Chicago Golf Club is a prestigious private golf club on the southside of Wheaton. It is the oldest 18-hole golf course in the nation and one of the five original clubs that founded the United States Golf Association in 1894. It has hosted numerous U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur Golf Championships in its history. In 2005, it was host to the Walker Cup.
  • The Danada Forest Preserve and Equestrian Center is located on the site of the former estate of Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice, after whom Danada is named.[11] In the 1940s the Rices added a barn to the estate to house horses. In 1965, their horse Lucky Debonair won the Kentucky Derby. The Danada Farm estate was acquired by the county in 1980 and 1981.
  • The Illinois Prairie Path runs throughout Wheaton, including the intersection of the Aurora Branch and Elgin Branch, just west of downtown near the railroad tracks.


Wheaton is home to the DuPage County Fairgrounds on Manchester Rd. Organized in 1954, the DuPage County Fair Association hosts the annual DuPage County Fair in late July. The fair annually attracts major entertainers, such as Ashlee Simpson, Plain White T's (2007), Travis Tritt, Jesse McCartney, Jars of Clay, Corbin Bleu (2008), and The Academy Is... (2009).

Public library

The Wheaton Public Library is frequently ranked as one of the top 10 libraries in the nation compared to other libraries serving similarly sized populations.[12] It has recently undergone an addition as well as significant renovations to bring the square footage up from 74,000 to 120,000. The library now adjoins serene Adams Park. The new library addition/renovation features the Park View Commons, where food and beverages can be purchased from vending machines. The Quiet Reading Room, located on the second floor, features a fireplace and comfortable seating. There is also a special area created just for teens. Four private study rooms are available for small groups.[13] The total circulation in 2005 was 1,164,465, including 343,684 hardcover books and 28,894 paperback books.


Wheaton is also home to the historic Wheaton Grand Theater, built in 1925. In recent years, the theater and volunteers have begun a restoration to its original state, complete a with lighted dome ceiling dotted with stars, and a newly painted floor. It celebrated its grand reopening on May 11, 2002, and on August 25, 2005, the Theater was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Downtown Wheaton is home to perhaps one of the narrowest stores in the Chicago area. The Popcorn Shop on Front Street was formerly an alley between two buildings, and features the exposed brick walls of its neighbors. The store has been around since the 1920s, and currently sells candy for as little as 2¢ a piece and, of course, fresh popcorn.

The Town Square Shopping Center, located on Naperville Road, two miles North of I-88 & one mile South of Roosevelt Road in Wheaton, is also a venue for shopping. The outdoor mall features several clothing boutiques and restaurants, such as Williams-Sonoma, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Express, the Gap, and L'anne Restaurant.



Wheaton train station, rebuilt in 2000

The Union Pacific/West Line runs through Downtown Wheaton and has been a staple of Wheaton since its founding. Metra has two stops along the line in Wheaton, one at College Avenue serving Wheaton College, and another at West Street in the heart of Downtown Wheaton. It passes under a bridge just west of Downtown, and over County Farm Road, just north of the DuPage County Government Complex.

Formerly Wheaton was also served by trains of the Chicago Aurora and Elgin Railroad. The CA&E right-of-way now constitutes the Illinois Prairie Path.


Two Illinois State Routes run east/west through Wheaton:

  • Illinois Route 38, also known as Roosevelt Road, runs through the center of Wheaton. On its route are many car dealerships, restaurants, Hubble Middle School, St. Francis High School, and Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital. Downtown Wheaton is about half a mile north.
  • Illinois Route 56, also known as Butterfield Road, runs through southern Wheaton. On its route is the Danada Shopping complex (among other shopping complexes), DuPage County Forest Preserves including the Danada House and equestrian area, Arrowhead Golf Course, subdivisions, including Briarcliffe, Stonehedge and Arrowhead, and Wheaton Warrenville South High School.

Other roads include:

  • Blanchard Street, a north-south road runs from just south of the Union Pacific/West Line to its intersection with Naperville Road at the north end of the Danada complex.
  • County Farm Road, a north/south road runs from Roosevelt Road at St. Francis High School through Geneva Road, passing by the DuPage County Government Complex.
  • Gary Avenue, a north/south road runs from downtown Wheaton at Front Street through Geneva Road. On its route are Cosley Zoo, the Lincoln Marsh, and Wheaton North High School. It serves, along with Main Street, as a primary route to Carol Stream and Bloomingdale.
  • Geneva Road, an east/west road at the northern border of Wheaton, which includes Wheaton Bowl, Wheaton North High School, and the national headquarters of the Theosophical Society in America on its route. It serves as a route to Winfield, West Chicago and further to the west, Glen Ellyn to the east.
  • Main Street, a north/south road that runs from southernmost Wheaton through Geneva Road where it continues as Schmale Road, which serves, along with Gary Avenue, as a primary route to Carol Stream and Bloomingdale to the north.
  • Naperville Road, a north/south road runs from Butterfield Road in the south to just past Roosevelt Road in central Wheaton. It primarily runs through the Danada Shopping complex and the Farnham subdivision and serves as a primary route to Warrenville and Naperville to the south.
  • President Street, a north/south road runs from its intersection with Blanchard Street north of the Danada complex through Geneva Road, passing through the Union Pacific/West Line Roosevelt Road. Its route runs near Wheaton College.


The Illinois Prairie Path goes through downtown Wheaton and connects it to Glen Ellyn as well as Winfield. The path sits on the right of way of the Chicago Aurora and Elgin Railroad.

Notable residents

Notable former and current residents of Wheaton include:

Media and entertainment





Wheaton is located at 41°51′34″N 88°6′26″W / 41.85944°N 88.10722°W / 41.85944; -88.10722 (41.859562, -88.107181)[17].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.3 square miles (29.2 km²). 11.2 square miles (29.1 km²) of it is land and 0.1 km² (0.04 sq mi or 0.35%) of it is water.

Wheaton is the sister city of Karlskoga, Sweden. Karlskoga Street, located along the southern edge of Memorial Park in Downtown Wheaton, is named after the Swedish City.


At the 2000 census[18], there were 55,416 people, 19,377 households and 13,718 families residing in the city. A special census taken in 2006 estimated the population to be over 60,000. The population density was 4,938.5 people per square mile (1,907/km²). There were 19,881 housing units at an average density of 1,771.7/sq mi (684.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.85% White, 4.85% Asian, 2.82% African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.03% from other races, and 1.31% from two or more races.Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.65% of the population.

There were 19,377 households of which 36.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.4% were married couples living together, 7.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.2% were non-families. 24.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.20.

Age distribution was 26.2% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 28.8% from 25 to 44, 23.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 94.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.0 males.

According to a 2007 estimate, the median household income was $85,249, and the median family income was $107,552.[19] Males had a median income of $74,871 versus $48,485 for females. The per capita income for the city was $36,147. Below the poverty line are 2.3% of the population and 2.1% of the families. Of the total population, 3.3% of those under the age of 18 and 4.1% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.


  1. ^ "Census 2000: Detailed 60-Page Demographic Profiles for All Counties, Townships, & Municipalities in Northeastern Illinois". Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. Retrieved 2008-08-01.  
  2. ^ History of DuPage County's Courthouses
  3. ^ Records Destroyed in Great Chicago Fire.
  4. ^ Wheaton Chamber of Commerce - Our History
  5. ^ Health Problems at Dupage County Courthouse
  6. ^ History of Barnes & Noble
  7. ^ How dry they're not: Easing of liquor laws allows Ill. eatery to sell alcohol outdoors.
  8. ^ Wheaton congregation celebrates new church
  9. ^ Man sentenced to 39 years for burning down church
  10. ^ History of the Park District
  11. ^ Danada Forest Preserve & Equestrian Center
  12. ^ Wheaton Library in the Top 10
  13. ^ Wheaton Public Library Renovations
  14. ^ FOX Reporters Go Home
  15. ^ The National Quarterback Club
  16. ^ Greg Burns (2006-05-28). "Wheaton man presiding over Enron expiration". Chicago Tribune.,1,259546.story?coll=chi-business-hed. Retrieved 2006-05-28.  
  17. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  18. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  19. ^

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