A Mayor is Elected! #Celebrating50

As the City of Warrenville and the Historical Society continue to celebrate the City’s 50th Anniversary, we highlight the election of our first Mayor!

After Warrenville residents voted to incorporate on May 20, 1967, it was time to select a government. On August 3, 1967, the Warrenville Digest reported that Warrenville had elected a Mayor! Out of the three candidates, Bill Stafford was the choice!

The Mayor was sworn in and got to work right away. It would be another month before the City Clerk, Treasurer and Aldermen would be elected and the first Council meeting held.

It was an exciting time to watch the new city take shape!

On Sunday, September 17th at 1:30 p.m., the City will continue the celebration by opening a time capsule at the Albright Park Gazebo during Art on the Prairie. Join us that day to see the items that were placed in the capsule 30 years ago when the Gazebo was built.

You can also help us decide what should go into the 2017 time capsule. This 2017 capsule will be opened in 2067 when Warrenville celebrates its 100th! If you have ideas of what should be included to represent our lives in 2017, email us at info@warrenvillehistorical.org.

Happy 4th of July! #Celebrating50

Happy 4th of July! We hope you all have a happy, safe and historic 4th of July!

As we continue to celebrate the City of Warrenville’s 50th Anniversary, please enjoy these pictures from 1967, the year the residents of Warrenville exercised their American right to vote for incorporation!

Flashback Friday! Celebrating Warrenville!

Happy Flashback Friday! As we all enjoy summer in our lovely town, we are flashing back to another time of celebrating our community! The brochure, pictured below, was recently donated to the City Museum. It was produced shortly after the city incorporated in 1967 and tells about all the great things in our community!


Published in: on June 30, 2017 at 8:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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Celebrating a Warrenville Tradition: 4th of July Parades

We hope you all have a safe and happy 4th of July weekend. The Museum will be closed on Sunday, July 3rd and reopen on Wednesday, July 6th from 1-4pm.

We hope you enjoy celebrating family, community and national traditions including our wonderful parade!

July 4th Parade 1967

July 4th Parade 1967

July 4th Parade 1976

July 4th Parade 1979


July 4th Parade 1987

July 4th Parade 1995

July 4th Parade 1995


2015 Historic Ornament Announced

The Historical Society is happy to announce that we will be continuing our historic ornament series. Our 2015 ornament of the Roundhouse will be available this fall and is sponsored by North Star Credit Union. The commemorative series will allow residents and Warrenville enthusiasts alike to own a piece of our community’s history and support the Historical Society’s mission of preserving and presenting Warrenville history.

If you would like to learn more about the Roundhouse, see our earlier blog entry here https://warrenvillehistorical.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/those-were-the-days-the-roundhouse-circa-1908/

You can pre-order your ornament by contacting the Museum at info@warrenvillehistorical.org, (630)393-4215, or stopping in during our open Sunday hours of noon-4:00p.m. An ornament of the Albright Building, now the home of the Museum, is also currently available for sale.

Roundhouse ornament flyer

From the Collection Friday: Warrenville Woman’s Club

In 1902 a group of community women formed the Warrenville Woman’s Club with Mrs. Edwin Galusha as the first president. Providing help to community projects over the years, in 1927 the Woman’s Club helped establish a Warrenville public library.

These documents are from the Warrenville Historical Society’s Collection and show some of the activities undertaken by the group in the early 1900s.

W. Womens Club Yearbook 84.01.124.c.1. Sec 2 W. Womens Club Program 1904 84.01.124.b Warrenville Womans Club Yearbook 1930-1931 84.01.124.c.3. Sec 2 Warrenville Womans Club Yearbook 1930-1931 84.01.124.c.3. Sec 4 Warrenville Womans Club Yearbook 1930-1931 84.01.124.c.3. Sec 6

Warrenville Then & Now: 28W180 Warrenville Road

Formerly 28W180 Warrenville Road, the South West corner of Leone Schmidt Heritage Park

Once owned by Hiram Leonard, an early pioneer and entrepreneur in Warrenville who kept a detailed diary of his life, this building was built around 1842. Although no documentation has been found, it has been reiterated by oldtimers that this was a wing of Hiram’s original house that was moved from Winfield Road to this site. For many years it served as a store, Hiram’s office and post office. These two images show the home in 1947 and again in 1993, after much decay and work was done to the home. It was torn down to make way for the park that is currently on this site. In 2015 this area will be changed again as the DuPage River channel is expanded.90.1.5 (2)


Read more here about this property and Hiram Leonard’s life, taken from Warrenville City Historian Leone Schmidt’s book “In and Around Warrenville.”

“Hiram Leonard’s career shifted into high gear during the ‘60s, when his ambition of 25 years was finally realized.

“Expanding the apothecary business he had been carrying on the past five years, in 1860 he formed a partnership with Jerome B. Pollard to also market dry goods, groceries, and hardware on the main business thoroughfare [Big Woods Road, later renamed Aurora Road, and today known as Warrenville Road], on a quarter-acre parcel he had purchased from Colonel Warren the year before. Then on March 1, 1861 he applied for the Warrenville postmaster position.

“The office of postmaster was strictly a patronage plum, dispensed chiefly by congressmen. Although financially unrewarding, a franking privilege did go with the appointment, along with oodles of prestige, which made for intense competition.

“The big news, almost as exciting as the [southern states] Secession, broke June 1. Julius Warren, Warrenville’s first and only postmaster, was ‘removed from his job’ and the newly converted Whig was installed. During this crucial period in the country’s history, Leonard would have his finger on the pulse of the town.

“As the partnership with Pollard did not last very long, Leonard was soon in full control of the mercantile operations as well as the mail. For the rest of his life he could bask in the center of customers, loafers and postal patrons.

“Upon Leonard’s death in 1878, the post office was shifted to Bowen’s store on the corner, with the Colonel once again in charge. (He had forsaken the Democratic party in the latter war years). Joe Hawbecker bought Leonard’s stock and started his own business just across the river, and Leonard’s store was for rent.

“As the years passed, the old store became a carriage-trimming shop, then a poolroom and cigar store, or a sweet-cider stand. When Mr. Werdebaugh rented it in 1886, some local wags claimed that the sign hawking tobacco, cigars, ginger beer, and candy was only camouflage to disguise a saloon. As Warrenville was becoming a depressed area, the store was frequently vacant.

From 1892 on, when Will Wray [Hiram’s step-son] rented out the farm on Winfield Road (his mother’s name by that time had changed from Leonard to Foote) and moved himself and belongings into the store building, it was used as a residence. Wray later rented it to a retiree, John Stevens, and after Stevens died in 1923 the tenant was Merwin Brown.

“Wray sold the building to Maria and George Fuller in 1924. In 1940 Elton and Anna May Jeffries bought it and became busy landlords. The upstairs apartment they rented out for 20 years was the first home in Warrenville for a host of families.”

Hiram Leonard House october 1993

Published in: on December 5, 2014 at 12:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Warrenville Mobile Walking Tour

Are you looking for something to do this summer? Take a trip through historic Warrenville with the Historical Society’s mobile walking tour.  Explore the history behind some of Warrenville’s earliest buildings and homes through this multi-media tour.  Tours can be taken on a smartphone by downloading the OnCell App and searching for the Warrenville tour, or those without smartphones can dial (630)791-7013 or find the tour online at http://myoncell.mobi/warrenville.  This tour is sponsored by a City of Warrenville Hotel Motel Tax Fund Grant.  Please let us know if you have any comments or questions about this new offering, or if you have a site you would like to learn more about on a future tour at info@warrenvillehistorical.org.

Drawing of early Warrenville from Leone Schmidt's "In and Around Historic Warrenville"

Drawing of early Warrenville from Leone Schmidt’s “In and Around Historic Warrenville”

Warrenville Then & Now Featuring Warrenville Inspired Artist, Paté Conaway

It is a testament to the community that Warrenville has many historic buildings still standing.  Many of these historic structures were built during the early and mid 1800s as Warrenville was being settled.  Thanks to the Warren Tavern Preservationists, the Warren Tavern has been preserved, although it no longer stands where Colonel Julius Warren constructed it as the town’s stagecoach stop in 1838.

Colonel Warren opened his Tavern with a grand ball on September 28, 1838.  Over the next 174 years the building served many purposes including the home of the DuPage County Democratic Convention in 1839, a hotel, a dance hall and a private home.

In 1989 a new owner started planning the destruction of the building, however a group of concerned citizens formed the Warren Tavern Preservationists and moved the Tavern from the northwest corner of Warrenville Road and Winfield Road, to its current home at 3S540 Second Street next to the museum in Leone Schmidt Heritage Park.  The Tavern is safely located in this historic park, while Walgreens now sits on the Tavern’s former home.

Warrenville Inspired artist Paté Conaway played on this and other local histories in his work that used Warrenville’s images to question the notions of place and how people change landscapes.  We hope you will enjoy seeing Paté’s creations inspired by the history of the Tavern and the shifting of Warrenville’s landscape.

Artist Statement

“One of the ways I find inspiration for my work is to go into institutions – specifically nursing homes –and have the residents show me how to do things. There are many creative retired individuals that are open and willing to share their knowledge and skills. I have learned knitting, crocheting, embroidery, woodworking, and sewing.  I see these crafts as languages, and my job as an artist is to explore the translations. One of the questions that I like to ask is: where is the line between craft and art?

“My current work stems from learning to sew.  I spent three months volunteering in a nursing home in Charlotte, North Carolina. A wonderful woman there taught me how to sew – we made shirts and jackets. I started to notice sewn objects and having found a life preserver in a thrift store, I decided to reinterpret the object. Using traditional garment construction, I have abandoned the “international orange” and began making life preservers out of fabric, leather, seed cloth, etc. These sculptures have become portraits. Instead of the traditional paint on canvas or a clay bust, I’m using an inanimate object – a standard life vest – to reflect character and narrative. My goal is to fabricate 100; currently I am on number 48.”

Warrenville Then & Now: Biking Along the Old Chicago, Aurora & Elgin Train Line

As Warrenville and area residents take part in the sixth annual Warrenville Bike Rodeo Saturday, May 14, the Warrenville Historical Society remembers the electric trains that used to run along the Prairie Path.

After a decades-long struggle to acquire access to the ever-expanding train lines out of         Chicago, Warrenville got its railroad in 1902.  The Chicago, Aurora & Elgin Railroad (CA&E) made its way through Warrenville and brought with it visitors from the Chicago region and the ease of rail travel to Warrenville residents.  Warrenville’s public high school students used the CA&E train to get to school in Wheaton, using a monthly ride ticket given to them by the School Board.  The train made four stops for Warrenville students-Williams Road, the downtown depot, Winfield Road, and Wiesbrock Road.

As travel by car increased and the East-West Tollway construction expanded, the CA&E passenger service declined after World War II.  Warrenville residents protested the CA&E proposed closing, but after years of threatening service stoppage, on July 3, 1957, at noon, the train no longer made its way through Warrenville.  Commuters who had ridden the train to work that day were left without a ride home.  The rails continued to be used for freight until 1959.  In 1962 the rails were removed making way for the Illinois Prairie Path that marks the trails of the long forgotten CA&E.  

After service ended, the CA&E depot was used by Robert and Dorothy Kelly, first as Dot’s Bargain Shop and then as the Dunk-It Coffee Shop.  After the City government was established in 1967, the old train depot was converted into the Warrenville City Hall until a new City Hall was constructed across the street and the old building was taken down.

To learn more about the CA&E in Warrenville visit the Historical Society’s display in City Hall and stop by the Warrenville Historical Museum & Art Gallery during our open gallery hours Sundays from 1:00-4:00p.m.  We are located at 3S530 Second Street.  For more information see our website http://www.warrenvillehistorical.org.  As your city museum, we are here to serve you.  Please contact us with any questions, suggestions or comments at (630) 393-4215 or email us at info@warrenvillehistorical.org.  To keep up to date with all the exciting things we have going on you can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.