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Naperville

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Naperville is a city in DuPage and Will counties in Illinois in the United States, voted the second best place to live in the United States by Money Magazine in 2006. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 128,358; The United States Census Bureau estimated the population in 2006 at 142,901. The fourth largest city in the state, behind Chicago, neighboring Aurora, and Rockford. Approximately 95,000 Napervillians live in DuPage County, while about 40,000 reside in Will County.

History

In July 1831, Joseph Naper arrived at the banks 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, 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 that journey were several families who remained in the still raw settlement that would become Chicago, including that of Dexter Graves who is memorialized in Graceland Cemetery by a well-known Loredo Taft statue.[4]

By 1832, over one hundred settlers had arrived at Naper’s Settlement. These settlers were temporarily displaced to Fort Dearborn for protection from an anticipated attack by the Sauk tribe. 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. Reconstructions of Fort Payne and the Pre-Emption House stand as part of Naper Settlement, which was first established by the Naperville Heritage Society and the Naperville Park District in 1969 to preserve some of the community’s oldest buildings.[4]

After DuPage County was split from 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. A predominantly rural community for most of its existence, Naperville experienced a population explosion, starting in the 1960s, but largely during the 1980s and 1990s following the construction of the East-West Tollway (now known as the Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway) and North-South tollways. In the past two decades, it has nearly quadrupled in size as Chicagoland’s urban sprawl brought corporations, jobs, and wealth to the area.[4]

On April 26, 1946, Naperville was the site of one of the worst train accidents in Chicagoland 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 more than 1000 residents. This event is commemorated in a metal inlay map of Naperville on the southeast corner of Nichols Library’s sidewalk area.[5]

The March 2006 issue of Chicago magazine cites a mid-1970s decision to make and keep all parking in downtown Naperville free in order to keep downtown Naperville “alive” in the face of competition with Fox Valley Mall in Aurora and the subsequent sprawl of strip shopping malls. Existing 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.[4]

Naperville marked the 175th anniversary of its 1831 founding in 2006. The anniversary events included a series of celebrations, concerts and a balloon parade.[6]

Topography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 92.0 km� (35.5 mi�). 91.6 km� (35.4 mi�) of it is land and 0.4 km� (0.1 mi�) of it is water.

Downtown Naperville is located within DuPage County, but the city has stretched south into Will County, since at least the early 1980s.[7]

Culture

The Naperville Public Library has been ranked #1 in the United States for eight straight years, from 1999-2006, for cities with populations between 100,000 and 249,999 by American Libraries magazine.[8]

There are three public library locations within city limits.

* The Nichols Library is located in downtown Naperville, at 200 W. Jefferson Street. It has been in this location since 1986. It is a 63,000 square feet (5,900 m�) structure[9] 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 1996. It is located at 2035 S. Naper Boulevard and is the smallest of the three buildings at 32,000 square feet (3,000 m�).[9]
* The 95th Street Library is located near the intersection of 95th Street and Route 59, at 3015 Cedar Glade Drive (just west of Neuqua Valley High School). It is the newest (opened in September 2003) and largest of the three libraries at 73,000 square feet (6,800 m�)[9] and features a modern, curving architectural style.

In May 2005, a local technology company was contracted to install fingerprint scanners as a more convenient access method to the libraries internet computers,[10] provoking some controversy. After further testing, the technology was not implemented.[10]

The three libraries are used heavily by the public including around one and a half million visitors and a circulation of about four million items yearly.[9]

Tourism

Moser Tower and Millennium Carillon

In 1999, Naperville was designated a White House Millennium Community, due to the construction of the Moser Tower and Millennium Carillon. The tower is located just north of Aurora Avenue and at the base of Rotary Hill within the Riverwalk Park complex. The Millennium Carillon is specially designated as a Grand Carillon, with 72 bells, and is one of only four worldwide that span six octaves. The Millennium Carillon was dedicated in an 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 being 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 but Moser Tower itself is incomplete and is not open to the public. Disputes over funding the completion of the tower were debated before the Naperville City Council during the fall of 2005 (and are still not resolved). The design of the tower won an award for “Best Custom Solution” from the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI).[11]

Economy

Naperville is located in the Illinois Technology and Research Corridor. Employers contributing to the population explosion of the 1980s and 1990s include Bell Labs, Western Electric, BP Amoco Labs, Nalco Chemical Nicor, Porsche Finance and Edward Hospital. Tellabs and Laidlaw have corporate headquarters in Naperville, and ConAgra’s Grocery division offices are also in Naperville.[12] OfficeMax moved corporate headquarters to Naperville in 2006.[13] Also, Fermilab and Argonne National Laboratory are nearby. Naperville was one of the ten fastest growing communities in the United States during the 1990s.[14]

Naperville is also home to one of the largest congregations of automobile retailers in the state, as part of the “Ogden Avenue Strip,” which extends from Hinsdale to Aurora and includes every mainstream make of automobile available. AutoNation and Bill Jacobs are two of the largest groups within the city itself.[15]

Naperville is also home to a plant and the headquarters of Dukane Precast, one of the area’s major precast concrete manufacturers.

Demographics

According to the 2005 American Community Survey, there were 147,779 people, 48,655 households, and 37,143 families residing in the city; as of 2006-07-01, Naperville is the 164th most populous city in the United States.[16] The population density was 1,606.3/km� (4,162.8/mi�).[17] There were 51,636 housing units at an average density of 561.3/km� (1454.5/mi�).[17] The racial makeup of the city was 82.00% White, 2.54% African American, 0.07% Native American, 12.65% Asian, 0.00% Pacific Islander, 1.26% from other races, and 1.48% from two or more races.[18] Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.23% of the population.[18]

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.[18] 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.[18] The average household size was 3.04 and the average family size was 3.55.[17]

In the city, the population was spread out with 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.[18] The median age was 35.9 years.[18] For every 100 females there were 95.9 males.[18] For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.2 males.[18]

The median income for a household in the city was $93,338, and the median income for a family was $117,110. Males had a median income of $82,515 versus $46,533 for females.[19] The per capita income for the city was $44,235.[17] 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.

Illinois uses an form of government that dates back to mainly rural unincorporated areas (not part of any city), and a group of nine townships make up DuPage County. The city of Naperville extends over much of the area today with only small areas not included in the city. The township provides road services in unincorporated areas and also social services that include some sections of the city.

Education

Colleges and universities

* North Central College is located on a 59 acre campus in Downtown Naperville on Chicago Avenue. It was founded by a predecessor church to the United Methodist Church in 1861 and has been located 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 113,000-square-foot (10,500 m�) facility.
* DePaul University maintains a satellite campus on Warrenville Road. It has been in Naperville since 1997.
* The College of DuPage Naperville Center is located on Rickert Drive.
* DeVry University maintains a satellite campus on Westings Avenue in Naperville.
* Governors State University recently opened a satellite campus on West 95th Street in Naperville.
* Northwestern Business College has a Naperville campus on North Mill Street.
* The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign opened a Business & Industry Services campus in Naperville in 2007.

Primary and secondary schools

Two K-12 public school districts serve the city of Naperville (along with a number of private, parochial schools, including private schools in neighboring Aurora and 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 Naperville (as well as portions of neighboring Lisle and Bolingbrook). The current District 203 school buildings were constructed between 1928 (Ellsworth) and 1990 (Kingsley).

The district has two high schools: Naperville Central High School and Naperville North High School, five junior high schools, and thirteen elementary schools within Naperville city limits.

Indian Prairie School District 204 was also formed through merged districts in 1972. Waubonsie Valley High School, Neuqua Valley High School, Metea Valley High School (Opening Fall 2009), along with five middle schools and 14 elementary schools from this district, are within Naperville city limits. The district also serves western and southwestern Naperville, along with eastern Aurora and parts of Bolingbrook.