Friday, December 15, 2006

Wheaton, Illinois

The city dates its founding to 1837 and 1838, following the Indian Removal Act, when Erastus Gary laid claim to 640 acres of land near present-day Warrenville. In 1837, Warren Wheaton laid claim to 640 acres of land in the center of town. Jesse Wheaton later made claim to 300 acres of land just west of Warren's. In 1848, they gave the railroad three miles 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.

Establishment as county seat
In 1857 the state legislature authorized an election to be held to decide the question of whether the county seat should remain in Naperville or be relocated to centrally located Wheaton on the railroad tracks. 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.

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 has come 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.

As demand for space increased, the courthouse was rebuilt in 1896 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. It is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and was formerly used by National-Louis University until it moved to Lisle in 2004. It is currently being developed into luxury condominium.

On November 2, 1990, the courthouse moved about two miles west on the Union Pacific Railroad tracks to a new 57-acre complex at the corner of County Farm Road and Manchester Road. It was built at a cost of cost $52,500,000 and includes a 300,000 square foot judicial building. In 1992, the county sued the architect and contractor for $4 million after several employees became ill from 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. The company has since grown to more than 900 stores in all fifty states, including one in south Wheaton's Towne Square shopping complex.

Built in 1926, the national headquarters of the Theosophical Society in America is located on the northside 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.

Established in 1972 by the Wheaton Franciscan Sisters, Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital is a Christian rehabilitation hospital located on the westside 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 west in the early 1990s, 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 recognizeable landmarks of the city is Wheaton Center, a 758-unit apartment complex on 14 acres 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, and Arrowhead subdivisions, and major shopping districts including Danada Square and Towne 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 over the number of "teardowns." 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. The city's ban had little effect on residents, as many would simply commute to neighboring municipalities to purchase or consume alcoholic beverages. This prompted the city to repeal its ban in an effort to regain a new sales tax medium.

Wheaton made national headlines in 2001, following the brutal slaying of a McDonald's employee outside of her store in the Danada Square West shopping center in southern Wheaton. Michael Alfonso was charged with the crime after spending more than a year on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. After seeing his profile on America's Most Wanted, an anonymous tipster alerted authorities at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City where he was subsequently arrested on July 16, 2004 in Vera Cruz, Mexico and extradited to the United States. He is currently awaiting trial in Illinois.

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.

Granville, Indiana

Granville is an extinct town in Wayne Township, Tippecanoe County, Indiana. It was founded in 1834 by Thomas W. Treckett and Thomas Concannon on the south side of the Wabash and Erie Canal, just south of the Wabash River. The town was platted to contain 153 lots, a public square and several streets, with such names as Lafayette Street, Wabash Street and Mulberry Street. This plat is still in effect, with the lots and streets still visible in the county's GIS .

In 1850 the town's name changed to Weaton, after the local Wea Indians (some maps incorrectly labeled it as "Wheaton"), but the name later reverted again to Granville. The town flourished as a shipping center on the canal until the mid 1850s, when railroad competition caused both the town and the canal to decline. By 1878 Granville had virtually ceased to exist.

The cemetery east of the town and the nearby bridge across the Wabash River still bear the name of Granville.