The Elmhurst Historical Museum is housed
in the Glos Mansion (built in 1892), the home of Henry Glos, Elmhurst's first Village President.
Elmhurst's Heritage is Chisled in Stone
Among Chicago Magazine’s No. 1 places to live, the City of Elmhurst is a community rich in its heritage, invested in its present and focused towards its future.
The city boasts a proud history that dates back to the members of the Potawatomi Indian tribe who settled along Salt Creek just south of the Elmhurst of today. By the 1830s, European immigrants staked claims along Salt Creek. Hill Cottage (413 South York Street) was built in 1834 as a tavern and stage coach stop. In 1842, Ohio native Gerry Bates formally established this community in the area of “treeless land” that is now Elmhurst’s City Centre. Cottage Hill, as the community was known back in 1845, was renamed Elmhurst in 1869 for the many elm trees planted along the streets.
While a popular escape for businessmen following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 – the same year that German immigrants founded Elmhurst College – Elmhurst remained a farming community until the 1930s, when the population reached 15,000 and suburbia began moving in on its rural character.
From 1950 to 1970, the population grew to more than 50,000-bringing with it a building boom of housing subdivisions, shopping centers, business districts, industrial parks, schools and more. Elmhurst-Chicago Stone (founded in 1883) is the city's oldest business.
Even in a tight economy, Elmhurst attracts new construction and redevelopment projects–including the Mariano's Fresh Market in the new North York Street Tax-Increment Financing District (TIF 4)–in both the public and private sectors. For the past two years, new home construction has hit triple digits, ranking Elmhurst No. 1 in DuPage County.
Elmhurst enjoys a cultural campus (see Arts and Culture) adjacent to its Central Business District (CBD) with the close proximity of the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, Elmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst Park District’s Conservatory/Formal Gardens, Elmhurst Public Library and Veterans Memorial in Wilder Park; Old Main, Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel, Mill Theatre and A.C. Buehler Library on Elmhurst College's arboretum campus; Elmhurst Historical Museum in the Glos Mansion; and Theatre Historical Society at the York Theatre.
Old Main (built in 1878) is on the Historical Register and the Glos Mansion (built in 1892) as the home of Henry Glos, Elmhurst's first Village President, while the McCormack House (built in 1952), designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, is incorporated into the Art Museum building.
The Lizzadro Museum shows the most extensive collection of stoned carvings displayed in the Midwest. Highlight pieces from 70 years of collecting by Joseph F. Lizzadro and family are a nephrite jade imperial altar set from the Ming Dynasty and a cinnbar screen set with carved gemstones given to 18th century Chinese emperor Ch’ien Lung as a birthday gift.
Famed architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Walter Burley Griffin have put their design prints on Elmhurst’s housing stock.
Providing a spiritual core are some 30 houses of worship, some of which are rooted in Elmhurst's birth.