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Elmhurst

York Township has a long and storied history

Over the years, I have studied stories about the history of York Township. I came across some interesting facts that I would like to share with you. Here are some of the earliest names used to identify villages and settlements in York Township.

Ardmore: Now known as Villa Park, real estate operators between 1908 and 1910 developed this municipality – Villa Park in 1908 and Ardmore in 1910. The two subdivisions grew until 1914, when they were united and incorporated under the name of Ardmore. In 1917, the village became Villa Park.

Babcock’s Grove: In 1833, the Babcock brothers, Ralph, Morgan and Anson, settled along the east branch of the DuPage River. Their tract of land was located at the present day intersection of St. Charles and Geneva roads to Main Street in Glen Ellyn and stretched east past present day Route 53.

The land today is divided between Glen Ellyn and Lombard. In 1869, the eastern part was named after Josiah Lombard, who owned 227 acres in Babcock’s Grove. Although Lombard never actually lived there, he did build three houses in Babcock’s Grove, including the house still standing at 241 W. Maple.

DuPage Center: Deacon Winslow Churchill and his wife and 11 children sailed from New York to Chicago in 1834 and claimed land on the west side of Babcock’s Grove. Their portion of the grove came to be known as DuPage Center. The name Glen Ellyn was adopted in 1885, when Thomas Hill, then village president, renamed the town in honor of his wife, Ellyn Hill.

Brush Hill: A settlement that grew up around the ancient southwest highway first traversed by the American Indians known as the Southwest Plank Road. Benjamin Fuller, arriving with his family in 1835, purchased land on both sides of the main highway and platted the original town. Incorporated in 1851 as the village of Fullersburg, it was located at the present junction of York Road and Ogden Avenue. In 1923, Fullersburg was annexed to Hinsdale.

Fullersburg: Oak Brook originally was known as Fullersburg, named after Ben Fuller, an early settler. Oak Brook was incorporated in 1958 due in large part to the efforts of Paul Butler, a prominent civic leader and landowner whose father had first moved to the vicinity in 1898 and soon after opened a dairy farm.

Cottage Hill: In 1843, John Hovey, brother-in-law of Gerry Bates, arrived from Ohio and constructed the Hill Cottage Tavern on St. Charles Road and Cottage Hill Avenue. By 1845, a village had sprung up around the tavern and the community received its own post office. In 1868, many elm trees were planted and at the suggestion of Thomas B. Bryan, the name was changed to Elmhurst in 1869. Elmhurst incorporated as a village in 1882.

Utopia: Incorporated in 1959, Oakbrook Terrace was built around the small community of Utopia. Utopia was named in 1881and once included the land between Elmhurst and Hinsdale in York Township, which is now occupied by Oakbrook Shopping Center.

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