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Naperville ( ) is a city in DuPagemarker and Willmarker counties in the U.S. state of Illinoismarker, within the Chicago metropolitan areamarker. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 128,358, and the population was estimated at 147,779 in 2006. Naperville is the fifth largest city in the state, behind Chicagomarker, neighboring Auroramarker, Rockfordmarker, and Jolietmarker. Approximately 100,000 Naperville residents live in DuPage Countymarker, while about 50,000 reside in Will Countymarker. Naperville was one of the ten fastest growing communities in the United States during the 1990s.

Once a farming town, Naperville has evolved into a wealthy city due in part to a migration of professionals in the 1990s seeking jobs and globally renowned public schools. A number of high-tech companies are located in the city, including Nalco Holding Company, Tellabs, Alcatel-Lucent and the BP North American Chemical Headquarters. In 2008 Fortune ranked Naperville as among the "best places to live and launch" a business in the United States, ranking 29th out of 100. In 2006, Money magazine listed Naperville as #2 on its annual list of America's best small cities to live in. The city took the #3 position on the 2005 and 2008 lists.


In July 1831, Joseph Naper arrived at the banks of the DuPage Rivermarker with his family and friends settled what would be known as "Naper's Settlement". Among those original settlers were Naper's wife Almeda Landon, his brother John and his wife Betsy Goff, his sister Amy and her husband John Murray, and his mother Sarah. Their arrival followed a nearly two-month voyage across three Great Lakesmarker in the Naper brothers' schooner, the Telegraph. Also on that journey were several families who remained in the still raw settlement that would become Chicagomarker, including the family of Dexter Graves who is memorialized in Graceland Cemeterymarker by a well-known Lorado Taft statue.

By 1832, over one hundred settlers had arrived at Naper's Settlement. These settlers were temporarily displaced to Fort Dearbornmarker 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 Galenamarker. Reconstructions of Fort Payne and the Pre-Emption House stand as part of Naper Settlementmarker, which was first established by the Naperville Heritage Society and the Naperville Park District in 1968 to preserve some of the community's oldest buildings.

After DuPage County was split from Cook Countymarker 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. Since 1990. the city has nearly quadrupled in size as Chicagolandmarker's urban sprawl brought corporations, jobs, and wealth to the area.

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.

Forty acres once housed Nike Site C-70 in Naperville, Illinois. It has since been divided into an office park and Nike Park, part of the Naperville Park District, with soccer, softball and Little League fields. It is located at the south-east corner of Mill Street and Diehl Road in northern Naperville.

Naperville marked the 175th anniversary of its 1831 founding in 2006. The anniversary events included a series of celebrations, concerts and a balloon parade.
The Martin-Mitchell Mansion within the Naper Settlement outdoor museum.


Naperville is located at (41.749826, -88.156719).


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of . {{convert|35.4|mi2) of this area is land and of it is water.

Downtown Naperville is located within DuPage Countymarker, but the city has expanded south into neighboring Will Countymarker.


According to Koppen Climate Classification, Naperville is a DFA climate. Naperville has an annual average of   of precipitation per year. Naperville’s seasonal average temperatures vary drastically, due to its inner position on the continent, an average high temperature in July is   and an average temperature in January is  . Naperville does see significant amounts of snowfall in the winter often due to the lake-effect snow from Lake Michigan. In the summer, Naperville is often the target of severe storms, the majority occurring because of frontal uplift or mid afternoon convection. However, because of Naperville’s close proximity to lake Michigan, the most severe convective storms are often dismantled by the cool winds originating from Lake Michigan.


Public Libraries

American Libraries magazine ranked the Naperville Public Library first in the United States for eight straight years, from 1999-2006, for cities with populations between 100,000 and 249,999.

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 structure. 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 .
  • 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 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, provoking some controversy. After further testing, the technology was not implemented.

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.


Moser Tower and Millennium Carillon

Moser Tower, containing the Millennium Carillon
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 computer-playable, with most performances by hand, but with half the bells played by a computer-controlled system at set times during the day. The Moser Tower was opened to the public in the summer of 2007. The design of the tower won an award for "Best Custom Solution" from the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI).


The Naperville Riverwalk is a four mile (6 km) long walkway along the west branch of the DuPage River. The project began in 1981 as a memorial to Naperville's Sesquicentennial anniversary. Using volunteer time and donated money and materials, residents turned what was previously considered an eye-sore into a major attraction. The winding paths stretch through Naperville's downtown area and the residential neighborhoods flanking downtown. With fountains, benches, scenic bridges, and the Riverwalk amphitheater, the Riverwalk is referred to as Naperville's "Crown Jewel" by the Naperville Riverwalk Foundation.


Naperville is located in the Illinois Technology and Research Corridor. Employers include Bell Labsmarker, Western Electric, BP Amoco Labs, Nalco Chemical, Nicor, Porsche Financial Services, Edward Hospital, and Allied Van Lines. Tellabs and Laidlaw have corporate headquarters in Naperville, and ConAgra's Grocery division offices now occupy the former corporate headquarters of Allied Van Lines in Naperville. OfficeMax moved corporate headquarters to Naperville in 2006. Dukane Precast, one of the area's major precast concrete manufacturers, maintains its headquaters and a manufacturing plant in Naperville.

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 Oswego and includes every mainstream make of automobile available.

The Naperville area is the location of one of the nation's largest retail districts. As of 2009, retail occupancy is 92%, and square footage income is far above the national average. The Main Street Promenade is the base for downtown Naperville's retail and eatery hub.


According to the 2005 American Community Survey, there were an estimated 147,779 people, 48,655 households, and 37,143 families residing in the city. Naperville is the 164th most populous city in the United States. The population density was . There were 51,636 housing units at an average density of . The racial makeup of the city was 80.7% White, 3.8% African American, 0.2% Native American, 12.3% Asian, 0.00% Pacific Islander, 1.26% from other races, and 1.48% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.4% of the population.

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. 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. The average household size was 3.04 and the average family size was 3.55.

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. The median age was 35.9 years. For every 100 females there were 95.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $97,790, and the median income for a family was $124,701. Males had a median income of $87,527 versus $51,586 for females. The mean income for a family in Naperville was $149,352 according to the 2005 census. The per capita income for the city was $42,235. About 2.8% of the population was below the poverty line, including 1.3% of those under age 18 and 9.1% of those age 65 or over.

Law and government

Naperville employs a Council-Manager form of municipal government consisting of a city manager, a part-time mayor, and an eight-member City Council. Though the current Mayor A. George Pradel works as though it is a full-time job, that is not intended or required.


The Naperville Police Department employs over 180 officers. On October 5, 2008, The Biography Channel started airing the show Female Forces, which followed the 18 female officers of the NPD.

City Services

Colleges and universities

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 Auroramarker and Lislemarker). 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 Schoolmarker and Naperville North High Schoolmarker, 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. Neuqua Valley High Schoolmarker along with 6 middle schools and 14 elementary schools from this district, are all within Naperville city limits. Although located in Aurora, Illinois, Waubonsie Valley High School also serves some pockets of Naperville-based residents of District 204. A third high school, Metea Valley High Schoolmarker, is currently under construction and opened on time on August 20, 2009, for the 2009-2010 academic year. The district serves western and southwestern Naperville, along with eastern Aurora and parts of Bolingbrook. Remaining schools in the district are located in Aurora and Bolingbrook, and these also serve students from Naperville.

Health systems

Edward Hospital, located on Washington Street just south of Naperville's downtown, is the primary hospital for the city. Neighboring hospitals, such as Central DuPage in Winfield and Good Samaritan in Downers Grovemarker maintain affiliated medical offices within Naperville city limits.


The Naperville Park District manages and provides leisure and recreational activities for Naperville and nearby residents. The District was established by referendum in 1966. As of 2007, the Park District manages over of open space, including over 130 parks and four sports complexes. The Park District also manages two golf courses, Springbrook and Naperbrook. The Park District is also responsible for the Naperville Riverwalk.

Some of the other facilities managed by the Park District include:
  • Centennial Beach, with adjacent Centennial Park.
  • Two parks dedicated to skateboarding and in-line skating, at Frontier Sports Complex and Centennial Park.
  • Commissioners Park, which includes Naperville's first official Cricket pitch, opened in 2006.
  • Alfred Rubin Riverwalk Community Center
  • Community Garden Plots, located on West Street.
  • Knoch Knolls Park, which includes a nine-hole disc golf course, located on Knoch Knolls Road.
  • Naperville Sportsman's Club - Trap shooting range

Public utilities

The city of Naperville receives water from Chicago and Lake Michigan. Naperville's gas supplier is Nicor, which is also headquartered in Naperville.



The Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway (the tolled portion of Interstate 88) runs near the north edge of Naperville, and Interstate 55 runs south of the city, through Bolingbrook and Romeovillemarker.

Street naming protocol

From 75th Street south (including 83rd Street, 87th Street, etc.) Naperville east-west streets and their names roughly follow the same grid layout as the City of Chicago. For example, if 75th street continued east past its terminus at Illinois Route 83, in Willowbrook, it would eventually be the same 75th Street as found in Chicago city limits. However, the older part of Naperville has a second numerical grid, starting downtown at Main and Benton, with 4th and 5th Avenues just north of the BNSF tracks, and continuing through 15th Avenue. The difference is that the numbers in the older system go up from downtown, traveling south to north, and the other grid's numbers go up as one travels north to south. (Refer to the Chicago Streets & Highways article for more information.)

There is also a geographical based naming system, with West Street and North Street defining the older boundaries of the city. Along with these are streets named after the city they lead to, i.e, Naper/Plainfield Road heads towards Plainfield, while Aurora Avenue leads to Aurora and Chicago Avenue to Chicago (it becomes Maple Ave. in neighboring Lislemarker before becoming 55th Street). Oswego Road, while having once led to Oswego via U.S. Route 34, no longer connects to that highway, and thus no longer leads directly to Oswegomarker. Other major thoroughfares, such as Diehl Road, Bailey Road, Hobson Road, Modaff Road, and Wehrli Road, are named after early farming families and settlers of the area.

Train service

The first rail link to Chicago dates to 1864. Naperville currently has three tracks belonging to the BNSF Railway that run through the north end of town, with passenger rail service provided by Metra and Amtrak. BNSF Railway operates trains from the Aurora Transportation Centermarker in neighboring Aurora to Chicago Union Stationmarker with stops at the Route 59 Station and the Naperville Station, both of which are located within the city limits. Amtrak operates four routes through Naperville: The Illinois Zephyr and the Carl Sandburg, both with services to Quincy, Illinoismarker; the California Zephyr, with services to Oakland, Californiamarker; and the Southwest Chief, with services to Los Angeles, Californiamarker.

Bus service

The regional transit agency operates Pace, which provides feeder bus service to the Metra regional rail stations and local midday service, both operated under contract. Pace also operates bus routes from Naperville to Auroramarker (which serves Aurora's Westfield Fox Valleymarker Mall) and Wheatonmarker (which serves the College of DuPagemarker).


There is also one private airport, the Naper Aero Club field, designation LL-10, on the western edge of town. The field is notable for being the home of the Lima Lima Flight Team.

Sister cities

Nitramarker, Slovakiamarker has been Naperville's official sister city since the Naperville City Council approved the partnership on November 17, 1993. Nitra was chosen, in part, due to a desire to create a special bond with a city in one of the newly-formed democracies brought about by the fall of the Iron Curtain. Nitra was also chosen due to several similarities between the two cities, such as:
  • both enjoy a riverwalk in the downtown area
  • both are college towns
  • similar climates
  • similar population (100,000+) and size

Since the inception of this partnership, the Naperville Sister Cities Commission has worked to strengthen the bond between Naperville and Nitra through its support of various events and delegations. The primary goal of such sister city programs is to increase awareness of other cultures and promote international friendship, and the Naperville-Nitra partnership has so far been a successful one.

In 2002, the Sister Cities Commission supported a youth baseball exchange, sending the Naperville Patriots baseball team, composed of 15 high school age ballplayers and representing each of the four high schools Naperville Central, Naperville North, Neuqua Valley, Waubonsie Valley in the Naperville area, to Nitra. The team travelled throughout Slovakia, and played with and held clinics for the newly-formed Nitra "Little Giants" baseball team. Head coach Dave Perillo and captains Jason Fitterer and Rob Losik were responsible for organizing the clinic for the Nitra players, which proved to be a success. The Naperville Patriots also enjoyed the distinction of being the first baseball team from the United States ever to travel to the nation of Slovakia.

In addition to this exchange, the City of Naperville has supported several other events to strengthen the bond with Nitra, including:
  • Hosting the Illinois State Sister City Convention (2000)
  • Co-sponsoring Slovak Cultural Heritage Week, a cultural exchange of Slovak folk musicians (1999)
  • Hosting a 12-member delegation from Nitra (1997, 1994)
  • Sending a 12-member delegation to Nitra (1998, 1993)
  • YMCA camp counselor exchanges; hosting a basketball team from Nitra (1998)

The community at large has enthusiastically supported the Naperville-Nitra partnership, as well. In 1999, Naperville's Our Savior's Lutheran Church raised $275,000 to rebuild a church in Nitra, which was then dedicated the following year. NALCO and school districts 203 and 204 have also shipped 6,000 pounds of books to Nitra since 1993.

Notable people from Naperville


Further reading

External links

Official city-related sites

Public schools

Recreational and educational amenities

Local media

Local radio

In literature and popular culture

Shane Gericke's debut crime thriller, Blown Away is about a Naperville policewoman.

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