Neighborhood Spotlight: West Town


Overview:
With a population of 45,660 residents, and a household median income of $98,102, the city of Elmhurst, IL maintains a very close-knit and vibrant community. Elmhurst was incorporated in 1882 and became a commercially successful dolomite limestone quarry. The DuPage County province, named after a large plantation of elm trees, has an enviable charm that attracts families and family-seeking people. Family Circle Magazine has even named Elmhurst one of the top 10 cities in the country to raise a family. Elmhurst is Midwestern Americana, Mom and Pop stores, tree-lined streets and apple pie.

Connectivity:
An incredible draw for living in Elmhurst is the proximity to, and many forms of, transportation to the surrounding suburbs and Chicago proper itself. A trip to Chicago via Metra takes around 27 minutes on a direct train. In terms of highway transit, there’s both Kingery Highway (Route-83) and I-290 (Eisenhower Expressway), which sees more than a million drivers a year according to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.

Retail & Shopping:
The downtown area has coffee shops, boutiques and toy stores. As for groceries, Elmhurst has it all. There’s more than one Jewel-Osco, a Mariano’s, a Whole Foods and a Walmart Supercenter.

Dining in the area includes Angelo’s, Café Amano, Lou Malnati’s and Sushi Nest. And of course, there’s the famous Hamburger Heaven, a classic, window-down burger shop that evokes vintage roller server carhops.

The Oakbrook Shopping Center, just south of Elmhurst, offers shopping, dining, movies and other services. In terms of retail, Oakbrook boasts names like Brooks Brothers, Bose, Banana Republic, Coach, Macy’s, Nordstrom and Eddie Bauer.

Elmhurst evokes the best attributes of the mid-20th century zeitgeist, the confluence of antiquity and modernity.

Education:
First, there’s York High School, which is ranked 18th of all Illinois high schools. The secondary education facility was awarded a Grammy in 2013 for “outstanding commitment to music education during an academic school year.” The school received a gigantic, $86 million makeover back in 2004. And in 2016 Newsweek ranked York as one of the top 500 schools in the nation. Elmhurst College, the area’s higher education institution, has also received numerous accolades from prestigious organizations. In fact, U.S. News & World Report's Best Colleges rankings for 2018 has Elmhurst at number 11 out of 165 colleges and universities across the Midwest. Elmhurst College is a four-year private liberal arts college with an affiliation with the United Church of Christ. Private schools in Elmhurst include IC Catholic Prep, Timothy Christian School, Immaculate Conception Grade School, Immanuel Lutheran Grade School and Visitation Catholic Grade School.

Attractions:
The Wilder Park Conservatory is a botanical garden that’s situated on a 6-acre (24,000 m2) lot. The conservatory shares land with three greenhouses (not open to the public), the Elizabeth Gardens and the Wilder mansion, which was the former location of the Elmhurst Public Library.

The one-room Conservatory is open daily from 8am to 4pm; admittance is free, although the conservatory accepts donations. A mature Pachypodium (pineapple-looking shrub) and a tree Opuntia (a “prickly pear”) are the highlights. The conservatory also features a small pond with goldfish. Located nearby are the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary (gemstones and carvings), the Elmhurst Public Library and the Elmhurst Art Museum. The library has been open for more than 100 years and has received various renovations throughout its history.

Another Elmhurst gem is the York Theatre, which opened its doors on Labor Day in 1924. After various ownerships, and nearly 100 years, the cinema on York Street continues to operate, even adding a tenth screen in 2011. The York building contains the museum and archives of the Theatre Historical Society of America on the second floor.

And the Illinois Prairie Path runs through Elmhurst. The trail was founded in 1963 when the Chicago Tribune published a letter to the editor advocating for a public path on the abandoned route of the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin Electric (CA&E) rail line. The IPP runs 61 miles and offers comfort stations, drinking fountains and informational showcases. Whether you’re using the trail for exercise or as a convenient route to work, the trail is a bucolic sight to behold.

Another area amenity is the recently constructed Elmhurst Hospital. The facility offers 259 private, inpatient suites and the latest advances in healthcare technology.

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