Naperville is a city that spans portions of two counties – DuPage and Will – and with its population of over 147,000, it is the fifth largest city in Illinois.
Founded in 1831 by Joseph Naper, the community was originally known as “Naper’s Settlement.” After DuPage County was split from Cook County 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 of Naperville as a city took place in 1890.
Today, Naperville is a community with big-city amenities and opportunities on the doorstep of a great metropolis, but it still feels like a quaint small town. In fact, in 2006, Money Magazine voted it the second-best place to live in the United States and in 2013 it was rated first on The Kiplinger Report’s list of the best cities for early retirement.
More recently, in June 2016, home security and safety brand Safewise named Naperville No. 19 on its list of the 30 Safest Cities to Raise a Child. The company touted Naperville’s education system and used crime data and school rankings to compile its list. Niche.com has also rated it the safest city in America twice – in 2015 and 2016 – and Zippia.com, a career resource website, rated it the third most successful city in the United States based on high median income and low poverty levels.
When you shop in Naperville’s diverse businesses; dine in its quaint restaurants; walk through the covered bridges along the Riverwalk; wander through the historic and picturesque Naper Settlement, as well as neighboring North Central College; and listen to the 72-bell Millennium Carillon in the majestic 16-story Moser Tower, you will find it difficult to believe that you are only minutes from a massive metropolis like Chicago.
Naperville’s picturesque Riverwalk is considered its crown jewel, featuring 1.75 miles of brick paths, fountains, bridges, meeting and event places, outdoor sculpture and artwork, recreational facilities and celebratory memorials. The Walk was created in 1981 as a permanent memorial of Naperville’s 150th anniversary, but improvements are constantly being made to enhance it.
The Riverwalk’s list of amenities includes Centennial Beach, an outdoor swimming pool with a sandy beach that boasts 6.2 million gallons of water that starts with zero depth and goes as deep as 15 feet. The water itself is chlorinated, re-circulated and hand-skimmed to remove debris, but it is not filtered like a typical swimming pool. So it is classified as a “beach” through the Illinois Department of Health.
Naperville, as a community, is safe, clean and vibrant. Outstanding health care is readily available, as are recreational facilities and educational attractions like the historic Naper Settlement and the DuPage Children’s Museum.
It is also hard to miss the fact that Naperville’s community leaders invest heavily in programs that help children develop into educated, confident and interested adults who can remain in their hometown to thrive as adults and raise a new generation of Naperville residents.
Naperville also plays an integral part in the Illinois Technology and Research Corridor. Employers include Bell Labs, Nokia, BP, Ineos, Nalco, Calamos, Nicor and Edward Hospital. Tellabs has its corporate headquarters in Naperville and ConAgra has a Grocery Division branch office in Naperville that employs approximately 400 people. Kraft Foods opened its Naperville site in 1968, and employs over 200 individuals at the plant, which supplies all Triscuit products for North America. The city is also home to the headquarters of Dukane Precast, and its double-wall pre-cast concrete manufacturing plant.
In addition, Naperville groups and organizations host many events during the year, including historic events at the Settlement, marathons, outdoor symphony concerts, children’s seasonal events, parades and food/music fests with carnivals.