Monday, August 13, 2018

Lost Towns of Illinois - Babcock's Grove, DuPage Center, Stacy's Corners, Newton's Station, Danby, and Prospect Park, Illinois.

The first landowner in Babcock's Grove, Illinois was Deacon Winslow Churchill. He and his family moved to Illinois from New York in 1834. Other newcomers to the area built town necessities such as a tavern and school.

Moses Stacy, a soldier in the War of 1812, arrived here in 1835. DuPage County, Illinois was founded in 1839. Moses' inn, "Stacy's Tavern" was built in 1846 and his second home, was a halfway stop between Chicago and the Fox River Valley and a probable stop for Galena, Illinois stagecoaches on their way to Rockford, Illinois. [Stacy's Tavern historical monument stands at what is now the intersection of Geneva Road and Main Street.]

In 1849, construction of the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad through Stacy's Corners, Illinois was finished. The area around the railroad became the center of the town. At first, trains running through the town on the railway did not stop there. A local man named Lewey Q. Newton made an offer to the railroad company; Newton would build a depot and water tank out of his own pocket if the railroad would require trains to stop there. The depot that Newton built became known as Newton's Station, Illinois.
1855 Railway Guide Showing Danby, Illinois, in Red.
The growing settlement went through several names, including Babcock's Grove (named for three brothers that settled there), DuPage Center, Stacy's Corners (after the Stacy family), Newton's Station, Danby (after Danby, Vermont, a local landowner's birthplace) and Prospect Park.

The first church, a Congregational church, was built in 1862. Many Protestant churches were built in the village in the years to come. It wasn't until 60 years later that the first Catholic church was built.

The name Glen Ellyn had been adopted by 1889, when village president Hill and businessman Philo Stacy spearheaded a project to create a new lake, called Lake Glen Ellyn (today’s Lake Ellyn), by having a dam built in a nearby stream. The current Glen Ellyn is based on the Welsh version of the name of the then–village president Thomas E. Hill's wife Ellen, preceded by glen, referring to the local geography.
The Great Western Railroad built a freight station in 1888 on the south side of the track just west of Main Street in Glen Ellyn.
In 1890, residents discovered mineral springs near the village. Glen Ellyn's Five Mineral Springs was a popular destination for guests throughout the area, who also enjoyed mud baths. It was believed that the mud around the springs had medicinal qualities. This contributed to Glen Ellyn advertising itself as Chicago's newest suburb and health resort, soon followed by the Village of Glen Ellyn being officially incorporated on May 10, 1892.
The Glen Ellyn Hotel opened in 1893 for the summer season, with prices ranging from $2.00 to $3.00 per day. After the hotel changed hands several times, in the summer of 1905 it was occupied as a free hospital supported by the Chicago Tribune Company. The next summer the building remained unoccupied and on May 1, 1906 was struck by lightening and completely destroyed by fire.
The springs flowed into a creek and drained into a marsh which later became Lake Ellyn. The large Lake Glen Ellyn Hotel opened in 1892, the same year much of the business district was destroyed by fire. Fourteen years later, the hotel was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.

The village's all-volunteer fire department was created in 1907. By the end of the 20th century, it was the last all-volunteer fire department in DuPage County. By World War I, Glen Oak Country Club served the Oak Park and Glen Ellyn communities.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

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