In 1846 Ringgold was the first name given to the village of Hanover Park, the town that straddles the Cook and DuPage County lines. The Frink & Walker Stage Coach, carried townspeople along an old Indian trail called "Lake Trail" (later becoming Lake Street) linking Chicago and Galena from 1832 until about the mid-1860s.
|The Stagecoach wasn't as glamorous as the movies made them out to be.|
|The Harmening House|
|The Harmening House|
In 1872, Colonel Rosell M. Hough (Roselle, Illinois' namesake), founder and president of the Chicago & Pacific Railroad (later the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad) laid tracks on the property of Edwin Bartlett after he donated more than seven acres for the construction of a depot. Luther Bartlett donated a 40-acre "woodlot," the source of the Bartlett family's lumber and firewood.
People donating land for depots along the right-of-way were allowed to name the villages that were formed. Edwin and Luther Bartlett, brothers, each established stations named "Bartlett" along the Chicago & Pacific Railroad line. Luther's station kept the name Bartlett, but to avoid confusion, Edwin renamed his station "Ontario" in 1873, after a legend that the site was built on an old Indian trail between Lake Ontario and Green Bay, Wisconsin.
A post office was established in Ontarioville in 1873.
Edwin Bartlett began setting down plans for the village in 1874 and by the 1880s the community was thriving as new homes were built in Bartlett's subdivision between the railroad tracks and Ontarioville Road. The little railroad stop became a connection to the larger world, with service extending to Omaha, Sioux City, and beyond.
Ontarioville's population was 250 in 1920, but when Lake Street became a major artery in the 1920s, a bypass skirted the town and an underpass went under the railroad tracks. Traffic and development were diverted away from the older section of town, in DuPage County. Slow development began on the Cook County side.
In 1925 many people purchased lots in the new Grant Highway (today: Lake Street / US 20) subdivision, but only a few homes were built before the Great Depression. In 1947 construction stalled again when the developers left town with the down-payment money.
There were so few commuters in 1955 that Ontarioville was taken off the schedule as a train stop. Nearby Streamwood was expanding rapidly, and the Cook County portion of Ontarioville, afraid of annexation by its neighbor, incorporated as Hanover Park in 1958.
Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.