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As early as 1837, more than 50 years before we took our name, homesteaders heading for the Wisconsin Territory were welcomed at Filkins' Stage Coach Tavern after their day~long journey from Chicago. As the number of travelers increased, so, too, did lodging places along the natural, overland trail which eventually became Illinois Route 21 (Milwaukee Road).
Could those early innkeepers have imagined that they would be the forerunners of our remarkable collection of restaurants? Wheeling has never been without its dining establishments, and the hospitality that characterized the earliest of them set a pattern for those that followed.
Similarly, the fertile soil repaid our earliest settlers" efforts in both abundance and diversity. Subsistence farming soon became export farming. Wholesalers and retailers from Chicago's growing population were drawn to the little community on the way to Wisconsin, and began businesses here. As landscaping gained importance, another cash crop came into its own, and Wheeling became synonymous with landscape nurseries.
With the big city so near, that Wheeling would become suburbia was inevitable. State and federal highways provided direct access to Chicago whose population eyed our open space with envy and admiration. The real awakening of commerce and industry began in the 1960s. Next, developers built whole neighborhoods, followed by shopping centers and service industries. Businesses with an eye to our prime location and established rail service, provides Wheeling with diverse employment and the satisfaction of having become a self-contained municipality.
Wheeling marked its Centennial in 1994 with a year-long celebration, capping those hundred years of progress with the dedication of our Centennial Plaza Fountain. Take time to tour the Wheeling Historical Society Museum and make a nostalgic journey of your own some Sunday afternoon. Hours are 2 to 4 p.m., and special guided tours may be arranged for other days and hours. The museum, which was once used as Village Hall, was built in 1894 and is located at 251 North Wolf Road in Chamber Park.
If Wheeling's history is fascinating, so, too, is its present and future.
As a hub of Chicago's northwest suburbs, we enjoy a prime location, easily reached and within driving distance of city and countryside. Our ratio of residential to commercial properties is optimum, and Wheeling's government is committed to keeping it that way. Amenities abound here. Our "Restaurant Row"is known far and wide, unique in number and excellence, commanding the attention of gourmets throughout Chicagoland. We're both a home town and bedroom community.
Growth continues at a rate which exceeded demographic projections. Recognizing this, Wheeling was chosen for a new Metra Station, a highly attractive amenity for commuters and one that will promote new business and housing here. Coinciding with this are the Milwaukee Avenue corridor improvements: widening the roadway, adding a vest pocket park, removing obsolete buildings and redeveloping the land for residential, shopping and entertainment.
It's a bright future, filled with opportunity for long time residents as well as for newcomers...right here in Wheeling!
"Business of the year" award!
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