Village Of Melrose Park1000 N 25th Ave, Melrose Park, IL 60160
Before Melrose, travelers reported fields of waving grass four feet high, wild flowers, prairie chickens, rabbits, and foxes. There were no trees, except along streams.No Indians lived here. There were small villages and burial grounds nearby-where Forest Park and Elmhurst are and north of North Avenue, east of the DesPlaines River. All of those Indians departed toward the west by 1835. A small Indian encampment was reported to have been near Seventeenth Avenue, south of Salt Creek, until about 1900.Indians and animals traveled through the Melrose Park area. Herds of buffalo meandered through to salt licks along the Vermillion River near what is now Danville. Indians traveled the route for a thousand years from the great Indian villages along the Fox and Rock rivers. They obtained salt for trading. The trail followed Lake Street from Addison to the DesPlaines River, continued diagonally to Cermak and the lakeshore, and turned south to the Vermillion River. In 1832, General Winfield Scott's army arrived aboard the first steamship to reach Chicago. After camping at Riverside for several weeks, 750 men with supply wagons marched along the DesPlaines River to the Indian trail (Lake Street) and continued west to fight Blackhawk's warriors.After 1835, the trail became Salk Creek Turnpike (Elgin Road), a state route. It was scraped, ditched, and partially planked. Stage coaches raced through at a maddening rate of 12 m.p.h. Cartage wagons hauled lead down from Galena and salt on return. Cattle were driven through from Freeport and Rockford to Chicago. Wheat and produce also came this way to Chicago.In 1848, the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad became the first railroad to go west from Chicago. In 1849, the railroad bridge was the first to cross the DesPlaines River. In 1851, Proviso Township built the first highway bridge across the DesPlaines River at Lake Street for $600.00. In 1816, the Treaty of St. Louis established Indian Boundry Line, allowing access to land needed to build the Illinois-Michigan Canal. Before 1818, when Illinois became a state, this was part of the Northwest Territory. Before Cook County was created, in 1831, this was part of Clark County, which extended 200 miles south. Applications for U.S. land patents had to be done at Palestine, along the Wabash River. The Northwest Ordinance of 1785 established the survey system that laid out sections and townships of land.In 1849, townships were established. When Taylor became a township, the census counted 482 people. Soon the name was changed to Proviso Township to commemorate Wilmot Proviso. Proviso Post Office was at Cermak and Wolf Roads, where there was a small town. Over the years, that post office evolved to become a branch of the Melrose Park Post Office. In 1869, seven Vermonters under Col. William Nichols came to create Maywood. In September 1871, one month before the Chicago fire, one of the seven, Allen Eaton, joined with Edward Cuyler, a Chicago developer, to form Melrose Realty Company.In 1836, Simon Z. Haven obtained a patent from the U.S. land office for 960 acres at $1.25 per acre. The land stretched from Madison Street to Division and Ninth Avenue to Twenty-fifth. Due to financial difficulties, in 1864, the Superior Court of Chicago divided the 460.84 acres between Ninth and Twenty-fifth avenues and the Chicago Northwestern Railroad tracks and Division Street into five "lots". The Court awarded two of the lots to some of Haven's heirs. The remaining three lots went to his creditors.In 1871, Melrose Company purchased three "lots" west of Twelfth Avenue (comprising 342.74 acres). That land became Melrose Subdivision and Town.