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One building I have always been curious about is the old victorian style home adjacent to the Arby's Restaurant. And that is near Geneva Road and Main Street. It must be a half way house for either woman or men. However, I still don't know after all of these years as a resident. Since 1966.
At the northern end of President Street, there is a large pond and forest preserve. There is also a small homeless camp in those woods. As an FYI, behind the Jewel store you reference - - many years, there was a girl school there. From memory, I believe it was called the Powell School For Young Ladies. However, the property was eventually build up with condominiums.
The most beautiful part about the city of Glen Ellyn is Lake Glen Ellyn. Prior to the large railroad accident during the early 1970s, that lake was about twice its size. However, amonia from the train accident spilled into it and so they had to fill in part of that lake. But to the east of the lake and high school is a very beautiful but super expensive subdivision.
Carter, I know that the old Victorian house next to Arby's which you mentioned is a shelter for abused women and their children. As a United Way project through our employer, my co-workers and I were assigned to that particular house to spend the day planting shrubs and perennials. ~ Peg
Yes, I agree with Peg. That home is a shelter for abused women and their children. When I taught school those kids came to my building. They would not stay long, eventually moving in with extended family or leaving the area for less expensive housing. Each year I donate school supplies there to be used by the kids who come in and out. They usually don't have time to get their things from their current school and come with just the clothes on their backs.
Carter, thanks for sharing about Lake Ellyn. I had never heard that before. The forest preserve you mention at Geneva and Driving Park - I was so sad when I saw them building on the land adjacent to it. There was the most beautiful deer in there...I have not seen them since the construction started years ago.
A little more history on several Wheaton area subjects. After thinking about the girls school in my previous thread, I decided that the school's name was 'Poague' and not 'Powell' as I had mentioned. During that Glen Ellyn / Wheaton railroad accident, three freight trains passed each other on the three track curve a little West of Western Street and Pennsylvania Avenune. With three trains, the track bed and tracks were torn out and one of the west bound freight engines ran into the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue and sat within a few feet of an apartment bedroom. This happened in the middle of the night. One of the trains closer to Lake Ellyn spilled Ammonia (liquid or gas, I don't know?). A lot of that ammonia destroyed the fish and land very between the Glen Ellyn High School and the adjacent Lake Ellyn Park. So part of the lake had to be filled in. From best recollection, that happend approximately 1976. But that is only from memory. 'Irish Girl' - - - are you a retired school teacher? My oldest son, Ryan, is a 'graduate' student at NIU and plans to teach high school geology. He was also a teachers aid at Edison Middle School in the South Wheaton area.
Way back in the late 1800s - to early 1900s, there was a horse race track in the Driving Park Road area. This is the approximate area where Washington Street meets up with Driving Park Road.
Carter- well....I'm too young to be retired but I did teach school in Wheaton. I have other family members who are retired school teachers, however. I am no longer teaching because I am home with my family. My first home (I've moved 4 times) was in the Driving Park/Parkway area and the man across the street from me had pictures of the race track and the general area before it was developed. He was an original homeowner and worked for Jay Stream, the man who built that area. He said his name was inside most of the homes in the Hawthorne area. He had the only house in the subdivision with a basement and was very proud of it. I have lived in the Wheaton area for approx. 27 years and love to hear about its history, thanks for sharing.
There is a small road that goes all the way around Lake Ellyn - - or partially around it. However, I have not been on that road for a number of years. Anyway, on the northern shore of Lake Ellyn is / or was a small gazebo that marks a circa 1800s era of an artesian well water spring with supposedly medicinal purposes. The gazebo and / or the sign may still be there. But during the late 1800s, a company bottled that water for the railroads. It was similar in popularity, then, to our bottled water of today. However, it was called a mineral - springs water.
In one of my Glen Ellyn historical books, there is a page about that mineral springs and the company. However, I can't get to that book right now.
In addition, 'flat - dab' on the Glen Ellyn high school campus was originally a huge Glen Ellyn hotel. Once again back in the railroad days circa 1900. But the Glen Ellyn Hotel was hit by lightning and it could not be saved. Then the high school was built on the exact same site.
Also along Riford Road is where the Perry Mastadon was discovered. One can now see that mastadon on the Wheaton College campus.
That area of Glen Ellyn during the turn of the century was a very popular place for tourism. That's because the railroads promoted the mineral water benefits.
To a very large extent, Wheaton's Bible Belt fame was caused by one man. His name is Billy Graham. Graham was a graduate of Wheaton College - - and as my guess - - a graduating class sometime between 1947 and 1950. Billy Graham, as a young man, started becoming famous around 1951. And so many other people were attracted to Wheaton College.
Today, on the college campus, there is a very beautiful building called 'The Billy Graham Center'. It is unique in many ways including the large museum of other famous people. Such as Billy Sunday, for example. And many other famous ministers such as Torrey.
Today, the museum is free to anyone who wants to visit during its operating hours. And the center is located on the corner of College Avenue and Chase Street in Wheaton, Il.
When I visited there a number of years ago, the building also included a very specially designed room with lights and mirrors. It is called the "heaven Room" and gives one a sense of standing in the brightly lit sky without any means of support.
Soon after Wheaton's heritage started developing, companies such as Tyndale Publications and Crossway Books also appeared. Although many of those companies have moved, the above two publications companies are still present in Wheaton. Wheaton is slowly losing its Bible Belt heritage because of the constant transistion of people moving in and out.
The Heaven Room! That is one of the fondest memories I have of my Mom and Grandmom together in the Heaven room. Now, I am the only one left on Earth. We three attende the Billy Graham Pathways to Life Seminars. I should dust them off and read them. I miss Wheaton. I loved the Railroad Museum, the Popcorn Shop and the old soda shoppe next to the train. I know the PS is no longer there : ( I also have a profound love for Herrick Lake and my reading and thinking tree there.
The following is from the National Transportation Safety Board: NTSB-RAR-77-2
Chicago and North Western Transportation Company, Freight Train Derailments and Collision, Glen Ellyn, Illinois, May 16, 1976
About 4:25 a.m. on May 16, 1976, the locomotive and 27 cars of Chicago and North Western freight train No. 242 derailed as they moved eastward on a l˚54’ to 2˚15’ compound curve just west of Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Another CNW freight train, No. 380, was moving eastward on an adjacent track at the time and struck the derailed cars of No. 242; the locomotive and nine cars of train No. 380 derailed. The tank- head of train No. 380’s fifth car was punctured during the derailment by the coupler of an adjacent car; this released anhydrous ammonia into the atmosphere. Fourteen persons were injured as a result of the derailment and release of the ammonia. Damage from the accident was estimated to be $1,914,600.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the overturning of the outside rail of a l˚54’ to 2˚15’ compound curve because the rail was unable to withstand the lateral forces of the locomotive induced by the speed of the train on track which did not comply with Federal Track Safety Standards.
My comments on the accident:
I was at Hadley Junior High at this time. I remember seeing rail cars scattered along Pennsylvania Avenue from the old Patch Brothers (across from the GE Clinic parking lots all the way down to the Glen Ellyn / Wheaton border. One of the cars landed in the pool area at St. Moritz. The area was evacuated due to the Ammonia gas leak. The problem with Lake Ellyn was due to the ammonia being washed down the storm drains and into Lake Ellyn. The ammonia of course killed at the fish. I'm not sure if the lake had to be partially filled in at that time. It has been drained and redone at least twice in the past 30-40 years.
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