How Can We Help You?

History of Hinsdale

When surveyors for the Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad began laying track in 1862, wealthy businessman William Robbins purchased 700 acres along either side of the right-of-way at the center of what was to become the Village of Hinsdale.

Residents played an important leadership role from the Village's earliest days. It was thanks to their vision that the Village undertook numerous civic improvements during the 1890s. Waterworks (1890), sewage system (1891), and electrical lines (1896) brought modern conveniences, while street paving that began in 1892 made it possible for the automobile to become an important means of transportation (with automobile sales providing an important economic engine for the central business district up until the Great Depression). The first sidewalks were also laid at this time. By the late 1890s, Hinsdale was considered one of the most desirable middle class suburbs in Chicago as evidenced by a feature article in Campbell's Illustrated Journal in November 1897 entitled "Hinsdale the Beautiful" that pictured nearly 50 homes. An elegant new train station that still serves the Village was opened the following year.

After 1900, Hinsdale experienced tremendous development, with new brick and terra cotta buildings lining the downtown streets and hundreds of new homes built throughout the Village. Citizens such as Philip Clarke and architect R. Harold Zook led the drive to create an identifiable village center. Clarke oversaw fundraising for and construction of the Memorial Building in 1927 while Zook headed up the first Plan Commission (1923) and selected Colonial Revival as the style of choice for all civic and commercial buildings. In terms of its overall character, layout, and land-use patterns, Hinsdale today strongly reflects the vision of these early leaders.