HighPoint Apartments are an easy drive from a village with homes, shops, and public buildings that take visitors back in time to the 19th century.
It’s known as the Naper Settlement, and it is Chicagoland’s outdoor history museum.
More than 150,000 people explore the 12-acre grounds each year, and things to see include:
Built in 1834 in Naperville, the Pre-Emption House was one of the first hotels constructed west of Chicago. Named after a federal law that permitted settlers to reserve as much as 160 acres, the hotel welcomed travelers who were making their way west to claim their land. It also featured a tavern where locals conducted business and held dances. The hotel was torn down in 1948, and the settlement’s recreation houses the visitor center that displays “Brushstrokes of the Past: Naperville’s Story.” This exhibit showcases artifacts, historic photographs, and works of art that tell of the city’s development from a frontier town to an established 20th-century city.
During the 19th century, wooden buildings and smoking chimneys posed fire threats within the community. In 1874, after several buildings burned in downtown Naperville, the town started a volunteer fire department with the purchase of a modern pumper. Any building that was large enough to house was designated a fire station and the settlement carries on the tradition by housing the contraption in a barn that dates back to 1860.
Paw Paw Post Office
Built in the Greek Revival style in 1833 by Alexander Hamilton Howard, this modest wood-framed building was both the home and business of the Howard family. Named after the groves of paw paw fruit trees that thrived in the northern part of the state, it also housed the town’s post office and was a stop on the stagecoach route that ran through DuPage County. The building was moved to the Naper Settlement in 1977.
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