History of Darien
The first people to settle here came form
the New England states. They traveled here via the Erie Canal and the
Great Lakes. Among the first to arrive was the Thomas Andrus family. They
settled along an old stagecoach line which was roughly where I-55 was
in 1835. Mr. Andrus opened up the Andrus Inn which served the 15 stage
coaches that traveled the stagecoach line. Andrus Inn was located right
about the entrance to Carriage Way West Subdivision.
The Inn included a tavern and a post office and Mr. Andrus named the area
Cass. He was Justice of the Peace and served as the Town Clerk, Assessor
and County Commissioner. His son, Edger, would ride his horse to the Illinois
and Michigan Canal and swim across to get to the mail.
Thomas Andrus and Father Beggs built the First Cass Church, which was
a log cabin design. The church's cemetery, located west of where the church
stood (west of Baily Road and north of Frontage Road), can still be seen
today. The church was also used as a school house.
Elisha and Eliza Smart settled here in 1838 with their 10 children. Elisha
got gold fever and left for California, returning 7 years later as a very
rich man. He bought more land and the Smart family donated the land on
which a new Cass Church was built in 1870.
John and Hannah Oldfield came to Cass in 1850. Mr. Oldfield raised cattle
and increased his land holdings to 2000 acres.
Franklin Blanchard opened his cheese factory in 1881 the location
of the cheese factory being where McDonalds is today.
Martin Madden was an Irish immigrant who arrived at the Cass area during
the late 1800's. He became a member of the Chicago City Council and later
was elected to the House of Representatives and served in the United States
Congress. In 1903, Mr. madden built a home to look like the White House
in Washington D.C. he called it castle Eden. Today Castle Eden is part
of the Aylesford Retreat Center of the Carmelite Fathers.
A group of German Lutherans from Europe came to the area near 67th and
Clarendon Hills Road in 1859. They built the first St. John Lutheran Church
and laid out the cemetery behind the church. Today the cemetery is still
located at 67th and Clarendon Hills Road. In 1899, a new church was built
on the northeast corner of Cass and 75th Street. The Church was located
where Taco Bell and Royal Shield Restaurant now stand. In 1969, the second
church was torn down and the present St. John's Lutheran Church was built
west of Cass and north of 75th Street.
A school was built on the northwest corner of Cass and 75th street in
1860. It was the first Lace School. It is now a museum which is open on
the first Sunday of each month from 2:00pm to 4:00pm.
By 1890, the Village of Lace was established. The important location at
that time was the triangle bordered by Cass Avenue, Plainfield Road and
75th Street. It was called "The Point." The Point included the
Town Hall, General Store, Blacksmith Shop and the office of Dr. Roe. A
Post Office had been established at The Point in 1884.
The City of Darien was originally part of these two communities
Lace and Cass. The idea to incorporate came from a desire of some of the
residents of four subdivisions to unit into one city. Those subdivisions
were Marion Hills, Brookhaven, Clairfield and Hinsbrook.
The City of Darien was incorporated in 1969. When the incorporation committee
reached an impasse on an acceptable name for the new city, Acting mayor
Sam Kelly suggested the name "Darien." (Kelly had
visited Darien, Connecticut, and found it to be a very pleasant and
attractive community.) Today, Darien is known as "A Nice Place to Live."
If you would like to learn more about the history of
Darien, please contact the Darien Historical Society Museum
at 630-964-7033. The museum is located at 7422 Cass Avenue,
Darien, IL 60561(northwest corner of 75th Street and Cass
Avenue). The museum is open on the 1st Sunday of the month
from 1:00pm to 3:00pm.