The Tuxedo Park subdivision sits between York Street and Poplar and from the Prairie Path to Crescent. The Prairie Path was originally the right of way of The Aurora Elgin & Chicago Railway (later renamed the Chicago Aurora & Elgin). The train ran through Elmhurst with originally two stops at Spring Road and York Street. When Crescent Park and Tuxedo Park were being developed in the late 1920s, the City Council asked to build a third station on Poplar Avenue, which opened in 1931. Until it shut down in 1957, the railroad provided “fast, frequent and electrified service” because of the third rail it used for power. When the tracks were abandoned, Mary Theilgaard Watts, a noted author and naturalist at Morton Arboretum, suggested using the abandoned right of way as a nature trail. Currently the 40-mile Prairie Path connects thousands of acres of forest preserves throughout DuPage County.
Tuxedo Park was developed in the 1920s by George M. Collins during a period of expanding boundaries for Elmhurst. Mr. Collins named Tuxedo Park after an area in New York popular with wealthy people for hunting and other entertainment. He named many of the streets after battleships from the Civil War and World War I. Colfax Avenue, Cambridge Avenue, Cayuga Avenue and Niagara Avenue were all named after battleships. Kearsage Avenue was supposed to be named after the Kearsarge, a Civil War ship named after a mountain peak in New Hampshire, but a printing error by the city established Kearsage Avenue as a typo for the ages. One of the main streets that runs through this neighborhood is Vallette, named after an early family in DuPage County. James Vallette is listed as a surveyor for the 1904 DuPage County Atlas in the Elmhurst Hisorical Musuem.
Still standing is the Depot at 511 S. York Street, which served the Chicago Great Western Railway from 1887 until 1968. The Elmhurst Park District purchased the depot in 1971 with plans to renovate it and build a park named Wild Meadows Trace. (A trace is a path, trail or route.) In 1976, citizens of Elmhurst donated money to build a fountain in this park to commemorate our nation’s Bicentennial. The fountain was designed by landcape architect, Dan Schourek and the Bicentennial Fountain and Depot were dedicated on July 5, 1976 as part of a three-day Bicentennial celebration.
The homes in this subdivision currently start at $300,000. If you are interested in looking at homes in this or any of Elmhurst’s unique neighborhoods, call a knowledgeable realtor at LW Reedy.
Residents of this neighborhood are in the award winning Elmhurst School District 205 and would attend Jefferson Elementary Grade School, Sandburg Middle School and York High School. Click here for more information on those schools, links to school reports and more.
Special thanks to Nancy Wilson of the Elmhurst Historical Museum for her help and support. Pictures were provided by the Elmhurst Historical Museum except for the Kearsarge which can be found at http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/k2/kearsarge-ii.htm.