Today’s subdivision, Graue Woods, is actually two separate areas, on either side of North Avenue at the far west side of Elmhurst. For now, we will focus on the south section between North Avenue and 2nd Street and from West Avenue to Villa Park Avenue.
In 1833, the Graues of Hanover, Germany arrived in the United States. They claimed land in the future York and Addison townships in northern Elmhurst where Frederick Graue, of Old Graue Mill fame, settled near the present Elmhurst-Addison boundary. The Graue family eventually owned two general stores in Elmhurst, Ludwig Graue on First Avenue along the railroad and thirty years later, the second Graue store was the first brick building built in Elmhurst, located at 136 West Park Avenue.
In 1915, the developer Albert D. Graue & Sons of Elmhurst was working hard to sell this land, even offering to lend purchasers the money to buy. Brochures featured picturesque photographs of the Salt Creek south of the North Avenue Bridge and advertised an acre of land that cost from $650 to $1,000. The brochure featured a quaint poem that ends, “Spend your last days not with strangers, Enter heaven’s gate from home.”
According to Fremont Graue, the streets in this area had descriptive names like Riverside Drive, which was named for its location west of Salt Creek and Parkside Avenue, literally named that because it was located next to a park. Other street names were equally prosaic, with Glade Street so named because it was the only open space in the woods and Glenview Avenue because it offered a view of open space between the trees. A lady who bought several lots in the subdivision wanted to live on a street named Bonnie Brae because she had lived on a street with that name in the past, so the developers granted her request. Most noteworthy is North Avenue, which was called Fourth Street until February 17, 1900 when the Village Trustees re-named it North Avenue because it was called that in 1837 when the city was incorporated. North Avenue at that time was the northern boundary of Elmhurst.
Children in the Graue Woods subdivision attend the award winning Elmhurst District 205 schools Emerson Elementary, Churchville Middle School and York Community High School. Homes in the Graue Woods subdivision range from a very affordable entry level of $175,000 to a little less than $1 million for new construction homes. If you are interested in viewing homes in Graue Woods, use LW Reedy’s new MLS Mapping Search tool or contact a LW Reedy Agent for information on this, or any of Elmhurst’s wonderful neighborhoods.
We gratefully acknowledge all of the time and assistance Nancy Wilson at Elmhurst Historical Museum provided. She is, and will continue to be, an invaluable resource for this series. Graphics included in this post were provided by Elmhurst Historical Museum.