Country Club Highlands is located between Grand Avenue to the north, Wrightwood Avenue to the South, and from York Street to Mount Emblem Cemetery on County Line Road.
The land was originally owned by a German immigrant family lead by Conrad Fischer, who started his adult life as a member of Napoleon’s army. Mr. Fischer moved his family from Europe to DuPage County in 1836 by way of New York and the Erie Canal. Both the grade school and the park in this subdivision bear Conrad Fischer’s name. In 1865, Conrad’s grandson Henry purchased the land at the corner of Grand and County Line Roads from his father, Frederick L Fischer.
Henry built Elmhurst’s iconic windmill there, the first of its kind in the Chicago area. A typical Dutch smock windmill with parts from a prefabricated kit imported from the Netherlands was assembled with the help of two Dutch millwrights and local farmers. The mill began grinding wheat in 1867.
In 1877, Fischer sold the mill to Edward Ehlers for $10,000, but competition from other mills and the decline in wheat farming hurt Ehler’s business. In 1925, Caroline Ehlers, Edward’s widow and daughter of one of the original builders of the mill, sold the farm and the windmill to Mount Emblem Cemetery Association, once again for $10,000. Originally slated for demolition, the association hired Henry and Franklin Ehlers, Edward’s sons, to preserve the mill as a museum. They repaired the aging structure including new sails, shingles and trim and dismantled some of the inner gearing to show their use. The sails were set in an”X” formation, which indicates the mill is in “a long rest period.”
County Line Road separates Cook County from DuPage County. Wrightwood Avenue to the south was named after Edward Wright, an attorney who played an active role in 1860, subdividing the woods. Diversey Avenue, another street in this subdivision, was named in honor of Michael Diversey of the subdividers Diversey and Lill. Michael Diversey was the first railroad locomotive engineer to arrive in 1858. He later became a Chicago alderman.
Grand Avenue was named by Col. Thomas J.V. Owen, the Indian Agent in Chicago from 1830 to 1833. He was a member of the first Board of Town Trustees of the Village of Chicago and named the street that stretched west from Chicago “Grand Avenue” because he said “Chicago is a grand place to live.”
The Chicago and Galena Stage Line selected Grand Avenue, once called Whiskey Road, as the best route to Chicago. This old Indian Path was the highest and driest trail at all times of the year and was used for hauling from the mines in Galena. The stage line had stops every 10 miles, one of which was called Buckhorn Tavern at York and Grand. The tavern provided food, lodging, feed and water for the horses and occasionally, a fresh team for the stagecoach.
Children in Country Club Highlands attend the award winning Elmhurst District 205 schools Conrad Fischer Grade School, Churchville Middle School and York Community High School. Homes in this neighborhood start at a very affordable $300,000. If you are interested in viewing homes in Country Club Highlands, 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.