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Short Posts of Historic Facts and Events in Illinois

Published on Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Naperville Parks - The Burlingtons

Our community is blessed with a number of parks, forest preserves and other green spaces. The names of these parks reflect their attributes or their developers or our local history. Since the significance of a park’s name can be lost as our population grows and ages, over the coming months we’ll highlight a few parks as a reminder. 

There are two parks named for the Burlington Northern Railway Company. As you might imagine, both will be found along the tracks. 

Burlington Square is a small park right in front of the 5th Avenue station. It features a statue of an American “doughboy” from World War I. Through the years since the War to End All Wars, the doughboy got a little beat up and had his rifle stolen, but the Century Walk art group restored him 2003 and placed him in Burlington Square. 

There’s also a Burlington Park between the railway and the DuPage River. Currently, Burlington Park in under the care of the DuPage Forest District — again.

A referendum was passed in 1966 to create the Naperville Park District and in 1969, the Park District took over several Forest Preserve properties, including Burlington. The lease just lapsed in 2016, giving the park back to the Forest Preserve. 

Originally, Burlington Park was a holiday destination created by the railway late in the 19th century. Chicago city folk could take the train out into the country during hot summers to picnic and party. The DuPage River was dammed to make a lake for boating and dancing, concerts and ball games were also offered. Revelers often brought kegs of beer with them or visited the town saloons. By 1899, Naperville’s citizens had had enough of those shenanigans and the park was closed. 

In 1920, Naperville’s Association of Commerce, the forerunner of our current Chamber, worked with the Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad to purchase the property for Naperville’s citizens as part of the DuPage Forest Preserve District.
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Author: Kate Gingold Host

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