About This Place
Melrose Park is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States. It is a "near-in" suburb of Chicago. The population was 23,171 at the 2000 census. Melrose Park has long been home to a large Italian-American population, though now it is majority Mexican-American. It was the home of Kiddieland Amusement Park and the current home of Maywood Park Racetrack, Shrine of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, and Stern Pinball, Inc., which is now the world's last manufacturer of coin-operated pinball machines.
There is a Metra railroad station in Melrose Park with daily service to Chicago. Melrose Park is home to two hospitals, Westlake Hospital and Gottlieb Memorial Hospital.
According to the Encyclopedia of Chicago, in 1882 residents of a then-unincorporated portion of Proviso Township voted to establish their own municipality—called simply "Melrose" until 1893, when the "Park" was added—and population in the area began to steadily increase. The first Italian-Americans arrived in 1888. On April 19, 1920 the F4 Palm Sunday tornado cut a 100 m wide path over 1 km through the village and killed ten people. It destroyed the Sacred Heart Church and attached convent.