About This Place
Wheaton is an affluent community located in DuPage County, Illinois, approximately 25 miles (40 km) west of Chicago and Lake Michigan. Wheaton is the county seat of DuPage County. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 55,416.
The city dates its founding to the period between 1831 and 1837, following the Indian Removal Act, when Erastus Gary laid claim to 790 acres (3.2 km2) of land near present-day Warrenville. In 1837, Warren Wheaton laid claim to 640 acres (2.6 km2) of land in the center of town. Jesse Wheaton later made claim to 300 acres (1.2 km2) of land just west of Warren's. In 1848, they gave the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad three miles (5 km) of right-of-way, upon which railroad officials named the depot Wheaton. In 1850, ten blocks of land were platted and anyone who was willing to build immediately was granted free land. In 1853, the lots were surveyed and a formal plat for the city was filed with the county. The city was then incorporated in 1859 with Warren serving as its first President. The city was re-incorporated on March 1, 1890, when the first mayor of the city was selected, Judge Elbert Gary, son of Erastus Gary and founder of Gary, Indiana.
In 1857, the Illinois state legislature authorized an election to be held to decide the question of whether the DuPage county seat should remain in Naperville or be moved to the more centrally located Wheaton, which was on the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad. Naperville won the election by a vote of 1,542 to 762. Hostility between the two towns continued for the next decade and another election was held in 1867, that Wheaton narrowly won by a vote of 1,686 to 1,635. At a cost of $20,000, the City of Wheaton quickly built a courthouse to house a courtroom, county offices and a county jail. The building was dedicated on July 4, 1868.