is an example of the upper middle-class railroad suburb
that developed across the country from 1850 through 1880.
Chicago, with a network of 11 separate railroad lines
that entered the city from 1847 through 1861, had more
than 100 railroad suburbs surrounding it by 1873. The
railroad suburb has a distinctive landscape based on the
picturesque English ideal of the country house set in
a naturalistic, landscaped garden. Single-family homes
were developed near rail stations to allow the wealthy
to escape the ills of the city. Hinsdale is one of these
railroad suburbs, founded in 1866 by William Robbins in
anticipation of the location of the Chicago, Burlington
and Quincy Railroad's commuter line through the area in
surveyors plotted the CB&Q rail line in 1862, Robbins
purchased some 700 acres on either side of the right-of-way,
which was about one mile south of what then was known
as the town of Fullersburg, near present-day Ogden Avenue
and York Road. Robbins built a summer home for himself
in 1864, platted the original Town of Hinsdale which
encompassed much of today's central (downtown) business
district and the area immediately southwest of it to
present-day Fourth and Sixth streets, and recorded the
town with DuPage County in 1866. To encourage development,
he subdivided and sold his land. Other developers and
settlers came, and by 1873 the town had stores, a post
office, hotel, schoolhouse, Baptist and Congregational
churches and a population of 1,500.
tree-lined streets in Hinsdale's nearly five square
mile area basically are in a grid pattern, with north-south
streets running perpendicular to east-west streets,
except for north of Ogden Avenue and east of County
Line Road where hilly and wooded terrain inspired curving
streets, loops and cul-de-sacs. Lot sizes are largely
uniform, although they vary in size depending on location,
probably as a result of the original developer's plans
for housing in the area.
1890s brought extensive improvements in the Village,
including a bond issue for water works, a drainage system,
electrical lines, paved streets, sidewalks and a newspaper.
An article, "Hinsdale the Beautiful," in the
November 1897 issue of Campbell's Illustrated Journal,
showcased nearly 50 of Hinsdale's most impressive homes
and did much to establish the village as one of the
most desirable suburbs, as well as spur its continuing
Hinsdale attracted industrious people of varying income
levels, which is reflected in the wide range of architectural
styles and vernacular and popular types that are abundant
throughout the village. Indeed, Hinsdale is unique in
this respect, as has been documented in various historical
and architectural reports and surveys by the State of
Illinois, DuPage County, the Village of Hinsdale and
others in recent years. The village's architecture includes
high-style buildings from the late 19th and early 20th
centuries (including Italianate, Gothic Revival, Queen
Anne, Shingle Style, Prairie Style, Craftsman Bungalow,
Colonial Revival, Dutch Colonial Revival, French Eclectic,
Tudor Revival, and Plan Book and Pre-Cut Catalog houses);
19th Century vernacular types (including Gable Front,
Four Over Four, L-form, T-form and Upright and Wing
houses); and 20th Century popular types (including American
Foursquare, Bungalow, Classic Box, Ranch and Split-level
obvious attractions have long benefited it, to the point
where its desirability has resulted in a sustained community
wide redevelopment in recent years, sometimes at the
expense of the very things that bring people to Hinsdale.
Mindful of this, the Hinsdale Historic Preservation
Ordinance was approved in April 2000, and the first
Hinsdale Historic Preservation Commission was appointed
the following month. Preservation is now policy in Hinsdale,
and the village's unique historic and cultural assets
have their own official advocate in the form of the
Historic Preservation Commission.
2002, the Village of Hinsdale was designated as a Certified
Local Government (CLG) through the National Parks Service.
This program recognizes communities that have created
historic preservation programs that meet minimum requirements.
Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA) administers
this federal program for the National Parks Service.
designation as a Certified Local Government allows the
Village the opportunity to apply for grant money for
intensive survey work, public education and training.
The Village received a grant to complete the Downtown
Commercial Architectural Resource Survey in 2003.
Illinois Historic Preservation Agency also administers
the following programs: