Wheeling is a diverse municipality with a strong sense of community offering a wide range of housing, excellent education, and village services provided by a staff of 187. Residents are protected by a nationally accredited police department and a highly rated fire department.
In addition to the Forest Preserves immediately adjacent, residents can enjoy recreational activities on 16 park sites owned and maintained by the Wheeling Park District, including the exciting new aquatic and recreational centers, and the landmark Chevy Chase Golf Course and Club House.
The Indian Trails Public Library District building in Wheeling houses almost 200,000 books, and is embarking on a major building expansion to accommodate their growing collections and technical facilities.
Located 26 miles north of Chicago’s loop, Wheeling be reached by driving on one of several major roads, riding the North Central commuter line, or flying into Palwaukee Municipal Airport.
The village of Wheeling was actually named after Wheeling, West Virginia, even though legend says it was named because of the sound of rumbling wagon wheels bumping down the main road in the community. Due to the number of wagons that did pass through the community, many eateries were built on Milwaukee Avenue. That led to the nickname “Restaurant Row” which stuck into the late 1990’s.
By the year 1836, the road known then as Des Plaines Valley Road, today, Milwaukee Avenue, became a stagecoach route between Chicago and Green Bay, Wisconsin. In the 1840’s population grew because of the tavern, hotels, blacksmith shop, hardware store, and school that were built in the village. In 1850, a brewery was built by Napoleon Periolat and operated until 1910. This prompted even more hotels and restaurants.
With the location of Wheeling right along the Des Plaines River and its number of restaurants and taverns, it attracted Chicagoans on the weekends. Bicycling was very popular in the 1880’s and that prompted races between Wheeling and Chicago. The Wisconsin Central Railroad came through town in 1886, stopping at a station just south of Dundee Road.
A township government was formed in 1850. Wheeling, a town filled with taverns, hotels, and restaurants became a hot spot for railroad workers and laborers. Disturbances became a problem and local officials opted to move for incorporation. Wheeling was incorporated in 1894.
The Knights of Columbus built a county club in 1917. It was named the Columbian County Club, Windsor, Bon Air, and finally Chevy Chase. In the 1930’s the club and its 18 hole golf course changed owners and started to operate as a gambling establishment as well. Red Mary’s Wheeling Inn was also an attraction for gambling and music. These establishments and the wonderful restaurants in the area are the reason Wheeling’s residents were able to survive the Great Depression.
Wheeling’s population grew from 916 to 14,746 between the years 1950-1970. Manufacturing grew also with the 86 acre South Wheeling Industrial Park. In 1984 Wheeling annexed Arlington Country Club and its 131 acres. Prospect Heights teamed up with Wheeling and they purchased Palwaukee Airport. In 1996, Metra North Central Service opened service and built a station for commuters off Wheeling Road just south of Dundee. Population was at 34,496 in 2000. Neighboring communities and Chicagoans continue to visit the more than 40 eateries along Milwaukee Avenue.”
Wheeling Trivia & Fun Facts
“The area historical tornado activity is 54% greater than the overall U.S. average.
The elevation is 650 feet.
Ancestries: German (16.6%), Irish (9.7%), Polish (10.8%), Russian (6.8%), Italian (5.5%), English (4.6%)
Severe thunderstorms in the Chicago metropolitan area blew down over 1,000 trees in Highland Park, and produced a wind gust of 84 mph at Wheeling.