Riverside

Riverside, IL

In 1868, Emery Childs led a group of businessmen in the development one of America's first planned suburban communities. The 1,600-acre tract is located about 8 miles west of Downtown Chicago on the Des Plaines River. At the time it was owned by David Gage, who joined the Riverside Improvement Company as a partner. The developers hired Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux (the designers of NYC's Central Park) to, "...combine the conveniences peculiar to the finest modern cities, with the domestic advantages of the most charming country, in a degree never before realized."

Although growth of the community was delayed by the 1871 Chicago Fire, it became a pioneer of early suburbanization in the United States. The village was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970.

I visited Riverside briefly in the Summer of 2011, walking a small loop (Scottswood Road south to Fairbank Road north) in the southwest part of the village in search of some surviving structures mentioned in the village's 1871 company report, which is the source for the historic woodcuts below.

Riverside Depot
Riverside Water Tower
Riverside Stores
Grand Park
Riverside Presbyterian / Bryant Residence
Schermerhorn Residence
Bloombank and Fairbank Roads
Coonley Playhouse
Freeark Residence
Hoffman Tower and Dam
River Crossing
Dore Cottage
Longcommon and Herrick Roads