History of Maple Park
The Village of Maple Park was founded in 1854 by Andrew Pingree and Zachariah Hawthorne; and named to reflect the many maple trees growing around the depot and in groves surrounding the town. The close proximity to the railroad allowed farmers to compete in distant markets and was instrumental in establishing Kane County as a prominent dairy region during the 1860ís. The Village of Maple Park once had a dairy; Bowmanís Dairy was located on the south side of Center Street. As a main employer of the townspeople; Bowmanís sold milk that was hauled by train to Chicago. Dairy farming in the County declined in the 1930ís and 1940ís due to increased competition and was replaced with crop farming. During the last 55 years, the number of farms and the number of acres in agricultural use has declined.
Maple Park became the site of agriculturally related businesses such as the agricultural implement factory started by G.W. Bunda of Ithaca, NY. A prosperous carriage factory, started by E.O. Rood in 1870, supplied residents with the necessary horse-drawn conveyances.
Beginning in the early 1870ís, Maple Park served as a business center as well as an agricultural service center with numerous types of stores including grocery and drug stores, taverns, harness shops, barber shops, banks, and a blacksmith shop.
In 1888 Maple Parkís first Town Hall was constructed. In later years, this building also served as the school, fire department and library until it was vacated in 1985. The first well in town was dug in 1895 when pipes were laid for fire protection. That same year Maple Park received telephone service for the first time.
In the early 1920ís, a community school was built, one half for grade school students and the other half for high school students. By 1959, Kaneland High School opened and began serving the area. Maple Parkís Elementary/High School closed in 1985 and is currently being used as the town hall and library.
As in the other cities and villages in Kane County, Maple Park has an interesting history involving people, commerce and transportation. This history has evolved into present day Maple Park and plays an important part in recognizing and respecting Maple Parkís spiritual sense of place and character.