Illinois May 02, 2016
Most People Don’t Know How These 10 Towns In Illinois Got Their Start
Ever wonder how certain Illinois towns got their start? We are profiling 10 Illinois town origin stories.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
Joliet is right next to Romeoville, which may cause you to think that Joliet got its name from Shakespeare. Actually, the name comes from Louis Jolliet, but it probably got misspelled. It was Juliet, then was changed to Joliet.
Naperville does actually get it name from someone with the last name Naper, Joseph Naper to be exact. Believe it or not, the town was predominantly rural until the population exploded in the 1960s.
Mokena comes from a Native American word for "turtle."
The word "Chicago" originates from the Native American word shikaakwa, which means "wild onions." In 1833, the town of Chicago had just 200 people. Its population rapidly increased, and for decades it was actually the fastest growing city in the world.
Zion gets its name from Mount Zion, Israel. It is home to Illinois Beach State Park, which served as a rifle range during World War 1 and World War 2.
You'll notice that a lot of towns in southern Illinois have some Egyptian sounding names. This was done on purpose, as this part of Illinois became known as "Little Egypt." Many say it got this name because the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi reminded them of the Nile delta.
This town name always brings laughs, but actually, the naming process was not very exciting. It got its name from the "normal schools," which was another name for teacher-training institutions.
Elgin was heavily inhabited by Native Americans, who were driven out in the early 1800s. It was then renamed "Elgin," after the Scottish tune of the same name. It was on the map because of its watch factory.
Aurora got its start as a manufacturing powerhouse. Later, it became the first in the U.S. to use electric lights for lighting the city. It then adopted the nickname "City of Lights."
This city was originally called "Almon." But people were not happy with the name. Finally, someone named "Long John" Wentworth went to Congress and claimed that the town should be renamed "Sandwich" after his hometown of Sandwich, New Hampshire.
Did any of these surprise you?