Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Naperville Business Circa 1886

The business community of Naperville published its first directory in 1886, decades before forming the Naperville Association of Commerce, our Chamber’s first incarnation.

The Holland Publishing Company created these directories for many area cities in Illinois and Wisconsin, financed by advertisements purchased by local businesses.

Those ads are marvelous bits of history, noting who owned what as well as where businesses were located,. They also showcase what everyday people bought, where they shopped and the jobs they held, giving us a window into a world that disappeared more than a century ago.  
The Directory “respectfully suggests” that our town consider numbering lots in a “systematic plan,” which apparently hadn't happened yet.

But Holland also praises Naperville as having “a valuable location, shipping facilities, social, religious and scholastic advantages of high merit and a full complement of liberal business men...not surpassed and but seldom equalled, in any other village of only three thousand inhabitants.”

Last year our Chamber of Commerce celebrated its first century and Naperville can still be said to be unsurpassed and seldom equaled. We are fortunate to have the advantages and opportunities found in our community.

We look forward to business growth in new year and the next hundred years! Excelsior! Ever upward!