Today, the NWTHA is:
- In its 40th consecutive year of providing community services to single-family homeowners who are located in unincorporated Naperville, Northern Wheatland Township and Will County.
- Made up of about 450 member families who live in the Country View Estates, Sunset Ridge, Wheatland View, Shannon's Way, Acorn Estates, Shell Lake, and River Crest subdivisions, and along Knoch Knolls Road and Mayfield Court.
- Inexpensive to join — only $17 per year , plus a one-time Legal Fund assessment of $20 (which pays our attorney's fees if/when we need such services to resolve community-wide issues). In other words, it's $37 the first year and $17/year thereafter, which entitles you to receive our bimonthly newsletter and annual membership directory and to participate in NWTHA programs and events -- such as our annual family picnic and popular Easter Egg Hunt and Christmas Party for the kids.
- A politically independent organization that was formed (according to our by-laws) to improve the conditions of education, work, recreation, health, and safety; to foster and develop a neighborhood plan; and to aid, assist and sponsor neighborhood activities."
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However, because we're within 1.5 miles of Naperville's corporate limits or boundaries, we're also affected by decisions made by that city's government (City Council, Plan Commission, Transportation Advisory Board, etc.) and by how well they enforce Naperville's master land use plan (which includes us in Planning Sectors F and G).
Nevertheless, even though it can be difficult determining whom to call, where to go, or how to do something simple like registering to vote, the NWTHA’s Officers and Board of Directors (11 elected, neighbor volunteers) will do their best to help.
While it is true that we are now experiencing fewer growing pains – because the development of south Naperville has slowed, we cannot afford to fall asleep at the wheel. Despite the slower growth, we still face more proposals for new residential/commercial developments, increased traffic, etc. For example, over the next few years, the NWTHA Board will be closely monitoring Naperville's plans to widen both 87th Street (east of Book to just east of Sunset Ridge) and Book Road (between 95th and 87th Streets) and some day there may be threats of forced annexation or the condemnation of our wells and/or septic fields.
Although the NWTHA already has accomplished a lot, we will be doing more — reacting to these and other issues — in the future. In other words, we will continue to do our best to make our unincorporated Wheatland neighborhoods even better places to live.
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History of Wheatland Township
“As adjacent townships grew, small settlements developed around rural crossroads, schools, churches and post offices. These centers offered goods and services and were determined by the distance the area farmers could complete a round trip in one-half day’s time. Normantown and Wolf’s Crossing provided markets for farmers to weigh, sell and ship their produce. Tamarack offered hardware supplies and watch repair. And other centers included the East Wheatland Post Office, Hoddam, and the Tokio Post Office.
“Wheatland Presbyterian Church became known locally as The Scotch Church, in recognition of the numerous Scottish families that had settled the area. Across from the Church and its parish was a one- room school house. The school house originally served eight grades within a single room and prepared the students for transfer to high school at either Plainfield or Oswego. Numerous other churches provided community support for the Township, representing Methodist, Baptist and Lutheran faiths. Throughout the early 20th century, the churches created recreational leagues among the churches, for various competitions such as baseball and the annual plowing match. The plowing competition, which began with horses and evolved into tractors, measured the quality and accuracy of tilling the soil on various Township farmlands. In later years, the winner of the competition was rewarded with a trip to Scotland, where he could compete with his former countrymen.
“Farming was the primary industry of Wheatland Township in the late 19th century and first half of the 20th century. The settlers in this area were predominately Scottish immigrants. Early farming families included the Stewarts, Muirs, McMickens, Gilmours, Browns, Boardmans, Boughtons, Clows, Frys, and Pattersons among others. (Note: Members of the Fry and Patterson families and relatives of the Clows were NWTHA members for several years.) Many of these families are buried in the Wheatland Presbyterian Church cemetery, where their origin of birth can be seen on the historic tombstones. Nearby and bordering Townships were populated by German and Swedish families bonded by their respective cultural heritages. The once magnificently beautiful farmland – consisting of thousands of acres within the Township – has been reduced to approximately six (6) family-owned farms consisting of about 80 acres.
“Some of the original farmhouses are still in existence today and can be seen throughout the township. For example, the Boughton family farmhouse is located on Plainfield-Naperville Road. And the Clow farmhouse and barn have been preserved by the Forest Preserve District of Will County and are located just south of the intersection of 111th Street and Book Road (within Will County Forest Preserve District's Riverview Farmstead).
“Wheatland Township has grown from 1,098 population in 1880 to more than 81,000, according to the 2010 Census.” As recently as the 1960s, just about all of Wheatland Township was farmland. In fact, some Wheatlanders believed that the soil being farmed was richer and more productive (based on crop yields) than most places east of California's Sacramento Valley.
In an effort to help preserve Wheatland Township’s rich agricultural heritage, the NWTHA Board has donated more than $500 in support of the rehabbing and development of the Riverview (Clow) Farmstead (see aerial photo and others below)., which show a "barn raising" event that was held in 2001 and improvements that were made in 2010-11, when the barn was repainted red, the farmhouse trim was painted white, and the farmhouse limestone was tuck pointed.
NOTE: Another historical site that you should be aware of is the one-acre Vermont Cemetery Prairie on Normantown Road (between 95th and 103rd Streets). This cemetery/prairie and adjacent acreage is now owned – and will be restored and developed – by the Forest Preserve District of Will County.
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Our First 40 Years
- In the 1970s, we helped decrease the overall density, eliminate apartments/town homes, and reduce the size of Leverenz Plaza as we monitored plans for Springbrook and Brook Crossings Estates. Further, we worked with township and county officials to get four-way traffic lights and turn lanes at the intersection of Naperville-Plainfield Road and 87th Street.
- The NWTHA Board's persistence resulted in the completion of a walkway (cement sidewalk) that goes from the south end of Meadow Lane in Country View Estates to the sidewalk along Leverenz Road (a safe short cut to Clow Elementary School.)
- When appropriate, we have written letters and/or appeared before Naperville's City Council and Plan Commission and the Wheatland Township Board and Planning Commission, and thereby presented our members' views on new residential/commercial developments, roads, and other issues.
- With the help of our state legislators and Will County Board representatives, we have sought to maintain our quality of life in Wheatland Township — especially when confronted by quarry, asphalt plant, and landfill proposals. For instance, we successfully opposed plans for two asphalt plants, with the help of our County Board representatives and the county state's attorney.
- We have stayed in close touch with the teachers, administrators and school board of Indian Prairie School District 204 and supported efforts to secure the best possible education for our children. In fact, over the years, we have had one superintendent (Clifford Crone), several school board members (the late Gordon Gregory, as well as Pauline Warkenthien, Herman Wissenberg, Bob Giesen, and Owen Wavrinek), and several teachers and other staff members among our NWTHA residents. Currently, our NWTHA newsletter and directory editor, Owen Wavrinek, is member of the Indian Prairie Educational Foundation (IPEF) Board of Directors. Also, Bbecause our NWTHA newsletter and directory editor Owen Wavrinek served on the Dist. 204 School Board for 21 years, including four years as its president, he was honored by the Board in 2002, when it made him the namesake of Owen Elementary School on Bailey Road in Naperville.
- As a community service, we have sponsored "candidate nights" in conjunction with state, county, township, and school board elections and we have provided information and recommendations on school-building and education-fund-tax-rate, and township-road-construction referenda.
- We have always supported the preservation of open space, whenever and wherever possible in northern Wheatland Township. For example, we have donated funds toward the development of the Riverview (Clow) Farmstead at 111th Street and Book Road, and supported the expansion of the Vermont Cemetery Prairie, both of which are owned by the Forest Preserve District of Will County. Also, we supported the passive natural/recreational development of the Spring Brook Forest Preserve, north of 87th Street in DuPage County.
- We have sponsored a wide variety of general member services, including special sales and discounts on lawn/garden fertilizers, grass seed, driveway sealing and paving, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, nursery stock, and power generators. And we have had NWTHA garage sales, sponsored special courses on first aid and CPR, and facilitated well-water testing.
- For more than 40 years, we have regularly published an informative (now bimonthly) newsletter and an annual membership directory, which includes names, addresses and phone numbers of members, government officials, schools, voting precincts, as well as info on area services (including baby sitters), subdivision maps, and our association by-laws.
- We have provided a lot of fun and entertainment through social activities, such as our annual Easter Egg Hunt, Christmas party, and picnic games for the kids, plus many adult events, including barbeque rib nights, gourmet clubs (special restaurant and in-home dining), comedy and theater nights, bowling, wine sharing, a road rally, Las Vegas nights, and our annual picnic for NWTHA members and their families in September.
- In 2003, we first introduced this web site, which (since then) has been redesigned and updated three times.
- In 2013, the NWTHA Board negotiated a lower 12-month electric rate (for our members only) with supplier Viridian Energy. This lower rate was less than the aggregate rate negotiated by Wheatland Township on behalf of all township residents.•In late 2014, a Perks program – with discounts at local restaurants and other retail businesses – will be introduced as a new benefit available to members only.
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In 1973, home sites were still available on the west side of Meadow Lane in Country View Estates, which also is known as CVE. (See photo above that suggests settling in “CVE Country.”) By the end of that year, there were no empty lots in this NWTHA subdivision. Nevertheless, when you reached the southernmost home on Meadow Lane – and looked further south or to the west – the view consisted of open prairie or corn fields. People moved here because it was in “the country," where an occasional horse and rider could be seen in the neighborhood and drifts of snow closed streets in the winter (see photos above).
In almost every back yard, there was a vegetable garden that was planted by the homeowners (see photos above). And, in some cases (e.g., on Meadow Lane), your lawn/garden extended west of your property line. However, in the mid 1970s, that extra bit of yard was excavated – when the City of Naperville put in the water and sewer lines that still serve incorporated Springbrook Crossing, Brook Crossing and other subdivisions to the south, east, and west.
Since the 1980s, there has been a walkway that extends from the south end of Meadow Lane (first two photos, far left, top row) to Leverenz Road and Clow Elementary School. In fact, this tree-lined walkway continues to get lots of pedestrian and bicycle traffic – due to kids/parents going to and from school, residents walking their dogs, and others just out for a stroll. Also, in almost every direction, there now are single-family homes, sidewalks, and paved streets in incorporated Naperville, where those corn fields used to be.
Prior to the 1960s, however, just about all of Wheatland Township was farmland. As a result, our township has a very rich agricultural history, which will be preserved and often remembered when the Riverview (Clow) Farmstead (just south of 111th and Book Road) is fully developed by the Forest Preserve District of Will County (see aerial photo and others above, which show a "barn raising" event that was held in 2001 and improvements that were made in 2010-11, when the barn was repainted red).
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