History of Yorkville
The site where the present United City of Yorkville is located was originally settled in 1833 by a man named Earl Adams, who built a log cabin on what eventually became known as Courthouse Hill on the south side of the Fox River. The village was laid out by Rulief Duryea in 1836 and named Yorkville, apparently for Mr. Duryea’s home state of New York.
Yorkville Named County Seat
In 1841, when Kendall County was formed, the Village of Yorkville was named the County Seat. It was a short-lived distinction. The Village of Oswego’s residents petitioned the state legislature in 1845 to move the county seat to the more populated Oswego and after 2 votes, the recommendation passed. But Yorkville residents were not prepared to let the issue die. In 1859, 13 years later, Kendall County voters chose to once again designate Yorkville as the county seat because of its more centralized location. In 1864 a new courthouse was completed. Although County courts were moved out of this historic building in 1997 to a new courthouse on John Street on the north side of the river, the old majestic courthouse, carefully renovated to its former splendor, still sits atop Courthouse Hill overlooking Yorkville’s downtown Business District. Today the Historic Courthouse is home to the Kendall County Forest Preserve District and is used to conduct community meetings.
Yorkville was officially incorporated as a village on July 8, 1874 with a population of almost 500 people. At that time, Yorkville only encompassed land on the south side of the Fox River. Another village, called Bristol, was located directly across from Yorkville on the north side of the river. It wasn’t until April 16, 1957 that the 2 communities finally decided to join together to form 1 municipality which became known as the United City of Yorkville.
Central Business District
Yorkville’s central business district for most of the community’s existence has been located on the south side of the Fox River on Bridge Street (Route 47). Originally the street had run up the hill to the courthouse, but when the new bridge was built in the 1960s, Route 47 was straightened and the business district realigned. In the 1970s, Countryside Mall was built on the City’s north side, at the intersection of Routes 47 and 34. For many years, this mall was not only a shopping area, but a central meeting place for the community. In 2005 the mall was leveled to make room for new development. Other shopping opportunities have arisen in the past few years with the addition of Kendall Marketplace, an 800,000 square foot mall on the City’s northwest side and numerous strip malls along the City’s major arterial roads.
The City of Yorkville has recently seen unprecedented growth in both residential and commercial areas. Annexations have increased the City’s area to more than 20 square miles, with a planning area of almost 70 square miles.
Over the last few years the City has seen many new projects take shape including the addition of a new outdoor water park, an expanded Wrigley facility, and new residential and commercial developments that will continue to add to the excitement and vitality of the Yorkville community.
In 2007 the United City of Yorkville celebrated the 50th anniversary of its incorporation as a city with the motto - Together We’ve Grown. With an interesting history and a bright future, the United City of Yorkville, located in the fourth fastest growing county in the nation, is looking forward to many more years of growth and prosperity.
United City of Yorkville Timeline
Along the way many other important events occurred in Yorkville to shape the city, as we know it today.
1900 - 1960
- 1915 The Yorkville Women's Club opens the Yorkville Library in the reading room of the Women's Christian Temperance Union.
- 1920 The Kendall County Farm Bureau is formed, aiding and supporting the farmers of Kendall County.
- 1924 The state of Illinois improves the main thoroughfare to Chicago (Route 34)
- 1928 The state of Illinois opens a game farm on the site of the old fairgrounds.
- 1936 The Bristol-Kendall Fire District is formed to provide service both in town and to rural areas.
- 1936 Yorkville celebrates the 100th anniversary of the date the city was platted by Rulief Duryea.
- 1947 The Yorkville Methodist Church, one of the oldest buildings in town burns. The church is immediately rebuilt and reopens in 1956.
- 1950 Model Box opens a factory in downtown Yorkville.
- 1952 The Yorkville Grade School is built. For the first time in Yorkville history, students will not attend the same school for all 12 years.
- 1954 The Yorkville-Bristol Sanitary district was formed to provide a sewage treatment facility to the residents of Yorkville.
- 1959 The new Yorkville High School opens on Game Farm Road.
- 1960 A concrete dam is built on the Fox River in Yorkville.
1960 - 2000
- 1967 Waubonsee Community College District #516 is formed. Yorkville residents now have higher education opportunities closer to home.
- 1969 The Veteran's Memorial is dedicated in Town Square Park (Rt. 47) and becomes an easily recognized symbol of the city.
- 1972 Countryside Center opens giving Yorkville a second business district.Fox Industrial Park opens on the south side of Yorkville bringing in a concentration of light industrial business to the city. Voters approve a referendum establishing a Kendall County Health Department.
- 1975 Yorkville gets wired for cable TV.
- Residents of the community develop Bicentennial Riverfront Park located along the south bank of the Fox River.
- High school wrestling coach Dennis Hastert and his team win the state championship by a margin of 90 points.
- A new Kendall County office building is built at Fox Road and South Main using Federal Revenue sharing funds.
- The state transfers ownership of part of the Game Farm to the city.
- Bristol-Kendall Emergency Medical Service (EMS) is approved to provide public ambulance service.
- 1981 The city's Beecher Community Building is built funded by the will of former city clerk Clarence Beecher.
- The Yorkville Public Library moved to its current location on Game Farm Road.
- In addition, the Kendall County Food Pantry opened its doors to Help families in financial difficulty. The pantry continues to strive today.
- 1984 A new, four-lane bridge is built over the Fox River on Route 47.
- 1990 Yorkville's municipal boundaries grow as far west as Eldamain Road, as far north as Galena Road, south past Legion Road, and east past Route 71.
- 1992 The state agrees to deed the remaining Game Farm property to the school district.
- 1992 Downtown businesses and community groups hold the first Yorkville Hometown Days.
- 1997 Voters approve the use of the Property Tax Extension Limitation, commonly called the tax cap.
- Former Yorkville High School teacher and coach Dennis Hastert is elected Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
- Construction begins on a new Yorkville City Hall on Game Farm Road.
- Construction begins on the expansion of the Yorkville Public Library. The expansion increased the size of the library by 34,000 square feet.
- Additional city improvements include:
- Appearance Code
- City's Facade Program
- Downtown Vision Plan
- Economic Incentive Program
- Fund Balance Reserve Contingency Fund Policy
- Master Facilities Plan
- Yorkville's Public Library hosted an open house in honor of its 34,000 square foot expansion project.
- The city celebrates its 50th anniversary of the uniting of the Village of Bristol and the Village of Yorkville, thus the "United City of Yorkville." The city hosts a series of celebrations honoring the original founding fathers.
- The city continues to expand its services to the city with retail and commercial development flourishing.
- Rush-Copley Medical Center and the Kendall Marketplace begin to make a presence in the Yorkville community.
- Mayor Valerie Burd established the City's first ad hoc Green Committee.
- The City conducted a Special Census. Yorkville's official population in 2008 was 16,838.
- Construction of the Glen D. Palmer Dam's canoe and kayak chute began. When completed in the summer of 2010, Yorkville will have a new Whitewater Park providing the city with a recreation focal point.
- The Yorkville City Council approved an update to the City's Comprehensive Plan.
- The Yorkville City Council approved a rental agreement to lease the former Club 47. The new facility will house recreational programs for the Parks and Recreation Department.
- The City's 1st rain garden was installed at City Hall. Another one followed and was located at the recreation center, a leased recreational facility, that provides Yorkville residents with a variety of recreational programs along with a fitness center.
- The City continues to expand parks throughout the community. Funding for many of the parks were awarded to the City from state grant monies.
- The City's Integrated Transportation Plan that encompasses a conceptual trail map, high priority trail loops, goals for trail projects, and design elements for Yorkville's downtown area was approved by the City Council.