Coming in second is often derided as being, well, second-best, but when your town is voted the No. 2 best place to live in the entire nation by Money magazine—as Naperville was in 2006—second place is something to be extremely proud of. Indeed, the city has made the publication's Top Five list three times in the last five years.
Naperville straddles the line between DuPage and Will counties. As of the 2010 census, the city was home to some 141,853 residents, roughly 100,000 of whom reside on the DuPage County side, with the remaining 45,000 in Will County. It is the fifth largest city in Illinois behind Chicago, Aurora, Rockford, and Joliet.
From its roots as a small farming town, Naperville has made and remade itself into the affluent city it is today, splitting the difference between urban and suburban enclave.
In July of 1831, after a voyage across three of the Great Lakes, the schooner Telegraph landed on the west bank of the DuPage River near the hardscrabble settlement that would one day be called Chicago. On board were Joseph Naper, his wife, his mother, his brother and sister, and both their spouses, along with a handful of other settlers.
The Telegraph's crew and passengers came to found Naper's Settlement, and by the following year, over 100 other settlers had joined them. By 1834, the Settlement was a stage-coach stop on the road from Chicago to Galena. After DuPage County was split from Cook County in 1839, Naper's Settlement became the DuPage county seat, a distinction it held until 1868. By 1857, the population of Naper's Settlement topped 2,000, and was incorporated as the Village of Naperville.