Oak Brook, Illinois Strong Community Spirit among Corporate Giants

You'll have to search far and wide to find a town named for an exclusive polo club. In Chicagoland, though, you have to look no further than Oak Brook, Illinois.

Back in 1922, Paul Butler organized a polo club and the village became one of Chicago's newest suburbs. Oak Brook breaks the mold one might consider as a suburb. It doesn't have a Main Street. Nor does it have a high school or quaint downtown neighborhood. Much to the delight of resident's wallets, it does have many corporate campuses where huge corporations call home, and with all those corporations come the requisite allowance of more than of hotels, highways and quiet streets in the evenings and weekends.

Incorporation and Settlement

Oak Brook was incorporated as a village in 1958, due in large part to the efforts of Butler, a prominent civic leader and landowner whose father had first moved to the vicinity in 1898 and opened a dairy farm shortly thereafter. Prior to incorporation, the name Oak Brook was used by local residents to distinguish their community from neighboring Hinsdale and Elmhurst, going back to the founding of the Oak Brook Civic Association almost two decades earlier.

The original boundaries were smaller than the present extent of the village, but a considerable amount of land was acquired soon after the founding of the village, including the land that is now the site of the Oakbrook Center shopping mall, which opened in 1962. When you speak to Oak Brook residents they will tell you that they foster that sense of community by utilizing the amenities the village has to offer. They see their neighbors at the Oak Brook Mall, or they'll challenge each other to a game at the village's tennis courts. During the summer families will swim together at the community pool or they'll run into each other on one of the many miles of walking trails which connect peaceful and natural open spaces.

Butler's interest in sport was reflected in the Oak Brook Sports Core, which features recreational facilities not commonly found in a village of this size. At what residents simply call The Core, they have access to a golf course, driving range and the polo field that gave the village its name. Additionally the village owns a Family Recreation Center which includes an aquatic center, fitness club, basketball courts and an indoor running track. The center also features a racquet club, tennis courts, handball courts, saunas and whirlpools.

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