Sometime in the 1830’s brothers Jesse and Warren Wheaton arrived in Illinois from Connecticut and purchased about 1,000 acres of the land that now encompasses downtown Wheaton. In 1849 the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad build a station on land donated by the Wheaton’s and others, naming the stop Wheaton. A town was soon platted around the depot, and Wheaton was incorporated as a city in 1859. The following year, after Warren Wheaton donated some money and land to Illinois Institute, founded in 1853, the school was renamed Wheaton college in his honor. From its founding, the college served as a refuge on the Underground Railroad.
In 1857 Wheaton boosters began to lobby the state legislature to hold an election to move the Du Page County seat from Naperville to their city. Wheaton lost its first bid, but ten years later, after a very close vote, the county seat was moved to Wheaton. The city immediately build a courthouse, but over the next few decades the county government out grew this space, and anew courthouse was erected in 1896. This still standing structure served DuPage County until 1990, when a third courthouse replaced it. The old courthouse, used for classrooms for a time and now converted to condominiums, was listed on the NRHP in 1978.
In 1894 Wheaton became the site of the first eighteen hole golf course in the equipment manufacturers and stores, instructors, greens keepers, and the like.
Historical museums in Wheaton include the DuPage County Historical Museum, the DuPage Heritage Gallery, the Robert McCormick Museum, the First Division Museum and the Wheaton Historical Center. Wheaton was once the home of a number of celebrities, including legendary comic actor John Belushi and his brother James as well as journalist Bob Woodward of Watergate fame. The Wheaton National Baseball Hall of Fame honors a dozen natives and former residents. Of Wheaton who played in the Major League.
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