The City of Naperville was founded in 1831 by Captain Joseph Naper. Later, he was elected president of the board when the village of Naperville was incorporated in 1857. In 1890, Naperville organized as a city, and by 1960, the population had grown to 12,933. By 2000, the city had grown to 50 square miles with a population of 128,358, becoming the third largest city in Illinois. Today, Naperville is a thriving city of over 145,000 residents with a vibrant, historic Downtown central business district.
On April 13, 2006, in commemoration of the town’s 175th anniversary, the City of Naperville purchased the original Joseph Naper Homestead at 338 W. Jefferson Avenue (SE corner of Jefferson Avenue and Mill Street) due to its historical significance. Subsequently, two on-site archeological digs managed by the Naperville Heritage Society conducted in 2006 and 2007 revealed foundation elements of four different structures that once stood on the site, as well as more than 25,000 artifacts.
On November 2, 2011, Mayor A. George Pradel; Illinois State Representatives Darlene Senger, 96th District and Michael Connelly, 48th District; along with members of the Naperville Heritage Society, City staff and Naperville residents celebrated the ribbon cutting of the Captain Joseph and Almeda Naper Homestead. The self-guided historic interpretive site commemorating Naperville’s founding family was funded through a $350,000 grant from the Public Museum Capital Grant Program. These funds were used to construct the self-guided site, obtain exhibit signage, site artifact storage and seed money for future public art.
More photographs from this event are available on Facebook.