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Lombard, IL

Lombard, Illinois, is situated 22 miles west of Chicago and boasts a population of 41,000 residents. The featured attraction of the village is its Lilac Park and the annual Lilac Festival. This 10-square-mile village highlights its historic areas with houses that have been restored to their old-fashioned decor and turned into museums.

ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES

Lombard has an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent. Approximately 83 percent of workers from the city works for companies, 9 percent works for the government and 3 percent is self-employed.

The leading industries in Lombard are education, health and social services, professional, scientific, management, administrative, waste management services and manufacturing.

NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS

With a total area of 9.7 square miles, Lombard has about 17,000 houses with an occupancy ratio of 96 percent. Out of these, about 12,300 houses are owner-occupied and about 4,100 are renter-occupied. In Lombard, the housing density is 1,749 houses per square mile.

Shopping has always been one of Lombard's strong selling points. Smaller businesses sought commercial space within Lombard's city limits after the addition of the railways; however, it wasn't until the late 1970s, when two large industrial businesses took up residence, that the population boomed. Today, Yorktown Center is one of the premier shopping centers in DuPage County. Found at Highland Avenue and Butterfield Road, the outdoor mall is also referred to as the Shops on Butterfield. It features 150 stores with four upscale anchor stores scattered throughout. With more than 200,000 square feet of retail, dining and entertainment space, the mall is also close to an 18-screen movie theater. Lombard attracts many popular retailers to its flourishing downtown district off Main Street. With its other commercial strip malls, including High Point Centre, Lombard Lanes, Northgate and Eastgate, Lombard is a shopping mecca.

GETTING AROUND

When Lombard was first inhabited in the mid-1800s, the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad gave local businesses and German farmers access to downtown Chicago. As this line was the first railroad line and it ran twice daily, numerous commercial businesses popped up along it. The Chicago, Aurora & Elgin Railway provided passenger service in the early to mid-1900s, spurring growth residentially and commercially. Today, the Metra Rail passenger train connects Lombard with downtown Chicago over the Union Pacific West line. For automotive transportation, Interstate 355, also called the North-South Tollway, is just west of Lombard. Interstate 88, which is the East-West Tollway, is to the south of Lombard. Other popular main roads in Lombard include Illinois Route 38 (Roosevelt Road, which is in the southern part of the village), Route 56 (which is south of the village, running parallel to Interstate 88), and Route 64 (North Avenue, which is to the north).

BEST BETS

Little Orphan Annie House: Also called the Dr. William LeRoy House after the home's original owner, this house is located on Lombard's Main Street. It was bought by the Gray family in 1900. Harold Gray was the creator of the "Little Orphan Annie" comic strip and used the house as a model for the comic strip mansion.

Lilacia Park: Perhaps the most treasured place in all of Lombard and the most singular park in all of DuPage County, is located at the corner of Park and Main streets. A horticultural park, greenhouse and historical building are all found here, where more than 1,000 lilac bushes and trees abound.

EVENTS

Lombard Lilac Festival: Celebrating the village's famous flower, this two-week May festival invites visitors to enjoy the scents and blooms of the thousands of lilacs and tulips in the park. The festival began in 1930, a year after the city received the generous donation of the park's grounds from the Plum family. The Lombard Lilac Festival features a Lilac parade, the coronation of the Lilac Queen, a plant sale, a craft fair and concerts.

Taste of Lombard: Held at the corner of East Madison Street and East Madison Avenue, this annual festival coincides with the Fourth of July weekend. Visitors can enjoy live family entertainment, an arts-and-crafts fair and a carnival. With all of the fun, some patrons might forget this event is a celebration of Lombard's culinary delights.

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

Lombard Historical Museum: This Victorian cottage on West Maple Street has been restored to demonstrate typical housing right after the Civil War. The museum features period rooms decorated in 1870s décor.

Sheldon Peck Homestead: As the oldest house in Lombard off East Park Avenue, this homestead has stood the test of time since 1839-back when Lombard was called "Babcock's Grove." Now this former stop on the Underground Railroad serves as an historical museum.

EDUCATION

National University of Health Sciences: Located on East Roosevelt Road, this university has been a leader in chiropractic education since 1906. The small school has an enrollment of fewer than 1,000 students and is a five-year, private, not-for-profit institution for those in the medical profession. The university offers a professional doctor of chiropractic degree, bachelor's of science degree, and a certificate in massage therapy.


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