Breaking News Bar
updated: 8/15/2014 3:27 PM

Does Naperville need its own Freedom Trail?

Success - Article sent! close

Naperville already has a Riverwalk, but could the community create a heritage walk similar to the famed Freedom Trail in Boston?

Officials are scheduled Wednesday to begin exploring the possibility.

Leaders from the Naper Settlement and the Naperville Heritage Society as well as North Central College, Riverwalk Commission and the city will be part of the conversation as Naperville considers establishing a heritage walk of its own.

"We're just talking with different groups that are interested in promoting Naperville and what it has to offer from an enjoyment, recreational and tourism standpoint," said Debbie Grinnell, vice president of museum services for Naper Settlement.

The topic of creating a heritage walk to tell the story of Naperville's history throughout the city's commercial core was covered at a downtown advisory commission meeting in March and has been discussed informally since then. This week, officials plan to brainstorm what a Naperville heritage walk could be and why the community would want to build one.

Early ideas say a heritage walk could create a connection between cultural entities such as Naper Settlement and North Central College. It could use plaques on buildings or medallions in the sidewalk to point out historic events, sites or buildings.

The 2.5-mile Freedom Trail in Boston -- a path past 16 significant sites in American Revolutionary history along a route marked with red bricks or paint -- could serve as a model.

Grinnell said possible themes for a Naperville heritage walk could include a "brickyard to beach" trail showing Centennial Beach's progression from an industrial quarry to a community recreation spot; a "town and gown" trail highlighting North Central's presence in Naperville since 1870; or a trail looking at the history of Naperville before it was settled in 1831.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.