Images: Icons of Naperville

 
 
Posted5/15/2016 1:00 AM

The Naperville of 2016 is a far cry from the land settled in 1831 by town founder Joseph Naper.

Prairies and forests have been replaced with sprawling subdivisions and bustling shopping centers, small downtown shops, parks, and hotels, with a mix of national chains and local mainstays.

And, boy, are there a lot more people. Naperville's population is estimated at 146,128, making it the fifth-largest city in the state. Plus, it's growing, while Rockford, which comes in at fourth-largest with 149,123 people, is said to be shrinking.

Take a drive around Naperville -- all 38 square miles of it from north of I-88 to south of 111th Street -- and you'll find plenty of iconic sites to see.

Of course, the Riverwalk and the Millennium Carillon come to mind, and then there're the shops on Jefferson Avenue, the band shell in Central Park, the historic buildings of North Central College. There's plenty around outside of downtown, too, with Nike Sports Complex and the Knoch Knolls Nature Center, a test track for car dealers and a new "diverging diamond" tollway interchange.

Joseph Naper wouldn't recognize all the icons of the town that bears his name, but do you? Take a look at these shots of the familiar and more obscure sites in Naperville and tell us which are your favorites. Which ones stir a memory for you? Where do you love to go in town?

Look for a new "Icons of …" town gallery every Sunday at dailyherald.com/galleries and on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. On our social media sites, share your favorite Naperville photos with us by using #shareyoursuburb.

Naperville's iconic Riverwalk winds through downtown with brick-paved paths near the west branch of the DuPage River, but it gets its start here at Jefferson Avenue. The path's other end is at Hillside Road, but it could eventually be extended south to Martin Avenue.
  Naperville's iconic Riverwalk winds through downtown with brick-paved paths near the west branch of the DuPage River, but it gets its start here at Jefferson Avenue. The path's other end is at Hillside Road, but it could eventually be extended south to Martin Avenue.
Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer
The Pre-Emption house at the Naper Settlement is a replica of the first hotel in the town of Naperville in the 1830s, a building that also served as a tavern and government meeting place. This replica of the original structure was built in 1991.
  The Pre-Emption house at the Naper Settlement is a replica of the first hotel in the town of Naperville in the 1830s, a building that also served as a tavern and government meeting place. This replica of the original structure was built in 1991.
Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer
The Millennium Carillon at the foot of Rotary Hill along the Riverwalk in Naperville is the site of summer bell tower concerts and an annual "Scarillon" concert around Halloween.
  The Millennium Carillon at the foot of Rotary Hill along the Riverwalk in Naperville is the site of summer bell tower concerts and an annual "Scarillon" concert around Halloween.
Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer
Paddleboats are at the ready to be rented on the quarry lake next to Rotary Hill and the Millennium Carillon in downtown Naperville.
  Paddleboats are at the ready to be rented on the quarry lake next to Rotary Hill and the Millennium Carillon in downtown Naperville.
Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer
Water pours into Naperville's Centennial Beach, which opens May 28. The pool, at the site of a former quarry, was built in a 1930s Works Progress Administration project.
  Water pours into Naperville's Centennial Beach, which opens May 28. The pool, at the site of a former quarry, was built in a 1930s Works Progress Administration project.
Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer
The 1.75-mile Naperville Riverwalk contains several landscaped plazas and gathering points, including Fredenhagen Park, which features a clock tower and fountain. The Riverwalk was created in 1981 to honor the city's 150th anniversary.
  The 1.75-mile Naperville Riverwalk contains several landscaped plazas and gathering points, including Fredenhagen Park, which features a clock tower and fountain. The Riverwalk was created in 1981 to honor the city's 150th anniversary.
Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer
These benches seat Naperville Municipal Band audiences during performances at Central Park. The park was the first public square in DuPage County.
  These benches seat Naperville Municipal Band audiences during performances at Central Park. The park was the first public square in DuPage County.
Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer
The corner of Jefferson Avenue and Main Street is one of the main intersections in downtown Naperville, and home to shops including Russell's Rug and Dry Cleaners.
  The corner of Jefferson Avenue and Main Street is one of the main intersections in downtown Naperville, and home to shops including Russell's Rug and Dry Cleaners.
Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer
It's a construction site now, but the block of Water Street south of the DuPage River, between Main and Webster streets in downtown Naperville, is soon to be home to a hotel, banquet center, shops, restaurants, offices, a plaza and a new stretch of Riverwalk at the Water Street District. The much-anticipated project was delayed for several years as different visions were proposed and the economy stalled, but construction began in April 2015 and is expected to wrap up this fall.
  It's a construction site now, but the block of Water Street south of the DuPage River, between Main and Webster streets in downtown Naperville, is soon to be home to a hotel, banquet center, shops, restaurants, offices, a plaza and a new stretch of Riverwalk at the Water Street District. The much-anticipated project was delayed for several years as different visions were proposed and the economy stalled, but construction began in April 2015 and is expected to wrap up this fall.
Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer
The north side of the Naperville Municipal Center includes a memorial to Navy Cmdr. Dan Shanower, a Naperville native who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon.
  The north side of the Naperville Municipal Center includes a memorial to Navy Cmdr. Dan Shanower, a Naperville native who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon.
Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer
Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, founded in 1856, is the oldest parish in DuPage County. The church and school both were destroyed in separate fires, and the current church building was built in 1922.
  Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, founded in 1856, is the oldest parish in DuPage County. The church and school both were destroyed in separate fires, and the current church building was built in 1922.
Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer
Old Main, dedicated in 1870, rises as the historic cornerstone of the North Central College campus in Naperville.
  Old Main, dedicated in 1870, rises as the historic cornerstone of the North Central College campus in Naperville.
Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer
Loaves and Fishes Community Services is among the well-known nonprofits in Naperville. The food pantry and social service agency moved to this facility at 1871 High Grove Lane in 2011 and changed its name in 2014 to reflect its expanded mission from food assistance alone.
  Loaves and Fishes Community Services is among the well-known nonprofits in Naperville. The food pantry and social service agency moved to this facility at 1871 High Grove Lane in 2011 and changed its name in 2014 to reflect its expanded mission from food assistance alone.
Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer
The Knoch Knolls Nature Center, which opened in October 2014, is located on the DuPage River Trail used by bikers and runners. The center is the new highlight of the Naperville Park District's largest and most ecologically diverse park.
  The Knoch Knolls Nature Center, which opened in October 2014, is located on the DuPage River Trail used by bikers and runners. The center is the new highlight of the Naperville Park District's largest and most ecologically diverse park.
Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer
A turf field was one highlight of renovations to Nike Sports Complex in Naperville completed in 2011. The park also includes a walking trail with fitness stations, a cricket pitch, sand volleyball, tennis, basketball, baseball and softball fields, and a playground.
  A turf field was one highlight of renovations to Nike Sports Complex in Naperville completed in 2011. The park also includes a walking trail with fitness stations, a cricket pitch, sand volleyball, tennis, basketball, baseball and softball fields, and a playground.
Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer
The Naperville Junior Woman's Club's Safety Town was renamed in May 2015 and dedicated to longtime mayor George Pradel and his wife, Patricia. Pradel helped the club establish the miniature town of tiny houses, a railroad crossing, simulated streets and even a replica Riverwalk covered bridge, and he led safety lessons there for kids.
  The Naperville Junior Woman's Club's Safety Town was renamed in May 2015 and dedicated to longtime mayor George Pradel and his wife, Patricia. Pradel helped the club establish the miniature town of tiny houses, a railroad crossing, simulated streets and even a replica Riverwalk covered bridge, and he led safety lessons there for kids.
Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer
Naperville car dealers concentrated along west Ogden and Aurora avenues have access to this test track along Jefferson Avenue, where drivers can test cars on turns, a hill and a "skid pad," among other roadside obstacles.
  Naperville car dealers concentrated along west Ogden and Aurora avenues have access to this test track along Jefferson Avenue, where drivers can test cars on turns, a hill and a "skid pad," among other roadside obstacles.
Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer
A new diverging diamond interchange has been installed at Route 59 and I-88 at the Naperville/Aurora border, where a $90 million expansion project has widened a three-mile stretch of the road south of the highway to three lanes in each direction.
  A new diverging diamond interchange has been installed at Route 59 and I-88 at the Naperville/Aurora border, where a $90 million expansion project has widened a three-mile stretch of the road south of the highway to three lanes in each direction.
Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer
The suburbs' second indoor skydiving facility, iFly in Naperville opened in summer 2014. Using a wind tunnel inside a 67-foot-tall building, the business gives flight lessons that mimic the feeling of free-falling from an airplane.
  The suburbs' second indoor skydiving facility, iFly in Naperville opened in summer 2014. Using a wind tunnel inside a 67-foot-tall building, the business gives flight lessons that mimic the feeling of free-falling from an airplane.
Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer
The Barn Recreation Center at Knoch Park in Naperville was built in 1965 but is scheduled to be torn down this summer. The site of many high school dances and teen band performances, the barn will be razed to make way for a new park district central maintenance facility.
  The Barn Recreation Center at Knoch Park in Naperville was built in 1965 but is scheduled to be torn down this summer. The site of many high school dances and teen band performances, the barn will be razed to make way for a new park district central maintenance facility.
Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer
The Alive Center opened in April 2015 as a new community gathering space focused on helping people find "what makes you come alive." It also hosts the NaperBridge teen center, which was established in late 2013.
  The Alive Center opened in April 2015 as a new community gathering space focused on helping people find "what makes you come alive." It also hosts the NaperBridge teen center, which was established in late 2013.
Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer
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