Hawthorne in neighborhood profile

 
By Sherry Giewald
Daily Herald Correspondent
Posted7/15/2016 5:00 AM
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  • There are different styles of homes, such as these along Parkway Drive, in Wheaton's Hawthorne subdivision.

      There are different styles of homes, such as these along Parkway Drive, in Wheaton's Hawthorne subdivision. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • The Hawthorne neighborhood was constructed shortly after World War II. These houses are along Wakeman Avenue.

      The Hawthorne neighborhood was constructed shortly after World War II. These houses are along Wakeman Avenue. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Hawthorne has the advantage of larger lots not often found in later subdivisions.

      Hawthorne has the advantage of larger lots not often found in later subdivisions. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Wheaton Park District organizes an annual Fish-O-Rama tournament at Northside Park, which is within walking distance of Hawthorne.

    Wheaton Park District organizes an annual Fish-O-Rama tournament at Northside Park, which is within walking distance of Hawthorne. Courtesy of Wheaton Park District

The Hawthorne subdivision is one of several areas in Wheaton that offered new housing for veterans returning home from World War II. Many of the original owners were airline pilots who served in the war and then became commercial pilots.

The subdivision featured cozy, well-constructed homes, many built by Jay Stream's Durable Construction Co. The first models were ranch-style homes built on a concrete slab with a one-car garage on Wakeman Avenue. The typical design offered a living room, eat-in kitchen, three bedrooms, one bath and utility area in the garage. At that time, this was considered a nice home and was priced from $16,500 to $22,500.

Stream went on to build his own town north of Wheaton, which he named for his daughter, Carol.

Today, most homes in the Hawthorne neighborhood look completely different from when they were originally built. Many owners have renovated or extended the living space by adding on the back of the home or building up. And some houses have been torn down to build large, two-story homes on the lot, said Camille Baker, real estate broker with RE/MAX Suburban in Wheaton.

Jane and Bill Huml have lived in Hawthorne for 31 years, originally in their first home, a small ranch, and when they outgrew it they moved into a larger home on one-third of an acre. Since then, the couple has added a master bedroom and bath and walk-in closet to the rear of the home, which worked out well with the amount of land they have, Jane Huml said.

"Many people have done a beautiful job of remodeling their homes. A young couple with a set of twins that lives across the street from us totally gutted their house, and now it looks like a photo in a magazine," she said.

"This is a nice neighborhood. People are friendly, and we've always had good neighbors. Some have moved on, but we keep in touch with them."

Although many homeowners who have raised their children remain in the subdivision, the neighborhood continues to attract new homebuyers, and a lot of younger families are moving in and taking over the reins, Baker said.

This is not surprising. Hawthorne is a vibrant family neighborhood where residents are proud of their homes, children walk to elementary schools, and shopping and services remain on Main Street.

Hawthorne is one of the most convenient neighborhoods where you are close to everything -- the train, pool, shopping, hardware store, medical facilities. People walk up and down all the time to the municipal band show and the popcorn shop that's been there for years, Baker said. "It's old Wheaton, and people love it."

Situated south of Geneva Road and east of Main Street, Hawthorne sits on land that was originally a racetrack and then a pig farm, and street names such as Driving Park Road, Bridle Lane, Turf Lane and Paddock Court reflect its connection with racing.

For recreation, Wheaton offers an award-winning park district with its Northside Park across the street from the subdivision. Amenities include an aquatic park, concessions, sand volleyball, lagoon stocked for fishing, paddle boats and a playground.

"My grandchildren love to go there," said Baker, who lives in a nearby subdivision. "(Northside Park) is a very popular spot, and kids in Hawthorne can walk or ride their bikes there."

For shopping, Wheaton features a thriving downtown with many restaurants, shops and services. Danada Square, Rice Lake Square and Town Square Shopping Center also offer an abundance of shopping.

Wheaton is also home to the DuPage County Fairgrounds where the county fair and various expos and events are held.

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