Safeguarding the Past

Appears in the April 2024 issue.

Naperville Preservation works to keep the community’s history intact

An aerial photo of a historic Naperville site

While shiny new buildings and large-scale developments tend to garner the biggest headlines in Naperville, it is the behind-the-scenes work of a small, dedicated group of volunteers that looks to ensure that such progress doesn’t steamroll the community’s deep roots. Since 2017, Naperville Preservation has been striving to balance the city’s inevitable desire to grow with an equally acute focus on maintaining its rich history, most notably through surveys and awareness campaigns related to high-profile structures like the 1907 Kroehler Mansion, the currently for-sale Willard Scott House, and the old Nichols Library (which was saved and reconceptualized in 2022 as the anchor of the Central Park Place mixed-use development).

President Bill Simon says the organization is a labor of love for all involved, with its work particularly vital in a city that has seen so much change over the past several decades. “As Naperville’s local, independent historic preservation group, we continue to try and raise awareness of historic preservation and the repurposing of historic structures. We’re the only organization that does this in our city.”


Photo: Dan Pels, Structure Images