The Village Of

In 1841 Dr. Elijah Smith, a Boston physician, yearned for a more serene life. He decided to take his family west. He intended to start a new practice at a spot that did not have the crowds and the soot of the metropolitan areas on the east coast. He and his family made their preparations in New York City, and then the doctor took his family through Detroit and to DuPage County, to the region of Illinois that is now called the Village of Itasca. The spot where Dr. Smith chose to end his travels was 25 miles west of Chicago. Here Dr. Smith went after and obtained a land title, a title signed by President John Tyler. By March 3, 1843 Dr. Smith held in his hand the parchment paper that bore the title. He thus became the first official settler in Itasca. In 1846, the residents of a growing Itasca rejoiced at the building of a one-room school house. By 1873, Smith realized that the railroad was headed in the direction of Itasca. Smith divided eighty acres of his land into lots and then gave the railroad the right of way to pass over his divided land. That action was intended to send a strong message. As a supplement to the $400 contribution, that Dr. Smith had given the railroad, that action lead quickly to the building of a railroad station in Itasca. Itasca became incorporated in 1890, two years before the holding of the Worlds Fair in Chicago. The residents of Itasca elected A.G. Chessman as their first Village President. They selected a man who they felt would not shrink from taking-on the task of securing what the residents wanted most. What the residents of Itasca wanted then, and what they continue to want in the 21st century, was a way to preserve the Villages sense of .munity and its sense of history. By 1987, the residents of Itasca had adopted a Historic Preservation Ordinance. The objective of that Ordinance was a preservation of Itascas pre-1900 and early 1900 homes, buildings and structures. Later the people and government of Itasca initiated an Itasca Strategic Plan. This plan was an effort to reach out to both the residents of Itasca and to any Itasca employees who resided outside the Village, but who had a drive time of only five minutes. This plan had six basic steps. Step one focused on the securing of a density determination. Step two called for a consideration of the redevelopment opportunities. Step three required that the Village government address the principal downtown concerns. Step four specified a need for the review of financing options. Steps five and six concerned particular future changes. Step five dealt with changes to the Villages river walk, and step six concerned the proposed arrangements for an expansion of the facilities for downtown parking. The residents of Itasca expected that attention by the Village government to those six steps would produce a revitalized and preserved downtown district. 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