The Fox Valley, Then and Now
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage is located in Kane County, the western most part of the Chicago metropolitan area.
The Tri-Cities, as St. Charles, Geneva and Batavia are called, are home to the majority of residents of the seven townships. With the explosive growth of Elburn, some nine miles from the Fox River, and with the rapid build-out of the communities of Fox Mill and Mill Creek, the population center is moving westward. In addition, several other large developments are in various stages of approval. This growth gives the transferee, the homeowner moving up or downsizing, the first time buyer, and empty nester a great variety in price and in style from which to choose.
Many communities offer wide choices between old and new, between urban and rural, between single family and attached dwellings; however, the Fox Valley communities in central Kane County Illinois are unique. Go 35 miles to the east and you’re in the city with central treasures of the Lyric Opera, the Chicago Symphony and the Art Institute. If spectator sports interest you, sports arenas feature the Chicago Bulls, the erstwhile champion Bears, and the beloved, but mostly losing, Cubs and White Sox teams. But drive ten miles to the west and you’re in America’s great bread basket with hundreds of acres that produce the corn and wheat, the soy beans and vegetables that feed the world.
Kane County bicycle paths and forest preserves are cited by planners as being among the nation’s best. The facilities of the various park districts are extensive and their programs are creative and unique.
Local celebrations range from Sugar Grove’s corn boil to the biennial St. Charles Music and Arts Festival that features the International Piano Competition performed by word famous musicians. And then there is Swedish Days in Geneva, called “Grandaddy of Festivals” because of its age and quality, Batavia’s Windmill Days, and Elburn Days. The Illinois Chamber Symphony is based at the Norris Center. Another local, professional venue includes the Pheasant Run Playhouse.
Participatory sports are varied and plentiful, offered only through the schools but, also, in traveling soccer teams, multiple 10K runs, and canoe races. Tennis players and golfers find partners and competitors in the numerous public and private clubs. And the new ice arena complex, with its three sheets, offers opportunities for the novice, for the skilled figure skater, for the hockey player, and for the spectator to view professional hockey game.
High-end boutiques and specialty shops, housed in quaint recycled Victorian homes, complement the traditional retail establishments. And of course, there are the national chains that features everything from items for the home to fast food. The many fine restaurants attract discriminating diners from throughout the metropolitan area.
The public schools are recognized for their quality; the pride of the community is evidenced by the support of its citizens. Also accessible are parochial and other private schools, including the acclaimed Illinois Science and Math Academy. The services of the towns’ fine libraries are enhanced by their membership in a system that provides resources from all over the state.
The tree river towns have structures built during their founding years that are still in use. Pioneers, mostly from the New England states, settled along the Fox River, beginning in 1833, and the incorporation of Geneva, Batavia and St. Charles followed shortly thereafter. Immigrants, primarily from Sweden, Italy and Belgium, arrived late in the nineteenth century; this diversity – and the water power of the Fox River – helped to make an industrial and commercial base that continues to thrive today. Although there are commuters – some 2,000 persons take the train to Chicago from the Geneva station each day – many residents work in, or just a few miles from their home towns. In fact, studies have shown that local residents have a commuting tolerance of no more than 20 minutes. The healthy mix of commercial and industrial development and proximity to Fermilab and to the Illinois Development Corridor gives residents a variety of employment opportunities.
The change of seasons is a happening that is much appreciated. Invigorating winter sports and beautiful scenes are made possible when the snow flies. The cool, wet spring spawns the loveliest gardens anywhere and, in the summer, when the hot spell is broken by a thunderstorm, there is no lovelier place to be than here, under the blue skies filled with marshmallow clouds. But the brisk weather in the fall, creating color rivaling that of New England, has to be the best. The Fox River Valley is truly a wonderful place to live!