Chicago O'Hare

Rosemont. It’s more than just a Chicagoland neighboring town — Rosemont has its own rich history of hard work and dedication. Here’s a little more on the part of Chicago you might know best as the area surrounding Chicago O’Hare Airport (and Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel).

Chicago is famous for its bustling neighborhoods, rich history, and ever-changing landscape. Every year, new neighborhoods emerge as the latest “must live” location.  New restaurants are popping up, along with quaint coffee shops, artist’s murals and breweries galore. The continuous innovation has cultivated Chicago’s worldwide reputation as a must-visit destination. But did you know that Chicago is more than just downtown skyscraper life? The city spreads for miles and miles, encompassing what we call the “Chicagoland Area,” incorporating many other neighborhood-like locations such as Rosemont, Skokie, and Des Plaines. Rosemont is adjacent to almost everything and anything you want to see and do while visiting the Windy City — without the need to be in the hustle and bustle of it all.

Unlike many other formally established townships, Rosemont has a relatively young history that dates back to 1956. In its 61 years of incorporation, it has developed into a destination of its own, with the help of its first dwellers and visionaries.

It’s All in the Name

Before Rosemont was the beautiful, easily accessible entertainment hub that it is today, it wasn’t, well, much of anything but undeveloped land. In 1933, chunks of the land that later became Rosemont proper were divvied up in 25-foot lots and sold at the World’s Fair. As the Great Depression came and went, a local widow wanted to seek out more cost-conscious housing and move her family from the west side of Chicago to some unincorporated land just northwest of the city’s limits — the area we now know as Rosemont. The town began as the modest home of a tight-knit group comprising just 84 neighbors. Later, in 1952, these first residents started the first homeowners association.

Flash forward to 1956: the widow’s son was now grown up, and a natural leader after serving in the National Guard. This man, Donald Stephens, later became president of the association. It was in 1956 that the group of homeowners were able to vote for the name of their growing town. Now, one would think there was a highly scientific method to the voting process… but, there wasn’t. Members of the association group simply placed suggested names into a hat and the name “Rosemont” was the first name pulled. A town was born!

Fun Fact: Donald Stephens was later voted as Rosemont’s mayor and served for 51 years, making him the longest serving incumbent in U.S history.

Put a Rose On It

THEN: 1982 (Courtesy of The Daily Herald)

As the Willis Tower is to downtown Chicago, The Rose Water tank is to Rosemont. As you arrive into O’Hare International Airport, and gaze out of the window just before landing, chances are you may lay eyes on a giant red rose extending from the relatively flat landscape. Don’t worry, this isn’t an illusion. The giant rose is the heart of its hometown and an ode to its history and name. Not to mention a pretty fun location for taking some Insta-worthy shots. Constructed in 1982, this massive red rose is home to 500,000 gallons of water that is filtered to all of the 4,000 residents and businesses that call Rosemont home. This rosy water source resides at Des Plaines River Road and Higgins Roads — the crossroads of Rosemont.

NOW: circa 2018

Fun Fact: The tank had to be re-colored two times in its existence thus far; once in 1990 and a second time in 1998. It was no small feat, requiring six different colors applied via two different layers that took 97 days to complete each time!

Less Concrete, More Green Space

One of my absolute favorite things about Rosemont is the green space that borders most of the area, known as the Catherine Chevalier Woods. Located just across the street from our hotel, this space really stands out as a must-wander location in such a concrete-dominated city. This government-protected land runs alongside the 150-mile Des Plaines River and is a great place to unwind, go for a walk or run or to simply take time out of the city life and immerse yourself in the local wildlife and horticulture.

Photo by: @magdaszylak via Instagram

Fun Fact: Catherine Chevalier Woods is the most reliable place to go within the city of Chicago if you want to catch a glimpse of a white-tailed deer. Bring some deer-safe snacks with you (nuts, fruits, carrots) and if you’re lucky enough Bambi may just have the courage to walk right up to you and say hello. It wouldn’t be a proper introduction if you didn’t show up to the party with some food!

Photo by: @dasher_1977 via Instagram

More Fun Rosemont Facts

Family Fun on the Chicago Wolves Ice Rink at Parkway Bank Park. Photo by: @victoriachuk via Instagram

Not bad for an area with such humble beginnings, right? So, before you hop on the CTA Blue Line and head downtown, take some time to explore Rosemont and its rich history. I promise you’ll find something magical if not empowering about this town.

Kelly