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Saint Charles

Founded: 1834

County: Kane

Population: 33,387

 
 

St Charles was originally founded as Charleston, but later renamed in 1939 to Saint Charles as Charleston was already taken. The city was the location of a Native American community for the chief of the Pottawatomie tribe. Two settlers first staked claims in 1833 and later in 1834 returned with their families and others to settle. Early on in St Charles history the village remained small. The days travel from Chicago meant that there was little interaction. A plank road was the first roadway put down for travel to and from St. Charles. When the first railroad came out the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad was turned down to put a station in the town, and that station was later put in Elgin. St. Charles did not have a railroad until 1871 when a branch line from Geneva was constructed, and no direct connection until the Chicago Great Western Railway. The first roadway connection to Chicago for St Charles was Route 64 in 1920.

 

Before and During the Civil war St. Charles was a stop on the underground railroad. There was also an open abolitionist group called the Kane County Anti-Slavery Society, which was founded in 1842. Most accounts tell of a local blacksmith who set up shop in a building at 305 W Main St. This was most likely "the hub" This address is the easiest to visit from the dozen of known stations. As of 2015 a fine dining establishment holds residence at that address bearing a name in honor of that Blacksmith.

 

There are 82 public elementary schools in St. Charles, split between the School District U-46, Community Unit School District 300, Aurora East Usd 131, and 12 more additional school districts. Additionally, there are 26 high schools and 109 middle schools in St. Charles, with more than 6,800 students enrolled in public schools in St. Charles.

 

Saint Charles is home to Zannies, Pheasant Run Resort, Kane County Fairground, Steam Beam Theater, Vero Voce Theater and School for the Performing Arts, Primrose Farm, Otter Cove Aquatic Park, Arcada Theater,