History Print

A reflection on the City’s name, the country land in and around Countryside was originally inhabited by the Potawatamie Native American Indians and later by early American pioneers in the beginning of the 19th century. Early settler Joseph Vial and his family were among the first people to settle in the Countryside area in 1833. The area remained large expanses of rural farmland until the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, when the fire sent thousands of City dwellers into what is now the West Suburban Chicago Region. With land selling for only $2 an acre, areas such as Countryside offered a respite from the congestion and industry in Chicago. Some of the earliest families to settle in the area included the Conrads, Craigmills, Henrys, Murphys, Polks and Winslows.

Despite the settlement of these early Countryside inhabitants, the area largely remained a quiet farming community until the post World War II era when suburban areas such as Countryside began to experience explosive growth. Countryside and many of its Western Suburban neighbors sustained similar housing booms as City residents began to construct new homes in the area. These new pioneers came looking not for farmland this time but rather for affordable homes and safe places to raise and educate their children. The area’s first residential subdivision was LaGrange Terrace, built in 1947; it was later followed by the Don L. Dise and Edgewood Park subdivisions in the 1950’s. Countryside began its transformation into a bedroom community for workers commuting into Chicago.

Following inquiries from surrounding incorporated communities, the City of Countryside was officially incorporated in 1960. With a 1960 population of about 2,000, the City has since almost tripled its original population, primarily through annexation of surrounding residential areas. Among the first orders of business for the new city was street construction and building a water works system, both of which were developed in the 1960’s. The construction of the Stevenson Expressway in the mid-1960’s, when combined with the heavily traveled LaGrange Rd., also created a great deal of retail and industrial growth in and around Countryside through the 1980’s, including the construction of the landmark 548,000 sq. ft. Countryside Plaza.