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Montgomery, Illinois


Montgomery is a village within the Chicago Metropolitan Area, spanning Kane and Kendall counties, Illinois. Positioned approximately 45 miles (72 km) southwest of Chicago, the village serves as a suburban area linked to the city. As of the 2020 census, Montgomery had a population of 20,262.

History of Montgomery Illinois

The first European settler to arrive in the area was Jacob Carpenter, who migrated to the Chicago region from Logan County, Ohio, in November 1832. In the autumn of 1835, Daniel S. Gray, originally from Montgomery County, New York, visited his brother Nicholas Gray's farm, established the previous spring, located within the present boundaries of Kendall County. He promptly made arrangements to settle there, and in the fall of 1836, after relocating his family from New York state, he erected the first wooden house in the area. Situated in the southern part of what is now Montgomery, near the western bank of the Fox River, this dwelling marked the village's earliest origins.

Daniel Gray, regarded as the founder of Montgomery, acquired land grants from the federal government, amassing ownership of extensive land tracts. Initially named "Graystown," the settlement underwent several years of designation changes until Gray persuaded fellow settlers to adopt the name "Montgomery" in honor of the New York county where he and others hailed from.

Daniel Gray spearheaded numerous enterprises in Montgomery, including a tavern, store, warehouse, foundry, combine and fabrication shop, and one of the county's premier stone grain mills (Gray–Watkins Mill). He also laid groundwork for additional business ventures, such as establishing a stationary engine factory, prior to his passing in October 1855. At the time of his death, he retained majority ownership of village lots. His heirs continued to sell these lots, fueling ongoing village expansion.

On February 17, 1858, the village of Montgomery was formally incorporated.[6][7] Ralph Gray, Daniel Gray's son, assumed the role of the village's inaugural president. Throughout the latter half of the 1800s, Montgomery's population remained relatively stable, hovering around 300 residents.

Throughout much of the twentieth century, the village experienced gradual and consistent growth. Lyon Metal was established in Montgomery in 1904, contributing to the World War II war effort. The Aurora Caterpillar manufacturing plant, situated along Montgomery's southern border, has been manufacturing wheel-loaders since 1959. Additionally, the Western Electric Montgomery Works plant, located along River Street, which later became Lucent Technologies, operated until its closure in 1995. At its peak in 1962, the factory employed 1,500 individuals and produced telephone components.