Maywood July 23, 2024
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Maywood, Illinois

Maywood is a village situated in Proviso Township, Cook County, Illinois, within the Chicago metropolitan area. Established on April 6, 1869, and officially organized on October 22, 1881, it recorded a population of 23,512 according to the 2020 United States Census.


Maywood's origins trace back to a period of limited European-American settlement in the area prior to the construction of a railroad post the American Civil War, which catalyzed Chicago's growth. Notably, one house in the vicinity of Maywood served as a station on the Underground Railroad, aiding African-American slaves in their quest for freedom. Some settled in Illinois while others sought refuge in Canada. The former house site is now nationally commemorated, marked by a plaque located at present-day Lake Street and the Des Plaines River bridge.

As a suburban extension of Chicago's West Side, Maywood flourished along the earliest railway line leading out of the city, attracting developers with its expansive grasslands and scattered ancient trees.

In 1868, businessmen from Vermont established the Maywood Company, which in 1870 initiated street planning and construction on the north side of the Chicago Great Western railroad tracks. The company contributed to the town's aesthetic appeal by planting 20,000 eight-year-old trees. By 2010, the last of these trees, aged 148 years, fell victim to the emerald ash borer.

Maywood harbors the oldest documented ash tree in northeast Illinois, estimated at 250 years old, affectionately dubbed "The Great Dane" after Jens Jensen, a pioneer of the Midwest's prairie ecology movement. Despite threats from borers, the tree is safeguarded through horticultural treatment.

Formally established on October 22, 1881, by Colonel William T. Nichols, the village derived its name from his late daughter, May, and the surrounding groves. Many century-old homes in Maywood remain remarkably preserved, with 17 properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

At one time, Maywood hosted two airports, one of which evolved into Loyola University Medical Center. This site, previously utilized by aviator Charles Lindbergh, now serves medical purposes. Additionally, Checkerboard Field, situated at the southeastern corner of First Avenue and Roosevelt Road, once served as a private airfield and later as an automobile board racetrack. The land now functions as a forest preserve meadow, with remnants of the racetrack's grandstand incorporated into the Hines Veterans Hospital.



The Maywood-Melrose Park-Broadview School District 89 oversees elementary and middle schools in the area. Meanwhile, the Proviso Township High Schools District 209 manages high schools, including Proviso East High School situated in Maywood.

Emerson Elementary School, located in Maywood, serves students from kindergarten to fifth grade, with an enrollment of 476 students as of 2006. Other elementary schools in Maywood include Garfield, Lincoln, Washington Dual Language Academy, and Irving Middle School. Residents of Maywood also have the option to apply to attend Proviso Math & Science Academy in Forest Park.

Triton College serves as the community college for the region.