The Village of Glenwood was originally founded as Hickory Bend. The Village is surrounded by forest preserves, some of the which are named for early settlers. Glenwood is a quiet community with tree-lined streets. The Glenwood Shoreline is an ancient one that represented the edge of Lake Chicago. It is named after Glenwood—not the other way around. The Shoreline was formed when the lake, which was higher during the last Ice Age, receded and left behind a sand ridge. This ridge can be seen clearly in Glenwood and along the Glenwood-Dyer Road into Indiana.
In 1838, Job Campbell and John Barton were the first white men to settle in the area. Campbell and O.R. Axtell founded Hickory Bend in 1846 in the part of town that is now known as Old Glenwood. This was, of course, long before the subdivisions of Glenwood Forest, Glenwood Manor, Glenwood Estate, and Brookwood Point were even conceived. The name of the Village was changed from Hickory Bend to Glenwood in 1871. On march 5, 1871, a post office was established, with Henry K. Axtell as postmaster. It was Job Campbell and Flores Young that requested the Village be surveyed and its name changed to Glenwood. Today, Campbell and Young Streets still run down either side of the railroad tracks.
Glenwood has come a long way from the days when it was known as Hickory Bend, in large part due to the arrival of the railroad. The Chicago, Danville and Vincennes Railroad (later the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad) decided to lay tracks through Hickory Bend and along the lines from Chicago to Momence. The railroad incorporated on February 16, 1865, and began its work laying tracks south from Dolton, Illinois, on May 21, 1869. By the time the mail line was completed in 1872, Hickory Bend had changed its name to Glenwood. Service started October 10, 1869, between Momence and Chicago.
In 1847, an inn was one of the first buildings constructed in Hickory Bend. This inn would later become Hottinger’s Garden and then the Fireside Chalet.
Glenwood was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Escaped slaves and their conductors could stop at the inn before moving on, often by the way of the nearby railroad.
Hickory Bend children attended a log cabin school built in 1850, it was about one and a half miles east of the Village. In 1895, the Brookwood School District was formed, and the first brick school was constructed at the meeting of Glenwood-Lansing and Glenwood-Dyer Roads where they merge into Main Street (Brookwood Middle School). That Building is still standing today.
By 1880, Glenwood was becoming a busy community. In addition to two inns, there was also a saloon and a general store. In 1889, Milton George donated 300 acres of farmland known as Rural Glen to what would one day become the Glenwood School for Boys and Girls. North of town is the Mount Glenwood Memorial Gardens, a cemetery that has traditionally been African American and where several prominent people are buried.
A Metra Southeast Service commuter rail station on Main Street at the old Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad tracks is in the planning stage right now. Come visit Glenwood, a town with a rich past and promising future.
If you would like to tour the area and experience the vast housing stock choices, please don’t hesitate to call me directly at 773-766-2841!