This listing has been updated to reflect changes in the area. The final is different than before to be consistent with the intent of the cache.
Naperville is the oldest settled town in DuPage County, actually older than DuPage County itself. The purpose of this cache is two fold: one to arrive at the origins of Naperville and two to explore some history along the way. As you journey back in time do not forget to obey traffic laws. Cross at corners and crosswalks. A lot of traffic here, so don’t jaywalk.
At each stop you will identify one of the coordinate numbers needed for the final cache. You will also use this number as part of the coordinate to get to the next waypoint in your journey. The entire journey will cover about 1.5 miles. Plenty of time to stop and relax, have an iced mocha latte or hand dipped ice cream.
Start your journey going back in time at these coordinates N41 46.265 W88 09.187
- Tribute to the first pioneer families: You are standing now in Farm Plaza. Here is a monument to the early pioneer families who settled this area and did much to shape our community. The John Deere plow on the monument is an actual plow used in those days gone by. It was originally purchased for less than $20. The plow is from what year?
H = (2nd digit in the year) - 2
Your next stop is N41 4H.284 W88 09.071
- Grassroots Overlook: The first elected township officials are commemorated here. Mr. John Warne held a rather unique office. What office did John Warne hold in 1850?
C = The number of letters in the first word of the office Mr. Warne held.
Your next stop is N41 46.305 W88 08.9C4
- A lifetime together: You are standing near a sculpture of two young schoolmates. Or should I say soul mates. Descendents of prominent Naperville families, they declared their love for each other at an early age. When did she write a get-well letter to him? On what date did he make a bet with a friend that he was going to marry her?
D = Month of the get-well letter - Day of month of the bet.
Your next stop is N41 46.29D W88 08.942
- More than just a Hotel or Inn: The old stage route from Chicago to Galena ran through Naperville. Pre-Emption House was built as a stop on that route. It was the first and biggest hotel west of Chicago and east of the Mississippi River. But it also served as a gathering place for political events. The first elections were held here. When was Pre-Emption house built?
Note – Take a moment to look at a nearby mural to learn more history.
E = 3rd digit – 1st digit of year Pre-Emption House was built .
Your next stop is N41 46.E80 W88 08.890
- First Toll Road: Plank Road was the first toll road in DuPage County. The license to build the road was granted in 1847. At a cost of $2000 per mile it was an expensive venture. By 1851 they were collecting tolls along the way. From the eastern county line to Naperville it cost 50 cents for a team of 4 horses and a wagon, 25 cents for a team of 2 horses and a wagon, 10 cents for a horse, 4 for a cow and 3 for a pig or sheep. Faulty construction and the railroad caused the venture to fail. From where you are standing can you identify the US route # associated with Plank Road?
M = The sum of the digits in the route #.
Your next stop is N41.46.243 W88 08.8M4
- Do you like ice cream like I like ice cream: You are standing on the site of an old creamery. Actually four different companies operated here over the years as creameries. A business directory listing from 1886 lists Hunt Creamery as being located here. It was followed by the Naperville Cooperative Creamery, then the consumers Company and finally Cock Robin. Cock Robin occupied this site from what year to 2000?
G = The 2nd digit of the year.
Your next stop is N41 46.2G6 W88 08.866
- A person you should know: Genevieve Towsley worked for our local newspaper for 31 years. She wrote a regular column called "Sky-Lines". If you want to learn more about our city, check out her book at the library "Historic Naperville". This book is a collection of articles she wrote over the years. The articles chronicle much of Naperville’s history. Sit by her and have a friend take a picture of you with her, post it with your log. What year was she born?
F = Sum the 1st, 3rd, and 4th digits of the year she was born.
Your next stop is N41 46.434 W88 08.7F6
- First County Seat: Naperville, with a population density of 29 individuals per square mile (the highest in the county) and being the oldest settlement, was made the county seat on June 17, 1839. You are now standing at the site of the original county court house. As the county grew, county residents in communities to the north became dissatisfied with the long travel required to conduct county business here. Two elections were held to change the county seat. In the second election Naperville narrowly lost. That did not deter Naperville. Local politicians filed an injunction to prevent the removal of the county records. In the middle of the night forty defiant citizens of Wheaton along with a local collaborator, broke into the courthouse and stole the county records. So it was that in just a few hours Wheaton became the county seat. What was the year?
J = Subtract 2nd digit of year from 4th digit.
Your next stop is N41 46.5J9 W88 08.792
- First Church in DuPage County: Look all around you; there are many churches. Notice the tall spire on the church directly to the east. You will learn more about it later in your journey. Of all of the churches, the First Congregational Church is the oldest. The congregation met at first in people’s homes until a church was finally built in 1845. Captain Morris Sleight donated the land where the church stands now with the stipulation that no part of the land be used as a graveyard. What was the date the congregation was originally founded?
I = Month - last digit of the year the congregation was founded.
Your next stop is N41 46.381 W88 08.89I
- Origins of a Social Club: Where you are standing now is not just an alley; it was the local hangout in the 1890s for a group of young men. They even gave themselves a club name. One day they decided to cover the mud in the alley with stone from the local quarry, so they held a parade. They got the Naperville Band to lead the parade as they marched behind with their wheelbarrows of crushed stone. Look around you and find the name of the club?
K = The number of letters in the name of the club (not including the word "Club") -2.
Your next stop is N41 46.37K W88 08.914
- Once it was City Hall: The building you are standing by now was built by Naperville’s First National Bank, with the Masonic Hall on the second floor. The total cost of the building was $6656.08. The bank’s share was $3536.25 and the Masons’ share was $3108.68 with $11.15 in extras (those cost overruns will kill you). Later the city bought the building to be used as City Hall. What was the year the city took over the building?
L = 3rd digit of the year.
Your next stop is N4L 46.324 W88 09.086.
- Who, What, Where, When, Why:
White settlers in northern Illinois caused the ire of Chief Black Hawk who did not agree with an earlier treaty. His attacks on the settlers became known as the Black Hawk War. The war only lasted 5 months. Warned by Chief Waubonsie of the Potawatami Indians that Chief Black Hawk and his warriors were coming, the settlers of Naperville retreated to Fort Dearborn (now Chicago). As a result of the attacks, Fort Payne was built here in Naperville. It stood on what is now North Central College "Fort Hill Campus". What was the year of the Black Hawk War? For extra credit can you find the "Old Indian Boundary" treaty line?
P=3rd digit of the year– 4th digit of the year.
Most of the settlers in this area were from New England. Earlier you saw the tallest church spire that stood out in the distance. It is Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church. The first Catholics to arrive in Naperville came from Alsace in France. What is the distance to Alsace-Lorraine?
A = The 2nd digit of the distance.
There was a terrible train crash in Naperville. The accident occurred right by the Kroehler Furniture Factory. The factory closed for the day so the workers could help with the rescue. An investigation afterwards revealed that if the engineer of the second train had started to brake when he saw the yellow warning signal, he would have stopped in time. But if he applied the brake when he saw the red warning signal there would not have been enough room or time to stop. How many people died and in what year?
B = Number of people who died – The last 2 digits of the year of the crash.
Your final stop is: Due to changes in location of the cache L and M are not needed to solve for the final.
NKP ID.AHL N ___ ___ ___ ___.___ ___ 5
WFC JG.EMB W ___ ___ ___ ___.___ 6 ___
- The Origins of Naperville: You have arrived at the final stop on your journey to discover Naperville. Yes it is an empty lot (* see note below), not a marker or plaque to commemorate this important spot. You are standing at the very location that Captain Joseph Naper built his cabin. Joseph Naper was a sea captain on the Great Lakes before settling here. Joe and his brother John settled here in 1831 with their families. As you can surmise both the City of Naperville and the Township of Naperville derive their names from Joe. Joe was active in all levels of government from village to state. He surveyed and named the streets of Naperville (you can even find a building downtown, which he built on Main Street just south of Jefferson). He headed the local militia, established the first school and ran a sawmill. The sawmill was located at the end of Mill Street on the DuPage River where the Park District is located today. When Joe died in 1862 there was a large funeral and he was laid to rest in the Naperville cemetery just south of the River.
Now that you have completed your journey back in time, search for the cache and log your find.
* In researching and laying out this cache, we wanted to make sure the coordinates were very exact as some are between tall buildings. We eventually went to the DuPage County Mapping Department and asked for help. But before that we spoke to the Naperville Park district. As just in a passing note we asked if they knew who now owned the land. They said they did not know, only that it was in a trust. We then explained what the lot was and it's importance. Which was news to them. Since this cache was created, the Park District now owns the property and two archeological digs have been conducted on the property where thousands of items have been found dating back to Joe Naper. These have been on display and a park has now been constructed with an interpretative trail with signs for visitor to learn more about Naperville. Hmm!