Kaneville Township History

After the Blackhawk War ended in 1832, settlers began pouring into Northern Illinois. Kaneville Township was one of the last settled in Kane County. Surprisingly many settlers chose hilly or timbered land instead of the low prairie. In 1835, Job Isbell came from Ohio and settled in some of the only timber area, known as Lone Grove. He later returned to Ohio.

The first permanent settlers came in 1836. They were Amos and Amanda Miner from New York. They built their home at 48W551 Perry Road, near Lone Grove Forest Preserve. It still stands, although it has been changed over the years. Their home was also used as one of the first school rooms.
Early roads were simply Indian trails connecting important villages. Soon two furrows were made, one from Batavia to Dixon and another from Chicago to Galena. These cross roads are now Harter Road and Main Street Road, from which the town sprang. In 1845, the Rev. Thomas Ravlin purchased a claim of land for $3 per acre, on which now the village sets.

In 1848, a regular post office was established; it was to be called Royalton. But when the Congressman “Long John” Wentworth arrived in Washington with the petition that name was already taken. He then substituted Kaneville after the founder of Kane County, Elias Kane.

There were many businesses in the mid and late 1800’s: a hotel, stage line, cheese factory, blacksmith, post office, physician & surgeon, meat market, dry goods, general store, and a Baptist and Methodist church. It should be noted that the Baptist church helped found the University of Chicago. Kaneville was a very busy place in those times, both with business and socially. The Christmas Party held at the Kaneville Hotel Ballroom was said to be the best in the area. Other events were writing and singing schools, church activities and community plays. Many of these activities took place during the long winters when people had much time on their hands, farming still being one of the main jobs in the area.

There were many one room schools and log school houses in the 1800’s. The school building that now stands at Dawn Hill Apartments was the third frame school built around 1898. It housed both the grade school and high school.

In the 1900’s businesses included a millinery shop (hats), garages for the new automobile, saw mill, barber shop, ice cream parlor, case implement store, grain supply and stockyards. Electricity came in 1912 and the telephone in 1917. The first railroad from Aurora to Dekalb was started around 1905 and ran until 1923.

The Kaneville Coronet Band was started in 1916 and played in the old bandstand. They were also in demand at many area functions. There was also a Ladies Mandolin Club, Little Theater Group, Domestic Science Club, Kaneville Woman’s Club, Library League, Modern Woodmen, Royal Neighbors and Masons.

In 1927 a new brick high school was built. It now serves as the Kaneville Community Center and houses the Township & Village offices, public library, bank, preschool and other businesses. Ravlin’s subdivision was added in the 1960’s and doubled the township population.

Because of the township’s ruralness and being unincorporated, many ventures have tried to settle here, including: the Super Collider, Peaker Plant, super landfill and the Prairie Parkway. That’s why in November 2006, the area incorporated as the Village of Kaneville. This is an area of approximately 1 square mile, which sets upon the original Thomas Ravlin purchased in 1845.














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