The community known today as Fairdale was platted in 1875 or 1876 (sources differ) and was centered around the property of farmer Henry Koch. The community's original name was Fielding, apparently named for a man named Albert Fielding. Early buildings in Fielding included Lewis Keith's general merchandise store, L.W. King's drug store, and a Methodist church. A post office was first established in the community in 1875 under the name Wallace (which was the name of the son of Henry Koch).
Eventually, the growth of the neighboring community of Kirkland outpaced the growth of Fielding (Fairdale), possibly due to Kirkland's coaling and watering station.
The name of the community (Fielding) and the name of the post office (Wallace) were both changed to Fairdale in late 1895 or early 1896. (The post office eventually closed in 1953.)
On April 9, 2015, the community was struck by an EF4 tornado, which caused two fatalities, numerous injuries, and significant damage to commercial and residential buildings. According to local authorities, 15 to 20 homes were destroyed, and almost all of the buildings in the town "sustained damage of some sort".Technical rescue teams from DeKalb and Rockford assisted in searching the collapsed buildings for survivors.
By 1881, a school had been established in Fielding (Fairdale). By the early 1900s, a two-year high school had opened, and in 1924 it became a four-year high school. The high school closed in 1945, but the school building continued to serve as an elementary school for the Kirkland School District until 1967. Since that time, the community has been part of what is now Hiawatha Community Unit School District 426, with most students attending schools in neighboring Kirkland. As of 2008, the former school building was a private residence.
^ abcGross, Lewis M. (1907). Past and Present of DeKalb County, Illinois, Vol. 1 (in English). Chicago: The Pioneer Publishing Company. p. 132. Retrieved 10 April 2015. Fairdale, formerly known as Fielding, was platted in 1876 and for a time was much larger and more prosperous than Kirkland.CS1 maint: English language specified (link)
^ ab"Places Of Interest Around DeKalb County, Old & New". DeKalb.IllinoisGenWeb.org. Retrieved 10 April 2015. Fielding was named for Albert Fielding. The post office was named for Wallace Koch, son of Henry and Julia A. Koch one of the town's founders. As years went by it became confusing to have two different names for the town and its post office - this prompted the change to Fairdale in January 1896.
^Gross, Lewis M. (1907). Past and Present of DeKalb County, Illinois, Vol. 1 (in English). Chicago: The Pioneer Publishing Company. p. 301. Retrieved 10 April 2015. In 1881 the Genoa school had commencement exercises... ...so at this time in the schools of Fairdale, Kirkland, Kingston, Malta, Cortland, Shabbona, Waterman, Hinckley, and Somonauk courses of study ranging from two to four years have been laid down and commencement exercises held accordingly.CS1 maint: English language specified (link)