Melrose Park, Illinois
Melrose Park, Illinois
"Corporate King of the Suburbs"
|Incorporated||September 11, 1882|
|• Mayor||Ronald M. Serpico|
|• Total||4.35 sq mi (11.27 km2)|
|• Land||4.35 sq mi (11.27 km2)|
|• Water||0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)|
|Elevation||630 ft (190 m)|
|• Density||5,696.30/sq mi (2,199.22/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (CST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
60160, 60161, 60164
|Area codes||708/464, 847/224|
|Wikimedia Commons||Melrose Park, Illinois|
Melrose Park is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States. It is a suburb of Chicago. As of the 2020 census it had a population of 24,796. Melrose Park had long been home to a large Italian-American population.
The suburb was the home of Kiddieland Amusement Park from 1929 until 2010 (it closed in September 2009 before it was demolished in 2010 and the sign of Kiddieland was relocated to the Melrose Park Public Library, a Costco warehouse store now stands in its place), the Shrine of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Stern Pinball, Inc., the Melrose Park Taste home of the famous Melrose Stuffed Peppers, and the now-defunct Maywood Park horse racing track.
There is a Metra railroad station in Melrose Park with daily service to Chicago. Melrose Park is home to Gottlieb Memorial Hospital.
According to the Encyclopedia of Chicago, in 1882 residents of a then-unincorporated portion of Proviso Township voted to establish their own municipality—called simply "Melrose" until 11 years later, in 1893, when the "Park" was added and population in the area began to steadily increase. The first Italian-Americans arrived in 1888.
On March 28, 1920, the F4 Palm Sunday tornado cut a 328-foot-wide (100 m) path over 1,094 yards (1,000 m) through the village and killed ten people. It destroyed the Sacred Heart Church and attached convent.
At the turn of the 20th century, the population surge plateaued and industry began to stagnate; it was only after World War I that the local economy was able to recover, the result of a number of manufacturing companies setting up shop in the village. New industry, coupled with Melrose Park's prime geographic location next to the Proviso freight yards, led to a steady increase in the number of area jobs. This continued after World War II, with still more companies moving to Melrose Park. Zenith Electronics, Alberto-Culver, Jewel, and International Harvester (now Navistar) are some examples. Many of these companies are still located in Melrose Park and the local industry remains stable, but Alberto-Culver no longer exists, Zenith continues to exist as a brand only today, and Navistar’s plant facility closed in 2021 and was eventually demolished.
During the late 1990s, in an effort to attract more commerce, the village underwent major cosmetic improvements, beginning with the redesigning of all village street signs. The wooded area on both sides of Silver Creek, between Broadway and 17th Avenue along North Avenue, was almost completely excavated, the grass replaced, and wood chips were added along the bases of the remaining trees. Many busy streets were repaved and the athletic field next to the village hall was completely redone. This has helped not only to attract new businesses, but also many first-time home buyers.
The athletic field next to the village hall is named after the late Ralph "Babe" Serpico, father of the current mayor, Ronald M. Serpico.
Navistar International had a factory and an engine group office in Melrose Park which closed in 2021. This building was formerly a Buick plant that made aircraft engines for WWII. Melrose Park Immediate Care is a medical and dental clinic located in downtown Melrose Park. Melrose Park is also home to WellNow Urgent Care and West Lake Urgent Care.
According to the 2010 census, Melrose Park has a total area of 4.24 square miles (10.98 km2), all land.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of 2020, there were 24,796 people living in the village. The racial makeup of the village as of 2019 was 18.1% White, 5.7% African American, 0% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0% from other races, and 0.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 75.2% of the population, making it the municipality with the second highest Latino population in Illinois, following only nearby Cicero. Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Cuban-Americans are notable Latino ethnic groups of the area.
Elementary school districts serving sections of Melrose Park:
- Maywood-Melrose Park-Broadview School District 89
- Jane Addams Elementary School
- Melrose Park Elementary School
- Stevenson Middle School
- Mannheim School District 83
- Mannheim Middle School
- Scott Elementary School
- Enger School (for disabled children; Franklin Park)
- Bellwood School District 88
High schools and colleges in Melrose Park:
- Joseph Aiuppa, Chicago mob boss notable for Las Vegas casino skimming.
- Dominic Armato, actor, journalist, and food critic
- Clara Cannucciari, host of the web series Great Depression Cooking with Clara and author of the book Clara's Kitchen
- Anna Chlumsky, actress, graduated from Walther Christian Academy in Melrose Park
- Tim Costo, outfielder and first baseman for the Cincinnati Reds
- Michael Finley, former NBA all-star with the Dallas Mavericks, played for several NBA teams
- Roy Gleason, outfielder with the Los Angeles Dodgers
- Dennis Grimaldi, actor, dancer, director, choreographer and TV producer, Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning theatre producer
- Ken Grundt, professional pitcher for several league baseball organizations
- Vinnie Hinostroza, professional ice hockey player for the Buffalo Sabres
- Carol Lawrence, actress, singer and dancer
- Berger Loman (1886–1968), soldier in the United States Army and recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions during World War I. In the 1950s, he resided at 1050 Montana Street.
- Corey Maggette, small forward and shooting guard for several NBA teams
- Caroline Myss, spiritual author
- Glenn (Doc) Rivers, guard for the Atlanta Hawks and now coach of the Los Angeles Clippers
- Vasili Spanos, Minor League third baseman, played for the US Olympic baseball team (2004)
- Mike Woodard, second baseman for the San Francisco Giants and Chicago White Sox
- Anthony Zizzo, mobster
In 2012, Melrose Park became home to the Chicago Vipers who play in the Continental Indoor Football League. They played their home games at Sports Zone before being renamed to the Chicago Pythons and moving to Homer Glen. They wrapped up following their inaugural season.
- "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
- "Demographics & Facts about Melrose Park". melrosepark.org. Retrieved 2022-08-08.
- Marbella, Fidencio; Margaret Flanagan (2009). Melrose Park, Illinois (Images of America Series). Arcadia Publishing. pp. 85–104. ISBN 978-0-7385-6093-9.
- "Melrose Park, IL". www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
- "Book: Italian printer Grafica Veneta acquires American Lake Book Manufacturing". PrintIndustry.news.
- "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2015-10-26.
- "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- "Public Grade and High Schools." Melrose Park, Illinois. Retrieved on March 18, 2017.
- "About Proviso Township High Schools District 209 Archived 2017-04-12 at the Wayback Machine." Proviso Township High Schools District 209. Retrieved on February 23, 2014.
- "SLATE 4 HOUR NIGHT PAGEANT FOR M'ARTHUR: Hero Will Be Center of Spectacle". Chicago Tribune. April 25, 1951 – via ProQuest subscription at Chicago Public Library.
- Mike Woodard, Society for American Baseball Research.