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Dining, Shopping  & Exploring the Fox River Valley

Geneva History

It would be a difficult task today to stand along the banks of the Fox River and try to imagine the Native Americans who populated this beautiful and peaceful valley for over nine centuries. And yet it is true.

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Sculpture near the site of the old Mill Race - Photo by Richard Ross

A Bit of Geneva, IL History

Most area residents are familiar with Pottawatomie Park, yet many may not be aware of the fact that the Geneva area was inhabited by the Illinois and Prairie Pottawatomie tribes during the 17th, 18th and early 19th Centuries.

In 1833, the settlement was referred to as Big Spring. But in 1835, the influential James and Charity Herrington moved here, and the names Herrington’s Ford and La Fox were then used. Another name, Campbell Ford, was also suggested (after then-county commissioners James Campbell and Thomas Ford), but the name
Geneva was ultimately selected, and the name has remained firmly in place.

The Railroad, a Storied Past, and Swedish Immigrants

As happens with many towns, the arrival of the railroad – in 1853 – placed Geneva on the main passenger line and literally on the map. This established a permanent relationship with Chicago. That relationship has been bringing the well-to-do city folks to an idyllic community and country folks to the city for over 150 years.

Geneva’s rich and storied past is full of history that includes  names like: Butter and Cheese Manufacturing Company, Bennett Mill, Howell Company, and the Charles Pope Glucose Company – to name only a few. Swedish immigrants have played a major role in Geneva’s past and present; an annual Swedish Day Festival is tribute to that; several other ethnic groups have contributed as well.

From early and proud Native Americans to today’s residents, Geneva remains an excellent place to call home… or to just visit. For additional history about Geneva, please visit the Geneva History Museum.

Restaurants & Shops of Geneva, IL

A commuter rail line has been bringing passengers to and from Geneva, Oak Park, and Chicago – and many other cities in-between – on a route that dates back to the 1850s. In 1985, Metropolitan Rail became Metra. That system (Metra Union Pacific) brings many thousands of riders to Geneva restaurants, shops and events on a daily basis, year ‘round.

Resident and visitor commuters detrain at the south end of Third Street – the beginning of the very heart of the Geneva restaurant and shopping district. That heart is a compact area that has been built up to the north, south, east, and west around the intersection of State Street (IL Route 38) and Third Street.

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Between the two of us, we’ve spent almost 100 years living in the Tri-Cities! On the Fox is our combined effort to share with you everything that the Fox River Valley has to offer. We hope you enjoy the area… and the site; and that you come back often to see what’s new!

Yvonne & Richard