Historic Plaque Program
Every year the Historical Preservation Commission grants Historic Plaque Awards to owners of buildings that have historical merit, and are important to our heritage. Villa Park is very fortunate to be rich in diverse and historic architecture that gives the village its unique character. The village is proud to have over sixty properties that have been honored with this distinction, along with two locally designated historic landmark districts. The annual Historic Plaque Awards program includes Historic Preservation, Historic Landmark, and Sears Catalog Home categories. Anyone can nominate a home for this award. However, owner consent is necessary for receiving this award.
To qualify for the Historic Preservation award, the building must be at least 65 years old, and must be significant in history or architecture style. The Historic Landmark award must have historical significance to the community, either by a prominent owner or family, and be at least 50 years old. For the Sears Catalog Home award, authentication is necessary by a designated Sears Catalog Home authority, or by having original papers that includes the model number, age, or documents.
The application deadline is February 15, 2013. The maximum awards that can be issued each year are ten. All applications not selected, if qualified, will be retained and reviewed for the following year. Completed applications (PDF) can be dropped off at the Village Hall, to the attention of Carol Marcus, Historic Preservation Chair.
The Villa Park Historical Museum's Resource Library is an excellent place to start your preliminary research by using the old directories and the "Red Books" home architectural surveys that were completed in the late 1980's by the Preservation Commission. The homes surveyed in the book only reflect those properties that were 50 years or older at the time the survey sheets were created. There may have been subsequent updates written in by volunteers recording the former owners names and dates from the directories. This may not reflect the true owners, and could be renters. Museum staff could assist you on this process. Occasionally, prior home owners visiting the museum may have updated the information sheets and provided additional photos. Brief instructions on "How to Research Your House" are also available at the Village website.
The only way to get an accurate date of when your house was first occupied is at the DuPage County Clerk's Office. A detailed procedure is available at the museum for you to follow when you go to Wheaton. You will need to trace ownership backwards; from who you bought your house from, through the entire ownership chain. York Township can only provide the date of when the property first was taxed. Older houses in the Villa Park (1908) or Ardmore (1910) subdivision may have had the date that the land was subdivided as the first date recorded at the township office as "date built," because that is when the land first was taxed.