Historic St. Charles Pride of the Fox River Valley
Treasures from the past abound along the banks of the Fox River, where St. Charles is nestled in the quiet valley. From the first log cabin built in 1834, to the mixture of today’s national historic landmarks, quaint shops and the successful industry it enjoys today, St. Charles has embraced its past with an eye toward its future, truly making it the Pride of the Fox.
Historic national landmarks represent the unique legacy that defines the historic center of the city. Built in 1928, the Hotel Baker, in Spanish-Baroque style, was fully restored in 1998 and now operates as a luxury hotel and fine restaurant. The Arcada Theater, built in the Venetian-Spanish style, remains one of the few great movie palaces, with its original décor and magnificent organ that ascends from the orchestra pit. The Primrose Farmstead consists of a barn, silo, milkhouse, chicken coop, privy, several other outbuildings and the original farmhouse, and Italianate Style L-Plan built in 1860. Managed and maintained by the St. Charles Park District, it is an intact example of a farmstead that experienced many of the agricultural transitions that occurred during the twentieth century. The Municipal Building’s glistening White Georgian marble and clock tower overlook the beautiful river walk along the Fox River. Area museums include the St. Charles Heritage Center Museum, Dunham-Hunt Museum, Garfield Farm Museum, Durant-Peterson House, Pioneer Sholes School and William Beith House. The St. Charles Heritage Center works tirelessly to preserve the history and charming atmosphere of downtown St. Charles. (St. Charles Heritage Center, (630) 584-6967)
Business and Local Government
At the foundation of St. Charles’ beautiful and unique atmosphere is a thriving economy, stable government, diversified industry, modern infrastructure, low utility and tax rates, well-educated work force and easy access to thriving markets. The City has undertaken aggressive efforts to cultivate and expand economic opportunities with its first Economic Development Department. In 1997 St. Charles received the Outstanding (the highest) rating for its budget in three of four categories by the Government Finance Officers Association. Our Police Department became the first in Kane County to be accredited by the Committee on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. The St. Charles Fire Department is ranked among the upper 1% of all fire protection districts in Illinois. St. Charles has also embarked upon an initiative referred to as the Balanced Scorecard to make local government responsible for providing excellent municipal services. A cooperative effort by the Downtown St. Charles Partnership and the City resulted in St. Charles being awarded the Great American Main Street Award by the National Trust of Historic Preservation at the National Town Meeting in April 2000.