Sandwich Real Estate
Sandwich Illinois is a relatively small community surrounded by lots of farms, open land and country roads – and that’s the way many of its residents like it. For the more than six thousand people who call Sandwich home, its close proximity to the City of Chicago can often be forgotten in the fields of corn, soybeans and rolling countryside. Many of the homeowners in this area play important roles in local agriculture or treasure the peace and quiet of a community that has been fairly sucessful in not growing too fast. New development in Sandwich real estate is just reaching this area, which is perhaps one of the big reasons that Sandwich is so loved by many of its residents. If you’re looking for a small-town atmosphere but easy access to the City of Chicago, Sandwich is exactly what you may be looking for.
Sandwich features several subdivisions for buyers to choose from. In the next few weeks I will be assembling information on these subdivisions for buyers to research when buying homes in those areas.
History of Sandwich Real Estate
Prior to the 1830’s the area now known as Sandwich was occupied by the Potawatomi, a tribe of Algonquin Indians. In the mid-19th Century, Galena Road – a major artery between the City of Chicago and the lead mines in Galena and parts west – was located just 3 miles north of the region. The area became a stopover for travelers to and from the city. In 1834 a log cabin was constructed by an area trapper and a mail route was founded. Shortly thereafter, the spot became known as Freeland Corners. In later years, Freeland Corners was to play an important role in the Underground Railroad. In the 1830’s, visitors began to follow the nearby Somonauk Creek into the area now known as Somonauk Township and the
City of Sandwich.
The log cabin was abandoned the year it was built but was soon occupied by James Root who started a tavern and also used the building as a mail station. Several relatives of James Root started farms in the area and in 1837, Reuben Root sold his farmstead to Capt. Davis – a sea captain who visited the area and recognized a good place to settle down – and took an appointment as the first Postmaster of Somonauk Township. At the same time, the post office was officially moved from Freeland Corners to a ford of Somonauk Creek. This event is considered the founding of the City of Sandwich even though settlers had occupied the general area for several years prior.
In 1851, a local farmer, Almon Gage, offered the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad 5 acres of his land to lay tracks and establish a depot in the area within 5 years. When the railroad agreed, Mr. Gage began to parcel out some of his land aroung the tracks and depot. He then offered these parcels to area residents for free on the condition that they would construct businesses on them. At the same time, a neighboring farmer, Jacob Hall also gave similar parcels of land – these lots and the homes and businesses built on them began the construction of the downtown area of Sandwich. Because of this gesture, many early residents of the fledgeling city wanted to call it “Almon” but Mr. Gage didn’t like that idea and so the name of “Newark Station” was decided upon.
In the next few years, many of the residents wanted the railroad to construct an actual station in Newark Station. They eventually turned to one of their residents – The Honorable “Long” John Wentworth – a congressional representative with some influence. Mr. Wentworth eventually used his power to get the railroad to agree to build the station. Since the town was named Newark Station an unfortunate thing started to happen with the mail. It would regularly get mixed up with mail for the already-established city of Newark, Illinois – frustrating both communities. For this reason,
many of the residents wanted to re-name their community. Since Mr. Wentworth was so influential in getting the train station built, he was given the honor of re-naming the city. He decided to name the community Sandwich after his home town of Sandwich, New Hampshire.
In 1858, a gathering was hosted in the newly-named community. Originally known as the Union Agricultural Institute, this gathering would later become one of the biggest local events and is now known state-wide as the Sandwich Fair. The community of Sandwich grew by leaps and bounds throughout the latter half of the 19th Century, incorporating as a city in 1872. In 1878 the Sandwich Opera House and City Hall was constructed and still stands at the eastern end of downtown. Sandwich Illinois has been known throughout its history as a center of agriculture. It is also known for the Sandwich Manufacturing Company which was founded in 1856 and was known throughout the country as a leading manufacturer of farm equipment and gasoline engines. Today, many of the homes near Downtown Sandwich date from the late 19th or early 20th century and are built in a variety of styles. In the surrounding area one can find expansive farms, older homes on large plats of land as well as a few new construciton communities that are just starting to pop up in the small community.