Located in Cook County, Illinois, on the outskirts of Chicago, the Village of Broadview was incorporated on December 6, 1914. Settled largely by farmers of German descent, Broadview’s first Village President was Jacob Mueller, who was elected to that position by the approximately 200 Village residents.
Located on a tract of land known as Sections 15, 21 and 22, Township 39 North, Range 12, East of the Third Principal Meridian, Broadview got its name from Jacob Mueller’s daughter, Elizabeth Cote, who suggested that the Village be named after the Illinois Central Railroad depot, which at that time was named Broadview. In these early days, it was a common practice to give existing railroad depots names because the maps at that time usually identified only larger cities and all railroad depots by name. By naming the Village after the railroad depot, Broadview was on the map not only as a railroad station name, but also as a village.
Today, the Village of Broadview has grown to a population of 8,466, according the 2000 United States Census. It now encompasses approximately 1.3 square miles of land and comprises about 2,300 residential homes, 70 multi-family units, 95 commercial businesses and 150 industrial businesses.
In the early history of Cook County, Illinois, there was a table of land near the Des Plaines River known as Proviso Township. It was bordered on the north by Leyden Township, on the east by Cicero and Riverdale Townships, on the south by Riverside and Lyons Townships, and on the west by DuPage County. Until the year 1870, this particular territory contained 36 sections, of which sections 15, 21, and 22 eventually became the Village of Broadview.
The first settler in Proviso Township was Aaron Parsell, who resided in 1832 on Section 29, which is today the Village of Westchester that is located just to the southwest of Broadview. The Des Plaines River flowed through the center of the east third of Proviso Township and the entire area was filled with majestic elm trees¡ªmany of which were five feet in diameter. The trees surrounded a small lake that offered a haven for ducks and other migratory birds.
Broadview lay near the edge of this lake that teamed with fish. In the early days, there was a strip of rich forestland that ran through the middle of Proviso Township. This land provided hunting grounds for Indians of the Pottowatomie, Chippewa and Ottawa Nations. During these early years, there were reports of only minor skirmishes between the Indians and the early settlers in this area.
As late as 1900, a small settlement of Pottowatomies lived at what is today the area of 17th Avenue and the Illinois Central Railroad tracks, where many Indian arrowheads and other relics were found along the banks of Salt Creek. Located near the area of 17th Avenue and Roosevelt Road was Wolf Hill. Named because of the wolf lairs in and around it, Wolf Hill later was leveled to make way for road construction. This section of land, which was then partly a swamp, was destined to become the Village of Broadview.
As the early Broadview settlers came to this area, the lake and swamp areas were partially drained using surface drainage in the Des Plaines River, which allowed crops to be raised on the land. Potatoes and corn were the first crops grown, as well as oats, rye, timothy and wheat. Later the land was cultivated as truck gardens for various markets in the immediate area. As time went on, a more modern drainage system (tile) was installed, which eventually completely drained the entire reservation.
Broadview began its formal development on June 25, 1835, when historical records show that Frederick Bronson purchased 80 acres of land in the Broadview area from the United States government for $120. On August 8, 1835, he purchased an additional 160 acres for $200. In 1893, the year of the Columbian Exposition, the real estate firm of Foreman and Cummins began to clear the land and to subdivide it. Each lot was to have a frontage of 300 feet, and there were to be four lots per block. Foreman and Cummins pitched a large tent near what is today 11th Avenue and Roosevelt Road, put up a sign advertising “Free Refreshments,” and went into the business of selling lots. Very little resulted from the subdivision, however, and except for a few scattered houses, most of the area remained farmland.
Almost all of the early settlers in Broadview were of German origin. One of the first settlers was a farmer named Muir. Around the turn of the century, he built his farmhouse at 9th Avenue and 14th Street¡ªa house that later burnt to the ground. In 1870, another farmer, Ernest Hoermann, built his house on the southwest corner of 17th Avenue (named after him in those days) and 14 Street. This house remains intact today.
At the turn of the century, Broadview was a simple community of a few scattered farmhouses and a small settlement of homes. It was located between what is now the Eisenhower Expressway and Roosevelt Road, and extended from 13th Avenue west to 17th Avenue. It contained about 20 homes in all and commonly was referred to as “80 Acres,” or Oklahoma.
Until it officially became the Village of Broadview in 1914, the territory remained unincorporated and there were no building restrictions. The nickname “80 Acres” endured and thrived for a number of years until becoming known as the Village of Broadview. The area contained a one-room schoolhouse, located in almost the identical spot where Roosevelt School now stands. Meetings were held in this schoolhouse before a village hall was built. The schoolhouse was home to many good times for the village as well. Due to the difficulty in getting teachers, the schoolhouse eventually closed and students regrettably were transferred to the No. 5 School, now known as Garfield School, at 9th Avenue and Van Buren Street in Maywood. The children who lived south of Roosevelt Road attended school at Cermak Road (22nd Street) and 25th Avenue.
Today, Broadview retains its “small-town” feel while existing only 13 miles and 20 minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Chicago. Broadview’s suburban setting offers a respite from big city bustle, yet its location puts restaurants, sports arenas, shopping centers and convention/meeting facilities just minutes away. Broadview’s population stands at 8,466 residents, consisting of approximately 3,581 families. The Village of Broadview includes 4.603 square kilometers of land and is located 173 miles from the Illinois state capital in Springfield and 628 miles from Washington, D.C.
Village of Broadview Police Department History
At the time the Village of Broadview was incorporated in 1914, Herman Radtke was appointed the first Village Marshall. Because the Village was sparsely populated, his services were not needed very often and thus, the position was most likely unpaid in the beginning. As there was no telecommunications services, electricity or public transportation in the Village, the Marshall had to either walk or use his own horses when his services were required.
In May of 1918, Marshall Radtke received his first assistant when Joseph Huszar was appointed a motorcycle policeman, at a salary of $75 per month. When Marshall Radtke resigned from his position later that year, Huszar¡ªnicknamed Indian Joe most likely because of the Indian Motorcycle he drove throughout his career¡ªwas named the Village’s second Marshall. He also was appointed Health Officer, receiving a pay raise to $95 per month.
During his eight years as Village Marshall, Indian Joe spent his time riding his motorcycle throughout the Village watching for speeders exceeding the speed limit of the day, set at between 12 and 20 mph. As Health Officer, he also ensured those quarantined to their homes due to communicable illnesses remained in their homes.
Village of Broadview Fire Department History
The Broadview Fire Department was organized on a volunteer basis in 1948. Prior to this, the Village received fire protection from the Maywood Fire Department on a contractual basis.
The volunteer department purchased a 1924 pumper from Oak Park, Ill., to be used in the training of the new volunteer corps. The Village hired Fred Peters, a retired Oak Pak fireman, to train these new volunteers and act as the department’s fire chief. Merritt Braga was named assistant chief, Herbert Prosser was named captain, and James G. Cot Sr. was named lieutenant and secretary, and went on to become chief in 1951.
By 1953 when Broadview purchased its first new 1,000 GPM pumper, the department had become a well-trained and coordinated group of professionals. At this point, Broadview was able to sever its ties with Maywood, creating its own independent fire department. Just two years later, an 85-foot aerial ladder was a 1,000 GPM pump was purchased and paid fire staff was added in response to Rating Bureau’s recommendations, bringing the department’s rating up to Class Five.
By 1963, the department added its third 1,000 GPM pumper in response to an influx of new residents and businesses, raising the department’s rating to Class Four, making it the only Village with a population under 10,000 to hold this high rating. As of 1964, when the Village celebrated its Golden Jubilee, the fire department employed 13 full-time firefighters, as well as 30 Paid-On-Call firefighters.