Darien was incorporated in December, 1969. The village borders Argonne National Laboratory, a famous nuclear research center, and attracts new residents because of its good schools, convenient location and low crime rate. It is one of several rapidly growing suburban communities in the Stevenson Expressway corridor. The city is designed as a planned community with a balance of private and multiple residential buildings, along with convenient shopping areas.
The first settlers came from the New England states. One of the first families to arrive was the Thomas Andrus family. They settled along the stage coach line (approximately I-55). He started the Andrus Inn (at Carriage Way West subdivision) to serve the stage coaches. Thomas Andrus named the area Cass. He served as Justice of the Peace, Town Clerk, Assessor and County Commissioner. The area’s first school house and church was the Cass Church. In 1860 the first Lace School was built on the northwest corner of Cass and 75th Street. It is now a museum. In 1890, the Village of Lace was established. The City of Darien was originally part of these two communities, Lace and Cass. Darien was named by Acting Mayor Sam Kelley, in 1969, after Darien, Connecticut.
Darien is popular with transferees, and families moving from Chicago. Resale values of homes are better than average. The Darien Park District offers residents 100 programs each season, including an Easter-egg hunt and volunteer Santas, who telephone children at Christmas. Extensive adult programming includes softball, aerobics, and self-improvement classes. There are also junior high dances, movie nights, and teen nights. It maintains 14 parks. The Darien SportPlex houses ice skating rinks, soccer field, and basketball courts. As well, the park district provides more than 325 programs and services for individuals with special needs. A new facility, in the village, is the Indian Prairie Library.
The village is proud of its school system. Darien District 61 and Case District 63 provides elementary school education. High school students attend either Hinsdale South High School (in District 86), or Downers Grove South High School (District 99). Hinsdale South High School gives students a full range of programs, including advanced placement courses, honors course, vocational education, and sixty (60) co-curricular activities. More than 80 percent of the teaching staff have advanced degrees. Downers Grove South High School also has accelerated and honors programs, as well as an artist-in-residence program. In 1984, it was recognized as one of nine outstanding Illinois high schools.
The housing market has a continuous growth in Darien. New single family homes start at $200,000. The village’s housing also offers “upscale” residences. Existing housing is in short supply, and what is on the market often sells quickly. The average price for a single family home is about $140,000, but ranges to about $389,000. Multifamily housing consists of apartments, town homes, and condominiums.
Transportation is convenient, with a drive to downtown Chicago taking only 20-30 minutes via the Stevenson Expressway (I-55). Rail commuters can take a bus to the Burlington Northern stop in Clarendon Hills, or Downers Grove. Express service reaches the Loop in 28 minutes, and local trains take 43 minutes. O’Hare Airport is about 20 minutes away via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294).