The first large wave of settlers began to arrive in the area now known as Lombard, Illinois during the 1830’s. In those early days, Lombard was called Babock’s Grove. The town did not officially change its name to Lombard until 1869, the same year it also became an incorporated city. In the late 1840’s, the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad was built through Lombard which allowed local farmers to have direct access to markets in Chicago. This started a boom period for Lombard and the city saw rapid development in the form of building construction and increased population.
Many of Lombard’s early inhabitants were abolitionists. As a result, the city was a very active participant in championing the Union cause during the Civil War. In particular, two of the city’s residents made a name for themselves during this time. Sheldon Peck used his home, now known as the Sheldon Peck Homestead historic landmark, to help hide refugees traveling along the underground railroad. Another resident, Doctor William Leroy, became famous as an artificial limb manufacturer for Union soldiers injured in the Civil War.
Lombard is also home to several notable museums. The Victorian Museum is a historic home built in 1882 that is set up to show visitors what a typical home would feel like in the 1880s. The Sheldon Peck Homestead, built in 1839, allows you to experience the pioneer way of life in old Babcock’s Grove through exhibits, living history, and educational programs. Lombard also presents several festivals and parades throughout the year. The largest of these festivals is the annual 16-day long Lilac Festival and parade which includes a concert series, a Mother’s Day Brunch, an arts and crafts fair, and tours of the local parks.