The remains of Eola, Illinois

By
Real Estate Agent with BAIRD & WARNER, NAPERVILLE

Picture of the original Eola post office building

The building above is what remains of Eola, a small farm community just west of Naperville. It is now part of Aurora, Illinois. And, the post office is no more. In fact, if you look closely you'll see a FOR SALE sign in the window.

I remember when there was a sign on the building that said: EOLA

Instead, today, we have an eight lane divided highway which rumbles just east of the building as drivers pass over the Burlington railroad tracks, unaware of the passing of history.

I imagine that in the "olden" days this post office was the hub of the small town. The train probably stopped nearby dropping off express mail, or freight, or even passengers coming from downtown Chicago. 

And, just a few blocks north is an elegant townhouse community and I suspect those inhabitants never drive down here as the road dead ends. Another time, another century. 

Comments (25)

Anonymous
Jack Dodds

Sixty years ago, when I was growing up in Eola, the building in this picture was a Clover Farm store--with a gas pump out front and mostly groceries inside, including a cooler in the back filled with nickel soda pops and up front, in a glass counter under the cash register, a tooth-decaying array of penny candy. To the right of this photo and across the street was a tiny post office where both my mother and father served as post masters. That post office closed and the operation was moved into the building shown here sometime after their terms of office.


South of the building in the picture (to the left) was the CB&Q railway and the beginnings of the Aurora yards. Slow freights and switching trains blocked drivers for long minutes--once my father fell asleep at the wheel waiting for a freight to crawl by. No wonder an overpass was eventually built.


North of the store and the original post office was a pasture where Eola kids whiled away the summer with pick-up baseball games. A half mile north of Eola was the one- and then two-room school where I attended, along with 20 or 30 other children. The school was presided over by Principal Reba Steck--and a succession of other teachers after the second room was built on to the original structure.


Not far behind the building in the photo was the Reber Canning Company, the home of Reber Butter Beans, and, really, the only business in town. At Christmas, the company would give the children of Eola large peppermint candy canes (and I do mean large--more than an inch thick and a foot long) with, taped to each one, a silver dollar.


As to the question about how Eola got its name: An 1874 map of DuPage County lists "Eola PO" at this location. At one time, my parents joined with other residents of the town to research its history, write it down, and turn it into a drama, which they performed, in homemade costumes, in the basement of the Eola Grammar school. In this presentation we were told that the original name of the town was "Lund's Crossing." An A. A. Lund is listed on the 1874 map as owning 70 acres just east of Eola.


This was a good place and good time to grow up.

Jun 09, 2013 08:27 AM
#7
Anonymous
Nan
Jack- Your's is the only personal history I can find on the town of Eola, IL. Thank you for sharing! I live on the corner of Eola & Liberty St and everytime I go over the train tracks and see the old post office, I wonder about the history.
Dec 27, 2013 05:50 AM
#8
Anonymous
David Jones
My Name is David Jones, I also Grew up in Eola I lived in the house built by my dad Albert A. Jones it was the last house on the left on Sheffer rd. I remember the clover farm store had a gas pump but cannot remember the company who supplied the gas. the old post office was removed to the home of John Barrett. rumor has it that a few men lifted it up and placed it on his truck to move it (it was very small). There are a lot of memories that I have of Eola but none more then the time the school gave a Halloween party and all the residents volunteered it was very elaborate and great fun.
Feb 20, 2014 12:32 AM
#9
Anonymous
Dan King

My grandfather (John Mack King), great-grand father (James Watt Reber) and great-great grand father (Schuyler Colfax Reber) all owned the Reber Canning & Preserving Company over the years. There was a steam locomotive that fell through the floor of the roundhouse building that was donated to the Smithsonian.

Jul 19, 2014 09:39 AM
#10
Anonymous
Cynthia Dow-McCallum

I grew up at 7 south 240 Eola Rd Aurora, IL. 60504. Ha! I can't believe I remember. I loved the corn fields. I miss that place

Oct 28, 2014 12:06 PM
#11
Anonymous
cindy McCallum

Loved the Rickety Rackity Bridge. Waiting forever to cross the rail rd tracks just to pick up the mail.

Oct 28, 2014 12:13 PM
#12
Anonymous
JP

We just bought a home in Eola and the small town charm like what we came from originally is what really struck us. I like the idea of going to the Post Office. Seems like a nice place to raise our kids. Hoping to learn a bit more about Eola.

Dec 30, 2014 01:14 AM
#13
Anonymous
BOB G.

ALL PROGRESS IS CHANGE,,,,BUT,,, NOT ALL CHANGE IS NOT PROGRESS,,, BG

Jan 27, 2015 12:00 PM
#14
Anonymous
Jack Dodds

An earlier poster wondered about the gas pump that use to be in front of the post office pictured above, back when the building was a Clover Farm grocery. I have a photo that I've tried to paste into this comment space, but it just won't paste. The coloring on the pump suggests it was a Cities Service pump. As to the original post office, it sat across the road, about 50 feet north, on the property of Mr. Galati, I believe. He may at one time have been the post master. He was also the town barber (a shop in his house) and preached in the Eola Sunday School, originally located on 4th Street, near the Reber Canning factory.

Mar 24, 2015 05:04 AM
#15
Anonymous
Mark Morris

I had always heard that the actress Kim Novak was born in Eola. Anyone?

Mar 30, 2016 01:26 AM
#16
Anonymous
JP - John Parli

I'd love to see the photos you have Jack and learn more about the history you know. I started a Facebook Group "Eola IL" at https://www.facebook.com/groups/266472853690984/

Would love to hear more!!!

May 13, 2016 03:05 AM
#17
Anonymous
Rick Ryan

In response to Mark Morris questions - Kim Novak didn't live in Eola, Her sister Arlene Malborg lived north of town off of Butterfield Rd. Her family and mine attended Big Woods Church. I can recall a Christmas program at the church that was attended by Kim Novak.
I grew up in Eola and my parents lived there until their deaths. I recognize several of the names of people who have left comments.

Jun 25, 2018 10:24 AM
#18
Anonymous
Rick Ryan

To add on to my previous comment. I can remember getting my hair cut by Mr Galati. My mother was the Post Master after the Post Office had moved to the old store building. My grandfather, who lived in a trailer behind our house, use to pay me a dime to walk to the store and buy him bread and other items. The store was a great place for a kid from a tiny town, as Jack mentioned. My grandfather built the house with his sons, out of lumber they got from the railroad boxcar salvage yard. I also recall around Christmas getting a card from Reber's and walking to the factory and getting a really big Hershey's chocolate bar with a silver dollar taped to it. We would go into Jim Reber's office and he would hand us the candy bar personally. I also can remember him driving a Thunderbird convertible.

Jun 25, 2018 10:33 AM
#19
Anonymous
nancy Ryan Susemiehl

Wow Eola memories such fun I'm Nancy Rick sister ..we kids waited in the old post office to catch the school bus to Naperville north when we went to high school ...we played baseball in Staffelds field and used cow pies as bases ..Grandma Staffeld make pop corn balls as our treats on halloween ..and family bought cows milk in a milk can pulled in a wagon from them ..played kick the can till night fall ...so many great friendships for is as kids

Jun 29, 2018 01:14 PM
#20
Anonymous
Karin Aldridge

I lived here with my Aunt and Uncle in the sixties, they were renting a farmhouse that had a water pump in the kitchen sink and an out house. We used to play in the barn swinging off the hay loft and I attended a one room school house. It was just for first and second grade. They had two Shetland ponies and chickens. There was a small store that sold penny candy. it might have been where the post office is, as often is the case in small rural areas.

Feb 13, 2019 10:17 AM
#21
Anonymous
Lee R. Phillips

Lee Phillips 84 I moved to Eola in 1947 & attended the one room School.
The teacher was Reba Steck. I was in the 8th grade with 2 others. The post office was across from the Store on the East side. No heat in the building at night and the ink wells would freeze. Fire started in the morning with heat. My sister Jean worked at Reber's. I picked asaragus for Rebers. I went to East Aurora Senior High School.

Mar 10, 2019 08:38 PM
#22
Anonymous
Linda Rogers

My father's family, John and Lydia Stolp lived in or near Eola in the 1840's-1880's. They were buried in the Big Woods Cemetery there.

Mar 18, 2019 09:05 AM
#23
Anonymous
Isaiah Montgomery

Does anyone have any old pictures of Eola in the olden days?

May 08, 2020 07:05 PM
#24
Anonymous
Jane Shaddick

A little history on the grocery store and posts offices:
Hi, I'm Jane Sondgeroth Shaddick and lived in Eola from around 1959 to 1972. My mom, Sally Sondgeroth, a widow with 4 of us kids owned the grocery store and was postmaster in both post office locations from 1961 until the mid '70's. We lived above the grocery store/post office. Thermo Gas on the other side of the train tracks had a crack in one of their propane underground storage tanks which leaked into our drinking/well water. After I had a medical issue from the water, the Health Department tested our well water and required we close the grocery store and move out of our home. Years later, we were allowed to move back after our water passed the Health Department's tests. I have many memories from there if anyone is interested.

May 13, 2020 01:18 PM
#25
Anonymous
Jason Priegel

Jack Dodd, I believe we lived in your old house at 6 South 151 Eola Road. My parents bought that house in 1965. It was a great place to grow up! I was there from 1967 till 1993.

Jun 28, 2020 06:27 PM
#26