History of Tinley Park
A Rich History, A Vibrant Future
The Village of Tinley Park, Illinois, has been thriving and growing for more than a century. Permanent settlement in the area began in the 1830s by folks whose upstanding, Midwestern values have been passed down from generation to generation. In 1853, The Village was officially established as Bremen, a name that reflected the community's German roots.
Commerce of all sorts thrived in the early days. Tradesmen, merchants, farmers, hotels and a progressive wind-driven mill and grain elevator helped Bremen serve the needs of the entire region. Located directly on the route of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroads lines, the community flourished with economic growth.
The modern-day Village of Tinley Park owes its name to the railroad, as well. In 1890, Bremen changed its name to honor Samuel Tinley Sr., the community's first railroad station agent. Then, at an historic meeting at the train depot on June 27, citizens voted to incorporate as the Village of Tinley Park. Today, the Centennial Monument, Engine #1892, which sits at Tinley Park's first train station, is a public reminder of the railroad's key role in the Village's development.
Tinley Park Innovators
Tinley Park's business community has always been comprised of innovative leaders. In 1905, the Diamond Spiral Washing Machine Company founded the first factory in the Village. With ingenuity and gumption, local businessmen established their own electric utility in 1909. From the 1890s through the 1950s, citizens operated an enterprising soda pop bottling plant in the Village. Inventor John Rauhoff developed and manufactured Ironite, an additive for waterproofing cement that was used in the construction of the Hoover Dam. Another local inventor and entrepreneur built a successful business with a chicken brooder of his own design.
Over the years, Tinley Park has received recognition as the home of five Indianapolis 500 race car drivers, including Melvin "Tony" Bettenhausen, his sons, Gary, Merle and Tony Jr., and cousin, Emil Andres.
Links to the Past
Tinley Park continues to commemorate its heritage in many ways. The area within the original 1892 municipal boundaries has been designated an historical district. Property owners are encouraged to preserve and restore the historic appearances of their edifices.
The "Old Zion" Landmark Church houses the Tinley Park Historical Society and museum. A prominent and stately structure in the Historic District, the church is listed in the National Register of Historical Places. Several other buildings in the Village are identified in the notable Illinois Structures Survey.
Recognizing its German heritage, Tinley Park established a Sister City relationship with Budingen, Germany, and has hosted the largest citizen exchanges in the United States. More recently, an additional Sister City relationship has been formed with the city of Mallow, Ireland.
Village officials have carefully planned for the continued growth and prosperity of Tinley Park. With such a strong history, Tinley Park's future will certainly be vibrant, prosperous and inspired.
Historic Homes and Buildings
to read an article from the Tinley Park Historical Society about some of the Village's historic homes and buildings.