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Learn More About West Chicago, IL

The city of West Chicago was first settled in the 1830s, beside the DuPont River by the Gary family, a timber business family. In 1849, the small community started booming when a roundhouse for servicing the locomotives that ran through the town was built. New employees brought their families to live there and it was incorporated first under the name of Turner in 1888 before the community decided to change it to West Chicago in 1896.

The city has a respectable tourism industry, particularly because of the West Chicago Prairie Forest Reserve, one of the largest prairies in the Midwest. It also hosts the Kline Creek Farm, called a living history farm, because it is still being farmed the same way it was in the 1890s.

With a history of being a transportation hub, it is not surprising that today West Chicago has a rich cultural diversity. West Chicago City Museum and the West Chicago Public Library provide a venue and resource materials to read for its multi-ethnic population, especially for children. Despite being a Chicago suburb, the city has lower crime rates and is often listed among the safest places to live in in the state.

However, in the 1990s, West Chicago was the center of litigation related to the disposal of radioactive residue left by decades of thorium mining. In an epic 12-year legal battle, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Atomic Safety and Licensing Appeal Board could not agree on how to best dispose of the mound of thorium that was causing higher rates of cancer and other radiation-related health issues in the city. Claims were filed by residents who suffered health issues after playing as children in thorium-contaminated sandboxes or simply drank water that was tainted by rain runoffs.

Similarly, if you feel that you need to press charges, not only for a criminal case, but for civil cases, you may apply for free legal advice at the Prairie State Legal Services and the DuPont Bar Legal Aid Service, both just a 12-minute ride away in Wheaton. In such legal clinics however, you have to expect a large number of applicants and you might not be able to get an immediate assignment to a lawyer. In the meantime, you may browse through our Online Law Library and look among our 10,000 articles for one that will answer your most pressing legal questions.

Legalmatch can also help you in finding a reliable attorney who can address your concerns. We have a database of top qualified lawyers with comprehensive experience in real estate, criminal law, DUI, divorce and family law, among others. These lawyers were graduates of the prestigious law schools in the state, namely the Chicago-Kent School of Law of the Illinois Institute of Technology and Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Click here so that we can match you up with a lawyer now.

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