Carol Stream Town Focus
Where to go, what to do and fun facts about one of the only towns in America to take its name from the first and last names of an individual
One might assume, seeing fountains, ponds and small lakes dotting parts of Carol Stream, that this western suburb was named for a body of water. Actually, Carol Stream is a somewhat rare town in that it was chosen for the first and last name of an individual: the daughter of developer and founder Jay Stream. As a teenager, Carol was in a coma after a bad car accident, and her father decided to name the village he had helped build as a way to lift her spirits. She recovered, the village grew with the booming post-war 1950s and today Carol Stream, bordered by Bloomingdale, Glendale Heights and Wheaton, is a thriving community for residents and businesses alike — and is well worth a visit for a slice of American life.
Sure, it’s winter and on some frigid days only the hardiest souls venture outdoors for recreation. But you can flex your muscles in and around Carol Stream — then, when the temperatures shift, outdoor options heat up.
Sledding at Armstrong Park (291 Illini Dr.), one of 36 parks run by the Carol Stream Park District.
Indoor rec at Fountain View Recreation Center (910 N. Gary), a new(ish) facility opened six years ago, with a fitness center, an indoor track, a gym with three basketball courts and an indoor pool. Or, also run by the Park District, try Simkus Recreation Center on Lies Rd., where you can bust a move at a dance studio or in the gym.
Summer swim at Coral Cove Water Park ( 849 W. Lies Rd.), which boasts some of the tallest water slides in DuPage County, a 15-ft climbing wall, and a water playground, complete with dunk-yourself water buckets!
Mini golf at Coyote Crossing (27W650 North Ave.), an 18-hole course with a railroad theme, plus a flashlight egg hunt around Easter and a Cosmic Golf Night in June.
TAKE IN THE SCENERY
Water, water everywhere, even in the heart of the western suburbs.
Two little lakes at Mitchell Lakes Park (200 W. Elk Trail), a 23-acre outdoor paradise. Don’t forget your fishing license!
Biking, running and walking, too at Great Western Trail, which cuts through Carol Stream and links with other area trails and paths.
But wait, there’s more — a four-legged friend might want to sniff out what’s happening at the Bark Park on Kuhn Rd.
There are things to do and people to meet — all just waiting for you to get out and be entertained in Carol Stream.
Summer concerts at Ross Ferraro Town Center get under way when the weather warms up. The dream of former longtime mayor Ross Ferraro, the center was built in 1998 and is now the site for the village’s Thursday night concerts series, held in a large amphitheater. The village’s annual carnival takes place here, too. Any time of year, the 22-acre space is worth a visit, with its fountain wall, gazebo and reflecting pond.
Meet me in . . . Carol Stream? It’s not St. Louis, but you can take a selfie at the iconic archway located in Town Center.
Time for play at Rockin’ Jump (485 Mission St.), where you can soar to new heights at this indoor trampoline center. You can also scale a rock climbing wall or play a game of dodgeball. Did we mention there’s a pit for foam jousting?
NOSH OR KNOCK ONE BACK
Tasty treats at Sauer’s Bakery (788 W. Army Trail Rd.). Have you heard of a Swedish Flop? It’s not a Scandinavian sports maneuver, but one of the most delectable coffee cakes around, a streusel cake with a butter cream center. Sauer’s Bakery, which has been in the same family for three generations and is currently run by Debbie and Paul Sauer, sells a darn good Swedish Flop, along with many other from-scratch baked goods that have put this Carol Stream storefront on the map. They bake while you sleep, for the freshest pastries made from time-honored family recipes. Don’t forget the smiley-face cookie to make someone’s day.
Kebabs and more at J Beez Fast Food Mediterranean & Grill (976 Army Trail Rd.), one of the newer eateries in Carol Stream and worth a drive for the ground lamb and the beef kebab and baba ghanoush, alone.
Neigborhood bar at JT’s Corner Tap & Eatery (1022 Fountain View), another relative newcomer touting friendly service and simply good fare.
Surf and turf at Kinta Sushi Bar & Steak House (135 Hiawatha Dr.) By land or sea, your food arrives colorful and flavorful in this spot.
Pancakes galore at Red Apple Pancake House (414 S. Schmale Rd.), where locals suggest the stuffed French toast, breakfast sampler and apple pancake.
Nothing beats pasta — or pizza — at RoccoVino’s Italian Restaurant (904 Army Trail Rd.), where a “triad” of thin crust, pan and stuffed pizzas are at home on a menu of classic Italian entrées, pastas, panzerotti, soups and salads.
Beats and eats at Augustino’s Rock & Roll Deli (246 Schmale Rd.), where great food is served in an always fun, always friendly atmosphere.
A spoonful of sugar at Just a Taste Confections (145 Hiawatha Dr.) can fix just about anything. Pop in for an instant lift with a piece of homemade chocolate, caramels or other sweet treats.
BROWSE AND BUY
The main thoroughfares that cut through town — North Ave., Army Trail Rd, Gary Ave., County Farm Rd. and Schmale Rd. — are lined with stores, many locally and independently owned. Here are just a sampling:
Fresh & Silk Flowers (578 W. Army Trail Rd.) — fresh floral arrangements and “permanent” silk arrangements and accents. Gifts, gift baskets and balloons are available, too.
Jubilee Furniture (730 E. North Ave.) — browse for high quality used furniture and feel good about your purchase, since proceeds support the nonprofit Outreach Community Ministries in Carol Stream.
Twice Is Nice (893 E. Geneva Rd.) — buy and give at the same time at this resale shop run by College Church in Wheaton. Here, too, proceeds go to the Outreach Community Ministries.
Dick Pond Athletics
(26 W. 515 St. Charles Rd.) — founded not long after the village of Carol Stream and one of just five Chicago area outlets, this sports gear shop has kept pace with change and offers an array of apparel, accessories and nutrition products
to keep runners and other athletes at peak performance.
LEARN SOMETHING NEW —OR OLD
Learn new skills or brush up on old ones at Carol Stream Public Library (616 Hiawatha Dr.) This is a big year for the library, which begins its first total renovation since it was built in 1978. The project, expected to be completed in spring 2020, will feature expanded meeting space, a new patio, a vending café and an early literacy play area. Popular programs continue during construction, including, according to spokesperson Allison Porch, January’s Cozy Reading Night and Lunar New Year Celebration. “On an ongoing basis, we have day, evening and weekend story times for caregivers and children ages five and under. Outside of our regularly scheduled events, caregivers and their children can come in any time and take advantage of our indoor early literacy play area, which has games, puzzles, toys and other activities,” she says. Adult classes are open as well, ranging from line dancing to photo scanning.
Discover Carol Stream’s history at Gretna Station Museum, 391 Illini Dr., the home of the community’s original railroad depot, which was saved and moved to Armstrong Park, where it serves as a museum. Learn more, too, from the Carol Stream Historical Society, located inside. A big outdoor attraction is the vintage caboose that once belonged to the Elgin-Joliet and Eastern Railway.
Learn about life on the farm at
the Historic Farmhouse, also know as Stark Farm, set among the town’s diverse housing stock of 1950s-era homes, senior living communities, and both newer and historic residences. The farmhouse was donated to the village by a developer when a nearby subdivision was built and is an example of Italianate architecture common in the 1800s.
Remember and honor war heros
at Veteran’s Memorial Plaza (960 N. Gary). Jim Benzin, veteran and current commander of the Carol Stream VFW Post 1039, had an idea to spruce up the memorial in Veterans Park a few years ago. Flash forward to 2019, when he’s finishing up the project he’s helped lead through the Memorial Plaza Task Force in partnership with the village, park district and mayor Frank Saverino, to create a permanent Veteran’s Memorial at Ross Ferraro Town Center. The memorial will
feature five monuments for the five branches of the armed service. “We hope to have it have it all completed by Memorial Day for a ribbon cutting and service,” says Benzin.
To help raise funds for the final phase of the project, which was largely paid for by local supporters ranging from Scout troops to locally-headquartered businesses to both longtime and new residents alike, the Park District and other civic groups have hosted various fundraisers over the last three years. The next one is set to be a hockey game event in February.
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
As one can tell by taking a jaunt through Carol Stream, there is a substantial area of the town dedicated to business and industry. Nearly 1,000 businesses are located here, including major Christian publishers Tyndale House and Christianity Today.
Other major employers include Peacock Engineering, Futaba International, CNS Home Health & Hospice, Ingram Micro, Windsor Park Manor, Berlin Industries, Jewel and the regional processing center at the Carol Stream Post Office.Edit Module