Everything’s coming up roses in one northwestern suburb.
Roselle, a community of nearly 23,000 that straddles both Cook and DuPage counties, lives up to its name in many ways.
Although the village officially takes its name from early settler and businessman Rosell Hough, the rose flower has become synonymous with the town. The village’s welcome signs and banners, for example, depict blooming roses. Roselle hosts a popular Rose Festival, Run for the Roses and Rose Parade every summer. And at Lynfred Winery in Roselle, one of the trendiest wines this year is — you guessed it — rosé.
Similar to other nearby suburbs of Schaumburg, Itasca, Bloomingdale, Elk Grove Village and Medinah, Roselle has expanded and evolved in recent years, as such communities have built up their commercial and residential areas. Indeed, similar to rose varieties, there is room for both history and new growth here, a characteristic that the village’s slogan, "Tradition Meets Tomorrow," emphasizes.
Christina Anderson-Heller, marketing director for the Lynfred Winery in Roselle, says that the addition of new residences and businesses has enhanced the community. "We really have grown along with Roselle," she says, adding that the area around the winery has changed with the development of a commercial district that used to house to be home to a drive-in movie theater.
While the town may have transformed from farmland to sleepy suburb to a thriving place to live, work and visit, part of Roselle’s continuing bloom has to do
with its welcoming nature.
"I’ve been in the community for 32 years and would say that it’s a family-friendly community," says Rob Ward, executive director of the Roselle Park District. "It has a very small-town feel where you know your neighbors and there is a strong community connection."
Natalie Engel, economic development coordinator for the village of Roselle, agrees. "We are very proud of the small town feel of Roselle. We have several different housing types to appeal to a wide range of residents, from young adults, to large families, to empty-nesters. We also have many community amenities and events for residents to enjoy."
Blooming Businesses: Town Center
To Anderson-Heller’s point, the landscape of Roselle was significantly altered with the 2005 development of the Town Center along the Main Street and Irving Park Road corridor, near the Main Street railroad station. (Interestingly, it was Rosell Hough, once president of the Chicago and Pacific Railroad Company, who helped bring the rail line through this area in the 19th century, even though an early train schedule misspelled his first name by adding an "e" on the end. That error stuck.)
"We wanted to create a core area, and that’s where the Town Center came in. We also wanted to create growth, but achieve it in a charming way," explains Watkins.
Today, Town Center in Roselle includes a mix of condos, stores, restaurants and services, from major chains like Starbucks to independently owned shops.
The pedestrian-friendly Town Center includes restaurants for a variety of palates, such as 1913 Restaurant and Wine Bar and 8000 Miles, offering Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Across the tracks, Teddy B’s bar and grill serves up brews and bites, along with entertainment and special events. You can also pick up some food, drinks and other sundries to go at nearby Angela’s Mart.
Stores and services in Town Center include Roselle Flowers, the pet shop All Things Woof, Meow, Too, and the charming Haute Vintage, which teems with antique furniture and accents, Rockstar Salon and Spa and Langner Eye Care.
According to Watkins, residential areas are growing in tandem with the commercial areas in Town Center. "We’ve had people looking at opportunities for upper-end apartments in our Town Center area," he says, adding that the rebounding economy has led to more inquiries about those types of developments.
There are a variety of other businesses near Town Center, along Roselle Road, Irving Park Road and other nearby roads, such as Jen Fisher Books, Top Gear Powersports, Italian Pizza Kitchen, Bulldog Ale House and others.
In addition to Town Center, the 5.48-square-mile village of Roselle is home to other commercial districts. In the south part of town, a stretch of Lake Street that runs through Roselle is lined with a range of stores, restaurants and services, including Villaggio Ristorante and Brunch Café, among others.
Along the north edge of town on Nerge Road, various stores, eateries and businesses attract residents and visitors coming into and out of Roselle from nearby expressways and other local communities, such as Strike Ten Lanes and Lounge. Another pocket of development is the center of town near the historic section of Park Street and Irving Park Road.
On the Vine: Lynfred Winery
Near the Town Center at Roselle Road and Main Street, Lynfred Winery is unique not only to Roselle, but to Illinois. "We’re the oldest and largest family-owned winery in the state," points out Anderson-Heller.
Partially housed in the historic Fenz home built in 1912, Lynfred Winery was opened in 1990 by Fred Koehler, who made his first brand of wine with his late wife, Lynn, in the basement of their family home. "When the winery opened, we were located in a home that was built before the village of Roselle was even incorporated," Anderson notes.
Today, Lynfred has expanded to other locations in Wheeling and to sister stores Tasting deVine in Wheaton and Naperville. The Roselle winery also features an onsite B&B, which includes four wine-themed suites and which was the first overnight-stay venue in town.
"What makes it fun for us is to be in this sweet town," Anderson-Heller says of Roselle, adding that visitors can virtually travel the world through wine tastings at Lynfred, which offers wines from grapes from many parts of the globe.
More recently, Lynfred Winery has boomed with growing demand for local and artisan-style beverages, including craft beer and local wines. "It’s amazing how brewers in Chicago have bloomed and it’s interesting to be part of that culture. Now it’s hot and trendy to be locally made," she observes. For wine connoisseurs, Lynfred has added a special Founder’s Room with premium wines and also offers a wine club.
The winery’s Vindy City variety, also known as Fred’s Red, is its most popular, and is available in many Chicago-area supermarkets and liquor stores in addition to local Lynfred locations. With spring coming up, expect some of the lighter varieties to come back, says Anderson-Heller: "The 2016 wine of the year is rosé, and we think that will be super-hot."
Lynfred offers wine tastings daily, in addition to weekend tours and special events, such as a weekend epicurean experience that features six appetizers paired with wines. Upcoming events in March include a winemaker dinner, wine glass painting class, and Easter cooking class.
Petal Power: Rose Festival, Parade and Run
One of the highlights of the year in Roselle is the annual Rose Fest, organized by the Roselle Lions Club and slated for June 2-5. Rose Fest includes food, entertainment and a carnival, in addition to a Run for the Roses 5K run and walk held on the morning of June 5 and a Rose Parade that steps off later in the afternoon that same day. The village’s Rose Queen appears at these rose-centric events; Roselle’s annual Rose Queen Scholarship Pageant honors local high school women by offering them an opportunity to compete for college scholarships.
Later in the summer, residents and visitors will gather in Roselle for the annual Independence Day fireworks on July 3 at Lake Park High School West. That event also includes a "Party in the Park" hosted by Mission Church. To support the fireworks, a new fundraising event was created a couple of years ago — the Exploding Turkey Trot 5K held on Thanksgiving morning.
Taste of Roselle is another much-anticipated event in town. "It’s always the first weekend in August and is a nice setting and one of the most popular events," says Engel.
Natural Attraction: Turner Park
As winter thaws and people head back outdoors, Roselle’s parks and trails pick up in popularity. One of the biggest parks in town is Turner Park, run by the Roselle Park District. The park includes fields
for baseball and soccer as well as basketball courts, a playground, and in the summer months, a popular splash pad. Various seasonal events are held in Turner Park as well, including a free summer concert series.
"I would say Turner Park, from a green space perspective, is one of our jewels. It’s roughly 50 acres and sits at the gateway to Roselle off the Elgin-O’Hare Expressway," says Ward.
The pond in Turner Park is a good spot for fishing, he adds. "We have a large lake and allow fishing, something not all communities do. We stock it every year," Ward reports.
In addition to maintain several parks and green spaces, the Roselle Park District offers a variety of programs for all ages, including a strong children’s theater program and a cultural arts program for seniors. Special events for spring include a Brunch with Bunny before Easter and a fish launch in April, done in partnership with the Bloomingdale-Roselle Rotary.
Pieces of the Past: Roselle History Museum
Like many western suburbs, Roselle has a rich history, tied to early settlers who put down roots close to local Pottawatomie tribes. Brothers Silas, Harvey and Lyman Meacham claimed land in the 1830s,
followed by the Houghs in 1837, including son, Rosell Hough.
Those who want to know more about Roselle’s beginning and its evolution as farmland and official incorporation in 1922 can check out the Roselle History Museum, which offers a large collection of materials and photos from the village’s past, in addition to special exhibits, such as an upcoming display of items from the 1920s.
Open weekly on Sundays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and other times by appointment, the museum campus includes the historic Sumner House, Richter House and Coach House. In addition to the physical site, the museum preserves history digitally and offers an online presence that includes a searchable database.
"People come in to see what we have on our town and local history. Sometimes they’re looking for a particular house or family, so we can help them with that," says historian Joan Beauprez, whose interest
in genealogy and family ties to Roselle led her to work with the organization. A group of about 15 volunteers helps run the museum and work to garner interest in and support of its offerings.
Various fundraisers are held to support the museum, such as a series called Sip and Paint on the last Friday of the month, in which people can learn how to paint from a local artist while enjoying various beverages.
Other Interesting Facts and Tidbits About the Village of Roselle
• Meacham Grove Forest Preserve at Bloomingdale and Roselle roads has one of the forest preserve district’s oldest picnic groves. Different trails and bike paths loop through Roselle to Meacham Grove, as well as to the Illinois Prairie Path and Mallard Lake Forest Preserve.
• The Roselle Public Library offers a variety of programs in addition to its print and electronic resources, ranging from Sunday afternoon musical performances in the main atrium, to youth programs from toddlers to teens. The Friends of the Roselle Public Library Book Sale is holding a book sale on April 9 and 10.
• Pearl Banquets and Conference Center is a new event venue offering 9,000 square feet of banquet space for weddings, corporate events, and conferences, etc.
• Roselle is a sister city with the town of Bochnia in Poland.
• Roselle is home to both campuses of Lake Park High School, which serves most of Roselle along with parts of neighboring communities Medinah, Itasca, Bloomingdale, Hanover Park and Wood Dale. Some
students in Roselle go to Schaumburg Township High School.
Youngsters in town attend elementary and middle schools within both the Roselle School District and Medinah School District. Additionally, two large parochial schools, St. Walter’s Catholic School and Trinity Lutheran School, serve the community.