Morning Show Mystery Spot: Naper Settlement

November 10, 2009 (PRESS RELEASE) Located in suburban Naperville, Illinois, Naper Settlement was founded in 1969 by the Naperville Heritage Society, a group of citizens concerned about historic preservation. They saved historic St. John's Episcopal Church, which was built in 1864 and moved it across town to land owned by the City of Naperville. The church was renamed Century Memorial Chapel and soon other buildings were moved to recreate a village that would someday be known as Naper Settlement.

Step Into Our Village

Our living history museum tells the story of daily life in Naperville as it changed from a simple frontier outpost to a bustling turn-of-the-century community. With costumed villagers, annual events and special exhibits, you never know what a visit to the Settlement will bring! Enjoy the experience as your pulse slows and you breathe a little easier in our 19th century world.


History is all around us, but never more so than at Naper Settlement where the furnishings, buildings and exhibits that the public sees, plus the extensive Museum Collections kept in a climate-controlled environment, are maintained by the Preservation Services Department. Preservation Services offers several community-based programs such as an Oral History Program, which records people's stories of the past, and the Historic Structures Plaque Program, which recognizes historic homes and buildings. These programs provide an opportunity to preserve history throughout the community.

A Historic Perspective of Naper Settlement

The Martin Mitchell Mansion first served as Naperville's eclectic history museum in 1939. Thirty years later it became the cornerstone of the 12-acre historic village now known as Naper Settlement. The Naperville Heritage Society selected the establishment of a museum village as an appropriate vehicle for incorporating the public preservation and educational objectives of its mission. Relocating 18 endangered historical structures and reconstructing several more buildings on a municipally-owned site in the center of town has been successfully undertaken by the not-for-profit local historical organization since its inception in 1969. A following of more than 1,200 members has grown from the initial 12 people who gathered together in order to save historical buildings, objects and materials. This community core, complemented and directed by a professional staff, diligently works to preserve important aspects of Naperville's past.

Something For Everyone

Get your hands on history through Naper Settlement's programs for visitors of all ages. Take a journey through time with weeklong summer camps, holiday craft classes, history lectures and 19th century-themed outings. Special curriculum-enhancing school programs are available year-round, with themes that explore the Underground Railroad, take you to our working Blacksmith Shop or provide a walk through an elegant Victorian mansion. It all brings history to life!

Naper Settlement

523 South Webster Street

Naperville, IL 60540