Life in Willowbrook
Residents of Willowbrook enjoy all the benefits of being close to a major city in a quiet suburb setting just 23 miles outside of Chicago. It’s considered a great place to buy a home and raise a family while still enjoying a reasonable commute to work.
History of Willowbrook
Before Willowbrook was officially incorporated in 1960, it was a small farming community. In 1926, when Route 66 arrived (today part of Interstate 55), this paved the way for several restaurants and gas stations to open up on the south side of the neighborhood.
Willowbrook grew out of a subdivision called Ridgemoor. When the Ridgemoor Homeowners Association voted to officially incorporate the town, there were only 167 residents living in 37 houses. They named the town after the willow trees that grew along the edge of a local creek. The 1970s brought even more development to Willowbrook, with several tech industries and shopping centers transforming the area into a powerful commercial center.
Today, Willowbrook is home to about 9,236 people — including Baltic Roofing!
School and Home Life in Willowbrook
While there are a few schools in Willowbrook (including Gower West School and Westview Hills Middle School), some residents choose to go to school in Burr Ridge or Darien. There are also a few private schools, including Montessori for Modern Minds.
Housing stock in Willowbrook is somewhat diverse. Roughly 47% are low-density, single family homes built between 1960-1979 toward the west side of the neighborhood. These are mostly lower-cost homes with a largely declining market value. Many of them are in need of major repairs or roof replacements to remain competitive in the market. Regular roof inspections and maintenance are essential to keeping these homes intact.
However, the remaining 60% of homes on the east side can be split evenly between two categories. These are defined partly by their region:
- Category 1 (Northeast): Single-family, detached houses on the northeast side of Willowbrook are high-value properties with excellent architecture and features. These homeowners may use luxurious roofing materials like cedar shakes, synthetic slate, or copper gutters. This helps them match the curb appeal of the neighborhood.
- Category 2 (Southeast): Most homes on the southeast side of Willowbrook were built between 1980 and 1999. These are aging, low-density, single family homes occupied by largely middle-class homeowners. While many of these homes are likely in good shape, they are at risk of deteriorating without regular inspection and maintenance. Some may even be in need of a roof replacement, depending on how well they have been taken care of.
Things to Do In Willowbrook
Since Willowbrook has developed as a hub for commercial activity, there are several opportunities for shopping and eating. There are plenty of other recreation areas that residents and visitors alike enjoy.
Here are some of the best places to visit in town:
- Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket – Built in 1946 as “The Nationally Famous Chicken Basket,” this roadside restaurant attracted the business of Route 66 drivers as well as local residents. The original location featured a rooftop ice skating rink used by professional ice skaters, live music from famous bands, and large windows that allowed diners to watch helicopters taking off from Hinsdale airport.
- Plainfield Road – The most commercially active area in the city spans both sides of Plainfield Road, which runs right up against Willowbrook pond. There are several different shopping malls and restaurants in this area (including Giordano’s) where the road intersects with Kingery Highway, all the way down to 75th Street.
- Black Horizon Brewing Company – This award-winning local microbrewery is also home to a taproom with rotating beers on tap, several arcade games and a selection of local bar snacks.
- Creekside Park – This 11-acre park features a playground, a basketball court, a nature trail, a baseball field, and multiple recreation areas. It’s considered a great place for families to relax and enjoy nature on warm days.
- Willowbrook Ice Arena – Standing on 63rd Street, this ice arena is a great place to skate and play hockey no matter what age you are. The location also offers training classes for both children and adults.
Willowbrook has a moderate Midwestern climate with four distinct seasons. The town also has longer warm periods than what’s typical for a town in its region. Summers typically last 3.8 months, with an average high of 83°F. Winters can last 3-4 months, with an average low of 19°F. During the other seasons (spring and fall), temperatures may fluctuate between 30°F and 60°F.
Rain in Willowbrook starts picking up in spring and reaches its peak in late May. From there, rain largely remains steady until August. As fall leads to winter, rainfall decreases while wind is more frequent. Winter is the windiest season in Willowbrook. Residents may experience winds of about 13 mph on an average day.
While rainfall may decrease in December, Willowbrook can see quite a bit of snow. The most snowfall occurs in February, with an average of 4 inches for the month. Winter in Willowbrook lasts an average of four months.
Heavy snowfall and cold temperatures present certain risks for Willowbrook homeowners, including the possibility of ice dams. These can damage your shingles and the underlying roof structure. It’s important to remove ice dams as soon as possible to prevent wear and tear on your roof.