Cary’s founder was William Dennison Cary, who purchased 82 acres of land in 1841 for $1.25 an acre in what would become Cary Station. Mr. Cary continued to purchase land and built a house for his family on part of his property located at 9 West Main Street. Shortly after Mr. Cary’s land was officially recorded on February 23, 1859, the railroad purchased a strip of his property and built a single track railroad. The train station would also be built on this property and Cary Station became the first name for the community.
A Vote for a Village
In 1893, Cary Station had 300 residents and they voted to incorporate as a village. At that time, approximately one-third of Illinois’ 3.8 million residents were farmers and Cary was no exception. Cary’s earliest families can be traced to the farms they owned. With a rail line running through the community, Cary’s farmers were able to diversify, utilizing their produce for a lucrative pickle business that brought buyers from Chicago and St. Louis. This business enterprise was the beginning of Cary’s evolution from an agriculturally-based community to the suburban community it is today.
Books detailing the history of Cary, “Cary Me Back” and “The Loss of an Era”, can be purchased at Village Hall for $8.
Historic Downtown Cary
Further information on the history and buildings in downtown Cary can be accessed by downloading the Historic Downtown Cary brochure.