city, DuPage and Will counties, northeastern Illinois, U.S. It lies on the West Branch Du Page River, about 30 miles (50 km) west of Chicago. The oldest city in DuPage county, it was founded in 1831 by Captain Joseph Naper. Naper and his brother (John) built mills, a school, and a trading house, and in 1839 Naperville was chosen as the county seat (moved to Wheaton in 1867). The city grew as a crossroads from Chicago to Galena and Vandalia (then the state capital). The coming of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad (1864) stimulated further development. A fast-growing residential suburb of Chicago (the city grew about 10-fold from 1960 to the end of the 20th century), Naperville is a centre for high-technology industries, research, and corporate headquarters. The city is the seat of North Central College, founded in Plainfield in 1861 and relocated to Naperville in 1870. Popular local attractions include Naper Settlement, a 13-acre (5-hectare) outdoor living-history museum depicting 19th-century life; Riverwalk, a recreational area built along the Du Page River in 1981 that features fountains, covered bridges, and an amphitheatre; the 72-bell Millennium Carillon (dedicated 2000), one of the world's largest such instruments, which includes a bell weighing six tons and spans a full six octaves; and the DuPage Children's Museum. Inc. village, 1857; city, 1890. Pop. (2000) 128,358; (2006 est.) 142,901.
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