History of Dolton
Located directly to the south of Chicago, the Village of Dolton is often known as ‘The Gateway to the South Suburbs’.
The Village of Dolton, once an area of natural prairie and home to Potawatomie, Sac, Illini, and Miami Indians has now grown into a bustling suburban community of over 23,000 residents. The village was founded by George Dolton who settled in the area with his family in 1835 and began running a ferry company with another resident of the area, J.C. Matthews. In 1866, the village built its first post office and Andrew Dolton, son of George Dolton, served as its postmaster. After a contentious debate, the Village of Dolton became incorporated on December 28, 1892.
Early industries in the Village of Dolton included a distilling company and a lumber company located along the Calumet River. Due to its close proximity to the City of Chicago, Dolton became home to many railroad companies, which further increased the growth of the village. In 1852, the Illinois Central Railroad became the first railroad company to settle in Dolton and began laying tracks for the Chicago and Great Eastern Railroad in 1865.Ultimately, ten different railroad lines ran throughout the village and created an industrial character for Dolton. In order to help mitigate the congestion caused by the excessive number of train lines running throughout the village, the first bridge was built along Sibley Street and 147th Street in 1936. Although the train activity began to decline in the mid-1900s, there has been a major resurgence in recent years. Today, the Village’s access to major rail line and railyards is a major economic development asset.
Residents of Dolton held many public events including dances and sporting events throughout the village. The Berger Camp Ground, located along Sibley Avenue, included an assembly hall and cabins for families to use for recreation. These buildings were demolished in 1962 to accommodate the growing business corridor along Sibley Boulevard. The first public library opened on September 26, 1954 on the second floor of the Village Hall. After overwhelming support for the establishment of a bigger library, a new public library was constructed and opened on January 24, 1964. The Dolton Park District was established in July 1927. Today, the park district consists of 11 parks totaling 144 acres. Dolton Park, located on Engle Street just west of Greenwood Road, is the village’s most popular park and is a hub of community activity.
A look at Dolton today…
Located just 22 miles south of downtown Chicago, 1.5 miles from Interstate 94 to the east and 4 miles from and Interstate 80 to the south, Dolton provides businesses and industries with convenient access, while providing an “at home escape” feeling for its residents.
Dolton has a rich heritage, a bright future, and residents committed to progress. Our village is known as “A Community Working Together.”