Naperville Heritage Film Collection

Welcome to the Naperville Heritage Film Collection!  This space contains films about Naperville's history that can be viewed in their entirety online, for free.  Many of these films were made by Naperville Community Television 17, but several were made by members of the community.  Please keep checking back as we make new films available.  Thank you to the filmmakers who allowed us to share their stories with the community!

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Black Acre: A Remembrance.  37 min.  [Naperville, Illinois, 1993].  DVD.  Produced by Herb Nadelhoffer and Mary Lou Wehrli.  Copyright held by Herb Nadelhoffer and Mary Lou Wehrli (permission granted to the Naperville Public Library for use on this site.)

The Nadelhoffer farm in Lisle Township, DuPage County, was purchased by John Nadelhoffer in 1873, and sold to housing developers in 1972 because of high real estate taxes and a suburban housing  boom.  The farm housed prize-winning dairy cows, horses, and fields of alfalfa, clover, and hay.  The great grandsons of John Nadelhoffer, Herb and Carleton, narrate a story of how the rural way of life has gradually disappeared amid subdivisions and shopping malls.  Interviews with farmers Junie Landorf, Paul Miller, and Katherine Finkbeiner round out the story.  Scenes of the Nadelhoffer home and farm buildings being demolished are graphic evidence of how the richest soil in the world has disappeared in the name of progress.  To view this film, click here.

 

Can You Dig It?  The Dirt on Joe Naper.  26 min.  [Naperville, Illinois, 2006].  DVD.  Produced by Naperville Community Television, Channel 17.  Copyright held by NCTV17.  Permission granted to the Naperville Public Library for use on this site.

Naperville founder Joe Naper’s homestead was the recent site of an archaeological dig to discover artifacts and historic features from the nineteenth century way of life in Naperville.  Staff members of the Naperville Heritage Society are interviewed about the methodology of the dig and their discoveries.  To view this film, click here.

 

Community Building on the Great Frontier: The Story of Joseph Naper and the Founding of Naperville. 50 min.  [Naperville, Illinois, 2006].  DVD.  Produced by Naperville Community Television, Channel 17.  Copyright held by NCTV17, permission granted to the Naperville Public Library for use on this site.

The first feature documentary produced about Naperville’s founder sheds light on Joseph Naper the man: his vision, struggles and triumphs; and how he helped build the community we know today.  Sea Captain Joseph Naper brought thirteen families to Naperville in 1831, platted the land, was instrumental in carving out DuPage County from Cook County in 1839, and served as the first president of the Village of Naperville in 1857.  To view this film, click here.

 

Downtown Naperville: Heart of a Community.  44 min.  [Naperville, Illinois, 2003].  DVD.  Produced by Naperville Community Television, Channel 17.  Copyright held by NCTV17, permission granted to the Naperville Public Library for use on this site.

Downtown Naperville from earliest times formed the nucleus of the city with its shops and restaurants but had to revitalize itself with the coming of malls and chain stores in the area.  Downtown business owners and the City partnered to beautify downtown and build the Riverwalk.  Many pictures of old time businesses and interviews with long-time residents illustrate this evolution.  To view this film, click here.

 

Farmers, Corn, Cows & Hazy Memories.  52 min.  [Naperville, Illinois, 2009].  DVD.  Produced by Herb Nadelhoffer.  Copyright held by Herb Nadelhoffer, permission granted to the Naperville Public Library for use on this site.

Herb Nadelhoffer reflects on the role corn and farming had on his childhood and the history of DuPage county, while interviewing several friends and neighbors about farm life.  To view this film, click here.

 

A Hallmark of Heritage.  56 min.  [Naperville, Illinois, 2009].  DVD.  Produced by Naperville Community Television, Channel 17.  Copyright held by NCTV17, permission granted to the Naperville Public Library for use on this site.

This film documents the history of the Naperville Heritage Society, including the moving of Century Chapel, the story of the Weed Ladies, and the introduction of its first employee, Peggy Frank.  Interviews with founding members, past and present board members and presidents, as well as Naper Settlement staff members and Executive Director Peggy Frank, along with rare historical images, bring the story to life.  To view this film, click here.

 

Moments in Time: The Naperville Century Walk.  24 min.  [Naperville, Illinois, 2008].  DVD.  Produced by Naperville Community Television, Channel 17.  Copyright held by NCTV17, permission granted to the Naperville Public Library for use on this site.

The Century Walk was created in 1996 as a public art initiative to celebrate Naperville’s history through murals, mosaics and sculptures placed throughout downtown.  Through interviews with founder Brand Bobosky, as well as art enthusiasts in the community, viewers will learn about how the pieces were chosen, funded and created, as well as how they have inspired the community.  To view this film, click here.

 

The Naperville Fire Department: 125 Years of Service.  25 min.  [Naperville, Illinois, 1999].  Videocassette.  Produced by the Naperville Fire Department.  Copyright held by the Naperville Fire Department, permission granted to Naperville Public Library for use on this site.

This film displays an extensive archive of pictures depicting fire footage, equipment obtained since the first Joe Naper Pumper, Fire Chiefs, fire stations, rescue operations, memorials to Naperville firemen and Naperville firefighters interacting with the community.  To view this film, click here.

 

 

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