Downtown Naperville is a place unlike many others because of its long, wonderful history and contemporary success. More than just a central business district, downtown Naperville is a beloved asset to many residents and gives Illinois' fourth-largest city a small-town feel. What began in the mid-1800s as a service center for an agrarian community 30 miles from Chicago has become a shopping and social hot spot of Chicago's western suburbs and a potent draw for new residents. Many of the same buildings settlers built remain, but downtown Naperville has changed in many ways-local businesses have come and gone, and the area was once threatened by indoor mall development. The community's dedication to building the Riverwalk in 1981 sparked a resurgence of Naperville's quaint and celebrated downtown. On the eve of the new millennium, Naperville threw a huge celebration on the streets of downtown to welcome the 21st century, but the party could have been a farewell to the downtown of old as well. A new era began at about that time, as many longtime local service businesses began leaving downtown while national retail chains and restaurants moved in. Through photographs of each stage of downtown Naperville's vibrant history, see the area change from 1831 through the 20th century to today.