The Elmhurst Park District was established on June 5, 1920 to meet the leisure and recreational needs of the community. Soon thereafter, negotiations were opened for the acquisition of the Wilder estate. The estate consisted of an undeveloped cow pasture to the north and the family home, gardens and clay tennis courts on the south. Original development of the gardens had begun much earlier in 1868 by Seth and Elizabeth Wadhams, who built their home, known as White Birch, along with a greenhouse and gardens. They planted numerous trees representing a variety of species to create a true garden spot in Elmhurst. The Park District acquisition of the Wilder property occurred in 1921, making it the first public park in Elmhurst. The Park District added the conservatory to the greenhouse in 1924, and the Wilder Park Conservatory then opened to the public.
On September 6, 2003, the Elmhurst Park District opened its newest facility, the Joanne B. Wagner Community Center. This facility filled a great need for the community by providing a venue for indoor programming that is owned by the District. The redevelopment and opening of Berens Park and The Hub in 2004 came just in time for the District’s 85th anniversary. In 2003, the new Elmhurst Public Library opened at the north of end of Wilder Park following a land exchange agreement with the District and the City of Elmhurst and in 2007, the District received the keys to Wilder Mansion (former library) from the City, making its ownership official. The original 1860s home was remodeled without compromising its historic architectural features and provides an additional 14,000 square feet of multi-use space for the community.
Elmhurst Park District manages parks and recreation located in Elmhurst, IL.