Brookfield is a popular village located west of Chicago. Since it is only about 10 minutes from downtown, Brookfield is a terrific suburban option to apartments in Chicago. With the 43.4-mile Salt Creek and the Des Plaines River located along the western edge of the village, Brookfield is a scenic community. It is home to several wooded areas, including Brookfield Woods and McCormick Woods.
Settled around 1889, Brookfield was originally named Grossdale by real estate investor Samuel Eberly Gross, who sold plots of land along the railroad line. Today, the original train station is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as the village’s historical society and museum.
Brookfield is the location of the Chicago Zoological Park, more commonly called the Brookfield Zoo. When the zoo opened in 1934, it grabbed international attention for using moats and ditches rather than cages to separate animals. The zoo was America’s first to exhibit giant pandas, including Su Lin, now a taxidermy exhibit at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. The zoo covers 216 acres and features roughly 450 animal species.