The East Highlands was the first large commercial subdivision in Naperville. Developed beginning in 1954 by local resident Harold Moser, the East Highlands offered affordable post-war housing in a town ready for growth. Naperville already had many features attractive to young families, including schools, a hospital, and a college. Transportation to Chicago was available via commuter railroad or the new Eisenhower Expressway.
Harold Moser understood the potential for a different type of suburban living. These were truly new homes, with innovative designs. To make sure the houses were desirable, he worked with eleven different builders, assuring variety and quality. There were multiple style options and attractive financing. Moser donated land for a school and parks. The large lots and winding streets provided space for growing families.
The East Highlands is a significant element in Naperville’s built environment. In conjunction with the City’s subdivision ordinance passed the same year, East Highlands was a major factor in jumpstarting Naperville’s growth. It is not just a neighborhood, but a foundational element of our city. We feel that preserving the story of the East Highlands is important in understanding the culture of Naperville today.
By 2022, the East Highlands was 70 years old. Those same large lots, as well as the proximity to downtown, have led to widespread redevelopment in the East Highlands. To capture what remains of this pioneering development, Naperville Preservation engaged the Chicago-based historical architecture firm Preservation Futures to study the remaining original structures and to classify their features. This survey was funded by several grants. Thanks to the City of Naperville Special Events and Community Arts Commission, Landmarks Illinois, the Driehaus Foundation and Elizabeth Konopka for their generous support. Please read below the results of the architectural survey and take a moment to read about our 2023 follow-up survey of River Haven Estates.