East Highlands

Photo of a East Highland Mid-Century Modern Home
Sample East Highlands Mid-century Modern Home


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.

The Journey

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.

The Result

Unlike River Haven Estates much of the East Highlands has been redeveloped. is mostly intact.  Of the 453 sites surveyed, only 223 are original structures.  Still the East Highlands has wonderful examples of Midcentury Modern architecture that exemplify the culture of Naperville at a time of pivotal change in our city. The complete survey will be available both in print and online at a future point. Naperville Preservation hopes that this survey will contribute to the conservation of this lovely neighborhood and its unique contribution to the heritage and culture of Naperville.

Copies of the printed survey books are being donated to Naperville Public Libraries, Driehaus Foundation, Landmarks Illinois, City of Naperville, City Council Members, Naper Settlement, Paul Lehman, Ball State University Library, Art Institute Library, Preservation Futures, DuPage History Museum, Illinois State Museum, Elizabeth Konopka, Naperville Preservation, Inc., Library of Congress, and Marilyn Schweitzer.

Please read about the September 27, 2023 event about these surveys. Copies of both surveys are available at cost: $50 for the East Highlands survey and $20 for River Haven Estates. To purchase a survey, contact Jane Burke, Vice President of Naperville Preservation, Inc.