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Melrose Park is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States. It is a suburb of Chicago,14 miles by road. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 25,411. Melrose Park had long been home to a large Italian-American population.
The suburb was the home of Kiddieland Amusement Park from 1929 until 2010 (it closed in September 2009 before it was demolished in June 2010), the Shrine of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Stern Pinball, Inc., which is now the world's last manufacturer of coin-operated pinball machines, and the Melrose Park Taste home of the famous Melrose Stuffed Peppers.
There is a Metra railroad station in Melrose Park with daily service to Chicago. Melrose Park is home to two hospitals, Westlake Hospital and Gottlieb Memorial Hospital.
According to the Encyclopedia of Chicago, in 1882 residents of a then-unincorporated portion of Proviso Township voted to establish their own municipality—called simply "Melrose" until 1893, when the "Park" was added—and population in the area began to steadily increase. The first Italian-Americans arrived in 1888. On April 19, 1920, the F4 Palm Sunday tornado cut a 328-foot-wide (100 m) path over 1,094 yards (1,000 m) through the village and killed ten people. It destroyed the Sacred Heart Church and attached convent.
At the turn of the century, the population surge plateaued and industry began to stagnate; it was only after World War I that the local economy was able to recover, the result of a number of manufacturing companies setting up shop in the village. New industry, coupled with Melrose Park's prime geographic location next to the Proviso freight yards, led to a steady increase in the number of area jobs. This continued after World War II, with still more companies moving to Melrose Park. Zenith Electronics, Alberto-Culver, Jewel, and International Harvester (now Navistar) are some examples. Many of these companies are still located in Melrose Park and the local industry remains stable, but Alberto-Culver no longer exists and Zenith continues to exist as a brand only today.
During the late 1990s, in an effort to attract more commerce, the village underwent major cosmetic improvements, beginning with the redesigning of all village street signs. The wooded area on both sides of Silver Creek, between Broadway and 17th Avenue along North Avenue, was almost completely excavated, the grass replaced, and wood chips were added along the bases of the remaining trees. Many busy streets were repaved and the athletic field next to the village hall was completely redone. This has helped not only to attract new businesses, but also many first-time home buyers.
The athletic field next to the village hall is named after the late Ralph "Babe" Serpico, father of the current mayor, Ronald M. Serpico.
Unincorporated Leyden township is partially located in Melrose Park, IL and the residents in that part have a Melrose Park address.
Navistar International has a factory and an engine group office in Melrose Park. Melrose Park Immediate Care is a medical and dental clinic located in downtown Melrose park.
According to the 2010 census, Melrose Park has a total area of 4.24 square miles (10.98 km2), all land.
As of the census of 2010, there were 25,411 people residing in the village. The racial makeup of the village was 57.0% White, 5.9% African American, 0.5% Native American, 1.8% Asian, 31.8% from other races, and 3.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 69.6% of the population.
Elementary school districts serving sections of Melrose Park:
Proviso Township High Schools District 209 operates public high schools. The community is served by Proviso East High School in Maywood.
Nearby private schools include Fenwick High School in Oak Park and St. Patrick High School in Chicago.
Triton College is the area community college.
In 2012, Melrose Park became home to the Chicago Vipers who play in the Continental Indoor Football League. They play their home games at Sports Zone.
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