The city dates its founding to land claims made in 1837 and 1838 (following the Indian Removal Act) by Erastus Gary and two Wheaton brothers, Jesse and Warren. A plat for the city was filed with the county in 1853. The brothers led a successful campaign in 1867 to make Wheaton the county seat.
Wheaton is rumored to have more churches per square mile than any other U.S. city, a density exceeded in the world only by one or more cities in Italy. The rumor is based on the many churches which line downtown streets.
People and attractions
Actors Jim and John Belushi both grew up in Wheaton and graduated from Wheaton Central High School. John attended College of DuPage, while his brother attended both College of DuPage and Southern Illinois University.
Red Grange also grew up in Wheaton and attended Wheaton Community High School. He would later graduate University of Illinois to play for the Chicago Bears and the AFL's New York Yankees. He is considered the biggest drawing card in the history of the NFL.
Wheaton is home to Wheaton College. Its campus features the Billy Graham Center (named for an alumnus), which is full of pictures of Graham and conceptual exhibits intended to convey Christian ideas. Other well-known graduates of Wheaton include Wes Craven, Dennis Hastert, John Wesley Powell and Todd M. Beamer.
Wheaton is also home to the headquarters of the Theosophical Society in America, which includes large grounds with a labyrinth and tennis court, a mansion with dumbwaiters, antique furniture, and a beautiful two-story library, and an occult book shop and supply store.
Wheaton is located at 41°51'34" North, 88°6'26" West (41.859562, -88.107181)1.
As of the census of 2000, there are 55,416 people, 19,377 households, and 13,718 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,907/km² (4,938.5/mi²). There are 19,881 housing units at an average density of 684.1/km² (1,771.7/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 89.85% White, 4.85% Asian, 2.82% African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.03% from other races, and 1.31% from two or more races. 3.65% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 19,377 households out of which 36.7% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.4% are married couples living together, 7.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 29.2% are non-families. 24.5% of all households are made up of individuals and 7.5% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.64 and the average family size is 3.20.
In the city the population is spread out with 26.2% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 28.8% from 25 to 44, 23.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females there are 94.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $75,385, and the median income for a family is $94,475. Males have a median income of $67,871 versus $38,485 for females. The per capita income for the city is $37,147. 3.6% of the population and 2.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 3.3% are under the age of 18 and 4.1% are 65 or older.