Life Amplified

History of Tinley Park

1870s - Samuel Tinley Sr.The Village of Tinley Park, Illinois, has been thriving and growing for more than a century. Permanent settlement in the area began in the 1830s by folks whose upstanding, Midwestern values have been passed down from generation to generation. In 1853, the Village was officially established as Bremen, a name that reflected the community’s German roots. 

Commerce of all sorts thrived in the early days. Tradesmen, merchants, farmers, hotels and a progressive wind-driven mill and grain elevator helped Bremen serve the needs of the entire region. Located directly on the route of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroads lines, the community flourished with economic growth. 

The modern-day Village of Tinley Park owes its name to the railroad, as well. In 1890, Bremen changed its name to honor Samuel Tinley Sr. (pictured), the community’s first railroad station agent. Then, at an historic meeting at the train depot on June 27, 1892, citizens voted 34 to 24 to incorporate as the Village of Tinley Park. Henry Vogt was its first mayor.

Today, the Centennial Monument, Engine 1892, sits at Tinley Park’s first train station as a public reminder of the railroad’s key role in the Village’s development.

Tinley Park Innovators
 1900s - Diamond Spiral Mfg. Co.
Diamond Spiral Washing Machine Company
Tinley Park’s business community always has been comprised of innovative leaders. 

In 1905, the Diamond Spiral Washing Machine Company founded the first factory in the Village. With ingenuity and gumption, local businessmen established their own electric utility in 1909. From the 1890s through the 1950s, citizens operated an enterprising soda pop bottling plant in the Village.

Inventor John Rauhoff developed and manufactured Ironite, an additive for waterproofing cement that was used in the construction of the Hoover Dam. Another local inventor and entrepreneur built a successful business with a chicken brooder of his own design. 

Throughout the years, Tinley Park has received recognition as the home of five Indianapolis 500 race car drivers, including Melvin “Tony” Bettenhausen; his sons, Gary, Merle and Tony Jr.; and cousin, Emil Andres.

Links to the Past
Tinley Park Historical Society 
Tinley Park continues to commemorate its heritage in many ways. The area within the original 1892 municipal boundaries has been designated an historical district. Property owners are encouraged to preserve and restore the historic appearances of their edifices. 

The “Old Zion” Landmark Church houses the Tinley Park Historical Society and museum. A prominent and stately structure in the Historic District, the church is listed in the National Register of Historical Places. Several other buildings in the Village are identified in the notable Illinois Structures Survey.

Recognizing its German heritage, Tinley Park established a Sister City relationship with Budingen, Germany, and has hosted the largest citizen exchanges in the United States. More recently, an additional Sister City relationship has been formed with the city of Mallow, Ireland. 

Village officials have carefully planned for the continued growth and prosperity of Tinley Park. With such a strong history, Tinley Park's future will certainly be vibrant, prosperous and inspired.

Historic Site Markers
There are several historic site markers located in and around Downtown Tinley that pay tribute to individuals, buildings and locations of importance in Tinley Park's past. Visit the Historic Site Markers page for more information.



Want more Tinley Park history? Check out the hour-long "Tinley Park Timeline" program, which features hundreds of bite-sized factoids about Tinley Park history, or the multi-installment "Pop Quiz" program that tests your knowledge of the Village. Both programs run several times per day on Tinley TV, which broadcasts on Comcast Channel 4 and U-Verse Channel 99. You also can read an article from the Tinley Park Historical Society about some of the Village’s historic homes and buildings.