Geneva is a city in and the county seat of Kane County, Illinois, United States. It is located on the western fringe of the Chicago suburbs. Geneva is located between Batavia and St. Charles. As of a July 2011 official US Census Bureau estimate, the city had a total population of 21,707. Geneva is part of a tri-city area, along with St. Charles and Batavia. The area is currently experiencing a high level of population growth as Chicago's urban sprawl spreads farther west.
Geneva is a popular tourist destination with its scenic location along the Fox River and numerous shops and restaurants. There is an extensive bike trail system in Geneva including portions of the Fox River Trail and the Illinois Prairie Path. Geneva has an active historical society, the Geneva History Center, located in downtown Geneva as well as the Fabyan Windmill, an old Dutch windmill dating back to the 1850s. In 2013 it was nominated by Bloomsberg Business Week as the best place to raise a kid in Illinois. The city is home to the Kane County Cougars baseball club of the Midwest League.
Geneva was first settled in the 1830s on an important route from Chicago. Daniel Shaw Haight was the first settler in Geneva. Haight sold his claim in 1835 to James and Charity Herrington, who were influential in the creation of the town of Geneva. A local's connections with Col. Richard Hamilton, a prominent Cook County politician, led to the naming of Geneva as county seat in 1836. The town was platted a year later and was probably named after Geneva, New York. Before the name Geneva was chosen, the names LaFox, Big Spring, and Herrington's Ford were used. A courthouse and jail were among the first major works. Geneva was incorporated as a village in 1858. While its site as a county seat attracted attention, the village's location on the Fox River provided the most economic opportunities. Early goods manufactured in Geneva included cheese, butter, milled grains, and packed meat. The connection of the railroad in 1853 provided increased demand for industry, and by 1900, Appleton Manufacturing, Howell Foundry, Bennet Milling Co., and Pope Glucose Co. became major employers. This resulted in major civic improvement projects such as a pumping stations and water mains in 1896. Geneva was particularly noted for its flux of Swedish immigrants, who comprised half of the population by 1900. A year later, Geneva was connected to other Fox Valley communities through the Aurora, Elgin and Fox River Electric Company.