The Village of Maywood is an Illinois home-rule corporation that was organized on October 22, 1881. The Village is named for May, the deceased daughter of Colonel William T. Nichols, Maywood's founder. Colonel Nichols was a State Representative and Senator from Rutland County, Vermont. He served with the Vermont Volunteers during the Civil War. In 1868, Colonel Nichols and six other men came to Illinois from Vermont and formed the Maywood Company, which developed the Village.
Colonel Nichols lived here until his death in 1882. The Nichols home stood on the northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and Second Street (now Oak Street), which is the present location of the First Suburban National Bank. The house was razed after World War I.
The original plot of Maywood was 1-3/4 miles north and south and 1/2 mile east and west along the bank of the Des Plaines River, with the Chicago Northwestern Railroad running almost through the center. The section of ground south of the tracks was a farm owned by M.C. Niles of Oak Park. Niles sold his farm to The Maywood Company for $100 an acre. The Farmhouse still stands at 104 Oak Street, presently The Way Back Inn, as shown on the right.
Several farms were north of the railroad, the largest of which was owned by E.W. Hoard, also of Oak Park. Hoard also sold his farm to The Maywood Company. The farmhouse was located near the present site of Lincoln School at 9th Avenue and Chicago Avenue. Maywood's early development is an interesting story of setbacks and growth. The Maywood Company built over 100 houses in 1872. The Village seemed to be on the road to prosperity until 1873, when growth slowed. Then Maywood rebounded and the population doubled between 1880 and 1890.
Maywood was home of the 33rd Tank Company, Illinois National Guard (Company B) with the Armory located on Madison Street, two blocks east of 1st Avenue. It was organized on May 3, 1929 with the purpose of training men for combat. On November 25, 1940, 122 men of Company B were inducted into active service to become part of the famous 192nd Tank Battalion, which fought on the Philippine Islands during World War II. The unit became part of the notorious "Bataan Death March" in April 1942. Only 41 men returned to Maywood alive.
In honor of their sacrifice, Bataan Day Parades were held in Maywood on the Second Sunday in September from 1942 to 1987. The present Maywood Bataan Day Organization carries on the tradition of marking American Bataan Day. The organization sponsored a gala 50th Anniversary Banquet in September 1992. Below is a picture of armaments that commemorate the 192nd Tank Battalion. The tank and cannon are part of Veterans Memorial Park, which is located at the southeast corner of Maywood Park, at the corner of 1st Avenue and Oak Street, directly across the street from the former Niles Farmhouse.
In recognition of the enormous sacrifice endured by members of the 192nd Tank Battalion and to honor the soldiers from Maywood who died on the Bataan death march, Congress designated Maywood the Village of Eternal Light.