Many people mistakenly believe Carol Stream got its name from a local minor waterway. However, it is one of the few towns in the United States that has both the first and last names of an actual person, Carol, the daughter of Jay Stream who founded the town.
Jay W. Stream was a military veteran who also sold ready-mix concrete and insurance. In the mid-1950s, he was the head of the Durable Construction Company. While planning a 350-400 home subdivision in Naperville, IL, Stream became frustrated with all the red tape involved. He was advised by a Naperville Clerk to build a town of his own. In 1957, he started to buy up unincorporated farms just outside Wheaton. His plan was to make it easy for individuals who lived there to work where they lived, rather than having to travel to Chicago for jobs.
On August 26, 1957, Carol was returning from Racine, Wisconsin, with three of her friends. They were driving a 1949 Studabaker. As they crossed US Route 45, located in central Kenosha County, another driver struck the right rear corner of the car. Richard Christie, a 15-year-old from Chicago, was killed. Carol was also ejected through the windshield and hit a utility pole. She was taken to Kenosha Memorial Hospital where neurosurgeons told Jay his daughter, who was in a coma, may never wake up and if she did, she would suffer from severe handicaps. Doctors suggested it may improve her chances of recovery if her dad had good news for her so he decided to name his new community after her. Carol regained consciousness after spending four months in a coma.
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