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About OPAAR - A Brief History

In 1915 several of the local real estate brokers who maintained offices in the Village of Oak Park would meet to discuss problems affecting their business and to plan for necessary improvements to maintain the high standards of the village, its homes, schools and public improvements.

These same brokers in 1916 decided to form a board and applied for a charter from the National Association of Real Estate Boards. In 1917 a Charter was received, establishing the Oak Park Real Estate Board (the name was later changed to the Oak Park Board of REALTORS®).

Throughout the ensuing years, the rapid growth of homes and population induced many other brokers from surrounding towns who did not have a Board to join the Oak Park Real Estate Board. These brokers, with their high standards of ethics and public spirit, soon made the Oak Park Board one of the outstanding boards in Illinois.

The Oak Park Real Estate Board even had its own orchestra that consisted only of Board members. Every year from 1924 to 1941, the orchestra accompanied the Oak Park Board delegation to the Illinois Association of Real Estate Boards' State Convention to furnish the music for the meetings, dances and banquets.

During the 1940's and the war years that followed, the demand for homes increased because of the scarcity of apartments. As a result, Board membership flourished with new firms and their members, who played a leading role in the removal of rent controls in the Village, took an active part in the Village Planning Commission and participated in the affairs of the Parking and Traffic Commission.

In the 1950's the Board developed its own Multiple Listing Service and then in the 1990's became a shareholder in the Multiple Listing Service of Northern Illinois (now called MRED, Midwest Real Estate Data, LLC). At that time, MRED was servicing more than 34,000 Realtors in a five-county area.

In late 2007, the Illinois and National Associations officially approved our petition to change our name from the Oak Park Board of REALTORS® to the Oak Park Area Association of REALTORS®. This change was made to accommodate the ever-growing number of out-of-area real estate offices joining our association. At present, the Oak Park Area Association services more than one hundred offices with a membership of about 600 Realtor members and 60 Affiliate members.

It is felt that our Association has contributed greatly to homeowners, to the Villages in general and to the real estate industry. Since its conception, the Association is proud to include many second, third and fourth generation firms among its members. In addition, three fathers and their sons have all served as our Association President.

A feeling of pride and heritage in growing with the Villages is part of the Oak Park Area Association's strength.