The Abbey was established in 1974 by the Elmhurst Park District as a leisure center for active, older, fun-loving adults in the community. In addition to providing a variety of exciting leisure activities, for seniors, The Abbey also hosts evening recreational programs. In addition, The Abbey is available for evening and weekend rentals.
The Abbey has a long heritage of community, dating back to World War II. During the 1940's, teenagers sought a place to hang out, beyond churches and schools. The building held social events, operated by volunteers and funded by Community Chest (a fundraising organization), for the next 12 years. In November 1952 there was a groundbreaking for the present facility, then known as the "Youth Center," while the dedication was held the following year in October 1953.
The building traded owners in 1964 from the Elmhurst Youth Center, Inc. to the Elmhurst Park District. The name changed shortly after to "The Abbey" in 1967. The teenagers using the building chose the name from a list of eight names because at the time they were seeking a name that implied a coffee house atmosphere