A Brief History

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1816 First inhabitants, Potawatomi Indians, leave area after Indian Boundary Treaty.

1856 German immigrants arrive; European farming settlement begins.

1873 Halfway House Saloon opens as first commercial establishment.

1911 Village incorporated; 359 are residents. The village is first named Tessville after Johann Tess, the first European to settle the area.

1932 Lincoln Avenue becomes a state highway.

Name change Tessville is renamed Lincolnwood in 1936. The name is derived, not directly from the name of the 16th president, but from Lincoln Avenue, which is itself named for former President Lincoln and bisects the community. The name also reflects the planting of 10,000 elm trees along streets in the village during the Great Depression, an effort made possible through the Works Progress Administration.

1938 Lincolnwood Elementary School District 74 opens.

Housing More than half of all houses in Lincolnwood in 2017 were constructed between 1940 and 1959.

1942 Bell & Howell opens facilities, encouraging other businesses to move into the village.

1950 Population grows to 3,072.

1951 Edens Expressway opens.

1960 Population reaches more than 11,700. The Purple Hotel is constructed at the intersection of Lincoln and Touhy avenues. Named for the color of its brick, it becomes a long-standing icon.

1970 Village reaches peak population of 12,929.

1978 Lincolnwood Library District formed; Lincolnwood Chamber of Commerce & Industry created.

Development In the mid-to-late-1980s, the village sees a few multistory condominium buildings. By 1990, the community is fully built out, and redevelopment starts in earnest.

The Lincolnwood Town Center, a 100-store regional mall, is built on the former Bell & Howell headquarters property at McCormick Boulevard and Touhy Avenue, a new village hall complex is built along Lincoln Avenue and the village establishes its first fire department, having relied previously on the City of Chicago for fire service. This wave of redevelopment sees a number of new buildings constructed with Prairie-style architecture.

By 1995, under the efforts of Mayor Madeleine Grant, the first woman president of the village, an economic development commission is formed to help foster continued community redevelopment and to ensure a strong local tax base. Mayor Grant also expands citizen participation in village government by creating several other citizen-led advisory boards.

Since 2000 The village has continued to redevelop itself by spearheading construction of a new business roadway in the Lincolnwood Business Park, creating public parking lots, developing local and regional recreational paths, making enhancements to the Touhy-Crawford Business District and establishing a plan for the revitalization of Lincoln Avenue. Also, the village has attracted new retail business and new health care facilities, as well as new facilities for existing or expanding businesses.

– Source: Lincolnwood Community Development Department. Historical photos courtesy of the Lincolnwood Public Library.