Lincolnwood Place: History of Lincolnwood, Illinois

Home to around 13,000 residents according to the U.S. Census, the Village of Lincolnwood is a beautiful area that provides a peaceful escape from the bustling Chicago area. It’s still located close enough to head into the country’s third-largest city in less than an hour’s drive, but far enough away to feel like you’re part of a smaller and quieter community.

Here’s a few things to know about Lincolnwood, Illinois.

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Where Is Lincolnwood, Illinois?

Lincolnwood IL is around 10 miles north of downtown Chicago. It’s considered an inner suburb of the city, sometimes called Lincolnwood Chicago. It resides in the County of Cook and bridges the city to Chicagoland’s North Shore Channel on the eastern border, home to several relaxing beaches.

Lincolnwood shares its eastern, southern and western boundaries with Chicago. It borders Skokie, IL, to the north and west.

The Chicago suburb has a variety of neighborhoods within its 2.7 square miles of space. The village features attractions, notable characteristics and fun things to do in Lincolnwood, IL, like:

  • Thirteen parks spread across 34 acres of land
  • Amenities including golf courses, bike trails, picnic areas, tennis courts, baseball diamonds, a community center and an outdoor pool
  • Arts attractions including the Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra and the Art Gallery in Village Hall
  • The Lincolnwood Public Library, which includes a substantial historical collection and a Library of Things, including items to check out such as bike repair kits and photography equipment
  • The Lincolnwood Town Center, an indoor mall with more than 100 shops
  • A thriving senior community, with nearly 30% of residents 65 years old and older
  • An ethnically diverse, international community, with more than 30% of residents being born from outside of the U.S. and more than 50% of households speaking a language other than English at home

>> Read “Lincolnwood Place: 15 Things To Do in and Around Lincolnwood, IL

The Village of Lincolnwood IL sits in a convenient location, less than 10 miles away from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and other Chicago destinations. If you’re looking for a vibrant, small community that’s still close to one of the world’s largest cities, you might be interested in calling Lincolnwood home.

The History of Lincolnwood, Illinois

Native American Roots

Like most of the U.S., Native Americans were the first people to populate the Lincolnwood region. The area of Lincolnwood was originally settled by the Potawatomi Native Americans, which today are known as the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. The Potawatomi migrated from the East Coast of North America to the Great Lakes Region, around 800-1300 A.D.

In the 1600s, the Potawatomi people established a fur trade and French alliance in the area. The Treaty of St. Louis of 1816 created the Indian Boundary Lines of Chicagoland and resulted in thousands of Native Americans leaving their homes in the Great Lakes region to move to Indian Territory. As part of the treaty, the Potawatomi ceded territory including a portion of land 20 miles wide that links Chicago and Lake Michigan to the Fox, Illinois and Kankakee Rivers.

New Settlers

In 1856, Johann Tess migrated with his family from Germany to the area that is Lincolnwood today. The family purchased 30 acres of barren land in the area. As the population slowly increased, in 1873, the first commercial business in the area, Halfway House Saloon, opened.

After a Chicago & North Western Railway station opened in nearby Niles Center, Illinois, in 1891, more people started to move to the area. In 1909, the completion of the North Shore Channel attracted more residents, which led to the opening of additional taverns and saloons in the area.

Since only incorporated municipalities could give out liquor licenses, 359 residents incorporated the village as Tessville, Illinois, in 1911. Throughout the 1920s, Tessville continued to annex land and grow its footprint in the area. Some of the land that was part of Tessville during that time is part of Chicago today.

The village became a popular location for gambling facilities and speakeasies during Prohibition, when alcohol was outlawed.

From Tessville to Lincolnwood

In 1931, one of the original settlers’ grandsons, Henry A. Proesel (grandson of George Proesel) became Mayor of Tessville. He worked with the federal government’s Public Works Administration, originally called the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, to hire unemployed workers to beautify the village. The project resulted in the planting of 10,000 elm trees on the village streets of Tessville, which continue to thrive and decorate the village today.

Proesel also made efforts to regulate liquor sales after Prohibition ended in 1933. In 1936, Proesel changed the name of the village to Lincolnwood, derived from the state highway name Lincoln Avenue and the elm trees that were planted along the village streets.

The official Village of Lincolnwood uses former president Abraham Lincoln’s image on the village’s logo. Proesel served as Mayor through 1977, one of the longest-serving mayors in U.S. history. Today, you can visit Henry A. Proesel Park in Lincolnwood, named after the mayor.

Growth in the 20th Century and Beyond

Throughout the 1900s, Lincolnwood’s population and amenities continued to grow. Some notable highlights from this century and beyond include:

Today, Lincolnwood continues to evolve. In 2019, District 1860 was approved as a mixed-use development area on 8.25 acres in Lincolnwood. The District 1860 project includes up to 85,000 square feet of commercial space, restaurants and retailers, as well as luxury residential apartments and an Amazon Fresh grocery store. Building and demolition plans were approved in 2021. The project’s expected completion is 2023.

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Become a Part of History at Lincolnwood Place

Lincolnwood IL is also home to Lincolnwood Place, a Senior Lifestyle community that offers independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing and rehabilitation. You can live in a caring and welcoming community and be close by to the amenities Lincolnwood has to offer, as well as be just a short drive away from Chicago.

Find out more about Senior Lifestyle, or schedule a tour today.

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For more information on retirement and senior housing options, reach out to a Senior Lifestyle community near you.