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Lake County, Illinois
Map of Illinois highlighting Lake County
Location in the state of Illinois
Map of USA IL
Illinois's location in the U.S.
Founded 1839
Seat Waukegan
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

1,367.95 sq mi (3,543 km²)
447.56 sq mi (1,159 km²)
920.39 sq mi (2,384 km²), 67.28%
 - (2010)
 - Density

1,572/sq mi (606.9/km²)

Lake County is a county in the northeastern corner of the state of Illinois, on the shore of Lake Michigan. In 2006, the United States Census Bureau estimated the population at 713,076. Its county seat is Waukegan[1]. The county is part of the Chicago metropolitan area. According to the 2000 Census, Lake County is the 31st richest county by per capita income. The lakefront communities of Lake Forest and Highland Park are part of the affluent North Shore area.

Originally part of McHenry County, the townships comprising Lake County were carved out into a separate county in 1839.

Naval Station Great Lakes is located in the city of North Chicago in Lake County. It is the United States Navy's Headquarters Command for training, and the Navy's only recruit training center.

History Edit


The Caspar Ott Cabin, built in 1837, is the oldest structure in Lake County.

The county, which was primarily unsettled prairie and was still home to its native Potawatomi Indians, was created by the Illinois State Legislature in 1839. At that time, Libertyville, then known as Independence Grove, was the first county seat. In 1841, however, the county's residents voted to move the county government to Little Fort, now Waukegan, where the commissioners had purchased a section of land from the state. Lake County's first courthouse was built on part of that land in 1844 and the remainder was sold to pay for the $4,000 construction cost.

The county's first courthouse was used solely for court sessions and the jail, but in 1853, commissioners constructed a building to accommodate county administration offices and house records. When fire damaged the courthouse on October 19, 1875, the county records were saved because they were in the adjacent building.

After the fire, proposals were made to move the county seat to Highland Park, Libertyville or another site in central Lake County. The county commissioners, however, decided to rebuild in Waukegan. The east half of the building was reconstructed at a cost of $45,000. In 1895, the first jail building was added to the government complex and a west addition was added to the courthouse in 1922. By 1938, county commissioners saw a need for additional space and approved the addition of a 5th Floor. This courthouse, however, was demolished in 1967 to make room for a new high-rise administration building, which was completed with the addition of the jail in 1969 and courts in 1970.

Shortly thereafter, the Lake County Board commissioned the construction of a multi-faceted justice facility and ground was broken in 1986 for the Robert H. Babcox Justice Center, named in memory of Sheriff Babcox, who served as Lake County Sheriff from 1982-1988. The justice center, which houses the county jail, work release program, sheriff's administration offices and three courtrooms, was finished in 1989 at a cost of $29.6 million.

Additional county government facilities have been built or expanded throughout Lake County, including the Coroner's Office, Health Department/Community Health Center facilities, Division of Transportation, Public Works and Winchester House. Lake County government services extend throughout the county's 470 square miles (1,200 km2).

The historic Half Day Inn, a tavern/restaurant, was constructed in 1843. This structure, once located at the corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Rte. 45/ Olde Half Day Road, had long been the oldest structure in Lake County (older than the Casper Ott Cabin) until it was demolished in 2007 (in the eyes of some residents unnecessarily) to make way for retail space, condominiums, and a retention pond.


USA Lake County, Illinois age pyramid

2000 census age pyramid for Lake County.

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1840 2,634
1850 14,226 440.1%
1860 18,257 28.3%
1870 21,014 15.1%
1880 21,296 1.3%
1890 24,235 13.8%
1900 34,504 42.4%
1910 55,058 59.6%
1920 74,285 34.9%
1930 104,387 40.5%
1940 121,094 16.0%
1950 179,097 47.9%
1960 293,656 64.0%
1970 382,638 30.3%
1980 440,372 15.1%
1990 516,418 17.3%
2000 644,356 24.8%
2010 703,462 9.2%

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 644,356 people, 216,297 households, and 163,953 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,440 people per square mile (556/km²). There were 225,919 housing units at an average density of 505 per square mile (195/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 80.11% White, 6.94% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 3.90% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 6.72% from other races, and 2.01% from two or more races. 14.39% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 17.0% were of German, 9.0% Irish, 7.2% Polish, 6.4% Italian and 5.0% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 78.7% spoke English, 12.9% Spanish and 1.0% Russian as their first language.

The Census estimates of 2005 showed Lake County with 68.6% of its residents being non-Hispanic whites, 6.8% African American and 5.5% Asian. 18.2% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.[3]

According to the 2000 census there were 216,297 households out of which 42.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.20% were married couples living together, 9.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.20% were non-families. 19.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.88 and the average family size was 3.33.

In the county the population was spread out with 29.40% under the age of 18, 8.90% from 18 to 24, 31.60% from 25 to 44, 21.60% from 45 to 64, and 8.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 101.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.30 males. Waukegan and North Chicago account for 20% of the county's population.

The median income for a household in the county was $66,973, and the median income for a family was $76,424 (these figures had risen to $76,940 and $88,851 respectively as of a 2007 estimate[4]). Males had a median income of $50,789 versus $33,458 for females. The per capita income for the county was $32,102. About 4.00% of families and 5.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.00% of those under age 18 and 4.80% of those age 65 or over. The 2000 Census reported that Lake County had the second median highest household income of any county in the state, behind DuPage County.


Satellite image of Lake county

A satellite view of the Lake County district

According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 1,367.95 square miles (3,543.0 km2), of which 447.56 square miles (1,159.2 km2) (or 32.72%) is land and 920.39 square miles (2,383.8 km2) (or 67.28%) is water,[5] much of it in Lake Michigan

State parksEdit

Lakes Edit

Besides Lake Michigan, lakes in the county include:

Forest preserves and natural areasEdit

Lake County's forest preserves and natural areas are administered by the Lake County Forest Preserves district. These facilities include traditional nature preserves, such as the Ryerson Conservation Area, as well as golf courses and historic homes, such as the Adlai Stevenson historic home.[6] A long north-south string of the preserves in Lake County, including Half Day Woods, Old School Forest Preserve, Independence Grove, and Van Patten Woods, form the Des Plaines River Greenway, which contains the Des Plaines River Trail, a popular place for walking, running, and biking.

Adjacent countiesEdit

1 Boundary lies entirely in Lake Michigan.

Major highways Edit

Townships Edit

The county is divided into eighteen townships.

Antioch TownshipZion TownshipBenton TownshipNewport TownshipLake Villa TownshipGrant TownshipAvon TownshipWarren TownshipWaukegan TownshipWauconda TownshipFremont TownshipLibertyville TownshipShields TownshipCuba TownshipEla TownshipVernon TownshipWest Deerfield TownshipMoraine TownshipMap of Lake County Illinois showing townships
About this image

Lake County townships (clickable)

Township Population (2000)
Waukegan 92,805
Vernon 65,355
Warren 59,424
Avon 54,957
Libertyville 48,904
Shields 43,382
Ela 39,688
Moraine 34,538
Lake Villa 33,721
West Deerfield 31,794
Fremont 23,955
Zion 22,866
Antioch 21,879
Benton 17,413
Grant 17,397
Wauconda 16,387
Cuba 15,749
Newport 4,142

Cities, villages and census-designated places Edit

Cities Edit

Name Incorporation year Population (2000) Additional information
Waukegan 1829 87,901 -
North Chicago 1895 35,918 -
Highland Park 1869 31,365 -
Zion 1901 22,866 -
Lake Forest 1861 20,059 -
Park City 1958 6,637 -
Highwood 1887 4,143 -

Villages Edit

Name Incorporation year Population (2000) Additional information
Buffalo Grove 1958 45,000 Partly in Cook County.
Mundelein 1909 30,935 -
Gurnee 1928 28,834 -
Round Lake Beach 1937 25,859 -
Libertyville 1882 21,760 -
Vernon Hills 1958 20,120 -
Grayslake 1895 18,506 -
Deerfield 1903 18,420 Partly in Cook County.
Lake Zurich 1896 18,104 -
Lindenhurst 1956 12,539 -
Barrington 1865 10,168 Partly in Cook County
Beach Park 1988 10,072 -
Wauconda 1877 9,448 -
Fox Lake 1907 9,178 Partly in McHenry County.
Antioch 1892 8,788 -
Island Lake 1952 8,153 Partly in McHenry County.
Long Grove 1956 6,735 -
Winthrop Harbor 1901 6,670 -
Lincolnshire 1957 6,108 -
Lake Bluff 1895 6,056 -
Round Lake Park 1947 6,038 -
Hawthorn Woods 1958 6,002 -
Lake Villa 1901 5,864 -
Round Lake 1909 5,842 -
Fox River Grove 1919 4,862 Primarily in McHenry County.
Lake Barrington 1959 4,757 -
Barrington Hills 1957 3,915 Partly in Cook, Kane and McHenry County.
Riverwoods 1959 3,843 -
Green Oaks 1960 3,572 -
Kildeer 1958 3,460 -
Deer Park 1957 3,102 Partly in Cook County.
Wadsworth 1962 3,083 -
North Barrington 1959 2,918 -
Lakemoor 1938 2,788 Partly in McHenry County.
Hainesville 1846 2,129 -
Bannockburn 1924 1,429 -
Third Lake 1959 1,355 -
Round Lake Heights 1960 1,347 -
Tower Lakes 1966 1,310 -
Port Barrington 1969 788 Partly in McHenry County.
Mettawa 1960 367 -
Old Mill Creek 1959 251 -
Indian Creek 1958 194 -
Volo 1993 180 -

Unincorporated communities Edit

Name Population (2000) Additional information
Gages Lake 10,415 -
Ingleside 9,286 -
Grandwood Park 4,521 -
Long Lake 3,356 -
Venetian Village 3,082 -
Prairie View 3,079 -
Fox Lake Hills 2,561 -
Channel Lake 1,785 -
Forest Lake 1,530 -
Lake Catherine 1,490 -
Ivanhoe  ? -
Knollwood  ? -
Rondout  ? -
Russell  ? -
Wildwood  ? -

Sports Edit

The following sports teams play in Lake County:

- Lake County Fielders baseball

Sites of interest Edit

Raging Bull (Six Flags Great America)

Six Flags Great America

Amusement ParksEdit


Shopping Edit

Notable natives and residents Edit

Notable people who are natives of or have lived in Lake County include:

Lake County in popular culture Edit

The most notable movies which filmed through the years at Lake county are:

  • Ordinary People (1980) - the movie was filmed in Highwood, Highland Park, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Northbrook and Wilmette.
  • Class (1983) - the movie was filmed at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest and other locations in Chicago.
  • Risky Business (1983) - the movie was filmed in Deerfield, Highland Park and Skokie.
  • Chain Reaction (1996) - the movie has scenes filmed at a famous Lake Bluff estate and was largely shot in downtown Chicago.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ Lake County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  6. ^ "Lake County Forest Preserves". 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  • Forstall, Richard L. (editor) (1996). Population of states and counties of the United States: 1790 to 1990 : from the twenty-one decennial censuses. United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Population Division. ISBN 0-934213-48-8. 

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 42°26′N 87°47′W / 42.43, -87.78

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Lake County, Illinois. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.