Historical Markers in
Lake County, Illinois

Available on Amazon
Abraham Lincoln, one of the most famous presidents in U.S. history, spent much of his early political career in Illinois. He served in the Illinois state legislature and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois in 1846.
Lake County, Illinois is located in the northeastern part of the state, approximately 40 miles north of downtown Chicago. Known for its natural beauty and numerous lakes, the county has a rich history dating back thousands of years to the Native American tribes that first inhabited the area.

The earliest recorded history of Lake County begins with the Potawatomi and Miami tribes, who used the land for hunting and gathering. European settlers arrived in the late 17th century, primarily traders and missionaries seeking to establish relationships with the Native Americans. The region remained sparsely populated until the 1830s when the U.S. government opened it up for settlement.

In 1836, Lake County was officially established, named for the numerous lakes that dot its landscape. The county's growth was slow at first, but the arrival of the railroad in the 1850s sparked urban development and brought an influx of new residents. Industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation flourished, and the county became an important hub for trade and commerce.

Lake County experienced significant growth and expansion throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The establishment of the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in the 1920s brought economic stability and employment opportunities to the area. Additionally, the construction of highways and the growth of suburbanization led to a population boom in the post-World War II era.

Today, Lake County is a thriving suburban region with a diverse population and a strong economy. It is known for its high quality of life, excellent schools, and recreational opportunities offered by its beautiful lakes and parks. With its rich history and ongoing growth, Lake County continues to be a desirable place to live, work, and visit.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Lake County, Illinois.

  • 1837 - Lake County is created in the state of Illinois.
  • 1839 - The first permanent settlement is established in the Village of Little Fort, later known as Waukegan.
  • 1859 - The Illinois State Legislature designates Waukegan as the County Seat.
  • 1874 - Lake Villa Township is established.
  • 1893 - The Great Chicago Fire leads to an influx of people and economic growth in Lake County.
  • 1909 - Naval Station Great Lakes is established in North Chicago.
  • 1934 - The Lake County Forest Preserve District is created to protect and preserve open spaces.
  • 1958 - The National Safety Council relocates its headquarters to Lake Forest.
  • 1975 - Six Flags Great America amusement park opens in Gurnee.
  • 1994 - The Lake County Discovery Museum opens in Wauconda.