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Highwood, Illinois

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Highwood, Illinois
Location in Lake County, Illinois
Location in Lake County, Illinois
Location of Illinois in the United States
Location of Illinois in the United States
Coordinates: 42°12′19″N 87°48′44″WCoordinates42°12′19″N 87°48′44″W
Country United States
State Illinois
County Lake
 • Mayor Charles Pecaro
 • Total 0.72 sq mi (1.87 km2)
 • Land 0.72 sq mi (1.87 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
 • Total 5,405
 • Estimate 
 • Density 7,255.56/sq mi (2,800.65/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP Code(s)
Area code(s) 847
FIPS code 17-34865
Wikimedia Commons Highwood, Illinois
Website www.cityofhighwood.com

Highwood is a city in Moraine Township, Lake County, Illinois, United States, located between Chicago and Kenosha. As of the 2010 census, the population was 5,405,[3] and in 2018 the population was estimated to be 5,272.[4] The city is just south of the Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve and is part of the group of communities known as the North Shore.[5] It is known for its entertainment, restaurants, and bars. According to the Guinness World Records it has the most bars per mile.[6]

Waukegan Avenue, a main thoroughfare in the Business District, is lined with shops and restaurants with outdoor cafes in summer. (August 2017)


Highwood is located in southeastern Lake County at 42°12′19″N 87°48′44″W,[7] on a ridge 100 feet (30 m) above the elevation of Lake Michigan.

According to the 2010 census, Highwood has a total area of 0.71 square miles (1.84 km2), all land.[8]


Originally, the land was owned by the Potawatomi until the 1833 when it was ceded to the United States through the Treaty of Chicago.[9] The first non-Native American settled in the town in 1846. In 1851 Highwood became the headquarter location of the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad, which ran parallel to the Chicago and North Western Railway's and is now know today as Metra's Union Pacific/North line. Thomas Curley suggested the name High Woods because the land was the highest ground between Chicago and Milwaukee and was covered with trees.

In 1886 civil and labor unrest in Chicago eventually led to the Haymarket Riot. Chicago businessmen felt that having a military presence near the city would help alleviate tensions within the city and on November 8, 1887 purchased Camp Highwood. This land would come to host members of the Sixth Infantry Regiment. On February 27, 1888 Camp Highwood was officially named Fort Sheridan in honor of General Philip Sheridan for his ability to maintain order after the Chicago Fire of 1871.

Highwood, as it appeared south of Washington Avenue in 1946. Much of the city was already densely populated, although the southeast corner of the city appears to still be farmland. Much of present-day Highland Park west of the city was open prairie and farmland.

Highwood provided several business and employment opportunities and following the fire, many of those who lost their home and a wave of immigrants settled into the town. Highwood can also give credit to much of their economic success to the Chicago and Milwaukee Electric Railway. However, with increased transportation it also caused a sudden rise in gambling dens and illegal "blind-pig" taverns which catered to off duty soldiers. This eventually provoked federal authorities to enact the "Highwood Quadrangle" which prohibited the sale of liquor within 1 1/8th miles of the army base.

Fort Sheridan acted as an entertainment center for the town and on July 18, 1888 the trustees voted to change the name from Highwood to the Village of Fort Sheridan to capitalize on its military glamour. However, 8 years later in 1894 the name was changed back to Highwood due to resident frustration and confusion with postal misrouting.[10] The city's business district became filled with bars and taverns which led Theodore Roosevelt to call the city "one of the toughest towns in America" [11]

In the 1920s a large number of Northern Italian immigrants (originally from Modena) moved to Highwood, many from Dalzell, a coal mining town in Bureau Co to seek jobs. The National Prohibition of Liquor at the time also attracted boot-leggers who smuggled large scales of liquor into the city. The fight to prevent Highwood from being known as a whisky den largely brought the community together.

During the Great Depression many residents came together to support the town and each other, and while civil service progress declined a sense of community deepened.

Following the start of World War II Fort Sheridan was used as an active training ground. By the end of the war Highwood had experienced another wave of immigration, this time a majority of immigrants coming from Europe and Mexico. Since then Highwood's business have continued to flourish and the city has become the destination for North Shore dining and nightlife. The city frequently hosts festivals for residents known as Celebrate Highwood which is hosted by the city chambers.


Highwood operates an aldermanic-city form of government.[12]

City Council meetings occur every first and third Tuesday of the month 6:00p (committee of the whole). Council meetings are also available for public view online via YouTube.

City Council Members
Position Name Term
Mayor Charlie Pecaro 2017-2021
Alderman Chris Grice 2017-2021
Alderman Eric Falberg 2017-2021
Alderman James W. Hospodarsky 2017-2021
Alderman Andy Peterson 2015-2019
Alderman Mike Fiore 2015-2019
Alderman M. Brad Slavin 2015-2019


Highwood Metra Station located within the downtown of the city

The main highway to Highwood is U.S. Route 41, which connects Chicago to Milwaukee. Commuter rail is available at two different Metra stations locations within the city (Fort Sheridan and Highwood). Highwood is also located near the Highland Park and Lake Forest stations which all located on the Union Pacific / North Line which begins in Kenosha and ends in the downtown area of Chicago at Ogilvie Transportation Center.

The city is approximately 22 miles (35 km) from O'Hare International Airport and 31 miles (50 km) from Midway International Airport.


Highwood residents are served by the Township High School District 113 and the North Shore School District 112. Oak Terrace School, which is a part of the North Shore School District 112 school district services provides grades K - 5th. Northwood Junior High School, also a part of North Shore School District 112, serves 6th - 8th grade. Highland Park High School serves as secondary education to the residents of Highwood. However, it is a part of the Township High School District 113.

Saint James School which serviced grades pre-K through 8 was a Catholic private institution. In 2015, St James School closed permanently due to a lack of funding and low enrollment.[13]


Once the movie theater for troops stationed at the army base, it is now the studio for Julie Rotblatt-Amrany and Omri Amrany, who are best known for the sculpture of Michael Jordan outside of the United Center

The Don Skrinar Recreation Center is a public facility located within the center of downtown Highwood. The city is also a host to the Midwest Young Artists (MYA) facilities and The Performer's School. The Fine Art Studio of ROTBLATT-AMRANY which is owned by Julie Rotblatt Amrany is located within the old village of Fort Sheridan.

Arts and Crafts bungalows, such as these on North Avenue, are found throughout the city.
Brick commercial store fronts, such as these on Green Bay Road, often have offices or apartments above.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 451
1900 1,575 249.2%
1910 1,219 −22.6%
1920 1,446 18.6%
1930 3,590 148.3%
1940 3,707 3.3%
1950 3,813 2.9%
1960 4,499 18.0%
1970 4,973 10.5%
1980 5,455 9.7%
1990 5,331 −2.3%
2000 4,143 −22.3%
2010 5,405 30.5%
2019 (est.) 5,224 [2] −3.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[14]

2000 census[edit]

At the 2000 census there were 4,143 people in 1,555 households, including 933 families, in the city. The population density was 6,552.1 people per square mile (2,539.1/km2). There were 1,604 housing units at an average density of 2,536.7 per square mile (983.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 43.14% White, 2.15% African American, 0.58% Native American, 2.12% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 17.19% from other races, and 4.78% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 38.23%.[15]

Of the 1,555 households 29.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.2% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.0% were non-families. 34.1% of households were one person and 13.0% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.31.

The age distribution was 23.3% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 33.8% from 25 to 44, 16.6% from 45 to 64, and 15.7% 65 or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.0 males.

The median household income was $42,993 and the median family income was $53,000. Males had a median income of $30,560 versus $27,560 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,138. These income statistics are significantly lower than in surrounding towns. About 4.3% of families and 7.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.9% of those under age 18 and 5.2% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census[edit]

At the 2010 census, Highwood's resident population was 5,405. The median resident age was 32.8.[16]

The racial makeup of the city was 69.64% White (38.5% Non-Hispanic White), 1.54% Black or African American, 2.24% Asian, 0.31% Native American, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 22.92% of some other race and 3.33% of two or more races. 56.87% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).[17]


Highwood was settled in 1887 and was largely developed before the post-World War II building boom that led to much of the suburban development that characterizes Lake County. Therefore, the city has a large collection of pre-war residential and commercial structures that reflect the architecture popular during that period, including neo-classical, Italianate, and arts and crafts bungalow styles. Also common in the business district are brick commercial "store front" structures with commercial businesses on the ground floor and residential apartments above.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  3. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (DP-1), Highwood city, Illinois". American FactFinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved December 19, 2019.
  4. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  5. ^ "Highwood, IL". www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org. Retrieved 2019-06-19.
  6. ^ "Ft Sheridan and Highwood: A tale of two cities". Retrieved 2021-01-19.
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  8. ^ "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  9. ^ "Encyclopedia of Chicago: Highwood". Retrieved November 29,2013.
  10. ^ "Highwood Historical Society". www.highwoodhistoricalsociety.com. Retrieved 2017-03-08.
  11. ^ "Highwood, IL". www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org. Retrieved 2017-03-10.
  12. ^ "Sterling Codifiers, Inc. - City of Highwood City Code". Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  13. ^ Berkowitz, Karen. "St. James closing stirs memories of happier times". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2017-03-10.
  14. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  15. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  16. ^ "United States Census Bureau – American FactFinder". Archived from the original on 2020-02-12.
  17. ^ "Highwood, IL Population - Census 2010 and 2000 Interactive Map, Demographics, Statistics, Quick Facts - CensusViewer". censusviewer.com.
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