Des Plaines City
Des Plaines City Hall is located at 1420 Miner Street, Des Plaines, IL 60016; 847-391-5300.
The Des Plaines River Valley was occupied by the Potawatomi, Ottawa, and Chippewa Indians immediately prior to the arrival of the first settlers from the Eastern United States during the second quarter of the nineteenth century. Following the Treaty of Chicago in 1833, pioneers from New England and New York, as well as German immigrants seeking economic and political freedom, arrived in the area in large numbers during the 1840's and 1850's.
The present site of Des Plaines was established in the 1850's by the Illinois and Wisconsin Land Company, a group of land speculators engaged in building a railroad from Chicago to Janesville, Wisconsin. In 1857 when the Chicago, Saint Paul, and Fond du Lac Railroad introduced daily train service between Janesville and Chicago, a subdivision plot was recorded for the "Town of Rand", named for Socrates Rand, one of the first settlers in the area. The railroad, which was purchased by the Chicago and North Western in 1859, named its station in the area "Des Plaines" after the Des Plaines River Valley, and in 1869 the subdivision name Town of Rand was changed to Des Plaines.
Des Plaines was incorporated in 1869 and within one year the population was recorded as 800 people. Des Plaines was officially organized in 1874 with the election of the first town board. Frank Whitcomb, a local brick manufacturer, was the first town President.
In addition to the railroad, local farmers were drawn to the steam powered grist mill next to the Des Plaines River in what is now downtown Des Plaines. Constructed by the railroad developers in 1852 to cut ties from the forested belt of burr oak and hickory along the river, the mill was purchased by Socrates Rand who converted it to a grist mill. It has since been demolished. The downtown business area of Des Plaines began to grow on either side of the tracks near the mill and at that point where trains would naturally stop to take on water.
Des Plaines was a thriving community when in 1925 voters approved a proposal to adopt the present City form of government with H.T. Bennet as the first Mayor. After that period, the City annexed areas to the south, known as Orchard Place and the City of Riverview, in order to increase its corporate limits.
Following World War II, movement of people from Chicago as well as the development of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport signaled a great period of growth for Des Plaines. Population jumped from 9,000 people prior to 1940 to over 50,000 after 1950.
During the second half of the twentieth century, Des Plaines attracted industrial, office, and warehouse/distribution facilities due to its proximity to O'Hare Airport and the interstate highway system. The City also experienced an increase in its housing stock with many single-family detached units and some multi-family units built during the 1960's through the 1990's. At century's end, the City's downtown district was the home for multi-story condominium development.