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Frankfort Village


Frankfort Village Hall is located at 432 West Nebraska Street, Frankfort IL 60423; phone: 815-469-2177.

Beginnings [1]

Frankfort's past is rich with a history that is based on the honesty and hard work of many generations. Research of Frankfort has found that a great emphasis has always been placed upon Frankfort's rich heritage and sound land use planning. First inhabited by Native Americans, including the Pottawatomie, Sac and Fox tribes, Frankfort was used as a conduit between the Des Plaines and St. Joseph Rivers. Originally, the area was part of the Virginia Territory before the French signed a treaty with Manitoqua, the Pottawatomie Chief, for land in the Prestwick area.

The first pioneers came to Frankfort in the early 1830's by means of the Des Plaines River from the southwest and by wagon from the east along the Sauk Trail, a roadway that still exists today. William Rice, the first non-native settler, made a permanent settlement in Frankfort in 1831. While the first pioneers, coming mainly from the New England Colonies, were mostly of English and Scottish descent, German settlers made the Village of Frankfort a reality.

Later in the 1840's German Settlers migrated from the Pennsylvania area to Frankfort. They had fled harsh conditions in their homeland by coming to America and proved to be very industrious and experienced farmers as they soon bought most of the fertile farm land from the "Yankees", who were more inclined to provide services for local needs. Establishing both ownership and pride in the area, the German settlers implemented the first system of resident concern for local lands, which has been maintained ever since.

In 1850, Frankfort Township was named by Frederick Chapel after his native city, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. A few years later in 1855, the Joliet and Northern Indiana Railroad, later known as the Michigan Central Railroad, built a line through an area that is presently the Historic District of the Village. Sherman Bowen, an officer of the rail line, owned eighty acres and named the surrounding area Frankfort Station. On this he laid out a plat for commercial and residential development, beginning the strong tradition of planning solid developments within Frankfort.

In 1879, the Village of Frankfort was incorporated, dropped the word Station from its name, and elected John McDonald as the first Village President. Along with the establishment of the government, among the first undertakings of the newly formed administration was the institution of land use policies. Early plats that were recorded indicated a traditional grid pattern with residential uses surrounding the business district and railroad line and additional land provided for schools and public open spaces.

For the first part of its existence, Frankfort was a small farming town created and maintained by its settlers. After establishing a government, Frankfort continued to grow comfortably, always one step ahead of development, to what it is today. Located on the urban fringe of Chicago, Frankfort has slowly transitioned into an attractive and well-planned suburban community dedicated to its residents and 1890's heritage, thanks mainly to the careful planning and dedication of its ancestors.

  1. Village of Frankfort, Comprehensive Plan Update, August, 2004, prepared by Teska Associates; www.villageoffranfort.com, accessed January 2008
**Information is curated from a variety of sources and, while deemed reliable, is not guaranteed.
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