Highland Park (Ill.)

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Highland Park (Ill.)

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Dates of existence

1869-

History

On March 11, 1869, the Illinois legislature granted a charter to the City of Highland Park. The city was laid out in four wards, and a mayor and eight aldermen were elected on April 13. Highland Park’s first city council comprised Mayor Hawkins and Aldermen George Hammer, Thomas S. Dickerson, Milton H. Baker, Henry Mowers, George Grussing, William Osterman, Jacob S. Curtis and A.O. Fay. Mr. Fay was the first city treasurer; George Williams served as city clerk; Lucius Field, police magistrate and Jonas Steers, city assessor.

Highland Park was within the district designated in 1831 as Cook County. By March, 1837, the northern section of the county comprised the 350 inhabitants required for independent government. Highland Park was included in Lake precinct of McHenry County until March 1, 1839 when Lake County was established east of the Fox River. Early settlers, primarily Irish and German began arriving in the early 1840s, establishing farms in the open countryside west of Green Bay Road. The construction of the Chicago and Milwaukee Railroad in 1856 brought new opportunities. The financial panic of 1873 brought a halt to the area’s development, and not until the 1880s the City restarted expanding economically. The population, however, continued growing from 1,154 inhabitants in 1880 to 2,163 in 1890. The creation of a literary society in 1874 that would lead weekly lectures on current issues warranted the necessity for a reading room and a library. In 1887 the city council favored a petition for a public reading room. Miss Marsalene Green was appointed the first librarian in April, 1888. The Andrew Carnegie Library served Highland Park from 1906 until 1931 when the limestone building at Laurel and St. Johns Avenues was opened to the public.

The police force was established as one of the first departments in 1869 when James Ayres was appointed marshal and Peter Hoffman was employed as the lone patrolman. During the extensive service of Chief Edward Moroney, 1919-1940, a police station was established at the City Hall; a radio system was installed at the station, and squad cars were equipped with two-way radio sets.

Highland Park’s first fire department consisted of six volunteers selected in 1889 by H. H. Edwards. The first official chief was Andrew Bock, appointed in 1889. A volunteer department at Ravinia was formed in 1910 and supervised by Lawrence Buck and George Wallace Carr.

The second city department originated in the 1870s when John Duffy was named superintendent of streets. The first paved streets, 1893, were Sheridan Road, Laurel and Prospect Avenues. Incandescent lamps were introduced in June of 1889 at Elisha Gray’s state. To illuminate the grounds, the men employed a wiring system consisting of paraffin and other materials which Professor Gray had been using for experiments with an electric printer.

Despite problems encountered by summer draughts and epidemics, citizens hesitated to undertake the expense of a water plant until 1893 when Archibald Fletcher was elected mayor. The sanitary sewer system has grown from three units, installed in 1893, to 60 miles of sewer mains which connect with five disposal plants. Prior to 1919 the collection and disposal of sewage was handled by separate sewer districts which employed such methods as partial treatment and the dumping of raw sewage into Lake Michigan.

Highland Park’s Board of Health originated in 1879 when a special meeting was called to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. James McDonald, a merchant, and Dr. Warren Sweetland, a pharmacist, were among the first board members. By March, 1837, the northern section of the county comprised the 350 inhabitants required for independent government. Highland Park was included in Lake precinct of McHenry County until March 1, 1839 when Lake County was established east of the Fox River. Early settlers, primarily Irish and German began arriving in the early 1840s, establishing farms in the open countryside west of Green Bay Road. The construction of the Chicago and Milwaukee Railroad in 1856 brought new opportunities. On March 11, 1869, the Illinois legislature granted a charter to the City of Highland Park. The city was laid out in four wards, and a mayor and eight aldermen were elected on April 13. Highland Park’s first city council comprised Mayor Hawkins and Aldermen George Hammer, Thomas S. Dickerson, Milton H. Baker, Henry Mowers, George Grussing, William Osterman, Jacob S. Curtis and A.O. Fay. Mr. Fay was the first city treasurer; George Williams served as city clerk; Lucius Field, police magistrate and Jonas Steers, city assessor. The financial panic of 1873 brought a halt to the area’s development, and not until the 1880s the City restarted expanding economically. The population, however, continued growing from 1,154 inhabitants in 1880 to 2,163 in 1890. The creation of a literary society in 1874 that would lead weekly lectures on current issues warranted the necessity for a reading room and a library. In 1887 the city council favored a petition for a public reading room. Miss Marsalene Green was appointed the first librarian in April, 1888. The Andrew Carnegie Library served Highland Park from 1906 until 1931 when the limestone building at Laurel and St. Johns Avenues was opened to the public.

The second city department originated in the 1870s when John Duffy was named superintendent of streets. The first paved streets, 1893, were Sheridan Road, Laurel and Prospect Avenues. Incandescent lamps were introduced in June of 1889 at Elisha Gray’s state. To illuminate the grounds, the men employed a wiring system consisting of paraffin and other materials which Professor Gray had been using for experiments with an electric printer.
Despite problems encountered by summer draughts and epidemics, citizens hesitated to undertake the expense of a water plant until 1893 when Archibald Fletcher was elected mayor. The sanitary sewer system has grown from three units, installed in 1893, to 60 miles of sewer mains which connect with five disposal plants. Prior to 1919 the collection and disposal of sewage was handled by separate sewer districts which employed such methods as partial treatment and the dumping of raw sewage into Lake Michigan.

Highland Park’s Board of Health originated in 1879 when a special meeting was called to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. James McDonald, a merchant, and Dr. Warren Sweetland, a pharmacist, were among the first board members.

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