The Village of Algonquin, IL

Welcome to the website for the Village of Algonquin!

History of Algonquin

The Village of Algonquin was settled in 1834 and incorporated in 1890, and sits in both Kane and McHenry Counties. Located approximately 47 miles northwest of the Chicago Loop, the Village has seen significant growth over the last decade. Throughout development and growth of the community, the Village aims to maintain its friendly and community-oriented atmosphere.

 
Pottowatomi Indians originally inhabited the Algonquin area. Algonquin has a rich history; in 1834, the first settler, Samuel Gillilan, arrived in this area from Virginia. Fellow settlers Dr. Cornish, Dr. Plumleigh, Eli Henderson, Alex Dawson, and William Jackson soon followed. Often referred to as the "Gem of the Fox River Valley," Algonquin is nestled in the foothills of the Fox River Valley. In its early years, residents of the village had difficulty finding a name. Denny's Ferry, Cornish Ferry, Cornishville, and Osceola were all considered. Finally, the town fathers met and selected the name "Algonquin" on the suggestion of Mr. Samuel Edwards from the name of a ship he once owned. The name Algonquin became official on December 23, 1847.
 
The town saw some new growth with the construction of the railroad in 1855, which provided another means for farmers and producers of dairy goods to transport their products to Chicago markets. On February 25, 1890, Algonquin residents voted to incorporate as a Village. Along with its commercial trade, the town also became a popular summer vacation spot for Chicago residents.
 
A Village Hall was erected in downtown Algonquin (2 S. Main Street) in 1906, and was constructed by Blair and Summer of Janesville, WI for $6,848. The structure, which was completed on January 31, 1907, initially housed the sprinkling wagon and fire department, the jail, council chambers, clerk's office, and a vault for records. This building served municipal officials in various capacities (including a library, school, and municipal offices) until they moved to the current Village Hall, located at 2200 Harnish Drive, in 1996. Historic Village Hall now serves as a community facility and meeting center.
 
A highlight in Algonquin's diverse history is the period from 1906 to 1913, when the Algonquin Hill Climbs took place. In those days, if an automobile could successfully climb the hills of Algonquin, that machine immediately met with the stamp of public approval. The event had national participation, and the "Algonquin Cup" was a very prestigious and coveted award. The two hills used were Phillips Hill (Route 31 to the cemetery), and Perry Hill (south of town, now Lundstrom Lane). When use of Perry Hill was discontinued, the Village built a new road for the climbs in the vicinity of what is now known as Huntington Drive Hill. A new park, christened "Hill Climb Park," located at Circle Drive and Huntington Drive, opened in 2004. This park offers recreational opportunities and includes interpretive signage and other features in recognition of Algonquin's historic hill climbs.
 
A portion of this history was excerpted from "History of Algonquin (1834-1994)," prepared by the Algonquin Historic Commission as an addendum to the comprehensive plan of the Village of Algonquin. For more information on Algonquin's fascinating history, contact the Algonquin Historic Commission at historiccommission@algonquin.org or attend one of their meetings.