Neighborhood Stories : Far North/Northwest Suburbs

Neighborhood Stories

Vernon Hills, Libertyville, Gurnee, Mundelein, Lake Bluff

To the north of Chicago and its nearby suburbs are a number of fast-growing communities in Lake County. The diverse region features reasonable starter homes in newer subdivisions as well as magnificent country estates.

Some communities are relatively new while others boast colorful histories. Vernon Hills, incorporated in l958, began as an outgrowth of a housing division and is now home to nearly 20,000 people. The Village of Mundelein, 35 miles northwest of downtown Chicago, was first inhabited by the Potowatami Indians who were trading with French fur traders as early as 1650. Their first permanent settlers arrived in the 1830s. Through the years, Mundelein has had five names, including, briefly, Rockefeller, adopting its present name in l924. Further north, in what is now Gurnee, early settlers came to the area in the late 1830s by foot, horseback and oxen-drawn Prairie Schooners. Libertyville was founded in the early 1830s and incorporated in 1882.

The far north communities offer good schools and recreational facilities as well as highly heralded shopping opportunities. Gurnee is home to the popular Six Flags Great America and the vast Gurnee Mills outlet mall. Hawthorne Center in Vernon Hills houses 170 retailers. Libertyville has a number of shopping areas and a colorful Heritage District with a variety of specialty shops.

At least three synagogues, along with early childhood centers as well as a religious schools and adult education activities, serve the far north area. Area residents have access to a full range of Jewish Federation agency services offered nearby and in other northwest and north shore communities.



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