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Park Ridge, Illinois aka Pennyville

Updated on February 22, 2014

The beginning

The Pottawatomie Indians were the first to claim this area for its fertile land and natural resources. The French explorers used it as a route between the Des Plaines and Chicago rivers and in 1833 the Pottawatomie Indians signed a Treaty of Chicago leaving any territory west of the Mississippi river to the settlers.

The first settlers to arrive were from New England and New York, others from England, Wales and Scotland came to find a better way of live. The community called their Germany town Pennyville after George Penny who owned the brickworks factory along with Robert Meachem. The named was later changed by Mr. Penny himself to Brickton the area was incorporated as a village with the name Park Ridge in 1873.

Civil War Memorial Maine Cemetery
Civil War Memorial Maine Cemetery | Source

New Growth

In 1893 they built a eight room grammar school and the volunteer fire department was formed. The first full-time police officer was appointed in 1898. In 1902 the library and high school district was formed, in 1910 Andrew Carnegie donated $7,500 to fund a library. Park Ridge was incorporate as a city in 1910.

Most of the growth of Park Ridge happened between 1945 and 1975. Ranch style homes began to spring up at a rapid pace. O'Hare airportwas planned to be the main airport in Chicago's future with the first commercial passenger flights starting in 1955 and an international terminal was built in 1958, a new library was built and dedicated in 1958 and the Lutheran General Hospital opened its doors in 1959.

Park Ridge Metra Station 100 S Summit Ave Park Ridge, IL  Union Pacific Northwest Line Zone C
Park Ridge Metra Station 100 S Summit Ave Park Ridge, IL Union Pacific Northwest Line Zone C | Source


Over the course of the years to follow Park Ridge was on a go and stop plan as in the 1960's and 70's the building of the expressways bought in more jobs but the1980's bought little growth, in the 1990's older, smaller home were torn down and replaced with bigger more modern homes. The biggest change came in 2002 to 2009 when the Uptown project developed retail commercial space and residential townhouses, row houses, lofts units and condominiums.

Park Ridge, Ill

Pickwick Theater and its Art Deco Facade
Pickwick Theater and its Art Deco Facade


For the tourist, Park Ridge offers many historic lankmarks as the Pickwick Theater with its Art Deco facade built in 1928, designed by Zook & McCaughey, and began its life as a vaudeville and movie house. In 1975 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and in the 1980's was used as the backdrop on the Siskel and Ebert's “At the Movies.”

The Kalo Arts Crafts Community House owned by Clara Pauline Barck Welles (1868-1965) who founded and operated the Kalo Shop, Inc. (1900-1970) that trained artisans in silversmith and jewelry and crafts.

The Clute House, where WLS Radio launched its first broadcast, Iannelli Studio on Northwest Highway where Alphonso Iannelli was a world renowned sculptor and designed the interior of Pickwick Theater.

Park Ridge Maine East High School
Park Ridge Maine East High School | Source


Park Ridge is served by elementary and middle school District 64. It consist of six public K-6 elementary schools, two area middle schools and two Catholic elementary schools. The town is also served by Maine Township High School District 207.

Park Ridge started with a population of 405, today over 38,000 people live in Park Ridge.

Park Ridge Maine South High School
Park Ridge Maine South High School | Source

Park Ridge, Ill.


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