Located 23 miles northwest of the Chicago Loop, Arlington Heights lies in both Cook and Lake counties, in the Southwest corner of Wheeling Township. When the General Land Office began selling land here in 1835, most of the buyers were Easterners. In 1853, William Dunton, a New Yorker, persuaded the Illinois & Wisconsin Railroad to set up a stop here, and began to lay out a plan for a town named Dunton. By the late 1850’s, the area had become noted for its truck farms, that sent their dairy products and vegetables to Chicago via the railroad. The town was incorporated as Arlington Heights in 1887, when its population numbered about 1000. Most inhabitants were farmers, but they were joined by others who worked in Chicago proper, for Arlington Heights was an early commuter suburb.
By the turn of the twentieth century, Arlington Heights continued on a path of slow growth, retaining a good many farms and greenhouses through to the end of World War II. And by then, Arlington Heights was also known for its race track, founded in 1927 by California millionaire, H.D. Curly Brown. A great population explosion took place in the 1950’s and 1960’s, with the spread of both the Chicago economy and automobile ownership. The formerly isolated depot stop found itself part of a continuously built up area stretching from Lake Michigan to the Fox River.
Arlington Heights has experienced a recent boom in development of condos, restaurants and other businesses in the revitalized Central Business District. Entertainment venues include the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, which opened in 1999. The Centre includes live entertainment as well as arts education and provides a full schedule of events. The facility includes a 350 seat theatre, ballroom and classrooms for music and theatre education. Another village resource of note is the nationally award winning Arlington Heights Memorial Library, which provides services such as a traveling bookmobile for home bound residents and live homework help for students Grade 4 – 12 on the library’s web site through Tutor.com.
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