Located in Lake County, about 32 miles Northwest of the Chicago Loop, the Potawatomi tribe left this area following the signing of a treaty with the United States in 1829 – and Eastern farmers moved in. European immigrants followed in the 1850’s and beyond. In the early 1900’s, Chicagoans used the area for weekend excursions for hiking through the heavily wooded terrain. In 1945, Matthew and Germaine Larson purchased a tree farm located on Old McHenry Road, and in 1953 began development with sprawling ranch type homes on expansive lots. In the interests of retaining the country atmosphere and avoid removal of masses of trees, Matthew’s permission was required before any tree removal could take place, and all building materials had to obtain his approval.
The village of Hawthorn Woods consisted of 141 residents at its incorporation in 1958, which was a move to protect their environment from proposed “over development” by Chicago builder, Joseph Brickman. The upshot was a limit on lot size for any new development of a one acre minimum. The village grew to 6,002 in population by 2000, and the majority of homeowners are professionals by occupation. Development is still limited – custom built houses are the norm.
Today the Village of Hawthorn Woods owns and maintains 18 park sites that make up 173.5 total acres. The parks are available year round, with seasonal hours noted on the village web site. The park system offers a variety of amenities: open spaces, playgrounds, sports fields, walking trails, rental shelters, and abundant landscaped scenery. Of special note is the Hawthorn Woods Aquatic Center on Midlothian Road, which opens on Memorial Day weekend each year and provides numerous amenities and programs for residents. The Village of Hawthorn Woods also hosts several special events throughout the year to bring together friends, family and the community. These include but are not limited to: Bark in the Park (April), Golf Outing Fundraiser (May), Summer Concerts in the Park series, Movies in the Park, Fall Family Fest and the Holiday Craft Fair.
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