Located 20 miles Northwest of the Chicago Loop, Eastern farmers established homesteads here in 1833, after the United States signed a treaty with the Potawatomi tribe that resulted in their leaving the territory. The settlers cleared and farmed the land for about ten years – but many of them then moved further west for larger land claims. They were replaced by newly arrived immigrants, who formed the roots of a small rural community close to what became the actual downtown of Mount Prospect. By 1854, the Illinois & Wisconsin Railroad ran through the town, but did not set up a stop there until 1886. This provided an impetus for remaining Eastern families who wanted access to broader markets to relocate to nearby railroad towns of Arlington Heights and Des Plaines. The Mount Prospect area did not prosper until the railroad station was established. In 1900, the farming community was still short of the 300 people required for incorporation – but in May 1917, the village immediately incorporated, when a newborn infant became the 300th resident!
William Busse, a local store owner, served as first village president from 1917 to 1929, and Mount Prospect experienced both business and population growth that increased the number of residents to 1225 by 1930. A small industrial district appeared north of the railroad, that included a creamery, farm machine retailers, a hardware store, coal yard and a general store.
Post World War II expansion was similar to neighboring communities, with a 370% population increase in the 1950’s. In this period of growth, the Randhurst Corporation opened an enclosed and air-conditioned shopping mall in 1962. The village also attracted new industry and light manufacturing with the establishment of the Kensington Center in 1974. Although village leaders did continue to promote some light industry, they maintained Mount Prospect as a primarily residential middle-class community. Most residents work for large corporations in the area, or commute to Chicago. Revitalization of downtown Mount Prospect began in 1992, with the aim of “keeping the small in small town” and providing all key services to residents. This included a complete reconstruction of the Randhurst Center as an outdoor mall.
Mount Prospect boasts 400 acres of parks and recreation facilities for residents to enjoy. Area park districts provide year round facilities and activities that include pools, golf courses, sled hills, skating rinks, playgrounds, ball fields, tennis courts and plenty of programming options for all ages. Additionally there are over 60,000 acres of Cook County Forest Preserves nearby for nature lovers. Other resources include the state-of-the-art Mount Prospect Public Library, which offers children and youth programming as well as adult classes and business resources. Community events include but are not limited to the following: Farmers Market on Sunday mornings from May to October, Friday Concerts on the Green, Downtown Block Party (end of July), Irish Fest, Oktoberfest and more.
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