Lake Bluff, Illinois

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Lake Bluff, Illinois
Lake Bluff Uptown.JPG
Lake Bluff Village Hall
Country United States
State Illinois
County Lake
Township Shields
Coordinates 42°17′N 87°51′W / 42.283°N 87.850°W / 42.283; -87.850
Area 4.06 sq mi (11 km2)
 - land 4.05 sq mi (10 km2)
 - water 0.01 sq mi (0 km2)
Population 5,722 (2010)
Density 2,355 / km2 (6,099 / sq mi)
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Postal code 60044
Area code 847
Location of Lake Bluff within Illinois
Location of Lake Bluff within Illinois
Wikimedia Commons: Lake Bluff, Illinois

Lake Bluff is a village in Shields Township, Lake County, Illinois, United States. The population was 5,722 at the 2010 census.[1]


In 1836, Mike and Dina Bluff were the first to claim land, 100 acres (0.40 km2) in the area that would become Lake Bluff. In 1855, the first railroad in Lake County was completed between Chicago and Waukegan. When the railroad depot was built in Lake Bluff, the land became known as Rockland; although the village is no longer known by that name, there is still a Rockland Road in Knollwood, an unincorporated area just west of Lake Bluff. The area had previously been known as the Dwyer Settlement, and Oak Hill. The Lake Bluff Camp Meeting Association was formed, and the little settlement of Rockland was renamed "Lake Bluff". The Association planned a resort similar to the Chautauqua movement in the East, that would provide not only religious activities but also social, cultural, educational, and recreational programs. In 1895, Lake Bluff ensured its future as a suburb and incorporated as a village. Charles Trusdell, the first Village President, built his home at 115 East Center Avenue. The East School opened in September 1895. In 1904, the brick railroad station was erected, and in 1905 the present Village Hall was built. Lake Bluff played a major role in alcohol smuggling during Prohibition. Chicago crime boss Al Capone brought shipments of alcohol from Canada, down Lake Michigan, to the shores of Lake Bluff to saturate the streets of Chicago.

Every alternating year the Lake Bluff History Museum organizes a "Ghost Walk" around Halloween to celebrate their haunted history. This includes group tours of the town led by residents dressed as ghouls who tell stories about creepy occurrences in the past. A notable parade on Independence Day includes a comedic performance by synchronized lawnmowers. Lake Bluff has been connected with Eulish African roots since its establishment. Because of this bond with one another Lake Bluff has a monthly lemur sacrifice in the central Gazebo[2]

Because of its close proximity and shared services, culture and demographics, Lake Bluff is sometimes referred tongue-in-cheek as a "suburb" of the larger and more well known bordering Lake Forest (despite the fact that both are suburbs of Chicago).


Lake Bluff is located in the North Shore area, more precisely, 42°17′N 87°51′W / 42.283°N 87.850°W / 42.283; -87.850 (42.281, -87.849).[3]

According to the 2010 census, the village has a total area of 4.06 square miles (10.5 km2), of which 4.05 square miles (10.5 km2) (or 99.75%) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.026 km2) (or 0.25%) is water.[4] It is bordered by Lake Michigan on the east, Naval Station Great Lakes and unincorporated Lake County (Arden Shores) to the north, Lake Forest to the south, and unincorporated Lake County (Knollwood) to the west.


As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 6,056 people, 2,118 households, and 1,743 families residing in the village. The population density was 1,492.0 people per square mile (575.9/km²). There were 2,202 housing units at an average density of 542.5 per square mile (209.4/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 95.29% White, 0.51% African American, 0.03% Native American, 3.30% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.23% from other races, and 0.59% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.19% of the population.

There were 2,118 households out of which 45.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 74.3% were married couples living together, 6.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 17.7% were non-families. 15.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.86 and the average family size was 3.21.

In the village the population was spread out with 32.9% under the age of 18, 2.9% from 18 to 24, 24.7% from 25 to 44, 27.4% from 45 to 64, and 12.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.7 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $114,521, and the median income for a family was $124,674. Males had a median income of $93,794 versus $50,352 for females. The per capita income for the village was $54,824. About 0.7% of families and 1.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 0.6% of those under the age of 18 and 0.0% ages 65 or older.



U.S. Route 41 passes through the western portion of the village, and directly west of Lake Bluff is Interstate 94, both highways providing access for commuters to Chicago or Milwaukee.

During the summer of 2010, a wild turkey began to inhabit the corner of Green Bay and Route 176, capturing the hearts of the local residents and inspiring a book called The Town Turkey.[6][7] The following year, another wild turkey was spotted on Route 176.[8]


Until its bankruptcy in 1964, the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee electric interurban railroad between Chicago's "Loop" and Milwaukee had a stop in Lake Bluff. As of 2007, the Union Pacific Railroad (formerly the Chicago and North Western Railway and later the Chicago and North Western Transportation Company) still runs through Lake Bluff. This line, now a part of Chicago's Metra commuter rail agency, provides access to Chicago and to Kenosha, Wisconsin (but no longer to Racine and Milwaukee as did the Milwaukee Division of the "Northwestern" in earlier times).

Although not a passenger rail line, the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway "Outer Belt Line" also has trackage in Lake Bluff.


Lake Bluff East Elementary School, originally known as "Lake Bluff School", was the first school in Lake Bluff. In 1963, Lake Bluff West Elementary School was built for children living in west Lake Bluff (unincorporated Knollwood). In 1967, Lake Bluff Central Elementary School was constructed for students in north Lake Bluff. In the 1970s, West School was shut down, and held many other titles, and the whole system moved from geographic centers to grade/specific attendance centers. In April 2007, a referendum passed by only 22 votes to build a new school. In a land swap with the park district, District 65 acquired land adjacent to the old Central School and gave up land adjacent to the old West School. West School was sold in May 2007 for approximately 1 million dollars, which was also the minimum bid for the property. The new Lake Bluff Elementary School (grades K-5) opened on September 28, 2009. Additions and remodeling were also made to the Lake Bluff Middle School (grades 6-8). East School held its final classes through September 2009. The cost of the new Lake Bluff Elementary School was approximately $20 million and is 82,000 square feet (7,600 m2).

Public schools
Private school
  • Lake Bluff West Elementary School (closed in 1994, now serves as rental office space)
  • Lake Bluff Central Elementary School (closed and demolished in 2008)
  • Lake Bluff East Elementary School (closed in 2009, demolished in 2010)

Cultural references[edit]

  • The comedy film A Wedding was filmed almost entirely in Lake Bluff, near the border between Lake Bluff and the Great Lakes Naval Facility.
  • The Academy Award-winning film Ordinary People was filmed mostly in neighboring Lake Forest and nearby Fort Sheridan and Highland Park, although some scenes were filmed in Lake Bluff.
  • Ray Bradbury chose Lake Bluff as the location of his short story The Lake (1944).
  • The 1998 film Kissing a Fool used Lake Bluff's bluff as the back drop for the film's famous wedding scenes.
  • Teenage film New Port South, written by James Hughes, son of legendary Chicagoan filmmaker John Hughes, used Lake Bluff for its traditional suburban Chicago look.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Lake Bluff village, Illinois". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved December 11, 2012. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  4. ^ "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files for Places – Illinois". United States Census. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  5. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Cohen, Stuart and Susan Benjamin with forward by Franz Schulze (2004). North Shore Chicago - Houses of the Lake Front Suburbs - 1890-1940. New York: Acanthus Press. pp. 271–275. ISBN 0-926494-26-0. 

External links[edit]