McHenry County, Illinois
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|McHenry County, Illinois|
Location in the state of Illinois
Illinois's location in the U.S.
|Named for||William McHenry|
|Largest city||Crystal Lake, Illinois|
610.81 sq mi (1,582 km²)
603.17 sq mi (1,562 km²)
7.64 sq mi (20 km²), 1.25%
541/sq mi (209/km²)
McHenry County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 308,760, which is an increase of 18.7% from 260,077 in 2000. However, a 2011 estimate puts the population of the county at 327,533 with a population growth of 25.87% since 2000. Its county seat is Woodstock. This county is part of the Chicago metropolitan area. It is the sixth largest county, in terms of population, in the state of Illinois. Long known as a center of agriculture and recreation, it has more recently experienced rapid rates of suburbanization and urbanization.
According to the 2010 census, the county has a total area of 610.81 square miles (1,582.0 km2), of which 603.17 square miles (1,562.2 km2) (or 98.75%) is land and 7.64 square miles (19.8 km2) (or 1.25%) is water.
Major highways 
- Interstate 90
- U.S. Highway 12
- U.S. Highway 14
- U.S. Highway 20
- Illinois Route 23
- Illinois Route 31
- Illinois Route 47
- Illinois Route 62
- Illinois Route 120
- Illinois Route 173
- Illinois Route 176
Adjacent counties 
- Walworth County, Wisconsin - north
- Kenosha County, Wisconsin - northeast
- Lake County - east
- Cook County - southeast
- Kane County - south
- DeKalb County - southwest
- Boone County - west
President Gerald Ford's mother Dorothy Ayer Gardner Ford and maternal grandfather Levi Addison Gardner and possibly his maternal grandmother Adele Augusta Ayer Gardner were born in the county (near Harvard, Illinois).
Historical sites 
- The Count's House, 3803 Waukegan Rd, McHenry
- Charles H. Hibbard House, 413 W Grant Hwy, Marengo
- Orson Rogers House, 19621 E Grant Hwy, Marengo
- Lucein Boneparte Covell House, 5805 Broadway, Richmond
- Memorial Hall, 10308 Main St, Richmond
- Old McHenry County Courthouse, Woodstock City Square, Woodstock
- Woodstock Opera House, 110 Van Buren St, Woodstock
- Woodstock Square Historic District, Woodstock
- George Stickney House, 1904 Cherry Valley Rd, Bull Valley
- Terwilliger House, Mason Hill Rd & Cherry Valley Rd, Bull Valley
|IL Counties 1900-1990|
As of the census of 2000, there were 260,077 people, 89,403 households, and 69,287 families residing in the county. The population density was 431 people per square mile (166/km²). There were 92,908 housing units at an average density of 154 per square mile (59/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 93.91% White, 0.59% Black or African American, 0.17% Native American, 1.45% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 2.77% from other races, and 1.08% from two or more races. 7.54% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 28.5% were of German, 12.2% Irish, 9.8% Polish, 8.8% Italian and 5.6% English ancestry. 89.3% spoke English, 6.4% Spanish and 1.0% Polish as their first language. The Polish population has doubled within the last several years.
There were 89,403 households out of which 42.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.50% were married couples living together, 7.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.50% were non-families. 18.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.89 and the average family size was 3.31.
In the county the population was spread out with 30.20% under the age of 18, 7.10% from 18 to 24, 33.50% from 25 to 44, 21.30% from 45 to 64, and 8.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 100.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.00 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $64,826, and the median income for a family was $71,553. Males had a median income of $50,479 versus $31,141 for females. The per capita income for the county was $26,476. About 2.50% of families and 3.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.80% of those under age 18 and 3.60% of those age 65 or over.
Climate and weather 
|Climate chart (explanation)|
In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Woodstock have ranged from a low of 11 °F (−12 °C) in January to a high of 85 °F (29 °C) in July, although a record low of −29 °F (−34 °C) was recorded in January 1979 and a record high of 109 °F (43 °C) was recorded in July 1936. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 1.29 inches (33 mm) in February to 4.56 inches (116 mm) in June.
McHenry County is like much of the Upper Midwest, as it usually sees hot, humid summers, and cold, snowy winters. The county is notably susceptible to high wind events, blizzards, severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and flooding.
Some of the most notable weather events in the county include the 1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak, the Blizzard of 1967, the 1967 Belvidere - Oak Lawn tornado outbreak, the Blizzard of 1979, the Flood of 1996, the Blizzard of 1999, the Early Winter 2006 North American Storm Complex, the 2007 Midwest flooding event, the January 2008 tornado outbreak sequence, and the Blizzard of 2011.
McHenry County government is based primarily out of Woodstock, the county seat. The McHenry County Government Center, located on the north end of Woodstock along Illinois Route 47, features county offices as well as judicial facilities. Several state agencies also have local offices in Woodstock.
McHenry County has historically been a reliable stronghold for the Republican Party. The county has voted for the Republican candidate for President in all but one election since 1948. Recent elections in 2004 and 2000 saw George W. Bush capture 59.72% and 58.5% of the county vote, respectively. In the 2008 Presidential Election, Democrat Barack Obama captured McHenry County with 52% of the vote--the first time a Democrat had carried the county since 1944. In the 2012 Presidential Election, Obama only received 44% of the vote whereas Republican Mitt Romney captured 53% of the vote.
McHenry County is served in the United States House of Representatives by Donald Manzullo (R, IL-16), who represents the southern and western portions of the county, and Joe Walsh (R, IL-8), who represents the northeastern parts of the county.
A majority of elected county officials are Republican.
McHenry County College, a rapidly growing community college established in 1967, serves the majority of county residents. The college includes 2,000 full-time students and 5,800 part-time students. The main campus is located on the northwest side of Crystal Lake, along U.S. Route 14. Secondary facilities exist in Crystal Lake and McHenry.
McHenry County also includes dozens of school districts. There are also several high schools in the county. The largest high schools are McHenry High School East and West, Johnsburg High School, Woodstock High School, Woodstock North High School, Prairie Ridge High School, Crystal Lake Central High School, Crystal Lake South High School, Cary-Grove High School, Harry D. Jacobs High School, and Huntley High School, all of which are part of the Fox Valley Conference. Harvard High School, Richmond-Burton Community High School, and Marengo Community High School are part of the Big Northern Conference. Alden-Hebron High School, Faith Lutheran High School and Marian Central Catholic High School are also found in the county.
Medical facilities 
McHenry County is gradually gaining a reputation as an important center of health care, due to its unique location and proximity to a wide range of hospital systems. Hospitals currently in the county include Mercy Harvard Hospital, Centegra Northern Illinois Medical Center in McHenry, and Centegra Memorial Medical Center in Woodstock. There are also plans to build a Centegra hospital in Huntley or Mercy hospital in Crystal Lake. Provena, Advocate, and Sherman also maintain a strong presence in the county, and have hospitals in nearby Elgin and Barrington.
Much of McHenry County's economy centers around manufacturing, metalworking, media development and printing, transportation equipment, agriculture, heath care, education, retail, food production, distribution, and technology.
The major employment centers can be found in Crystal Lake, Algonquin, Huntley, McHenry, and Woodstock.
The county is known for its wide variety of shopping options. McHenry, Crystal Lake, and Algonquin/Lake in the Hills have established themselves as major retail areas, all featuring an array of big box stores, specialty stores, and restaurants. While there are no major malls located within the county, several lie just outside its borders: the lifestyle centers Algonquin Commons and Algonquin Galleria, the Huntley Prime Outlets outlet mall, and the regional indoor mall Spring Hill Mall in West Dundee.
In addition, several historic downtowns throughout the county offer unique shops and eateries in charming environments. The Woodstock Square Historic District, antique shops in Richmond and Hebron, downtown Crystal Lake and downtown Algonquin, and shops in other historic downtowns throughout the county accommodate residents and tourists alike. McHenry's Green Street is also a major attraction in the county.
The entire county is served by the McHenry County Conservation District, which preserves sensitive land throughout the county and provides recreational opportunities for residents. The District also operates the McHenry County Prairie Path, a regional bike path that extends from the Wisconsin State Line in Richmond southward to Algonquin, where the path connects with the Fox River Bike Trail, which continues south to Aurora.
In addition, the Fox River and Chain O'Lakes provide immense opportunities for boating, fishing, swimming, and other water activities. Moraine Hills State Park and Chain O' Lakes State Park are both located in the county, adjacent to the waterway. Other major lakes in the county include Crystal Lake, Wonder Lake, and McCullom Lake.
There are also dozens of parks, golf courses, and country clubs throughout the county.
Major skiing areas include Nordic Ski Jump in Fox River Grove and Buffalo Snowboarding Park in Algonquin. In addition, the Windy City Balloon Port in Fox River Grove offers hot air balloon rides over the Fox River Valley.
McHenry County has an active art and theater scene. The historic Woodstock Opera House and Crystal Lake's Raue Center for the Arts both provide exceptional programs. In addition, Algonquin is noted for its Public Art Program, which showcases artwork year-round throughout the community. The county is also ideal for photography and filming. Much of the filming for the 1993 movie Groundhog Day took place in Woodstock.
There are also several important points of interest in the county including the Illinois Railway Museum and McHenry County Historical Museum in Union, the Old McHenry County Courthouse in Woodstock, and a variety of historical homes including the Orson Rogers House, George Stickney House, Charles H. Hibbard House, the Terwilliger House, the Count's House, and the Dole Mansion.
Throughout the year are a variety of festivals throughout the county, the centerpiece of which is the McHenry County Fair, occurring during a week in August in Woodstock. Many towns also have their own festivals throughout the year. Some of the most notable ones are the Ground Hog Days in Woodstock, Fall Fest in Huntley, the Summer Sunset Festival in Lake in the Hills, the Gala Festival in Crystal Lake, Milk Days in Harvard, Settler's Days in Marengo, Cary Days in Cary, Founders Days in Algonquin, and Fiesta Days in McHenry.
Several Federal and state highways run through McHenry County, including U.S. Highway 20, U.S. Highway 14, U.S. Highway 12, Illinois Route 23, Illinois Route 173, Illinois Route 120, Illinois Route 176, Illinois Route 47, Illinois Route 31, and Illinois Route 62. Highly traveled county highways include Randall Road, Algonquin Road, and Walkup Road. Interstate 90 passes through McHenry County but does not have any highway interchange in McHenry County. Interstate 94 lies to the east of McHenry County in Lake County, Illinois.
McHenry County is also the most populous county in the United States without direct access to an Interstate Highway within its borders. As a result, residents usually use the nearby Interstate 90 (the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway), via an interchange two miles south of the county in Kane County, to access the interstate highway system.
McHenry County is also served by Metra Rail, which provides daily commuter service to and from downtown Chicago. There are seven stations in the county, all of them located along the Union Pacific/Northwest Line. The county is also served by Pace, which provides three regular bus routes, and dial-a-ride service for several communities.
Lake in the Hills Airport offers general aviation service, as do Dacy Airport and Galt Airport, in the northern part of the county. Chicago-O'Hare International Airport is approximately 30 to 40 miles from the county, while Milwaukee's General Mitchell International Airport is approximately 50 to 60 miles away. Chicago Rockford International Airport, a busy cargo airport with limited, scheduled passenger service is located approximately 42 miles west of the central part of the county (Woodstock).
McHenry County is entirely within the scope of the Chicago media market and the majority of the county relies primarily on Chicago television stations, radio stations, and newspapers for the source of its news and information. Certain sections of the county, particularly the rural far northern and far western parts, are also within the scope of the Milwaukee and Rockford media markets, respectively.
The county does have one FM radio station (WZSR - Star 105.5 FM), which plays mostly adult contemporary and pop music, and one AM radio station (WAIT - 850 AM). WZSR is based out of Woodstock, while WAIT is based out of Crystal Lake.
The Northwest Herald, with a circulation of almost 39,000, is the county's primary newspaper, serving the greater McHenry County area, and printed and published in Crystal Lake. The county is also served by the larger Chicago newspapers Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and the suburban-focused newspaper The Daily Herald. McHenry County Living, a bimonthly lifestyle magazine serving the county, also reaches tens of thousands of area residents and businesses. There are also several weekly publications throughout the county, focusing on the individual municipalities.
Cities and villages 
Census designated places 
Unincorporated communities 
Notable residents 
See also 
- "McHenry County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-11-05.
- "Best Places to Live in McHenry County, Illinois". Sperling's Best Places. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
- "Census 2010 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-11-05.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
- "Monthly Averages for Woodstock, Illinois". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2011-01-27.
- Forstall, Richard L. (editor) (1996). Population of states and counties of the United States: 1790 to 1990 : from the twenty-one decennial censuses. United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Population Division. ISBN 0-934213-48-8.
Further reading 
- Dupré, D.H. and D.M. Robertson. (2004). Water quality of Nippersink Creek and Wonder Lake, McHenry County, Illinois, 1994-2001 [Scientific Investigations Report 2004-5085]. Reston, VA: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey.
- McHenry County official website
- Major William McHenry
- McHenry County Historical Society
- History of McHenry County Towhships
- United Way of McHenry County
- McHenry County Woman Newspaper
- McHenry County Conservation District
- McHenry County at The Crittenden Automotive Library
- The Land Conservancy of McHenry County
- McHenry County College
||Walworth County, Wisconsin||Kenosha County, Wisconsin|
|Boone County||Lake County|
|DeKalb County||Kane County||Cook County|