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Fort Sheridan, Illinois

Coordinates: 42°12′45″N 87°48′38″W / 42.21250°N 87.81056°W / 42.21250; -87.81056
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Fort Sheridan, Illinois
Fort Sheridan is located in Illinois
Fort Sheridan
Fort Sheridan
Location in Illinois
Fort Sheridan is located in the United States
Fort Sheridan
Fort Sheridan
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 42°12′45″N 87°48′38″W / 42.21250°N 87.81056°W / 42.21250; -87.81056
CountryUnited States
TownshipsMoraine, West Deerfield
665 ft (203 m)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP Code
Area code847

Fort Sheridan is a residential neighborhood within the cities of Lake Forest, Highwood, and Highland Park[1] in Lake County, Illinois, United States. It was originally established as Fort Sheridan, an Army post named after Civil War cavalry general Philip Sheridan,[2] to honor his services to Chicago.

Early history[edit]

A French trading post was established circa 1670 on a trail between Green Bay, Wisconsin, and the early Chicago area. The trail and trading post was used by Native Americans and settlers alike. The settlers were mostly Irish, German, and Scandinavian immigrants. The area was never considered suitable for farming due to the many ravines and heavy forestation.

In the 1840s a small community, St. Johns, was established. It was settled on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. The villagers were active in logging, leather tanning, brick making, and iron casting. The area eventually became ravaged by rampant deforestation associated with the production of 400,000 bricks annually. The village grew idle and became mostly deserted by 1865.

Fort Sheridan closing[edit]

Post Commanders' Quarters, Building 9, in the Fort Sheridan Historic District. They were the most elaborate houses on the base. Like most of Fort Sheridan, it has been converted to a private residence.

The main fort was ordered closed as a result of the first round of closures initiated by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission in 1988, and was officially closed by the Department of Defense on May 3, 1993. The majority of the property was relinquished to the Fort Sheridan Joint Planning Committee as the redevelopment authority, which then sold large segments of the land and housing to commercial land developers. Most of the original housing structures were then refurbished and resold as a residential community. Other buildings were given to cultural organizations like the Midwest Young Artists Conservatory, the largest youth music program in the Midwest. Approximately 90 acres (36 ha) of the southern end of the original post were retained by the Army; there the Army now operates the Sheridan Reserve Center complex. This includes the Great Lakes Training Division, 84th Training Command (an Army Reserve Brigadier General command), as well as numerous Colonel and Lieutenant Colonel commands. Newly refurbished housing is part of the military enclave and is used for active duty and active guard/reserve personnel and families stationed at Fort Sheridan and Great Lakes Navy Training Center.

The Fort Sheridan cemetery, established in 1889, is still an ongoing military burial site owned by the federal government. Retired armed forces members may be buried there.[3]

Historic district[edit]

In 1984 parts of Fort Sheridan were designated a National Historic Landmark District by the National Park Service. The National Park Service states that the site "possesses national significance in commemorating the history of the United States of America." The historic district includes 230 acres (93 ha) of land and buildings bounded by Hutchinson and Bartlett Ravines and the shore of Lake Michigan. There are 94 buildings in the district. The buildings include officers' quarters, barracks, stables, a drill hall, water tower, and many other institutional buildings. The 54-acre (22 ha) parade ground was preserved as open space.[4]

Forest preserve[edit]

A forest preserve, operated by Lake County Forest Preserves, now sits on 250 acres (100 ha) of the former fort. The preserve had been working since the 1980s on acquiring land from the U.S. Army. In 1997, the Army began conveyance of the northern section of the former base. The third and final section was obtained in 2001.

The preserve has roughly 4.5 miles (7.2 km) of trail for hiking, 3.7 miles (6.0 km) of trail for cross-country skiing, and 1.3 miles (2.1 km) of trail for bicycling. The preserve includes roughly 0.75 miles (1.21 km) of shoreline. Throughout the preserve are educational exhibits and viewing stations along the trails.[5]


The Fort Sheridan station provides Metra commuter rail service along the Union Pacific North Line. Trains travel south to Ogilvie Transportation Center in Chicago, and north to Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Pace provides bus service on Route 472 connecting Fort Sheridan to Highland Park and other destinations.[6]


  1. ^ "The Town of Fort Sheridan, IL - Homepage". Fortsheridan.com. Retrieved 2014-05-08.
  2. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 129.
  3. ^ "Fort Sheridan Post Cemetery –". Homepage.
  4. ^ "Fort Sheridan". Globalseeker.com. Retrieved 2014-05-08.
  5. ^ "Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve, Lake Forest - Lake County Forest Preserves".
  6. ^ "RTA System Map" (PDF). Retrieved January 30, 2024.

"Town of Fort Sheridan Master Homeowners Association". Homepage.

Further reading[edit]

  • Dretske, Diana. Fort Sheridan. Charleston, SC : Arcadia Pub., 2004. ISBN 0-7385-3364-5 OCLC 58726172
  • Haberkamp, Douglas B. The History of Fort Sheridan from Its Beginnings to World War I. 1982. OCLC 8855211
  • Fort Sheridan (Ill.). Fort Sheridan, 1887–1993. Fort Sheridan, Ill?: The Fort, 1993. OCLC 45632229
  • Fort Sheridan Association, and Fred Girton. The History and Achievements of the Fort Sheridan Officers' Training Camps. [Chicago?]: The Fort Sheridan Association, 1920. OCLC 567331
  • Melichar, Paul, Diana Melichar, and Nina Bennett Smith. Fort Sheridan: Historical Analysis. Lake Forest, Ill: Paul Melichar, 2000. OCLC 680744071
  • Prall, J. S. Picturesque Fort Sheridan. [Chicago] 1890. OCLC 69665872
  • Schall, Robert. The History of Fort Sheridan, Illinois. [Illinois?]: Clerical School and the Visual Training Aids Section, 1672nd Service Unit, 1944. OCLC 27923469
  • Sorenson, Martha E., and Douglas A. Martz. View from the Tower: A History of Fort Sheridan, Illinois. [Fort Sheridan, Ill.]: W.W. Sorenson, 1985. OCLC 15132979
  • Tucker, Laura. Fort Sheridan. Charleston, SC : Arcadia Pub., 2008. ISBN 0-7385-5191-0 OCLC 184823770