Winnetka, Illinois

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Winnetka, Illinois
Welcome to Winnetka.jpg
Location of Winnetka in Cook County, Illinois
Location of Winnetka in Cook County, Illinois
Location of Illinois in the United States
Location of Illinois in the United States
Coordinates: 42°6′22″N 87°44′16″W / 42.10611°N 87.73778°W / 42.10611; -87.73778Coordinates: 42°6′22″N 87°44′16″W / 42.10611°N 87.73778°W / 42.10611; -87.73778
Country United States
TownshipNew Trier
 • TypeCouncil-manager
 • PresidentChristopher Rintz
 • Total3.89 sq mi (10.07 km2)
 • Land3.81 sq mi (9.86 km2)
 • Water0.08 sq mi (0.21 km2)  2.06%
650 ft (200 m)
 • Total12,187
 • Estimate 
 • Density3,234.24/sq mi (1,248.77/km2)
 Down 1.87% from 2000
Standard of living (2007-11)
 • Per capita income$105,575
 • Median home value$1,992,800
Time zoneCentral
ZIP code(s)
Area code(s)847 and 224
FIPS code17-82530

Winnetka (/wɪˈnɛtkə/) is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States, located 16 miles (26 km) north of downtown Chicago. The population was 12,316 as of 2019. The village is one of the wealthiest places in the nation in terms of household income. It was the second-ranked Illinois community on Bloomberg's 2019 Richest Places Annual Index.[3] In 2020, 24/7 Wall St ranked Winnetka as the second-best small town to live in the United States.[4]


The first houses were built in 1836.[5] That year, Erastus Patterson and his family arrived from Vermont and opened a tavern to service passengers on the Green Bay Trail post road. The village was first subdivided in 1854 by Charles Peck and Walter S. Gurnee,[6] President of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad. Winnetka's first private school was opened in 1856 by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Peck with seventeen pupils. In 1859, the first public school building was built with private funds at the southeast corner of Elm and Maple streets. The first year's budget for this school was $200.[7] The village was incorporated in 1869 with a population of 450. The name is believed to originate from the Potawatomi language, meaning 'beautiful place'.[8]

The oldest surviving house in Winnetka is the Schmidt-Burnham Log House. Originally constructed on what is now the Indian Hill Club on the south edge of town and in 1917 moved to Tower Road, it was moved in 2003 from Tower Road to the Crow Island Woods.[9]

Winnetka's neighborhoods include estates and homes designed by distinguished architects including George Washington Maher, Walter Burley Griffin, John S. Van Bergen, Robert Seyfarth, Robert McNitt, Howard Van Doren Shaw and David Adler. Among Winnetka's celebrities are actor Rock Hudson and rock singer/songwriter/producer Richard Marx.

Churches in Winnetka were also designed by noted architects. Among them, the former First Church of Christ, Scientist, 440 Ridge Avenue, was designed in 1924 by architect Solon S. Beman.

In the 1920s, the famous Home Alone house was built at 671 Lincoln Avenue.

The Chicago and Milwaukee Railway was built in 1855 through Winnetka, connecting its namesake cities. It eventually became the Chicago & Northwestern Railway. Between 1937 and 1942 the railroad tracks through Winnetka were grade separated after several people were hit at grade crossings. In 1995 the C&NW was merged into the Union Pacific. Only Metra trains are operated on this track now; freight operations ended in the late 1980s. Winnetka has three Metra stations: Hubbard Woods, Winnetka, and Indian Hill.

The Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee electric interurban was built through Winnetka and the North Shore in the first decade of the 1900s, and the line through Winnetka was removed in 1955. This is now the Green Bay Trail bicycle path.

In 1904, the Winnetka Park District was established, making it the fourth oldest park district in the state of Illinois. Today, the park district maintains and operates 27 parks, five beaches, and golf, tennis, ice skating/hockey, and paddle tennis facilities.

The Crow Island School, designed by Eliel & Eero Saarinen and the architectural firm Perkins, Wheeler & Will,[10] was declared a National Historical Landmark in 1990. It was declared 12th among all buildings and the best architectural design of all schools.[clarification needed] Ten thousand people attended the opening in 1938.

In 1965, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in Winnetka. A plaque dedicated to him is on the Village Green, a park in the town, where he spoke.[11] As a result of Dr. King's open housing campaign and the North Shore Summer Project, the nonprofit now known as Open Communities was founded.

Winnetka was the site of the Hubbard Woods Elementary School shooting by Laurie Dann in 1988. She killed one student, wounded eight others and later committed suicide at another person's house.

A colonial Georgian house at 671 Lincoln Avenue, known as the Home Alone house, was used a shooting location for interior scenes in two films of the Home Alone series.


According to the 2010 census, Winnetka has a total area of 3.893 square miles (10.08 km2), of which 3.81 square miles (9.87 km2) (or 97.87%) is land and 0.083 square miles (0.21 km2) (or 2.13%) is water.[12]


Demographics (2010)[13]
White Black Asian
94.8% 0.3% 3.3%
Islander Native Other Hispanic
(any race)
0.02% 0.1% 1.5% 2.2%
Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)12,316[2]1.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[14]

As of the census[15] of 2010, there were 12,187 people, 4,102 households, and 3,328 families residing in the village. The racial makeup of the village was 94.8% White, 0.3% African American, 0.1% Native American, 3.3% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 1.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.2% of the population.

There were 4,102 households, out of which 45.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 74.3% were married couples living together, 5.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.9% were non-families. 17.3% of all households were made up of individuals[clarification needed] and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.97 and the average family size was 3.39.

In the village, the population was spread out, with 36.2% under the age of 19, 2.3% from 20 to 24, 15.2% from 25 to 44, 32.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42.8 years.

The median income for a household in the village was $207,955, and the median income for a family was over $250,000. The per capita income for the village was $105,575 in 2015.[16] About 1.8% of families and 1.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.6% of those under age 18 and 2.0% of those age 65 or over.


The Winnetka Public Schools system (District 36) consists of three elementary schools and two middle schools.[17] Hubbard Woods, Crow Island, and Samuel Sewall Greeley (est. 1912) Elementary Schools serve grades kindergarten through four, students in fifth and sixth grades attend the Skokie School and seventh and eighth graders attend the Carleton W. Washburne School, named after educator Carleton Washburne. Winnetka's schools were modeled after Washburne's educational philosophy in an experiment called the Winnetka Plan. The town's schools continue to reflect his educational philosophy.

Some neighborhoods in the southern part of Winnetka are served by Avoca School District 37, which has schools in Glenview (Avoca West Elementary School; K-5) and Wilmette (Marie Murphy School; 6-8). Kenilworth School District 38 (Sears School; K-8) also includes a very small portion of the southeastern part of Winnetka, near Kenilworth.

Winnetka is in New Trier Township, and public school students who reside in Winnetka attend New Trier High School for grades 9 through 12. North Shore Country Day School is a private school option.

Crow Island is a National Historic Landmark due to its significant architectural design.

Private schools[edit]


Media outlets covering Winnetka include the Winnetka-Glencoe Patch, the Chicago Tribune's TribLocal, the Pioneer Press, Winnetka Talk, and The Winnetka Current.

Notable people[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

"Big Noise from Winnetka," a 1938 jazz song by The Bobcats, has been featured in a number of Hollywood movies, including Let's Make Music and Reveille with Beverly.

Winnetka was mentioned in the novel Havana by Stephen Hunter. Secondary character Roger St. John Evans was mentioned as "The Big Noise From Winnetka".


The house featured in the film Home Alone and in the beginning of its sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

The film Home Alone is set in Winnetka, and featured scenes filmed at 671 Lincoln Avenue. The street address is mentioned in the film, but the street is called "Lincoln Boulevard". The opening scenes of the sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York were filmed at the same house. Over three decades after the original film's 1990 release, sightseers still visit the North Shore neighborhood.[25]

Numerous other films have been shot in Winnetka, including portions of films Ocean's 12, Breakfast Club, National Lampoon's Vacation, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Sixteen Candles, Risky Business, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, She's Having a Baby and Uncle Buck. The film Contagion was filmed in the area in the spring of 2011. Holidate, a 2020 Netflix romantic comedy starring Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey, is set in Winnetka.[26]


A popular TV series, Sisters (1991–1996), was set primarily in Winnetka, but was not filmed there, except for some exterior establishing shots. This was also true of its erstwhile summer replacement series, Winnetka Road.

The characters on the TV series The League reside in Winnetka.

The TV series I Didn't Do It is set in Winnetka. The characters attend the fictional Ditka High School.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  3. ^ "11 Chicago suburbs make list of 100 richest towns". Chicago Tribune. Feb 20, 2019.
  4. ^ "Winnetka Named Ideal Suburb In Illinois". Winnetka-Glencoe, IL Patch. 2021-03-08. Retrieved 2021-03-14.
  5. ^ "Village History | Winnetka, IL". Retrieved 2021-02-04.
  6. ^ Dickenson (1956), p. 52
  7. ^ Dickenson (1956), pp.123-125
  8. ^ "Community Profile / Winnetka". Los Angeles Times. 11 October 1998. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  9. ^ "Log House History | Winnetka Historical Society". Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  10. ^ "Crow Island School". National Historic Landmarks Program. Archived from the original on 2013-11-03. Retrieved 2011-04-08.
  11. ^ "Justice Day recalls Dr. King's visit to suburbs 50 years ago - Open Communities". 24 July 2015. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  12. ^ "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2015-12-25.
  13. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Winnetka village, Illinois". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 10, 2020. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
  14. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  15. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2017-04-05.
  16. ^ "City Data". Retrieved 2017-08-13.
  17. ^ Websites for public schools: K-4 Hubbard Woods, Crow Island School, Samuel Sewall Greeley; 5-6 The Skokie School; 7-8 Washburne School
  18. ^ "North Shore provides many opportunities for all students to excel - North Shore Country Day School (NSCDS)". Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  19. ^ Lewis, Morgan Milton; Emmons, Jessie Gray Mrs. (1903). Genealogical and Biographical Record of the Lewis and Grisell Families. Coopersville, MI: DeVos Printer. p. 148.
  20. ^ US WO 90/10910, Belden, Glen W.; Brogan, John J. & Thomas C., O'Halleran et al., "Patent:Simulated pit trading system", published March 14, 1989 
  21. ^ a b Peterson, Duff. "Eliot and Fairfield Porter, American Artists from Winnetka". Winnetka Historical Society. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
  22. ^ "445 Sheridan Road". Winnetka Historical Society.
  23. ^ Manchir, Michelle (2014-07-13). "Barbara Turf, former Crate and Barrel CEO, dies at 71". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014-08-11.
  24. ^ 'Illinois Blue Book 1955-1956,' Biographical Sketch of Bernive T. Van der Vries, pg. 214
  25. ^ Cullotta, Karen Ann. "Almost 30 years later, Winnetka residents say 'Home Alone' changed the neighborhood — but they're OK with it". Retrieved 25 December 2020.
  26. ^ Swartz, Tracy. "Why is the new Netflix movie 'Holidate' set in Chicago? We love the holidays, screenwriter says". Retrieved 2020-10-27.
Further reading
  • Dickinson, Lora Townsend. The Story of Winnetka. Winnetka: Winnetka Historical Society, 1956. Print.

External links[edit]