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Des Plaines, Illinois

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Country  United States
Countis  Cook
Settled  early 1800s
Local time  Tuesday 12:21 AM
Mayor  Matthew Bogusz
State  Illinois
Township  Maine
Incorporated  1869
Population  58,918 (2013)
University  Oakton Community College
Des Plaines, Illinois httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Weather  18°C, Wind S at 40 km/h, 74% Humidity

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Des Plaines /dsˈplnz/ is a city in Cook County, Illinois, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 58,364. It is a suburb of Chicago and is next to O'Hare International Airport. It is located on, and named for, the Des Plaines River, which runs through the city just east of its downtown area. Des Plaines is the home of the first franchised McDonald's opened by Ray Kroc in 1955, which is preserved as a museum on Lee Street, north of downtown.


Map of Des Plaines, IL, USA


Potawatomi, Ottawa, and Ojibwe (Chippewa) Native American tribes inhabited the Des Plaines River Valley prior to Europeans' arrival. When French explorers and missionaries arrived in the 1600s, in what was then the Illinois Country of New France, they named the waterway La Rivière des Plaines (River of the Plane Tree) as they felt that trees on the river resembled the European plane tree. The first white settlers came from the eastern United States in 1833, after the Treaty of Chicago, followed by many German immigrants during the 1840s and 1850s. In the 1850s, land in the area was purchased by the Illinois and Wisconsin Land Company along a railroad line planned between Chicago and Janesville, Wisconsin. In 1852, the developers built a steam-powered mill next to the river, to cut local trees into railroad ties. Socrates Rand then bought the mill and converted it into a grist mill, which attracted local farmers. The Illinois and Wisconsin Railroad made its first stop in the area in the fall of 1854.

In 1857, the Chicago, St. Paul and Fond du Lac Railroad began running its route, stoppingnear the mill on the Des Plaines river, where a small business section had grown up. The railroad platted the prospective town of Rand at the site. In 1859, the Chicago and North Western Railway purchased the rail line, giving the train station the name "Des Plaines". In 1869, the Rand subdivision name was changed to Des Plaines, and the village of Des Plaines was incorporated.

Des Plaines was reincorporated in 1873 and elected a village board the following year. Local brick manufacturer Franklin Whitcomb was the first Village President.

In 1925, village residents voted to convert to a city form of government and annexed the village of Riverview to the south. Subsequent annexations included the Orchard Place area in 1956. The city experienced rapid growth after World War II and with the opening of nearby Chicago-O'Hare International Airport.

In 1979, Des Plaines was the site of the American Airlines Flight 191 disaster, in which a McDonnell Douglas DC-10 departing from O'Hare lost an engine and wing material and crashed just short of a local trailer park. Two workers at a repair garage were killed and two more, along with three civilians, were injured; all 271 people on board the aircraft also died.

In 2008, the Illinois Gaming Board awarded the state's 10th and last casino license to Midwest Gaming and Entertainment LLC to build a 140,000-square-foot (13,000 m2) casino on approximately 21 acres (85,000 m2) adjacent to the Tri-State Tollway at the northwest corner of Devon Avenue and Des Plaines River Road. Midwest Gaming received the award despite having the lowest bid because other bidders were found unacceptable by the Board, with one board member finding no bidders acceptable. The city approved zoning in early 2010, and the casino opened in July 2011 as Rivers Casino.


Des Plaines is located at 42°2′2″N 87°53′59″W (42.033848, −87.899786).

According to the 2010 census, Des Plaines has a total area of 14.415 square miles (37.33 km2), of which 14.28 square miles (36.99 km2) (or 99.06%) is land and 0.135 square miles (0.35 km2) (or 0.94%) is water.

Des Plaines is traversed by two interstate highways – I-90 (the Northwest Tollway) and I-294 (the Tri-State Tollway).

Des Plaines is named for the Des Plaines River, which flows through it. The name is from 18th-century French referencing the American sycamore which resembles the European plane tree.

Portions of Des Plaines are underlain by the "Des Plaines Disturbance", an area in which the layers of sedimentary rock are highly abnormal. This probably represents an ancient meteorite crater, 75 to 200 feet (23 to 61 m) beneath the town. The bedrock was highly fractured by the impact, with large blocks of sediment upended. The crater was eventually filled by glacial activity, so that no trace now remains on the surface.

Addresses in the city limits of Des Plaines have their own numbering system. Areas in unincorporated Maine Township have Des Plaines postal addresses that follow the Chicago numbering system. Devon Avenue in Des Plaines is 3200 South, while it is 6400 North in Chicago. Golf Road runs through a large unincorporated area as 9600 North with a Des Plaines mailing address but is 0 North/South when entering the Des Plaines city limits. As sections become incorporated, they take on the city numbering system. For instance in 2003, land at 9661 West Golf Road, Des Plaines, became 2323 East Golf Road, Des Plaines, when it was formally incorporated into the city limits. The largest unincorporated areas are in the O'Hare area and east of the Tri-State Tollway.


As of the census of 2000, there were 58,720 people, 22,362 households, and 15,071 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,071.2 people per square mile (1,572.3/km²). There were 22,851 housing units at an average density of 1,584.3 per square mile (611.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 84.44% White, 7.65% Asian / Asian American, 0.26% Native American, 1.01% Black or African American, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 4.64% from other races, and 1.97% from two or more races. 14.01% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Biggest ancestries: German (21.5%), Polish (18.2%), Irish (13.8%), Italian (10.6%), English (5.2%), Swedish (3.3%).

There are 22,362 households, out of which 29.1% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.8% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.6% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.21.

In the city, the population was spread out with 22.3% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 29.2% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 17.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 93.6 males. For every 100 women age 18 and over, there were 89.6 men.

The median income for a household in the city was $53,638, and the median income for a family was $65,806. Males had a median income of $42,241 versus $30,885 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,146. About 3.0% of families and 4.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.8% of those under age 18 and 4.8% of those age 65 or over.

A notable amount of Cook County residents reside in unincorporated areas which use a Des Plaines zip code. These areas are densely populated and consist primarily of high density, multi-family housing with a very high percentage of foreign born residents. In the 2000 census the population of these unincorporated areas of Cook County assigned Des Plaines zip codes was 25,617. This unincorporated area has never been a part of the city of Des Plaines, and the majority of this area is separated from the actual city of Des Plaines by a belt of Forest Preserve lands and a Tollway barrier created by I-294.

As of 2010, the median income for a household in Des Plaines had risen to $63,528. As of 2009, per capita income has risen to $30,453.

Major highways

Major highways in Des Plaines include:

Largest employers

The largest employers in the city area:

China Airlines maintains their Chicago office in Des Plaines. It was previously located in Michigan Plaza in the Chicago Loop.

Places of interest

  • The Des Plaines Forest Preserve surrounds the Des Plaines River and spans most of the eastern border of the city.
  • Des Plaines Public Library
  • Des Plaines Theater
  • Deval Crossing interlocking tower is a very popular spot for train enthusiasts, as a three-way junction between the Union Pacific / Northwest Line, the North Central Service, and the Union Pacific Railroad's New Line
  • Lake Opeka in Lake Park
  • Mystic Waters Family Aquatic Center
  • Maryville Academy, center for under-privileged children, which hosts the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame
  • McDonald's Museum, a reconstruction of the first franchised McDonald's restaurant built by franchiser Ray Kroc, founder of the McDonald's Corporation
  • Methodist Camp Ground, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, predates the city (founded 1860) and is still active every summer with concerts, day camps, swimming & recreation, picnics, etc.
  • Rivers Casino – Midwest Gaming
  • Schools

    College campuses include:

  • Oakton Community College, opened in 1969; a community college with campuses in Skokie and Des Plaines
  • Public school districts include:

  • Elementary and middle school: District 62 and District 59
  • High school: District 207 with Maine West High School
  • Private schools include:

    Notable people

  • Eileen Fisher, clothing designer
  • Adrian Fulle, managing member of a film production company
  • Shawn Green, right fielder with the Toronto Blue Jays, LA Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks, and New York Mets; two time all-star; born in Des Plaines
  • Michael Kleen, folklorist, publisher, and social commentator
  • Tyler Ladendorf, second baseman with Oakland Athletics, tripled in first at-bat
  • Jill Morgenthaler, US Army colonel; politician; homeland security adviser in Illinois; lived in Des Plaines
  • Robert Reed, actor (The Brady Bunch, 1969-1974); grew up in Des Plaines
  • Rick Zombo, defenseman with the Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, and Boston Bruins; born in Des Plaines
  • Pelican, a post-metal band
  • Pop culture

    Des Plaines is featured in the Left Behind series of novels as well as an American Girl book.

    The majority of the hit 1985 film The Breakfast Club was filmed at the now-defunct Maine North High School located in unincorporated Des Plaines.

    Des Plaines, during the 1940s and 50s, was home to many huge greenhouse complexes and was the world's largest producer of hothouse roses. The city's vehicle stickers sported a large "American Beauty" rose, and the city's logo was "City of Roses" (replaced in the 1960s by "City of Destiny").

    Des Plaines is featured in an episode called "L.D.S.K." from the TV series Criminal Minds. A sniper (or as called on the show, a Long Distance Serial Killer) starts shooting people in Franklin Park. The main characters on the show think the killer is a Des Plaines cop, which is eventually found out to be not true.

    Serial killer John Wayne Gacy did not live in Des Plaines. His house was in unincorporated Norwood Township, near Chicago. It was the abduction and murder of 15-year-old Robert Piest, a sophomore at Maine West High School, of Des Plaines, that finally led to Gacy's capture. Additionally, a 1975 Maine West class ring engraved with the initials "JAS" was found in the crawl space of Gacy's home. The ring belonged to missing 19-year-old Maine West alumnus John Szyc. Des Plaines city detectives tracked down Gacy, as the 32 previous known victims were investigated by Chicago and other detectives that mainly wrote off the disappearances as "runaways" and closed the files. The band Venetian Snares released a track called "Des Plaines" on their 2005 album Meathole, which erroneously links the city to Gacy's activities.

    Des Plaines is the home of the first franchised McDonald's opened by Ray Kroc, which is preserved as a "museum" on Lee Street, north of downtown.

    Chet and Connie Ripley (played by John Candy and Stephanie Faracy) in the movie The Great Outdoors lived in Des Plaines, according to the address on the check Candy wrote to Dan Aykroyd's character.

    Des Plaines is mentioned in David Mamet's play, Glengarry Glen Ross.


    Des Plaines, Illinois Wikipedia