Rolling Meadows is located at 42°4′34″N 88°1′33″W (42.076209, -88.025911), 24 miles (39 km) northwest of the Chicago Loop. According to the 2010 census, Rolling Meadows has a total area of 5.635 square miles (14.59 km2), of which 5.63 square miles (14.58 km2) (or 99.91%) is land and 0.005 square miles (0.01 km2) (or 0.09%) is water.
In 1836, Orrin Ford became the first landowner in the area that is now Rolling Meadows, staking his claim of 160 acres (0.65 km2) in an area known as Plum Grove. Other farm families followed, many traveling from Vermont. By the early 1840s, settlers had built a dam across Salt Creek and had laid claim to the entire Plum Grove area.
The community became part of the newly formed Palatine Township in 1850 as German immigrants arrived. In 1862, the Salem Evangelical Church was built, and the church's 40-foot-square (12 m) cemetery still exists at the corner of Kirchoff and Plum Grove roads.
In 1927, H.D. "Curly" Brown bought 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) of land in the area with the intention of building a golf course, along with land adjacent to it for a racetrack. In the early 1950s, Kimball Hill purchased the land intended for the golf course, and began home sales by advertising a floor plan of his basic house in the Chicago Tribune. Although the response was positive, officials in neighboring Arlington Heights protested, hoping to buy the land themselves for estate homes. However, prospective buyers of the Kimball Hill homes persuaded the Cook County Board for zoning changes to allow Hill to proceed.
In 1953, the first families moved into the development, which Hill named Rolling Meadows, and 700 houses were sold by 1955, mostly to blue-collar workers. Hill donated $200 per home for a school system, and then built and equipped the first elementary school. He also founded the Rolling Meadows Homeowners' Association and donated land for parks, as well as funded the Clearbrook Center, which is a home for individuals with cognitive disabilities that opened in 1955.
Rolling Meadows incorporated as a city in 1955 and soon began annexing land for future development. The town boomed during the 1950s and 1960s as businesses moved into the area. Crawford's department store opened in 1957 and was the largest in the northwest suburbs, although it closed in 1994. An industrial park opened on North Hicks Road in 1958, and Western Electric opened a facility in the 1960s, employing 1,500 workers. Developers saturated the area with apartment buildings, and by 1970, multifamily dwellings made up 35 percent of the total structures in Rolling Meadows. Rolling Meadows complexes, however, suffered from a series of fires in the decade, prompting the city to become more stringent in their building codes, which had allowed for frame multifamily structures.
By 2000, the city had begun revamping commercial areas along Kirchoff Road. In the south end of the city on Golf Road, corporations such as 3Com, Helene Curtis, and Charles Industries established bases in what has become known as the Golden Corridor.
As of the census of 2000, there were 24,607 people, 8,923 households, and 6,174 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,510.4 people per square mile (1,743.1/km²). There were 9,151 housing units at an average density of 1,677.6 per square mile (648.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 82.33% White, 2.83% African American, 0.27% Native American, 6.61% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 5.95% from other races, and 1.98% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 19.20% of the population.
There were 8,923 households out of which 33.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.8% were married couples living together, 9.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.8% were non-families. 24.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.26.
In the city, the population was spread out with 25.1% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 33.9% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 10.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 102.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $59,535, and the median income for a family was $68,571. Males had a median income of $45,101 versus $35,039 for females. The per capita income for the city was $26,178. About 3.5% of families and 5.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.4% of those under age 18 and 2.9% of those age 65 or over.
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Almost all of Rolling Meadows is served by Palatine Community Consolidated School District 15. District 15 schools in Rolling Meadows include Central Road (K-6), Kimball Hill (K-6), Willow Bend (K-6), John G. Conyers Learning Academy (early childhood and multiple needs), Carl Sandburg Jr. High (7-8) which take students from Thomas Jefferson (K-6) in North Hoffman Estates, Central Road, Kimball Hill and Willow Bend, and Plum Grove Jr. High (7-8).
A very small portion is served by Arlington Heights School District 25, which includes Westgate Elementary School and South Middle School, where students then attend RMHS. Another smaller portion is served by Schaumburg Consolidated School District 54 and WFHS, and a small portion extends into Community Consolidated School District 59; that portion has no residents.
About half of Rolling Meadows is served by Township High School District 214's Rolling Meadows High School. The other half is served by Township High School District 211 by William Fremd High School in Palatine.
St. Colette School is a preK-8 Catholic school serving all of Rolling Meadows. St. Colette School was awarded as a 2007 Blue Ribbon School from the U.S. Department of Education. The Rolling Meadows Park District offers early childhood classes.
The Rolling Meadows Park District provides parks, facilities and recreation programs for the children and adults of the community. The park district's policies for operation are governed by seven elected commissioners. The district was certified in 1996 and recertified in 2002.
The Salt Creek Rural Park District was formed in 1956 and operates under the Park District Code of Statutory Laws which directly governs the power, duties, and purposes relating to park districts in the State of Illinois.
Legal voters from the park district elect seven non-paid park commissioners. Commissioners serve 6-, 4-, and 2-year terms. The Board of Commissioners elect a President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary. The commissioners appoint a Director of Parks and Recreation to manage the day-to-day operations of the district. The Director of Parks and Recreation hires professional administrative staff to oversee the operation of parks, recreation facilities and recreation programs.
The district provides recreation and leisure services to the residents that live within the corporate boundaries of the district, which include parts of the village of Arlington Heights, Palatine, and the city of Rolling Meadows.
The district also provides recreation and leisure services to many non-residents of the area on a fee basis.Bryan Anderson, Iraqi War veteran and author
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