Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
La Grange, Illinois
La Grange is a relatively affluent suburb of Chicago located in Cook County, in the U.S. state of Illinois. As of the 2000 census, the village had a total population of 15,608. The area around La Grange was first settled in the 1830s.
Incorporated in 1879, the Village of La Grange was the dream of Franklin Dwight Cossitt, born in Granby, Connecticut and raised in Tennessee, who moved to Chicago in 1862 and built a successful wholesale grocery business.
In 1870, Cossitt purchased several hundred acres of farmland in Lyons Township , along the Chicago-Dixon Road, known today as Ogden Avenue (U.S. Highway 34). The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad also traversed the property and, a few miles to the south, the Illinois & Michigan Canal had emerged as a major shipping corridor, connecting Chicago and the Great Lakes with the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers.
Cossitt set out to build the ideal suburban village — laying out streets, planting trees, donating property for churches and schools, and building quality homes for sale. He also placed liquor restrictions in the land deeds he sold to prevent the village from becoming a saloon town.
When Cossitt began his development, the area was served by a post office known as Kensington. But upon learning of another community already with that name in Illinois, Cossitt decided to name his town in honor of La Grange, Tennessee, where he had been raised as a youth on an uncle's cotton farm.
After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed much of that city, thousands of its citizens sought new homes and opportunities far from the city's ills but within a convenient commute. La Grange was ideally situated to accommodate them.
La Grange is located at 41°48'29" North, 87°52'24" West (41.807938, -87.873455).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 6.5 km² (2.5 mi²). 6.5 km² (2.5 mi²) of it is land and none of it is covered by water. Several railroad tracks run through the village.
Some 14,000 years ago, the land under La Grange sat on the western shore of Lake Chicago , predecessor to Lake Michigan. The prehistoric shoreline today is delineated by Bluff Avenue, a north-south street on the village's east side.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 15,608 people, 5,624 households, and 4,049 families residing in the village. The population density is 2,400.9/km² (6,220.7/mi²). There are 5,781 housing units at an average density of 889.3/km² (2,304.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the village is 91.02% White, 6.02% African American, 0.09% Native American, 1.00% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.99% from other races, and 0.86% from two or more races. 3.66% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 5,624 households out of which 37.9% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.3% are married couples living together, 9.2% have a female householder with no husband present, and 28.0% are non-families. 24.5% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.67 and the average family size is 3.23.
In the village the population is spread out with 28.5% under the age of 18, 4.8% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females there are 94.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 87.4 males.
The median income for a household in the village is $80,342, and the median income for a family is $95,554. Males have a median income of $62,030 versus $41,260 for females. The per capita income for the village is $34,887. 4.0% of the population and 3.2% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 4.3% of those under the age of 18 and 4.4% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
The Village of La Grange is a non-home rule municipal corporation and operates under a board-manager form of government. A seven-member board of trustees , elected as provided by state law, serves four-year overlapping terms. A village manager is appointed by the board.
The village has six operating departments: administration, finance, police, fire, community development and public works.
Business & commerce
La Grange is the mailing address for the headquarters of General Motors' Electro-Motive Division, a major manufacturer of railroad locomotives. The headquarters, engineering facilities and parts-manufacturing operations actually are located in the adjacent village of McCook; originally, the locomotives were also built there, but in more recent years final assembly has moved to GM-EMD's other facility in London, Ontario.
The downtown area, centered along and around La Grange Road (US Hwy 45) and the Burlington Northern Railroad line, grew somewhat run-down during the 1980s; however, the mid-to-late 1990s saw a revival, with many new businesses opening, including a Borders Books. Many of these new businesses are restaurants; LaGrange draws much of this business from the neighboring town of Western Springs, since LaGrange, unlike Western Springs, allows the sale of alcoholic beverages in restaurants.
This expansion of the downtown led to increased congestion; often, parking became difficult to find, especially on weekends. One proposal to remedy this was the building of a parking garage in a current parking-lot area; many residents, however, oppose this as a waste of tax dollars. Eventually, a referendum on the parking garage was passed; ground was broken on March 3, 2005.
Two major highways traverse La Grange: The village's main street, La Grange Road (US Hwys 45/20/12) runs north-south; Ogden Avenue (US Hwy 34) runs east-west. Each intersects with the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), south and west of the village, respectively.
The Burlington Northern Railroad also runs through La Grange. Daily commuter service on that line, connecting Aurora and Chicago, is provided by Metra, and stops at two stations within the village. Amtrak also serves the station nearest La Grange Road.
La Grange Memorial Hospital , operated by Adventist Health System , a is a level-two trauma center. The hospital has 270 inpatient beds. A $79 million renovation and expansion of the facility is in progress.
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