Early Village History

Gurnee Area History 1928-1975




1835-1927 | 1928-1975 | 1976-Present | Timeline
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Early Years as a Village (1928-1975)

In the nineteen-twenties the population of Gurnee was mainly retired farmers, business and trades-people. The one main industry was the Bowman Dairy milk-bottling plant which employed about twenty-five men in the late 1920's.

In 1928, a Mr. Holt, who lived at Washington and old Telegraph Road (now Hwy 41), subdivided and built homes on Clarence Ave. (now Waveland), this subdivision was called Peanutville by the Gurnee people as some of the homes were rather small.

In 1930 the population of Gurnee was 503.

The old Grand Avenue bridge was closed off in October 1932 and later sold to Dave Russell for $30 to be cut up for scrap.

A Liquor Ordinance was passed in 1933--Keg beer license was $225, and Bottle beer license was $25. The next year there was an election to vote the town dry--which lost 104 to 52.

In 1940 the population of Gurnee was 661.

In 1942 the Warren Mutual Telephone Company taken over by the Illinois Bell Telephone Company.

In 1945 Meyer and Beemsterboer constructed a building (subsequently Welton's Market) and opened an IGA Grocery Store in part of it and Gungler's Drug Store was in the other part.

In June 1945 the Tryboms were issued a liquor license--this was the start of the Rustic Manor. The first restaurant was started in the house on the property; needless to say there have been several additions, some of which were built around trees.

Woodmen Hall was sold to Leon Hubert for dismantling for $315.

In 1950 the population of Gurnee was 1097.

In 1952 new sidewalks were put in on O'Plaine Road.

In 1955 Dr. Hendricks started an Animal Hospital on Grand Avenue. Interim census was taken--village increased 500 over 1950 census of 1097.

In 1956 there was discussion on widening of Grand Avenue or relocating it--the village favored relocation.

In 1958 Petropoulos Bros. Appliance business moved to Gurnee in a new building on Grand Avenue--at their Grand Opening they had a helicopter to take customers for a ride over the Gurnee area.

In 1960 the Village started the Industrial Park along Northwestern R.R.--Hoerner Box was the first plant to locate here. In October 1960 a resolution was passed between City of Waukegan and Village of Gurnee to develop the Industrial Park. The population of Gurnee was 1831.

In September 1961 the Milwaukee R.R. filed a petition with ICC to close the Gurnee R.R. Station.

In 1966 the Adams Subdivision (Darlene Drive) was annexed to the Village.

In 1970 the population of Gurnee was 2738.

In 1973 the population of Gurnee was 3812.

In early 1973 the Marriott Corporation said that they desired to build an Amusement Park near the interchange of Highway 132 and the Tollway. Many hearings were conducted and then the Village and the Marriott Corporation entered into an Annexation Agreement for Special Use to construct an amusement park. An advisory referendum was held and the people of Gurnee voted overwhelmingly (773 yes vs. 252 no) to approve the construction of the facility. The park was opened in May 1976.


Heatherridge Dedication


Heatherridge annexed with a Planned Unit Development in 1974. Prairie Oaks Development on Hwy 21 started building in 1977. Country Trails (O'Plaine) annexed with a Planned Unit Development in 1977 and started to build in 1978. In 1978 Gurnee had 270 homes under construction.


Aerial view of Gurnee in May of 1975



The Village of Gurnee / History / 1928-1975 / Last Revised 03/28/01