History of Glenview

Excerpts from “Glenview at 75: 1899-1974″ published by the Glenview Area Historical Society and
compiled under the supervision of Mrs. Marshall Head.
Naming the Village — 1895

The entire Northfield Township originally was known as the town of Northfield.  It in turn was divided as follows:

West Northfield – the Grove area;
North Northfield – the Northbrook Village
North Branch and South Northfield – the area comprising the section around Waukegan Road, Glenview Road and the river intersection.

South Northfield was the name used by the Post Office and the schools.  It was a awkward and confusing name temporarily changed to North Branch , and on March 6, 1878, was renamed Oak Glen by Fred Hutchings.  However, there was another community which had incorporated under the name Oak Glen.  Because of the confusion, the railroad insisted on a change of name for its station and schedules and suggested the name of Hutchings to honor the late James Hutchings, husband of the railroad benefactor, Sarah Hutchings.  Mrs. Hutchings and family vetoed the idea because the shabby little box care used as a station did not seem an appropriate recognition of their name and benevolence.  The railroad again approached the village and, got nowhere.  Unaffected by the reaction of the villagers, it simply changed the station name to Barr and hung a huge black and white sign on it designating this area as “Barr.”  The railroad selected the name “Barr” to honor the division superintendent of the railroad at the time.

However, the name “Barr” was used only by the railroad as a designation for its station and not for the rest of the village.  The Post Office demanded that an official name be selected whereupon a special meeting of the villagers was called in the hall above Al Eustice’s Saloon (later John Dilg’s).  Various names were suggested such as Rugenville, Glenvarr, Glendale, Glengrove, Glen Hollow, Oak View, and Glenview.

The name Glenview won the majority vote and it was on May 7, 1895, four years before incorporation of the village of Glenview, that the name “Barr” was removed from the railroad station and replaced by the name of “Glenview.”

 Incorporation – 1899    

With the problems confronting the increasing population and the desire of the people to form a governing body in the town, a need to organize and incorporate became apparent.

In 1899, an election was held to vote for incorporation.  The issue was defeated.  A year later, in 1899, the question was again placed before the people and this time carried by 8 votes.  A charter was issued on June 20, 1899, and Glenview was incorporates as a Village with 325 adults.

The first Village Board Trustees:

John A Hutchings
A.C. Butzow
Charles D. Rugen
Frank Hoffman
August C. Clavey
Henry S. Maynard


The first task of the newly elected Village Board was to lay out and designate the names of the streets.  The roads or streets were originally only trails, and were in wet weather, muddy and impassable.  To correct this condition, carloads of gravel were shipped into town and spread upon them.  The only mode of transportation was horse drawn vehicles.  These consisted mainly of heavy wagons with steel tires drawn by two horses.  It did not take long for these wagons to make ruts in the roads and grind the gravel into fine powder several inches deep.  In dry weather, this fine dust blew over everything whenever a vehicle passed.  These conditions were to change with paving of the streets in 1913.

The first most important problem was to provide some means by which the citizens could walk along the streets and keep out of the mud.  Accordingly, a decision was reached in 1901 to build wooden sidewalk along one side of Glenview Road from Sheerer Avenue to Waukegan Road and north to Lake Avenue.  The construction consisted of cedar posts, 2 x 8 stringers and surface boards 2” x 6’ x 4’ wide.  Ironically, one of the first ordinances passed after the sidewalks were laid prohibited the riding of bicycles on the sidewalks which was, in fact, about the only place a bicycle could be ridden.  The walks were indeed a great improvement but served only until the boards rotted and began to break.  It became dangerous to walk on them at night since there were not street lights.

In 1908 the wooden walks were replaced by concrete walks many of which were laid entirely by hand labor.  No mechanical mixers were owned by the contractor.

 Street Lights

In view of the dangerous situation of the wood sidewalks which were being kept in constant repair by replacement of the broken boards, street lighting was undertaken in 1902.  A gasoline type lamp with a large round bowl, mounted on a 9 foot post was selected.  There was a rim around the top of the lamp in which the gasoline could be poured and which held just about enough gas to burn overnight.  They had to be lit each evening.  A large number of these lamps were purchased and located along the entire length of the sidewalks.  They served fairly will but often went out for one reason or another.  In 1910 the first public utilities, gas and electricity, were brought to the village.  Many of the homes along Glenview Road were piped for gas, both for cooking and illumination, and the gasoline street lights became obsolete.

 Water and Sanitation

When incorporated, there was no public water system and each resident had to provide his own well for water for his needs.  There were many shallow dug wills and a few drilled wells.  The water table at first was adequately high and it required only 20 or 25 feet depth to obtain good water.  There were a few artesian wells in the east side of town.  Without pressured water or sanitary sewers, the outhouse was a characteristic of every home.  This condition prevailed until 1916 when a public utility water system was installed piped from a deep well.  Sewer systems were also installed at this time.

 I Remember…(Tapes from the Park)

Miss Gladys Blackman -

I moved to Glenview when I was nine months old in 1894. I was sorry when they changed the name of Telegraph Road to Shermer.  I suppose Shermer was a very important man, but there’s something interesting about living on Telegraph Road which shows the foundation of the country itself in the very early days.  The telegraph, of course, was important before the phones, because you had to go down to the railroad station and telegraph your friends in Chicago; or you went down to the station and telegraphed the doctor when a baby was coming.

There was one phone in “the Park” at Mr. Burnham’s house and that was as early as the 90′s.  We all had phones in 1903. Then, we had kerosene lamps before we had electricity.

We walked to the village on cinder paths along a graveled Glenview Road.  The wooden sidewalks were established by 1901 and everybody walked to school. The people who went down to the village to take the train, of course, walked back and forth every day.

Remember, when you speak of “the Park” people that these were all city people, thoroughly unused to country living. When you walked down on the cinder path or the board sidewalk, the first house on the north side was the Nelson Nursery boarding house about where St. David’s is now. Then, the sidewalk crossed over and went down on the south side of Glenview Road and the first house was Heslington’s. There was nothing between Telegraph Road (Shermer) and Heslington’s (Elm Street). You walked in all weather. A few people had horses, but not many. The people living in “the Park” had a bus. I remember it met the 6:40 and the 7:15 in the morning for the people who went into town to work. All the men in “the Park” worked in the city except the people who were engaged in the Nelson Nursery and in those days, the offices of the Nelson Nursery were in Chicago. Then, that same bus met one or two trains in the evening. That’s what marked the beginning of the evening.

That bus was used for outings. We used to go to the lake shore to Wilmette for beach parties and we went to picnic parties at “Kennicott’s Woods” on Milwaukee Avenue and we went over to Ravinia in the early days.  Of course, that was the day of sleigh rides. You counted it a poor winter that didn’t have at least one sleigh ride. Adults and children rode bicycles. Mr. Junge and my father used high wheels when they lived in Chicago, and Mr. Junge still used his after he moved to Glenview where he used to ride to the Terra Cotta Company at Mayfair. I can remember Dr. King on his bicycle with his medical bag o the handlebars making his trips around the country.

I can remember well, running out from our house to Telegraph Road to see the first cars go by – they were always red. You rushed out to the road, hurrying to get there in time. Cars didn’t go very fast, so if you started as soon as you heard them coming down Telegraph Road, you’d get there in time. Two of the Burnham boys built a car and it was pretty exciting riding in that. My brother had a team of burros and I’ve driven over to Wilmette in a cart pulled by them. I can remember the sound of the burros’ hoofs on the brick pavement in Wilmette.

All the food was delivered by wagon in those days. A butcher used to come around with his cart and your mother would go out and pick out the meat she wanted and after she bought her meat, the butcher always gave the children a piece of bologna sausage. That reminds me of the striped paper bags that Mr. Rugen always gave everybody when you paid the bill. The children always liked to go down and pay the bill because they’d get a little bag of candy. In the days before deliveries, I remember Roland Rugen in his open chariot. No roman charioteer was ever grander than Roland.

Rugen and Appleyard’s – as it was then—and I remember it was Mr. Appleyard who came around a couple of times a week and took orders.  I had a doll whose name was Cherry Blossom Falling From the Tree –Cherry for short—and one time her head was broken and my mother asked Mr. Appleyard if he thought he had any china heads for dolls in the store and would he bring one up.  The next time he came, he brought a partitioned box, like an egg box, with dolls heads in it and held it down for me to choose which one I wanted.  I remember choosing the black haired doll’s head for Cherry.  All the dolls I’d ever seen were blondes and it was quite a treat to have a black-haired doll.

In 1917, Miss Constance Burnham (a classmate and chum of mine from first grad on) and I established Auxiliary 544 of the American Red Cross with a Red Cross workroom in the school rooms here in “the Park” and many of the ladies in the village came to work with us.  The Red Cross wouldn’t allow but one auxiliary workroom to a town and our application got in first.  I still have the records of how many hours were put in and how much was produced.  We folded bandages and my aunt, Miss Florence Smeal, cut all the gauze.  Even the children worked and the whole school knitted wash cloths, sox, helmets, scarves and gloves.  I still have one of those Red Cross aprons.  As the chairman, I had a beautiful floating dark blue chiffon veil with a white band around the hair and a red cross in front.  Sometimes the men worked too, in the evening they used to make open pads for the Navy.  Mrs. Jimmy Long used to make nite shirts by machine and her boy brought them down on horseback.

Some highlights in the history of Glenview, Ilinois

1833 – Indian Treaty; first white settlers arrive

1836 – Grove settled by Dr. John Kennicott

1840 – Stagecoach hotel built on Milwaukee Ave. (formerly Nelson Printing)

1841 (circa)- First public school built (Waukegan Road near the river)

1846 – Grove post office established

1851 – Plank road built (Milwaukee Road)

1853 – Post office established at Glenview and Waukegan Roads

1854 – Grove School established

1860 (circa)- First church built (800 block of Shermer)

1868 – First Rugen school (replaced old Cammack School)

1872 – Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad built to bring building supplies into Chicago after the Great Fire

1874 – Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran School established

1876 – First Rugen General Store open

1878 – Glenview House built

1892 – Railroad adds a second track; commuter service built

1893 – Swedenborgian community (The Park) established; area’s first planned community

1895 – Oak Glen renamed Glen View

1897 – Glen View Golf Club established

1899 – Village Incorporated (vote was 59-51)

1901 – Civic improvements made: wooden sidewalks, gas streetlights and Waukegan Rd. stone bridge built

1901 – First high school (New Trier) opens

1903 – First telephone exchange

1903 – Second Rugen School built (on Shermer)

1905 – Glenview Public School built (Waukegan Road – site of present Village Hall)

1911 – Volunteer Fire Department organized

1912 – Concrete sidewalks poured

1914 – Milwaukee Avenue paved

1916 – Village water and sewer system established

1917 – Jackman Bear Fountain dedicated; Glenview Days Festivals begun

1920 – Glenview State Bank established

1921 – Glenview Road paved

1926 – First Glenview Boy and Girl Scout Troops established

1927 – Glenview Civic Bldg. (former Village Hall, now Park District Headquaters dedicated)

1927 – Pickwick Golf Course built (now Station links)

1928 – OLPH parish school completed

1929 – Curtiss-Reynolds-Wright Airfield built

1930 – Glenview Library established

1931 – Council-manager form of village government adopted

1933 – International Air Races (held in conjunction with Century of Progress) at Curtiss

1935 – Roosevelt Park completed by WPA

1937 – Naval Reserve Aviation Base Chicago established at Curtiss – Navy and civilian aviation share facilities

1942 – Navy undertakes major expansion and implementation of aviation training programs

1942 – Swain Nelson Nursery undertakes manufacture of bombsights and other military devices in their greenhouses (now Glenview Park District greenhouses on Glenview Road)

1943 – More than 15,000 pilots from Naval Air Station Glenview complete carrier qualification aboard the training
1944    “aircraft carriers” USS Wolverine and Sable

1945 – Our Lady of Perpetual Help School built

1949 – Glenview’s first air mail delivery via helicopter

1950 – Dial telephone service comes to the service

1954 – Junior High School (now Springman) built

1956 – Glenkirk School established

1957 – Kraft Foods Company comes to Glenview

1961 – St. Catherine School opened

1962 – Glenbrook South High School opened

1964 – Scott Foresman moves main office to Glenview

1972 – Park District Ice Center built

1973 – New Glenview State Bank built

1974 – First policewoman hired by Glenview Police Department

1974 – New police station built on Waukegan Rd.; existing fire station remodeled

1974 – Vote to purchase and develop the Grove

1977 – Glenbrook Hospital opened

1982 – Present Village Hall dedicated

1984 – Public Works Center built

1988 – Patten House dedicated

1994 – Present train station built

1995 – Naval Air Station Glenview decommissioned

1997 – Following the death of last member of the Wagner family, the final working farm in the village is for sale

Reference sources:

  • Glenview Announcements
  • Glenview Area Historical Society files
  • Roots: A Glenview Story

Prepared by: Beverly Dawson, Donald Long, Dorothy Murphy, Ruth Nielsen, Virginia Peterson, Jean Voght – Glenview Area Historical Society Library Committee