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Cary, Illinois

Cary sign near the train station
Cary sign near the train station
Location of Cary in McHenry County, Illinois.
Location of Cary in McHenry County, Illinois.
Location of Illinois in the United States
Location of Illinois in the United States
Country United States
State Illinois
County McHenry, Lake
Township Algonquin, Cuba
Founded 1833
Founded by William Dennison Cary
 • Type Non-Home-Rule under Mayor/Trustee
 • Total 6.60 sq mi (17.10 km2)
 • Land 6.53 sq mi (16.91 km2)
 • Water 0.07 sq mi (0.19 km2)
823 ft (251 m)
 • Total 17,826
 • Density 2,730.70/sq mi (1,054.37/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP Code(s)
Area code(s) 847, 224
FIPS code 17-11592
Wikimedia Commons Cary, Illinois

Cary is a village located in Algonquin Township, McHenry County, Illinois, and Cuba Township, Lake County, Illinois, United States. The population was 17,826 as of 2020.


In 1841, William Dennison Cary purchased 82 acres (33 ha) for $1.25 an acre at the location of the current town and built a farm. In 1856, Cary included a train station for the Illinois & Wisconsin Railway. The site was approved and a post office was added with the designation "Cary Station." The community around Cary Station was incorporated in 1893 as Cary, Illinois.


Cary is located at 42°12′47″N 88°14′54″W / 42.21306°N 88.24833°W / 42.21306; -88.24833 (42.2129566, -88.2483260).

According to the 2010 census, Cary has a total area of 6.358 square miles (16.47 km2), of which 6.27 square miles (16.24 km2) (or 98.62%) is land and 0.088 square miles (0.23 km2) (or 1.38%) is water. It is located on the Fox River.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 161
1900 398
1910 679 70.6%
1920 463 −31.8%
1930 731 57.9%
1940 707 −3.3%
1950 943 33.4%
1960 2,530 168.3%
1970 4,358 72.3%
1980 6,640 52.4%
1990 10,043 51.3%
2000 15,531 54.6%
2010 18,271 17.6%
2020 17,826 −2.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

The population of Cary was 17,826 as of 2020. The racial makeup of the village was 83.20% White, 2.0% African American, 0.0% Native American, 1.4% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.1% from other races, and 2.8% from two or more races/ethnicities. Hispanic or Latino/Latina of any race were 10.9% of the population.

There were 6424 households, out of which 2838 had children under the age of 18 living with them.

The median income for a household in the village was $100,339, and the median income for a family was $111,065.

Popular culture

The interior of the bed and breakfast room that Bill Murray's character stays in, in the 1993 film Groundhog Day, was built in a warehouse in Cary.

Suzanne Evenson of Cary was featured on HGTV's show House Hunters International on December 8, 2010, showcasing her family's move from Cary to Dubai.

Students from the class of 2004 were featured in the MTV show High School Stories. They concocted a senior prank which included launching a boat onto a pond on school property.

In the summer of 2016, Burger King opened it's first ever drive-thru only restaurant in Cary.


U.S. Route 14, locally known as Northwest Highway, passes through Cary between its northwest and southeast borders.

Illinois Route 31 forms part of Cary's western border.

Metra's Union Pacific/Northwest Line has a station in Cary, and operates daily service to Ogilvie Transportation Center in downtown Chicago.

Lake in the Hills Airport is approximately two miles west of Cary's west border.


Cary is mainly served by Community High School District 155 for high school students, specifically by Cary-Grove High School and Prairie Ridge High School, and School District 26 for elementary and middle school students. Some portions of Cary also are served by Crystal Lake Community Consolidated School District 47 and Community Unit School District 300.

Trinity Oaks Christian Academy, a non-denominational Christian school, is located in Cary, as well as Saints Peter and Paul, a Roman Catholic school and parish.

Notable people

  • Drew Conner, professional soccer player.
  • A. J. Raebel, Canadian football player.
  • Michael Glasder, ski jumper XXIII Olympic Winter Games (raised in Cary)
  • Quinn Priester, MLB baseball player, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher, (attended Cary-Grove High School)
  • Jimmy John Liautaud, founder of Jimmy John's.
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