kids encyclopedia robot

Des Plaines, Illinois facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Des Plaines
City of Des Plaines
Flag of Des Plaines
Official seal of Des Plaines
Location of Des Plaines in Cook County, Illinois
Location of Des Plaines in Cook County, Illinois
Location of Illinois in the United States
Location of Illinois in the United States
Country United States
State Illinois
County Cook
Township Maine
Settled early 1800s
Incorporated 1869
Named for The Des Plaines River
 • Type Council–manager
 • Total 14.38 sq mi (37.26 km2)
 • Land 14.24 sq mi (36.88 km2)
 • Water 0.15 sq mi (0.38 km2)
642 ft (196 m)
 • Total 60,675
 • Rank 20th in Illinois
 • Density 4,261.48/sq mi (1,645.36/km2)
Time zone UTC−06:00 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−05:00 (CDT)
ZIP Codes
Area code(s) 847, 224
FIPS code 17-19642

Des Plaines is a city in Cook County, Illinois, United States. Its population was 60,675 at the 2020 census. The city is a suburb of Chicago and is located just north of O'Hare International Airport. It is situated on and is named after the Des Plaines River, which runs through the city just east of its downtown area.


Potawatomi, Ottawa, and Ojibwe (Chippewa) Native American tribes inhabited the Des Plaines River Valley prior to Europeans' arrival. When French explorers and missionaries arrived in the 1600s, in what was then the Illinois Country of New France, they named the waterway La Rivière des Plaines (River of the Plane Tree) as they felt that trees on the river resembled the European plane tree. The first white settlers came from the eastern United States in 1833, after the Treaty of Chicago, followed by many German immigrants during the 1840s and 1850s. In the 1850s, land in the area was purchased by the Illinois and Wisconsin Land Company along a railroad line planned between Chicago and Janesville, Wisconsin. In 1852, the developers built a steam-powered mill next to the river, to cut local trees into railroad ties. Socrates Rand then bought the mill and converted it into a grist mill, which attracted local farmers. The Illinois and Wisconsin Railroad made its first stop in the area in the fall of 1854.

In 1857, the Chicago, St. Paul and Fond du Lac Railroad began running its route, stopping near the mill on the Des Plaines river, where a small business section had grown up. The railroad platted the prospective town of Rand at the site. In 1859, the Chicago and North Western Railway purchased the rail line, giving the train station the name "Des Plaines". In 1869, the Rand subdivision name was changed to Des Plaines, and the village of Des Plaines was incorporated.

Des Plaines was reincorporated in 1873 and elected a village board the following year. Local brick manufacturer Franklin Whitcomb was the first Village President.

In 1925, village residents voted to convert to a city form of government and annexed the village of Riverview to the south. Subsequent annexations included the Orchard Place area in 1956. The city experienced rapid growth after World War II and with the opening of nearby Chicago-O'Hare International Airport.

In 1979, Des Plaines was the site of the American Airlines Flight 191 disaster, in which a McDonnell Douglas DC-10 departing from O'Hare lost an engine and wing material and crashed just short of a local trailer park. Two workers at a repair garage were killed and two more, along with three civilians, were injured; all 271 people on board the aircraft also died.

In 2008, the Illinois Gaming Board awarded the state's 10th and last casino license to Midwest Gaming and Entertainment LLC to build a 140,000-square-foot (13,000 m2) casino on approximately 21 acres (85,000 m2) adjacent to the Tri-State Tollway at the northwest corner of Devon Avenue and Des Plaines River Road. Midwest Gaming received the award despite having the lowest bid because other bidders were found unacceptable by the Board, with one board member finding no bidders acceptable. The city approved zoning in early 2010, and the casino opened in July 2011 as Rivers Casino.


Des Plaines is located at 42°2′2″N 87°53′59″W / 42.03389°N 87.89972°W / 42.03389; -87.89972 (42.033848, −87.899786).

According to the 2010 census, Des Plaines has a total area of 14.415 square miles (37.33 km2), of which 14.28 square miles (36.99 km2) (or 99.06%) is land and 0.135 square miles (0.35 km2) (or 0.94%) is water.

Des Plaines is traversed by two interstate highwaysI-90 (the Northwest Tollway) and I-294 (the Tri-State Tollway).

Des Plaines is named for the Des Plaines River, which flows through it. The name is from 18th-century French referencing the American sycamore which resembles the European plane tree.

Portions of Des Plaines are underlain by the "Des Plaines Disturbance", an area in which the layers of sedimentary rock are highly abnormal. This probably represents an ancient meteorite crater, 75 to 200 feet (23 to 61 m) beneath the town. The bedrock was highly fractured by the impact, with large blocks of sediment upended. The crater was eventually filled by glacial activity, so that no trace now remains on the surface.

Addresses in the city limits of Des Plaines have their own numbering system. Areas in unincorporated Maine Township have Des Plaines postal addresses that follow the Chicago numbering system. Devon Avenue in Des Plaines is 3200 South, while it is 6400 North in Chicago. Golf Road runs through a large unincorporated area as 9600 North with a Des Plaines mailing address but is 0 North/South when entering the Des Plaines city limits. As sections become incorporated, they take on the city numbering system. For instance in 2003, land at 9661 West Golf Road, Des Plaines, became 2323 East Golf Road, Des Plaines, when it was formally incorporated into the city limits. The largest unincorporated areas are in the O'Hare area and east of the Tri-State Tollway.


Demographics (2010)
White Black Asian
77.3% 1.8% 11.4%
Islander Native Other Hispanic
(any race)
0.02% 0.6% 8.8% 17.2%
Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 818
1890 986 20.5%
1900 1,666 69.0%
1910 2,348 40.9%
1920 3,451 47.0%
1930 8,798 154.9%
1940 9,518 8.2%
1950 14,994 57.5%
1960 34,886 132.7%
1970 57,239 64.1%
1980 53,568 −6.4%
1990 53,223 −0.6%
2000 58,720 10.3%
2010 58,364 −0.6%
2020 60,675 4.0%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 58,720 people, 22,362 households, and 15,071 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,071.2 people per square mile (1,572.3/km2). There were 22,851 housing units at an average density of 1,584.3 per square mile (611.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 84.44% White, 7.65% Asian / Asian American, 0.26% Native American, 1.01% Black or African American, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 4.64% from other races, and 1.97% from two or more races. 14.01% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Ancestries by population size: German (21.5%), Polish (18.2%), Irish (13.8%), Italian (10.6%), English (5.2%), Swedish (3.3%).

There were 22,362 households, out of which 29.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.8% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.6% were non-families. Of all households 28.5% were made up of individuals, and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.21.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 22.3% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 29.2% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 17.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.6 males. For every 100 women age 18 and over, there were 89.6 men.

The median income for a household in the city was $53,638, and the median income for a family was $65,806. Males had a median income of $42,241 versus $30,885 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,146. About 3.0% of families and 4.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.8% of those under age 18 and 4.8% of those age 65 or over.

A notable number of Cook County residents reside in unincorporated areas which use a Des Plaines zip code. These areas are densely populated and consist primarily of high density, multi-family housing with a very high percentage of foreign born residents. In the 2000 census the population of these unincorporated areas of Cook County assigned Des Plaines zip codes was 25,617. This unincorporated area has never been a part of the city of Des Plaines, and the majority of this area is separated from the actual city of Des Plaines by a belt of Forest Preserve lands and a Tollway barrier created by I-294.

As of 2010, the median income for a household in Des Plaines had risen to $63,528. As of 2009, per capita income has risen to $30,453.

Places of interest

McDonalds Museum
McDonald's Museum
  • The Des Plaines Forest Preserve surrounds the Des Plaines River and spans most of the eastern border of the city.
  • Des Plaines History Center
  • Des Plaines Public Library
  • Des Plaines Theater
  • Deval Crossing interlocking tower is a very popular spot for train enthusiasts, as a three-way junction between the Union Pacific / Northwest Line, the North Central Service, and the Union Pacific Railroad's New Line
  • Lake Opeka in Lake Park
  • Mystic Waters Family Aquatic Center
  • Maryville Academy, center for under-privileged children, which hosts the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame
  • McDonald's Museum, a reconstruction of the first franchised McDonald's restaurant built by franchiser Ray Kroc, founder of the McDonald's Corporation
  • Methodist Camp Ground, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, predates the city (founded 1860) and is still active every summer with concerts, day camps, swimming & recreation, picnics, etc.
  • Rivers Casino – Midwest Gaming


College campuses include:

  • Oakton Community College, opened in 1969; a community college with campuses in Skokie and Des Plaines

Public school districts include:

  • Elementary and middle school: District 62 and District 59
  • High school: District 207 with Maine West High School

Private schools include:

  • Immanuel Lutheran School
  • Our Lady of Destiny; created after the merging of St. Stephen's and St. Mary's Catholic schools
  • St. Zachary School
  • The Science and Arts Academy
  • The Willows Academy

Pop culture

Des Plaines is featured in the Left Behind series of novels as well as an American Girl book.

The majority of the hit 1985 film The Breakfast Club was filmed at the now-defunct Maine North High School located in unincorporated Des Plaines.

Des Plaines, during the 1940s and 50s, was home to many huge greenhouse complexes and was the world's largest producer of hothouse roses. The city's vehicle stickers sported a large "American Beauty" rose, and the city's logo was "City of Roses" (replaced in the 1960s by "City of Destiny").

Des Plaines is the home of the first franchised McDonald's opened by Ray Kroc, which is preserved as a "museum" on Lee Street, north of downtown.


Largest employers

According to the city's 2019 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:

# Employer Industry # of Employees
1 Universal Oil Products Chemical Engineering Services 1,550
2 Rivers Casino Entertainment and Gaming 1,450
3 Holy Family Medical Center Medical Center 1,036
4 LSG SkyChefs Airline Meals 1,000
5 Oakton Community College Public Community College 990
6 School District 62 Public School 962
7 Wheels Inc. Passenger car and truck leasing 800
8 Sysco Food Service Food Wholesalers 640
9 Warehouse Direct Office Equipment 450
10 American Eagle Web Design 450

China Airlines maintains their Chicago office in Des Plaines. It was previously located in Michigan Plaza in the Chicago Loop.


College campuses include:

  • Oakton Community College, opened in 1969; a community college with campuses in Skokie and Des Plaines

Public school districts include:

  • Elementary and middle school: District 62, District 59 and District 63
  • High school: District 207 with Maine West High School

Private schools include:

  • Immanuel Lutheran School
  • St. Zachary School
  • The Science and Arts Academy
  • The Willows Academy


Major highways

Major highways in Des Plaines include:

Notable people

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Des Plaines para niños

kids search engine
Des Plaines, Illinois Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.