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Highwood, Illinois
Downtown Highwood
Downtown Highwood
Location in Lake County, Illinois
Location in Lake County, Illinois
Location of Illinois in the United States
Location of Illinois in the United States
Country United States
State Illinois
County Lake
 • Total 0.72 sq mi (1.86 km2)
 • Land 0.72 sq mi (1.86 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
 • Total 5,074
 • Density 7,047.22/sq mi (2,721.29/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP Code(s)
Area code(s) 847
FIPS code 17-34865
Wikimedia Commons Highwood, Illinois

Highwood is a North Shore suburb of Chicago in Moraine Township, Lake County, Illinois, United States. As of the 2020 census, the population was 5,074. It is known for its entertainment, restaurants, bars, and festivals.


Highwood is located at 42°12′19″N 87°48′44″W / 42.205357°N 87.812345°W / 42.205357; -87.812345, one of the highest points between Chicago and Milwaukee.

According to the 2010 census, Highwood has a total area of 0.71 square miles (1.84 km2), all land.


Originally, the land was owned by the Potawatomi until the 1833 when it was ceded to the United Stated through the Treaty of Chicago. The first non-native American settled in the town in 1846. In 1851 Highwood became the headquarter location of the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad, which ran parallel to the Chicago and North Western Railway's and is now know today as Metra's Union Pacific/North line. Thomas Curley suggested the name High Woods because the land was the highest ground between Chicago and Milwaukee and was covered with trees.

In 1886 civil and labor unrest in Chicago eventually led to the Haymarket Riot. Chicago businessmen felt that having a military presence near the city would help alleviate tensions within the city and on November 8, 1887 purchased Camp Highwood. This land would come to host members of the Sixth Infantry Regiment. On February 27, 1888 Camp Highwood was officially named Fort Sheridan in honor of General Philip Sheridan for his ability to maintain order after the Chicago Fire of 1871.

Highwood provided several business and employment opportunities and following the fire, many of those who lost their home and a wave of immigrants settled into the town. Highwood can also give credit to much of their economic success to the Chicago and Milwaukee Electric Railway. However with increased transportation it also caused a sudden rise in gambling dens and illegal "blind-pig" taverns which catered to off duty soldiers. This eventually provoked federal authorities to enact the "Highwood Quadrangle" which prohibited the sale of liquor within 1 1/8th miles of the army base.

Fort Sheridan acted as an entertainment center for the town and on July 18, 1888 the trustees voted to change the name from Highwood to the Village of Fort Sheridan to capitalize on it's military glamour. However, 8 years later in 1894 the name was changed back to Highwood due to resident frustration and confusion with postal misrouting. The city's business district became filled with bars and taverns which led Theodore Roosevelt to call the city "one of the toughest towns in America"

In the 1920s a large number of Northern Italian immigrants (originally from Modena) moved to Highwood, many from Dalzell, a coal mining town in Bureau Co to seek jobs. The National Prohibition of Liquor at the time also attracted boot-leggers who smuggled large scales of liquor into the city. The fight to prevent Highwood from being known as a whisky den largely brought the community together.

During the Great Depression many residents came together to support the town and each other, and while civil service progress declined a sense of community deepened.

Following the start of World War II Fort Sheridan was used as an active training ground. By the end of the war Highwood had experienced another wave of immigration, this time a majority of immigrants coming from Europe and Mexico. Since then Highwood's business have continued to flourish and the city has become the destination for North Shore dining and nightlife. The city frequently hosts festivals for residents known as Celebrate Highwood which is hosted by the city chambers.


Highwood Station - October 2015
Highwood Metra Station located within the downtown of the city

The main highway to Highwood is U.S. Route 41, which connects Chicago to Milwaukee. Commuter rail is available at two different Metra stations locations within the city (Fort Sheridan and Highwood). Highwood is also located near the Highland Park and Lake Forest stations which all located on the Union Pacific / North Line which begins in Kenosha and ends in the downtown area of Chicago at Ogilvie Transportation Center.

The city is approximately 22 miles (35 km) from O'Hare International Airport and 31 miles (50 km) from Midway International Airport.


Fort Sheridan Theatre
Once the movie theater for troops stationed at the army base, it is now the studio for Julie Rotblatt-Amrany and Omri Amrany, who are best known for the sculpture of Michael Jordan outside of the United Center

The Don Skrinar Recreation Center is a public facility located within the center of downtown Highwood. The city is also a host to the Midwest Young Artists (MYA) facilities and The Performer's School. The Fine Art Studio of ROTBLATT-AMRANY which is owned by Julie Rotblatt Amrany is located within the old village of Fort Sheridan.



Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 451
1900 1,575 249.2%
1910 1,219 −22.6%
1920 1,446 18.6%
1930 3,590 148.3%
1940 3,707 3.3%
1950 3,813 2.9%
1960 4,499 18.0%
1970 4,973 10.5%
1980 5,455 9.7%
1990 5,331 −2.3%
2000 4,143 −22.3%
2010 5,405 30.5%
2020 5,074 −6.1%
U.S. Decennial Census
2010 2020

2020 census

Highwood city, Illinois - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010 Pop 2020 % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 2,079 2,071 38.46% 40.82%
Black or African American alone (NH) 72 110 1.33% 2.17%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 3 8 0.06% 0.16%
Asian alone (NH) 114 137 2.11% 2.70%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 1 0 0.02% 0.00%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 16 23 0.30% 0.45%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 46 127 0.85% 2.50%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 3,074 2,598 56.87% 51.20%
Total 5,405 5,074 100.00% 100.00%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.

2010 census

At the 2010 census, Highwood's resident population was 5,405. The median resident age was 32.8.

The racial makeup of the city was 69.64% White (38.5% Non-Hispanic White), 1.54% Black or African American, 2.24% Asian, 0.31% Native American, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 22.92% of some other race and 3.33% of two or more races. 56.87% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

Notable people

  • Frank Bernardi, National Football League defensive back (1955–1960)
  • Scott Drury, member of the Illinois House of Representatives (2013–2019)
  • Lowell B. Komie, lawyer and writer
  • Francis Joseph Magner, prelate of Catholic church; served as Bishop of Marquette (1941–1947)

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Highwood (Illinois) para niños

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