kids encyclopedia robot

Lake Zurich, Illinois facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Lake Zurich, Illinois
Lakefront Promenade, Lake Zurich, IL, June 2009.jpg
View of Lake Zurich from the downtown promenade
Official name: Lake Zurich
Country United States
State Illinois
County Lake
Township Ela
Elevation 850 ft (259 m)
Coordinates 42°11′32″N 88°5′17″W / 42.19222°N 88.08806°W / 42.19222; -88.08806
Area 7.18 sq mi (19 km²)
 - land 6.76 sq mi (18 km²)
 - water 0.42 sq mi (1 km²)
Population 19,631 (2010)
Density 2,734 /sq mi (1,056 /km²)
Founded September 29, 1896
Village President Tom Poynton
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Postal code 60047
Area code 847 and 224

Lake Zurich is a village in Lake County, Illinois, United States, a northwest suburb of Chicago. The population was 19,631 at the 2010 census.

The village is named after a water body named Lake Zurich which is completely located inside the village.

In 2015, personal finance website,, rated Lake Zurich number one in Illinois for young families. In 2006, Lake Zurich was named by Frommer's as one of the top hundred "Best Places to Raise Your Family" and by U.S. News as one of the "Top Twenty-five Affordable Places to Live in the Country". In 2013, Lake Zurich achieved national recognition when Sandra Bullock's character in Gravity name-dropped the village as her character's hometown.


Lake Zurich is located at 42°11′32″N 88°5′17″W / 42.19222°N 88.08806°W / 42.19222; -88.08806 (42.192324, -88.088098), with an elevation of 850 feet (260 m) above sea level.

According to the 2010 census, Lake Zurich has a total area of 7.187 square miles (18.61 km2), of which 6.77 square miles (17.53 km2) (or 94.2%) is land and 0.417 square miles (1.08 km2) (or 5.8%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 146
1900 215
1910 304 41.4%
1920 316 3.9%
1930 368 16.5%
1940 421 14.4%
1950 850 101.9%
1960 3,458 306.8%
1970 4,082 18.0%
1980 8,225 101.5%
1990 14,947 81.7%
2000 18,104 21.1%
2010 19,631 8.4%
Est. 2015 19,993 1.8%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 18,104 people, 5,746 households, and 4,866 families residing in the village. The population density was 2,792.3 people per square mile (1,078.7/km²). There were 5,828 housing units at an average density of 898.9 per square mile (347.3/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 92.31% White, 0.81% African American, 0.17% Native American, 3.82% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.97% from other races, and 0.92% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.55% of the population.

There were 5,746 households out of which 54.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 75.3% were married couples living together, 7.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 15.3% were non-families. 12.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.12 and the average family size was 3.42.

In the village, the population was spread out with 34.1% under the age of 18, 5.0% from 18 to 24, 34.1% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 5.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 100.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.4 males.

According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the village was $101,872, and the median income for a family was $108,108. Males had a median income of $63,909 versus $43,047 for females. The per capita income for the village was $30,287. About 2.0% of families and 2.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.9% of those under age 18 and 5.9% of those age 65 or over.


The area of Lake Zurich was first settled by European descendants in the 1830s. Two early pioneers were George Ela, after whom the Ela township is named, and Seth Paine, who established a number of commercial ventures in the town. New England farmers moved to the area in the 1830s and 1840s, and German immigrants began to move to the area from the middle of the century. The lake now known as Lake Zurich was once named Cedar Lake in the 19th century. The village of Lake Zurich was incorporated on September 29, 1896. It remained primarily a farming community; although the village was connected to the railroad in 1910, the line was closed ten years later. However, the arrival of the highway system with Rand Road (U.S. Route 12) in 1922 and Half Day Road (Illinois Route 22) in 1927 established Lake Zurich as a convenient summer resort. The now-defunct Palatine, Lake Zurich and Wauconda Railroad also served the community. Housing development began in the 1950s, with the population expanding throughout the latter part of the 20th century.

In 1988, a historic, landmark legal case in Illinois took place settling a dispute on Lake Zurich, thereby clarifying throughout Illinois property owners' rights on private lakes. In 1988, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in Beacham v. Lake Zurich Property Owners Association (123 Ill. 2d 227; 526 N.E.2d 154; 1988 Ill. LEXIS 91; 122 Ill. Dec 14, filed June 20, 1988) that each individual owner of the private (aka non-public) lake's bottom has the legal right to recreate over the surface waters of the entire private lake. The High Court ruled that by ownership of a lake bottom land, each partial-lake-bottom owner of a private lake can not be prohibited from recreating on the surface waters that may be located above other owners' lake bottom properties. Riparian land rights were defined in Illinois.

Redevelopment plans

In October 2006, a four-lane bypass to Illinois Route 22 (Main Street) was completed, rerouting east-west traffic to the south and east of the downtown area. This project caused a local controversy when environmental authorities determined that construction crews were dumping silt-laden water into the spring-fed Lake Zurich. The threat of state and federal enforcement was brought against the project in 2006 and 2007.

In order to compensate for the loss of traffic on Route 22, the village began a "downtown redevelopment" plan which would eventually become one of the most contentious battles in village history.

Plans were drawn several years earlier but the first developer, the Flex Group, determined it would not have sufficient resources to handle the project and abandoned it. A second developer, McCaffery Interests, was hired and began construction on the first phase. In 2006 the Somerset Townhomes, located on the north side of West Main Street, broke ground. Unfortunately, sales were not as strong as once hoped. As of June 2009, the townhomes are about 50% unfilled due to various factors which include the nationwide housing slump. The developer abandoned the project, and legal action between the village and the developer followed.

In 2008, the village government began talks with a third developer, Equity Service Group, to redesign and recapitalize the downtown redevelopment. The developer immediately came under scrutiny from members of the community, who were wary of the past two failed attempts to redevelop the downtown area. The backlash culminated with the 2009 full-slate election of an opposition party, who vowed fiscal restraint and environmental protection during future attempts to redevelop the downtown area. While the new village administration is legally bound to negotiate with Equity Services Group, the village has begun renting out previously-vacant downtown buildings to local businesses while the redevelopment plans are on hold for analysis.

Eminent domain controversy

The village government has used eminent domain to obtain properties in an attempt to increase downtown revenue via new businesses. As of 2004 Lake Zurich had acquired all the property intended to fulfill its downtown redevelopment project. While many protests occurred regularly throughout 2005 near the promenade, the protests failed to garner much attention and ended up failing. A 2007 court defeat brought the issue back into the public eye, as a village-owned rental parcel was denied eminent domain. The renters were granted the ability to stay through the end of their lease due to clerical errors made by the village's legal and administrative employees regarding this parcel in particular.

Popular culture

Lake Zurich is the hometown of Sandra Bullock's character Dr. Ryan Stone in the 2013 science fiction film Gravity.

Lake Zurich is also the hometown of Sam Holtz, the sixth-grader sports-picking prodigy who won first place in the 2015 ESPN NCAA Bracket Challenge, beating 11.57 million other submitted brackets and earning national fame.

kids search engine
Lake Zurich, Illinois Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.