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McHenry, Illinois
City of McHenry
The McHenry Riverwalk
The McHenry Riverwalk
"Heart of the Fox River"
Location of McHenry in McHenry County, Illinois
Location of McHenry in McHenry County, Illinois
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Country United States
State Illinois
County McHenry
Townships McHenry Township, Nunda Township, Grant Township, Wauconda Township.
Founded May 10, 1836
Incorporated (village) 1872
Named for William McHenry
 • Type Mayor–council government
 • Total 14.96 sq mi (38.74 km2)
 • Land 14.54 sq mi (37.65 km2)
 • Water 0.42 sq mi (1.09 km2)
797 ft (243 m)
 • Total 27,135
 • Density 1,866.74/sq mi (720.74/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP Code(s)
60050 and 60051
Area codes 815 and 779
FIPS code 17-45694
GNIS feature ID 424159
Wikimedia Commons McHenry, Illinois

McHenry is a city in McHenry County, Illinois, United States. It is a suburb, part of the Chicago metropolitan area and is located about 45 miles northwest of Chicago. The population was 27,135 at the 2020 census. McHenry was at one time the county seat of McHenry County, which once included adjoining Lake County to the east. McHenry took its name from the county, which was named for Major William McHenry, a prominent US Army officer in the Black Hawk War.

It rests at an elevation of 797 feet and the Fox River flows through the eastern portion of the city. It is surrounded by natural lakes and streams, grassy moraine hills, gravel banks and shallow nutrient-rich peat bogs, remnants of receding glaciers from the last ice age. Moraine Hills State Park and Volo Bog State Natural Area preserve some of these natural features.


McHenry is located 60 miles northwest of Chicago in northern Illinois on the Fox River. According to the 2010 census, McHenry has a total area of 15.175 square miles (39.30 km2), of which 14.74 square miles (38.18 km2) (or 97.13%) is land and 0.435 square miles (1.13 km2) (or 2.87%) is water. McHenry lies within the watershed of the Fox River, and its downtown area is situated on that river which is how it earned the nickname "The Heart of the Fox".

Major streets

  • Illinois 31.svg Richmond Road/Elm Street/Front Street
  • Illinois 120.svg Elm Street
  • Ringwood Road
  • Ridge Road
  • Curran Road
  • Bull Valley Road
  • McCullom Lake Road
  • Crystal Lake Road
  • Green Street
  • Charles J Miller Road
  • Chapel Hill Road
  • River Road
  • Draper Road
  • Martin Road
  • Riverside Drive
  • Pearl Street
  • Lincoln Road
  • Dartmoor Drive
  • Hollywood Blvd.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 874
1890 979 12.0%
1900 1,013 3.5%
1910 1,031 1.8%
1920 1,146 11.2%
1930 1,354 18.2%
1940 1,596 17.9%
1950 2,080 30.3%
1960 3,336 60.4%
1970 6,772 103.0%
1980 10,737 58.5%
1990 16,177 50.7%
2000 21,501 32.9%
2010 26,992 25.5%
2020 27,135 0.5%
U.S. Decennial Census

The population density was 1,850.2 per square mile (714.4/km2). There were 8,127 housing units at an average density of 699.4 per square mile (270.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.18% White, 0.35% African American, 0.21% Native American, 0.89% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 3.31% from other races, and 1.02% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 7.10% of the population.

There were 7,872 households, of which 38.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.2% were married couples living together, 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.4% were non-families. 24.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.25.

Age distribution was 28.5% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 32.7% from 25 to 44, 19.9% from 45 to 64, and 11.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.2 males.

The median household income was $55,759, and the median family income was $66,040. Males had a median income of $46,552 versus $29,808 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,272. About 3.8% of families and 4.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.1% of those under age 18 and 2.6% of those age 65 or over.



The closest public international airports to the city of McHenry are Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee.

The closest private airport to the city is Galt Airport in Wonderlake.

Public transportation

The city of McHenry is served by Pace Bus and connects travellers to other cities in the area.


The Prairie Trail runs through the middle of McHenry from Crystal Lake and connects to trails near the border of Wisconsin.

Passenger rail

McHenry Metra Station
McHenry Metra Station

McHenry is currently the terminus of a branch line on Metra's Union Pacific Northwest Line, with weekday passenger service to Ogilvie Transportation Center (formerly Northwestern Station) in downtown Chicago. The line that now terminates at McHenry once continued to Williams Bay, Wisconsin, but that service was discontinued in stages in the 1960s and 1970s.


Illinois Route 31 and Illinois Route 120 intersect in the city center. While not highways or interstates, they are the main roads into and out of the city.


Major industrial users including Medela, Follett School Solutions, Fabrik Industries, and Plaspros have located in the city's business parks. Northwestern Centegra Hospital - McHenry provides emergency and in and out-patient health care services to the city and surrounding areas. Steady residential growth has resulted in significant commercial development. The north Richmond Road corridor has become a destination for shoppers in the northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin areas with numerous "big box" retailers and smaller chains.

Downtown McHenry is home to the one mile (1.6 km) McHenry Riverwalk District which runs along Boone Creek and the Fox River. It is home to residences, shops, a movie theater, restaurants, bars and other various forms of entertainment and commerce. It is broken up into three zones, the "Historic Zone", "Residential Zone (Phase 1)" and "Commercial Zone".


Schools and libraries

There are two school districts serving the city of McHenry: McHenry Community High School District 156 and McHenry School District 15. District 156 oversees two high schools while District 15 oversees five elementary schools and three middle schools.

McHenry is served by one public library which is part of Cooperative Computer Services (CCS) consortium. The library itself houses physical books, DVDs, magazines, and more as well as providing access to online digital content. The library also offers various training classes on various topics and has several meeting rooms available for use by request.


In addition to K-12 schools, McHenry County College holds business seminars and trainings in the Shah Center.

Notable people

  • Gary Adams (d. 2000), founded TaylorMade Golf in McHenry in 1979
  • Pamela Althoff (b. 1953), member of the Illinois Senate from 2003-2018. She was Mayor of McHenry prior to her appointment to the Illinois Senate.
  • Thomas A. Bolger (1887–1953), member of the Illinois House of Representatives
  • John Brzenk (b. 1964), world champion arm wrestler
  • Rob Doran (b. 1976), original bassist of the rock band Alkaline Trio
  • Jason Faunt (b. 1974), actor, grew up in McHenry
  • Flavel K. Granger (1832–1905), Illinois state legislator, lawyer, and farmer; lived in McHenry
  • Mariann Mayberry (b. 1965), member of Steppenwolf Theatre Company, lived in McHenry and graduated from McHenry High School (West Campus)
  • Jace Sayler (b. 1979), football player with the New England Patriots (Super Bowl champion), attended McHenry High School (West Campus)
  • Matt Skiba (b. 1976), Grammy-nominated co-lead singer and guitarist for the rock bands Blink-182 and Alkaline Trio
  • Robert Tonyan (b. 1994), professional American football player for the Green Bay Packers
  • Joe Walsh (b. 1961), radio personality and former congressman (Republican) for the 8th district
  • Craig Wilcox (b. 1967), member of the Illinois Senate since 2018. He resides in McHenry.
  • Jack Perconte (b. 1954), MLB Baseball Player for Dodgers, Indians, Mariners

Images for kids

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