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Des Plaines, Illinois
County: Cook
Township: Maine
Mayor: Martin J. Moylan
ZIP code(s): 60016, 60017, 60018, 60019
Area code(s): 847 & 224
Population (2000): 59,000
Density: 4,071.2/mi² (1,572.3/km²)
Area: 14.4 mi² (37.3 km²)
Per capita income: $24,146
(median: $53,638)
Home value: $180,168 (2000)
(median: $174,800)
White Black Hispanic Asian
84.44% 1.01% 14.01% 7.65%
Islander Native Other
0.02% 0.26% 4.64%

Des Plaines (pronounced /dɛsˈpleɪnz/) is a city in Cook County, Illinois, United States. It has adopted the official nickname of "City of Destiny." As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 58,720. It is a suburb of Chicago, and its next to O'Hare International Airport. The Des Plaines River runs through the city, just east of its downtown area. Des Plaines is a very economically diverse city, with home values ranging from $30,000 to more than $1,000,000.[citation needed]



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

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.5 square miles (37.6 km²).Of this, 14.4 square miles (37.3 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (0.76%) is water. Des Plaines is traversed by two interstate highways - I-90 Northwest Tollway and I-294 Tri-State Tollway.

Des Plaines is named for the Des Plaines River, which flows through it. The name is French, "of the plains."

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 meteor crater, 75 to 200 feet 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.[citation needed]


As of the census[3] 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/sq mi (611.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 84.44% White, 1.01% Black or African American, 0.26% Native American, 7.65% Asian / Asian American, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 4.64% from other races, and 1.97% from two or more races. 14.01% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Biggest ancestries: German (21.5%), Polish (18.2%), Irish (13.8%), Italian (10.6%), English (5.2%), Swedish (3.3%).

There are 22,362 households, out of which 29.1% have 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. 28.5% of all households 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 females age 18 and over, there were 89.6 males.

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 amount of population resides outside the city limits in unincorporated areas which use a Des Plaines mailing address. These areas are often considered part of the city, giving the impression that it is much larger. In the 2000 census[3] the population of these areas was 25,617 people bringing the incorporated and unincorporated population of Des Plaines to 84,337 people.


Potawatomi, Ottawa, and Ojibwe (Chippewa) native American tribes inhabited the Des Plaines River Valley prior to Europeans' arrival. The first white settlers came from the eastern United States in 1833,[4] after the Treaty of Chicago, followed by many German immigrants during the 1840's and 1850's.[5] 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.[6] In 1857, the Chicago, St. Paul and Fond du lac Railroad began running its route, stopping near the mill where a small business section had grown up, and the Town of Rand was platted. In 1859, the Chicago and North Western Railway purchased the rail line, stopping its train and subsequently named its station "Des Plaines." In 1869, the 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 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 casino on approximately 21 acres 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 was projected to open in mid to late 2011.[7][8][9]

Places of interest

McDonald's Museum


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

Public school districts include:

Private schools include:

Places of Worship

The Bridge Community Church

Mayors and Village Presidents

Village Presidents: Incorporated as Town of Des Plaines 1869

  • 1870-1871 - Henry C. Senne
  • 1871-1872 - David Davison
  • 1872-1873 - Edward Dawes

Reincorporated as Village of Des Plaines 1874

  • 1874-1874 - Franklin Whitcomb
  • 1874-1875 - F. William Hoffman
  • 1875-1877 - Henry C. Senne
  • 1877-1879 - F. William Hoffman
  • 1879-1880 - Solomon Garland
  • 1880-1881 - F. William Hoffman
  • 1881-1883 - Henry C. Senne
  • 1883-1884 - Homer Van Vlack
  • 1884-1885 - Benjamin F. Kinder
  • 1885-1886 - August Moldenhauer
  • 1886-1887 - Andrew Sallstrom
  • 1887-1888 - John Alles, Jr.
  • 1888-1891 - Henry C. Senne
  • 1891-1892 - August Moldenhauer
  • 1892-1893 - Henry C. Senne
  • 1893-1894 - Peter M. Hoffman
  • 1894-1896 - Thomas Keates
  • 1896-1899 - August Moldenhauer
  • 1899-1900 - M. H. Brown
  • 1900-1902 - August Moldenhauer
  • 1902-1909 - L. B. Scharringhausen
  • 1909-1911 - Fred C. Brasel
  • 1911-1913 - August Jarnecke
  • 1913-1915 - W. M. Lawson
  • 1915-1923 - William Wicke
  • 1923-1925 - Harry T. Bennett

City form of Government adopted 1925

  • 1925-1929 - Charles S. Stewart
  • 1929-1933 - Charles Hammerl
  • 1933-1937 - George Kinder
  • 1937-1941 - Hobart M. Ahbe
  • 1941-1945 - Charles H. Garland
  • 1945-1949 - G. Walter Pflughaupt
  • 1949-1957 - Kenneth G. Meyer
  • 1957-1976 - Herbert H. Behrel
  • 1977-1981 - Herbert Volberding
  • 1981-1989 - John E. Seitz
  • 1989-1993 - D. Michael Albrecht
  • 1993-1997 - Theodore "Ted" Sherwood
  • 1997-1999 - Paul W. Jung (died October 24, 1999)
  • 1999-2009 - Anthony "Tony" W. Arredia
  • 2009-present - Martin "Marty" J. Moylan


Pop culture

  • Serial killer John Wayne Gacy did not live in Des Plaines. His house was in an unincorporated Norwood Township, near Chicago. It was the abduction and murder of 15-year-old Robert Piest, a sophomore at Maine West High School, of Des Plaines, that finally led to Gacy's capture. Additionally, a 1975 Maine West class ring engraved with the initials "JAS" was found in the crawl space of Gacy's home. The ring belonged to missing 19-year-old Maine West alumnus John Szyc. Des Plaines City detectives tracked down Gacy, as the 32 previous known victims were investigated by Chicago and other detectives that mainly wrote off the disappearances as "runaways" and closed the files.
  • Des Plaines, during the 1940s and 50's, 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 featured in an episode called L.D.S.K from the TV series Criminal Minds. A sniper (or as called on the show a Long Distance Serial Killer) starts shooting people in Franklin Park. The main characters on the show think the killer is a Des Plaines cop, which is eventually found out to be not true.
  • 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.
  • Chet and Connie Ripley (played by John Candy and Stephanie Faracy) in the movie "The Great Outdoors" lived in Des Plaines, according to the address on the check Candy wrote to Dan Aykroyd's character.


  1. ^ "Census 2000: Detailed 60-Page Demographic Profiles for All Counties, Townships, & Municipalities in Northeastern Illinois". Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. Retrieved 2008-08-01. 
  2. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ Des Plaines Centennial Program (1935). Des Plaines Centennial Celebration, June 25-30. Des Plaines, IL. pp. 17. 
  5. ^ "History, Des Plaines, Illinois (IL)". City of Des Plaines. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  6. ^ Des Plaines Centennial Program (1935). Des Plaines Centennial Celebration, June 25-30. Des Plaines, IL. pp. 21. 
  7. ^ "Des Plaines gets last casino license". Chicago BreakingNewsCenter (Chicago Tribune). 2008-12-22. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  8. ^ Garcia, Monique (2009-10-06). "Des Plaines casino construction to start in March, developer says". Clout Street (Chicago Tribune). Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  9. ^ Krishnamurthy, Madhu (2010-01-26). "Des Plaines planners approve huge casino complex". Daily Herald. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  10. ^
  11. ^

External links


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