Wilmette is a village in
New Trier Township, Cook County, Illinois, United States. It is located north of Chicago's downtown
district (or from Chicago's northern
border) and has a population of 27,651.
considered a bedroom community
the affluent North Shore
district. In 2007, Wilmette was ranked as the seventh best place to
raise children in the U.S., according to Business Week
European settlement, a Potawatomi village
was located on "Indian Hill", currently the site of a golf course
in nearby Winnetka.
The village is named in honor of Antoine
Ouilmette, a French-Canadian fur trader married to Archange, the
daughter of Potawatomi chief Sauganash
.For his part in persuading local Native
Americans to sign the Treaty
of Prairie du Chien in 1829, the U.S. government
awarded Ouilmette 1,280 acres (5.2 km²) of land in present-day
Wilmette and Evanston.
In 1848, he sold the land to farmers and
developers and it eventually evolved into modern-day
John G. Westerfield built pickle and vinegar factories in the area
in 1857. Other early commercial development included a cooperage, a
brick kiln, and an icehouse.
The Chicago and Milwaukee
tracks were built in 1854, but the first local station
wasn't constructed until 1869. The Chicago, North Shore and
(North Shore Line) arrived in 1899 and connected with
a Milwaukee Road
line into Chicago.
The North Shore Line
Wilmette was abandoned in 1955, the line into Chicago is now the
's Purple Line
Catholic farmers from the area of Trier began
settling the area in the 1840s.
They named their village
, which was located west of
Ridge Road. The Village of Wilmette was incorporated on September 19
Village of Gross Point was incorporated on September 19,
1874.September 19 is celebrated locally as Charter Day.Wilmette was nearly
annexed by its neighbour to the south, Evanston, in 1894 and 1897.
Proponents wanted to take
advantage of Evanston's then-superior fire, police, and waterworks.
One annexation referendum lost by a vote of 168 to 165; three
others also failed.
Gross Point's municipal revenues were dependent on the 15 taverns
in town. With prohibition
disappeared and the village went bankrupt. It was annexed in two
parts by the Village of Wilmette in 1924 and 1926.
Land was an unincorporated shoreline area bordering
Wilmette, Evanston, and Kenilworth.
It was the subject of
numerous disputes and legal arguments between the three
municipalities for decades before it was finally annexed into
Wilmette in 1942.
The oldest surviving Bahá'í House of Worship
was constructed here between 1920 and 1953.
Wilmette is governed by a village board composed of six trustees
and a president. Trustees serve staggered, four-year terms and are
elected at-large. The current village trustees are Mike Basil,
Cameron Krueger, Ted McKenna, Karen Spillers, Alan Swanson, and
Mari Terman. The current village president is Chris Canning.
Wilmette was one of the first localities in Illinois to enact a
ban on smoking in all public spaces,
including bars and restaurants.
Also that year, the village
government prosecuted local resident Hale DeMar, age 59, for
violating the town's handgun
ban (enacted in
1989). DeMar shot a burglar inside his house.
The handgun ban was enacted in direct response to an incident in
1988 when Laurie Dann
opened fire on a
classroom full of children in neighboring Winnetka.
Below secondary education, Wilmette is served by Wilmette Public
Schools District 39 which includes elementary schools (grades K–4)
Central, Harper, McKenzie, and Romona
, Highcrest Middle School
& 6), and Wilmette
Junior High School
(grades 7 & 8).Marie Murphy School, also
located in Wilmette, is part of Avoca School District 37. There are
also several parochial elementary schools in the area, including
St. Francis Xavier and St. Joseph.Other private schools in Wilmette include
the Ronald Knox Montessori School and the Baker
public secondary education, Wilmette students attend New Trier
High School. High school freshmen attend classes at the
Northfield campus while other grades attend the Winnetka campus. Wilmette is also home to Catholic high
schools Loyola Academy and Regina
Dominican High School.
Arlyn School in Wilmette is an alternative school
supported by member
school districts in the area. It serves junior high and high school
students who have been referred by school districts, community
agencies, private practitioners, and parents.
Public Library provides educational support to students at all
grade levels, including those residing in neighboring Kenilworth,
Attractions include Gillson Park with beach access, marina, and an
off-leash area for dogs, a smaller beach named Langdon Beach, and
Centennial Park, with a public swimming pool, tennis and
ice-skating facilities. The Wilmette Golf Club, hosting a
6,378-yard course, is located on the far west side of town.
Wilmette is home to a Bahá'í
and the administrative offices for the Bahá'í
National Spiritual Assembly. The house of worship was named in 2007
as one of the Seven Wonders of Illinois
by the Illinois
Bureau of Tourism. Wilmette has a small two theater multiplex named
the Wilmette Theater located on Central Street in one of it's
downtowns. Wilmette has three shopping centers; one of them is
Plazza del Lago, one of the nations oldest shopping centers, it is
located along Sheridan Road; the other two, Edens Plazza and West
Lake Plaza, are on Lake Street along the Edens Expressway.
In addition to the Bahá'í House of Worship, Wilmette is famous for
its several other examples of religious architecture
The oldest existing church building in Wilmette is the First
Congregational Church (1909) designed in the Tudor Revival
style. Trinity United Methodist
Church (1928) is a Neo-Gothic
and was designed and constructed by Granger & Bollenbacher of
Wisconsin Lannonstone. The church features stained glass windows by
Willet Studios of Philadelphia, among the top American studios during the
The church was also used as a filming location for
Both St. Joseph and St. Francis Xavier Church were designed by the
firm of McCarthy, Smith and Eppig. St. Joseph's is Wilmette's
oldest religious congregation, having been established in 1843. The
present building (1939) is among the finest examples of Art Deco
architecture on the North Shore
. The interior is
particularly well preserved and features Art
Deco light fixtures, and stained glass windows designed and
fabricated by Giannini & Hilgart of Chicago.
altar floor and sanctuary wall contain Italian and French marble
inlaid with Portuguese onyx
. The Stations of the Cross are pastel-hued
mosaics crafted in the Vatican Studio of
Mosaics in Rome.
design and materials of the Y-shaped school designed by Herman J.
constructed in 1934, and the adjacent rectory, harmonize with the church.
Francis Xavier Church (1939) was designed in the Late Gothic
Revival mode while McCarthy, Smith & Eppig were simultaneously
working on St. Joseph's in Wilmette. The stained glass windows were
made with English and German imported glass by the famed F. X.
Studios of Munich,
Germany and New
St Francis Xavier School (1924), just east
of the church is a unique modern blend of Gothic architecture by
Chicago architect Barry Byrne.
has two houses built by Frank Lloyd
Wright: the Frank J. Baker House (and carriage house) and the Lewis Burleigh
These places in Wilmette are on the National Register of
||100 Linden Ave.
||1028 Sheridan Rd.
|Frank J. Baker House
||507 Lake Ave.
|Alfred Bersbach House
||1120 Michigan Ave.
|Chicago and Northwestern
||1135-1141 Wilmette Ave.
|Gross Point Village Hall
||609 Ridge Rd.
|Linden Avenue Terminal
||330 Linden Ave.
|Oak Circle Historic District
||318-351 Oak Circle
|Ouilmette North Historic
||46 blk district ext. from Chesnut Ave, Sheridan
Rd., Lake Ave. and 13th St.
Linden Avenue 'L' Station
Wilmette is served by the Chicago Transit Authority
well the PACE suburban bus system. The northernmost station of the Purple Line is
located at Linden
Avenue in Wilmette. Wilmette's commuter railroad station is at Green Bay Road and Washington
is located on the western shore of Lake Michigan and is a near northern suburb of Chicago,
immediately north of Evanston at (42.077178, -87.723736) .
The North Shore Channel
empties into Lake Michigan at Wilmette Harbor.
According to the United
States Census Bureau
, the village has a total area of
5.4 square miles
), of which,
5.4 square miles (13.9 km²) of it is land and 0.19%
As of the census
of 2000, there were 27,651
people, 10,039 households, and 7,730 families residing in the
village. The population density
was 5,135.8 people per square mile (1,984.4/km²). There were 10,319
housing units at an average density of 1,916.6/sq mi
(740.6/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 89.66% White
, 0.56% Black
, 0.04% Native American
, 0.01% Pacific Islander
, 0.42% from
, and 1.15%
from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 2.08% of the
There were 10,039 households out of which 40.6% had children under
the age of 18 living with them, 68.9% were married couples
living together, 6.4% had a female
householder with no husband present, and 23.0% were non-families.
21.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.1% had
someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average
household size was 2.73 and the average family size was 3.19.
In the village the population was spread out with 29.7% under the
age of 18, 3.6% from 18 to 24, 21.7% from 25 to 44, 27.8% from 45
to 64, and 17.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age
was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 91.8 males. For
every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.9 males.
According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in
the village was $120,469, and the median income for a family was
$149,104. Males had a median income of $97,143 versus $50,007 for
females. The per capita income
the village was $55,611. About 1.3% of families and 2.3% of the
population were below the poverty line
including 1.6% of those under age 18 and 4.7% of those age 65 or
The village ranks 45th on the list of highest-income places
in the United States
with a population of over 10,000.
People from Wilmette
- Black Child, Rap artist, also
outspoken gay rights supporter
- Julia Allison, columnist
- Race Bannon, fictional character in
"Jonny Quest" television series
- Lester Crown, billionaire
- Ann-Margret, actress
- Dr. Steven Hill, American
Economist and Author
- Rahm Emanuel, congressman, Chief of
Staff of President Barack Obama
- Marc Hauser, photographer
- Christie Hefner, Playboy CEO
- Charlton Heston, actor
- H H Holmes, serial killer
- Barry Horowitz, professional
- Tim Kazurinsky, writer and
- Andrew Kurtzman, writer
- Crystal McCahill, Playboy Playmate of the
Month, May 2009; featured on The
Girls Next Door
- Bill Murray, actor
- Joel Murray, actor
- Roger B. Myerson, 2007 Nobel Prize in Economics
co-winner (lived in Wilmette at the time of the awarding of the
- Jonathan Nolan, screenwriter
- Dana Olsen, screenwriter
- Ian Punnett, radio broadcaster
- Tony Rezko, restaurateur and
political fundraiser (lived in Wilmette at the time of his
- Daniel Rose
- Jack Ryan, former
Republican candidate for the
United States Senate
- Jamie Schroeder, Olympic
- Bart Shore, radio broadcaster
- Matt Walker, former
- Pete Wentz, Fall Out Boy bassist
- Rainn Wilson, actor
- Larry Sweeney, professional
- Thomas S. Ricketts, owner-to-be of the Chicago Cubs, son of TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts (lives in Wilmette)
- Patrick Stump,singer
Wilmette's sister city in Australia is Mona Vale in Pittwater Council, New South
Wales and they participate in an annual student exchange
program between their high schools.
Mona Vale and Wilmette
are connected spiritually as well, each is home to a Bahá'í
House of Worship
, of which there are only seven in the
- Believer magazine, February, 2008.
NRIS, Search Illinois, Wilmette]
- Playboy model appears in court on DUI
- Playboy Model Drops Bid To Drive After DUI
- Ebner, Michael. Creating Chicago's North Shore: A Suburban
- Holley, Horace. Wilmette Story. 1951.