The Village of Huntley, founded in 1851, is a rapidly growing community located in southern McHenry County and northern Kane County, bisected by Illinois Route 47 north and south, the Union Pacific Railroad northwest and southeast, and bordered on the south by Interstate 90.
McHenry County was established in 1837, and in 1838 the first settlers came from New England and settled west of the future town.
The Chicago and Galena Railroad constructed a railroad in 1851, which reached as far northwest as Huntley’s Grove. The railroad owners hosted an excursion trip on September 5, 1851, which marked the maiden voyage, to Huntley’s Station, and that was the beginning of Huntley (the “Grove” and “Station” words were later dropped).
The Chicago and Galena Railroad became the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, and later, Union Pacific Railroad, and served the community for over 150 years, though passenger service was eliminated in about 1950. The railroad was critical to the economic development of Huntley, providing the means of sending agriculture products to the Chicago market and leading to Huntley’s preeminence as a dairy center. In addition to shipping dairy products directly to Chicago, milk producers sold milk to local factories, which processed condensed milk, butter and cheese. There is a strong possibility that passenger train service will be reinstated in the future.
The population of the village grew and fluctuated but never rose above 650 until the latter half of the 20th Century. Almost no growth occurred during the Depression years, but the village began to grow slowly and steadily after WWII. In 1993, Prime Development proposed a planned community of 2,700 acres south of the village near the Northwest Tollway. Huntley annexed the property, and Prime built a shopping outlet mall and added auto dealerships and several commercial and industrial parks. Prime sold the portion planned for residential use to Del Webb Sun City. Sun City is an age-restricted community for 55 year-olds and over. Residents began occupying homes in 1999 and continue to acquire property there at a steady rate. Real estate developments have flourished to the east and northeast so that the population continues to increase rapidly. This has necessitated the building of eight new schools since 1995.
Huntley’s motto, “The Friendly Village with Country Charm,” may be outgrowing some of its parameters, but residents hope the village will always retain the attributes of friendliness and charm.
Source: U.S. Census data
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