Marengo

Marengo is a small town located in the southwestern corner of McHenry County in an area of farms, light industry, and growing residential developments. Its convenient location at the Route 20/I-90 exit on the Northwest Tollway gives its residents easy access to both Chicago and Rockford. O’Hare International Airport is a 45-mile drive, and the Lake-in-the-Hills airport, an 18-mile drive, services private aircraft. Major shopping, cultural, and recreational areas are a short drive from Marengo, making it a perfect location for those who want to live in a country setting yet be close to all the nearby amenities.

Indian Oaks Park is a recreational area with a community swimming pool, soccer and softball fields, and a full program of activities. The McHenry County Conservation District parks, camping facilities and the Kishwaukee River are great areas for family fun. The Northern Illinois Fire Museum is located in Marengo, and the Illinois Railway Museum in neighboring Union has a collection of railroad passenger cars, rapid transit cars, streetcars, and locomotives.

Marengo’s small-town charm, excellent schools, and friendly atmosphere will continue to draw families to the area who are seeking a high quality of life.

Marengo History

“Marengo was originally called Pleasant Grove when it was settled along the Galena-Chicago Road in 1835 and was named Marengo after the first post office was established in 1841. The arrival of the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad in 1851 brought prosperity to the Marengto. The community, incorporated as a village in 1857 and as a city in 1893, became an important commercial center for area farmers. Among the first settlers was Calvin Spencer, who came to the area from Ohio in 1835 and built the first house. He was accompanied by his sister, who was the first white woman in the township. Many families followed, and the new settlers started stores, farms, a grist mill, a blacksmith shop, and law and medical practices.

As the town grew, wells were sunk in 1894 which brought pure running water. It was piped through the city and still continues today. Subsequently, a sewer system was built in 1905. The old Marengo Opera House building was remodeled in 1916 to form a men’s Community Club. This Club contained a billiard room, reception rooms, kitchen, and dressing rooms with lavatories. The purpose of this Club was to provide entertainment, physical training, and exercise to its members. The fee was $6 per year. The members worked in harmony with the various women’s clubs and other societies to make Marengo a better and safer place to live.”

Marengo Trivia & Fun Facts

“Marengo was named after a town in Italy.

The Marengo Steel building on Prospect Street used to be a pickle factory

During the Civil War era, Route 20 was the main trail taken to haul the lead from the mines of Galena to Chicago.

Burma Road in Marengo was called Tokyo Road for the Japanese people who were interned in the back building located on the southeast corner of Route 20 and Burma Road during World War II.”