Just a glance at the forecasted growth for Lake in the Hills and McHenry County – the fastest-growing County in Illinois – provides an idea of why so many businesses are attracted to the area. What sets Lake in the Hills apart from other McHenry communities is not only its aesthetically appealing natural setting, but also a comprehensive business plan developed by Lake in the Hills’ Economic Development Commission that makes it easy to do business in and with the Village.
The Economic Development Commission is comprised of business leaders and other professionals chosen for their expertise in community and economic development. With a focus on increasing local employment and conveniences for residents, the Commission’s business plan includes development for retailing and industry.
Retail developments are planned to be highly visible and adjacent to new and existing main thoroughfares, making access easy for shoppers. One shopping intersection alone boasts over 35,000 vehicles per day – already well past projections for 2010! National and regional retail chains, as well as hundreds of independently owned stores, restaurants and service providers, have established storefronts here to take profitable advantage of the area’s population boom. Industrial areas are slated for development near existing industrial complexes and with easy, convenient access to transport services including Lake in the Hills Airport. Interstate 90 is just seven miles south for both commuting and transportation of products. Finished goods, supplies and people move in and out of Lake in the Hills via 17 local motor freight carriers, numerous package delivery services, Pace buses, and the Chicago Northwestern and Metra commuter rail lines.
Some larger companies that have made their home in Lake in the Hills include Boncosky Transportation, Brock Equipment/Specialty Products, J.A. Frate, Personnel Protection, Inc., Sanborn Engineering Co., Waspi Trucking and Wonder Molded Products. Lake in the Hills fast-growing population – projected to reach 25,000+ by 2005 from its present 16,000 – offers two benefits to businesses locating here. First, an ever-increasing market of consumers with above-average household incomes is already demanding more retail businesses and personal services – and that demand will only grow as the population grows. Second, an ever-growing labor force of well-educated and highly skilled workers offers almost any type of business the workers it needs to grow and prosper. There is presently a workforce of more than 60,000 available within a 10-mile radius of the Village; by the year 2000, that number is expected to increase by 19 percent.
The streamlining of Village development procedures and policies makes a business start-up or facility construction project move along as smoothly as possible. Once a municipal representative becomes familiar with your project, he/she assists you regarding Village services, economic development financing or tax incentive programs, and stays with you until it’s completed and you’re “open for business.”
A few original farms and fieldstone foundations still standing today attest to Lake in the Hills’ rural beginnings. In 1923, Federal Judge Walter J. La Buy began purchasing land surrounding what was then Woods Creek. Through his efforts, the creek was dammed and a lake area dug out (using mules for the excavation) to create Woods Creek Lake, now the Village’s main lake. La Buy also planted hundreds of the stately pine and oak trees that today so handsomely enhance Lake in the Hills’ country setting.
Woods Creek Lake has been enlarged several times and is today much larger than its original size. An island, accessible by footbridge, was also added near Indian Trail Beach. Lake in the Hills’ population, too, has seen tremendous growth, jumping from just under 6,000 in 1990 to 16,000+ today’s “modern day settlers” discover, as did Lake in the Hills’ settlers of a half-century ago, the charm and appeal of this “outstanding example of a well-planned community in a natural setting.”
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Lake in the Hills History
“In the 1920’s Lake in the Hills was developed as a summer estate around artificial lakes, and in the 1940’s investors began residential subdivisions of the area. The village was incorporated in 1952 and is now a vast residential area. The population in the village in 1990 was 5,866 and grew to 23,152 in 2000. Still standing today are a few original farms and fieldstone foundations as reminders of the past.
The history of this village really started in 1923 when Federal Judge Walter J. La Buy began purchasing property around what is now the village’s main lake, Woods Creek Lake. He had acquired 472 acres as his estate by 1926. Five stucco houses were built for his children along the south side of Woods Creek Lake, on Indian Trail. Only one house stands today in its original state. The others have been altered in some way and enlarged. These homes all had beautiful views thanks to Judge La Buy. He planted many of the pine and oak trees that are now major attractions for home buyers.
Woods Creek Lake was enlarged over the years. When it was first completed in 1923, it stopped just short of where the stucco homes stood. Eventually an island was created a few feet from the beach. It was accessible by a footbridge. The lake is now owned by the village.
During the 1940’s property was purchased from Judge La Buy by Raymond Platt, his wife Bernice and brother-in-law J.R. Ladd. Platt was affiliated with Dearborn Builders of Chicago. In 1947 they finished their home and formed the Lake in the Hills Development Corporation. The area, now open to the general public, was nicknamed the “Out of Bounds Hunting and Fishing Estate”. This property was known to be called “an outstanding example of a well-planned community in a natural setting.” Although these homes were meant to be summer homes, many of them were occupied with year round residents.
The Property Owners Association was formed in 1950 to address maintenance and snow removal. This association of people led to the village incorporating in 1952. The first Village Hall was Mr. Platt’s sales office. A new Village Hall and police court was built in 1959 and located at 1111 Crystal Lake Road. They remained there until 1992 when they moved to 1115 Crystal Lake Road. The current Village Hall is located at 600 Harvest Gate. It was moved to that location in 2002. According to the Special Census conducted in 2003, the population at that time was 27,728.”
Lake in the Hills Trivia & Fun Facts
“The median household income is above state average.
The historical tornado activity is 62% greater than the overall U.S. average.
Elevation is 870 feet.
On July 21, 1982 heavy rain fell in northern Illinois, deluging some parts with more than seven inches of rain during a 24-hour period. The Crystal Lake outlet creek in Lake in the Hills overflowed, causing extensive property damage to 200 homes and major water damage in another 300 to 400 homes.”