River Forest

With Chicago to the east and the Forest Preserves to the west, you can imagine why some say River Forest offers the perfect balance between urban and suburban lifestyles.

Commuters find easy access to downtown Chicago. O’Hare International and Midway airports are easily reached by way of the Eisenhower Expressway (I-290), and the new Multi-Model transportation center is home to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra (Chicago Northwestern Railroad), and PACE bus service.

In 1831, Bickerdike and Noble, a Chicago firm built a sawmill just north of Lake Street on the east bank of the Des Plaines River. The mill, reportedly the only one within 20 miles of Chicago, was vital to the growth and settlement of the River Forest community.

Settlers were attracted by the fertile land, forests and river, which bordered on the west. The arrival of the railroad in 1865 was probably the single most important factor in the development of the community.

John Murphy, who followed the railroad to River Forest, graded the first River Forest streets and completed the conversion of the Thatcher acreage and another farm into a town. The Village of River Forest was incorporated in 1880 with Timothy Kirk as its first president.

Candidates for the office of president and the six board trustees were nominated at town meetings. Most of the community land is covered by residential buildings, churches and educational institutions. Like its eastern neighbor, Oak Park, the village can boast a rich architectural heritage and a citizenry that appreciates both the preservation of that heritage and of the good schools and life it has developed.


School Address Phone Grade
Lincoln Elementary School 511 Park Ave, River Forest, IL 60305 (708) 366-7340 Elementary Schools
Willard Elementary School 1250 Ashland Ave, River Forest, IL 60305 (708) 366-6740 Elementary Schools
Roosevelt School 7560 Oak Ave, River Forest, IL 60305 (708) 366-9230 Middle Schools
Roosevelt School 7560 Oak Ave, River Forest, IL 60305 (708) 366-9230 Middle Schools