The Village of West Dundee in Kane County lies along the banks of the Fox River, giving it the charm and appeal that river towns are known for. The Historic Downtown Business District has been revitalized, and the Spring Hill Mall and adjoining retail areas provide the community with a multitude of choices for their shopping needs. Located only 37 miles northwest of the Chicago Loop, its proximity to Interstate 90 puts it in one of the leading growth areas in the Fox Valley. Commuters to Chicago have access to the Metra Train Line in nearby towns or an easy drive on the nearby expressways.
The Dundee Township Park District offers a wide variety of activities and programs for area residents. The Recreation and Fitness Center includes a day-care center, indoor pool, racquetball courts, basketball courts, and an indoor track. West Dundee has two golf courses, a Senior Center, two outdoor pools, and a family aquatic center. In addition, there are 25 park sites, 17 athletic fields, and 92 acres of natural woods. Residents do not have to go far from home to enjoy all the activities they want.
The Village of West Dundee has a variety of housing sizes and architectural styles. The housing and commercial developments are well planned, and the school districts are excellent. All of this proves that the village is continually striving to maintain the quality of life it has always enjoyed.
West Dundee History
Settlers heading west from Chicago in the early 1800’s found the Fox River Valley and started building a community on the west banks of the Fox River. Residents were drawn to this area by its beauty and peacefulness. The town was named after Dundee, Scotland, the former home of a resident. In 1843 the famous detective, Allan Pinkerton, set up a business as a cooper, and the town was incorporated in 1867. Hemmed in by the Fox River on the east and a large tree nursery on the north and west, West Dundee was slow to development. The nursery employed thousands of seasonal employees who either lived at the nursery or commuted from Chicago by electric car. In the 1950’s the Highlands subdivision was built on land sold by the nursery. Other properties were purchased west of Illinois 31 and development continued. The large Spring Hill Mall was completed in 1980 and boosted the local economy, creating approximately 1,600 jobs by 1982. Even with commercial and residential development, West Dundee still has its small town charm.
West Dundee Trivia & Fun Facts
The ancestors of West Dundee were predominately German, Irish and Polish.
Restored buildings in West Dundee include structures reported to have provided refuge for slaves on the Underground Railroad. The slaves were on their way to the Chicago area from perilous journeys in Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
Allan Pinkerton, Chicago’s first police detective and known as “The Father of the American Private Investigator”, settled in West Dundee in the 1840’s. A leader in the abolitionist movement, he worked with the Underground Railroad bringing slaves from the south. Many of his activities were covert in nature; among them an investigation into counterfeiting activities in the area. He accidentally discovered a counterfeit camp headquarters and successfully rounded up the gang. It was the largest counterfeit ring every caught in the United States. That year he started Pinkerton National Detective Agency, which became well known for its investigative work in the area of union activities. He also foiled an assassination plot against the newly-elected President Lincoln before he reached Washington. Pinkerton died in 1884 from an infection resulting from biting his tongue when he slipped on a sidewalk. He is a member of the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame.