Woodstock is a charming town located in central McHenry County along Routes 47, 120, and 176. Its historic square is surrounded by unique shops and restaurants offering something for everyone. Dominating the Square is the Woodstock Opera House, a famous landmark in the area. Built in 1889 to house the court, government offices, library, and fire department, it became the county’s center for entertainment. Today it provides endless entertainment for people of all ages with concerts, theater, dance, visual art, and educational programming. The movie “Groundhog Day” was filmed in Woodstock because of its quaint town square, the Opera House and the Victorian homes. Other attractions on the square include the Dick Tracy Museum and the yearly celebration of Groundhog Days.

Woodstock is proud of its fine Recreation Department that provides many programs for residents including sports, a waterpark, fitness classes, arts, special events, and programming for senior citizens. There is an abundance of beautiful parks with athletic fields and picnic areas for family activities and organized sports. Its location in McHenry County gives residents easy access to the many lakes and rivers in the surrounding area for boating and fishing. A short drive from Interstate 90, O’Hare International Airport is 40 miles away to the east, and Rockford Airport is 40 miles to the west. Commuter rail service to Chicago is provided by the Metra Northwest Line. Public and private buses are available for local and interstate travel.

With a 2010 projected population of 28,500, Woodstock is experiencing an increase in residential and commercial construction, providing high-quality homes, and conveniently located major shopping areas. Families and individuals who are looking for a community with strong values, an excellent school system, friendly people, and Victorian charm are finding that Woodstock provides it all.

Woodstock History

Woodstock was originally called Centerville to attract the McHenry County government seat in 1842. In 1845, the current name of Woodstock was adopted after the Vermont birthplace of Joel Johnson, an early settler. The city was incorporated as a village in 1852, and the courthouse that stands on the square was built in 1857. It is now privately owned. As with many of the neighboring towns settled in the mid 1800’s, the Chicago & North Western Railroad passed through Woodstock, allowing the farmers to ship their dairy production to Chicago. At that time the Borden Company opened a dairy processing plant. The plant later became the Claussen Pickle Company.

Woodstock grew economically in 1896 when Thomas Oliver started Oliver Typewriter in factory buildings donated by the city. The Emerson Typewriter Company moved to Woodstock in 1910 to produce Woodstock typewriters. A little over ten years later, about half of the world’s typewriters were made in Woodstock. In 1890 a combined city hall, library, firehouse, and theater was built on the square. This building, known today as the Opera House, underwent a major restoration in 1977 and is still in use today.

After World War II, industrial activity declined. At the same time, residential activity increased. With reliable rail commuter transportation, construction boomed after the 1960’s bringing economic prosperity to the region.

Woodstock Trivia & Fun Facts

As Woodstock’s city government vacated the opera house, the building became home to the Woodstock Players, a group that provided young graduates of Chicago’s Goodman Theater School with valuable professional experience in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Major stars Shelly Berman, Tom Bosley, Paul Newman, Geraldine Page, and Lois Nettleton performed regularly at the opera house, which is still in use after a major restoration in 1977.

Orson Welles was a student at the private Todd School for Boys in Woodstock between 1926 and 1931.

The average winter temperature in Woodstock is 22.90F
The average summer temperature in Woodstock is 73.90F
The average rainfall in Woodstock is 32 inches
The average snowfall in Woodstock is 30 inches

The distance from Woodstock to New York City is 885 miles.

Legend has it that a ghost named “Elvira” was once a beautiful actress who was up for a lead part in a ballet at the opera house in Woodstock. She was said to have been crushed when she didn’t get the part and committed suicide by jumping from the tower of the theater. From that time on, the theater has been haunted by her spirit. She even has a favorite seat in the theater, number 113, and many have witnessed this seat slowly lower as the ghost comes to rest there. Strange sounds have also been heard coming from the vicinity of the seat, props fall and disappear from the stage, and actors and staff at the theater also claim to occasionally catch glimpses of a phantom with long, golden hair.