With roots stemming as far back as the early 1830s, the city of Park Ridge is located approximately 15 miles northwest of downtown Chicago. Its proximity to O’Hare, major expressways, and public transportation have made Park Ridge the ideal community for commuters. Park Ridge’s most recognizable landmark is the Pickwick Theatre, named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Sprawling parks, world-class schools, and top-notch civic works consistently rank among top reasons to call Park Ridge home.
The Park Ridge suburb has roots that go as far back as the early 1830s, when the first American settlers began to arrive from New York and other parts of New England. Entrepreneur George Penny recognized that the ridge itself was rich with clay deposits, making it ideal for brick-making, and originally established the area as a brickyard that served as a primary source of construction materials for the young but rapidly growing settlement of Chicago. As such, the area was originally named Pennyville, and then Brickton, before finally incorporating as the Park Ridge suburb in 1873. The area saw a great deal of expansion with the arrival of the railroad, as well as migration from the city after the Great Fire in 1871. The residents of the Park Ridge suburb decided to reincorporate as a city in 1910, establishing a government that included a mayor and aldermen elected from wards instead of a president and trustees elected at-large. Park Ridge continued to grow through the 1920s due to the addition of new business, industry, and an artist’s colony, as well as new parks and renovation of streets and civic plumbing. The housing boom post-World War II caused another significant rise in the population, and other major area construction—such as the O’Hare Airport in 1956 and Lutheran General Hospital in 1959—led to even greater settlement by professionals and their families. Today, the Park Ridge suburb enjoys both the advantages of its proximity and easy expressway access to the city while retaining its own character and charm.
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