The History of Indian Head Park
Before the area, now known as Indian Head Park, became a village, it was one of the last camp sites of the Native American tribe, the Potawatomie. Known as Lyonsville in the 1830s, the area was near the center of what was then Cook County, which encompassed the entire area of today’s Cook County, all of present-day DuPage County, and parts of Will and Lake Counties. Because of its central location, the first Democratic Convention in Cook County was held in the area in 1835. Also of note is the fact that the Lyonsville Congregational Church, at the corner of Joliet and Wolf Roads, was once a stop on the Underground Railroad during the Civil War of 1861 to 1865.
In 1946, Norman Higby, a well-known real estate developer at that time, established a subdivision of approximately 25 lots in the area west of Wolf Road. Nineteen families became owners of lots in the area known today as “Old Town.” In 1951, Mr. Higby opened a second phase of the subdivision, followed by a third phase some time later. At that time, the area included an 18-hole golf course, half of which was eliminated when the third phase of the subdivision was established. Part of the other half of the golf course ultimately became the fourth phase of the subdivision, while the other part was sold to the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority.
The early years of the subdivision were plagued with the difficulties that typically face a fledgling community—an often-inadequate water supply, a lack of electricity, and less than optimal refuse disposal and other municipal services. A deep well located in the community ultimately became the prime reason why residents wanted to incorporate the subdivision as a village. In January 1951, several residents filed for incorporation "to furnish water from a common well and to pump and distribute water on a cooperative basis to the members, defraying maintenance and operation costs of the water system from dues collected from the members."
The first official meeting of the corporation was held two weeks after the request for incorporation was filed, and each family paid $10 to join the corporation. Initially, dues were used for the maintenance and repair of the well. After an increase in the yearly fee was approved sometime thereafter, snow removal was added to the corporation’s services.
Because of all the challenges that faced the community, the Corporation Board and several residents felt that incorporating the area would be advantageous to everyone in the area. On May 13, 1958, a proposal to incorporate was presented to the residents, and a petition was filed with the Cook County courts. A community election was held on June 9, and 92 of the 114 residents who voted did so in favor of incorporation. The Indian Head Park Improvement Corporation met after the residents voted and decided to transfer all corporation assets, including water facilities, to the Village of Indian Head Park, which was officially incorporated on August 4, 1959.
The village was named after the Indian Head Golf Course that existed prior to the subdivision’s development and to recognize the fact that Native American arrowheads were left in the area by the Potawatomie tribe. Today, Indian Head Park is a charming area that is committed to community, forestry, and love of nature. The village of approximately 3,800 residents is characterized by a rolling terrain with scores of mature trees in a park-like setting and deer that roam the subdivision. Over the years, officials and residents of the Village of Indian Head Park have continued to maintain a strong focus on the Native American tradition of respect for the environment and preservation of natural beauty. Residents of this safe community have access to excellent schools and convenient transportation options to downtown Chicago and both O’Hare and Midway airports.
What once was a characterized as the "best kept secret in Chicagoland" continues to be, quite simply, a great place to live.