Winnetka is a very affluent village located within Cook County about 16 miles north of downtown Chicago. With a population of fewer than 15,000 residents, Winnetka is not densely populated as many of the residents own large plots of land due to the opulence of the area. The median income per household is much higher than the national average at close to $170,000 per year! The extremely high income of residents in this area makes Winnetka the second richest municipality in the United States and one of the most exclusive and wealthy communities in the nation.
The first settlers arrived in the area currently known as Winnetka as early as 1836. In the following years, a sawmill was built as well as Winnetka’s first Church site in 1869. New Trier Township, named after New Trier, Germany, was home to about 100 people, which was formally organized as a living community in 1850. In 1854, railroads were being built, which helped to ensure Winnetka’s future by bringing in more residents and businesses.
Charles and Sarah Peck, who are often credited as the founders of Winnetka, named Winnetka after the Native American phrase, “beautiful land”. They also organized the first private school of the village in 1856, offering education to the residents of the area. The village was officially chartered in 1869 by the state. Winnetka also held restrictions on its residents including prohibiting consumption of alcohol and also enforced the planting and protection of shade trees. Most of the population growth witnessed in Winnetka occurred from the 1920’s on, which had grown from about 6,500 to just more than 12,000 residents.
Winnetka is also known for several modern historical events. For example, in 1965, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in Winnetka and there is a plaque dedicated to him in the village green where he spoke. Thanks to the work of Dr. King, the nonprofit known as the Open Communities was founded following Dr. King’s housing campaign. Winnetka is also a hub for pop culture, with multiple movies taking place in Winnetka. Some of those movies include: Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles, Uncle Buck, and many more. The large, beautiful homes in Winnetka serve as a great place for a movie setting as well as the beautiful landscape and preservation of the natural beauty of the area.
Winnetka is a very prosperous and safe area to live. CNN Money named Winnetka as number four on their list of America’s 25 top-earning towns in 2007. There is a very low crime rate in the area as well as excellent public education. Students in the area attend New Trier High School, which spends close to $15,000 per student. Many notable groups such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and more have recognized New Trier for its academic excellence and commitment to education by including the school in the “top hundred” and “most successful” schools on the national level. Based on all of the fantastic amenities afforded to the residents of the area, it is no wonder why so many people love to live in this area and it is known as being highly exclusive.
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