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Fox Lake Becomes a Village

During the early 1900s, the Fox Lake area grew to be an increasingly popular place for recreation of all sorts. While hunting and fishing activities continued to attract the sportsmen, the clubs and resorts rapidly grew in number, offering additional forms of recreation. The Lake County authorities in Waukegan conducted occasional surprise visits to ensure the recreation at the establishments operated within the law.

The local resort and club owners, as well as the residents who relied on these operations for jobs, were not pleased with the level of law enforcement services being provided. Eventually, a decision was made at a public meeting at the Dunnill House to incorporate Fox Lake as a village. The incorporation occurred on April 13, 1907. The new Village’s population at the time was less than 400 year-round residents, while the summer population was estimated to exceed 20,000.

The community decided that by incorporating they could ensure greater local control over their services, particularly law enforcement. Getting a quick response from Waukegan was not possible, since the roadways were little more than meandering trails.

Of course, one of the overriding reasons to improve the services was that the local economy relied on ensuring the visitors kept coming. They came to the area to have fun and be entertained—and the new Village was more than happy to provide them with that opportunity.

The incorporation led to other changes. At the time of incorporation, Fox Lake decided to also start its own elementary school. Thus, the Fox Lake Elementary School District #114 was started, with its boundaries formed by the initial Village limits. Future Village annexations did not expand the school borders, which is why some Village of Fox Lake students attend Big Hollow or Gavin schools. Decades later, the State of Illinois required the Lotus School to be annexed into the Fox Lake Elementary District #114 to resolve financial issues at Lotus School.

The Chamber of Commerce & Industry was formed in 1909, which replaced the previous Fox Lake Commercial Association. The Fox Lake Fire Department was formed in 1908, the same year when the business section of Ingleside was annexed into the Village.

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