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Community Overview

Homewood, IL, is a community of distinction, dedicated to preserving its rich heritage while keeping a keen eye toward the future.

Homewood’s history dates back to the 1830s, as European settlers made their way here along the Vincennes Trail—an early Indian trail linking Vincennes, IN and Chicago. The area remained undeveloped until 1853, when James Hart platted the settlement of Hartford in what is now Homewood’s downtown district. The same year, Hartford welcomed the Illinois Central Railroad. The new rail stop changed its name to Thornton Station for the prominent neighboring village of Thornton.

The railroad was a boon for the fledgling little town, spurring new business establishments, including the Thornton Flour Mill Company, general stores, blacksmiths and saloons. By 1869, the town, noted as “homes in the woods” by early settlers, changed its name one last time to Homewood. The community was officially incorporated in 1893.

Within a decade, Homewood had installed telephone and electric service and organized a Volunteer Fire Department and Police Department. The Illinois Central Railroad continued to be a significant part of community life, with as many as 10 round-trip trains making daily stops in Homewood during the early 1900s.

The city continued to grow in the 1920s, with a slight slow-down in expansion during the Great Depression. The town was home to approximately 3,000 in 1940—a number that surged with the explosive growth that followed the World War II era. By 1970, the population rose to nearly 18,000.

Today, Homewood is home to more than 19,500 residents and a diversified economy. This south suburb’s high quality of life has earned it much prestigious recognition over the years. Forbes named Homewood among the most livable metro-area suburbs in the Midwest, and the village has earned the Best of Chicago Southland’s Best Community Award on numerous occasions. Chicago Magazine and the Chicago Tribune have also provided various recognitions for Homewood, including naming Homewood as one of the top 10 downtowns in the Chicagoland area.

While the village has developed immensely since its earliest days, it has retained its rustic, small-town character discovered in the quiet neighborhoods, preserved natural areas and charming downtown district. Come and experience the qualities of Home Sweet Homewood for yourself!

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