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Elgin, Illinois

Founded: 1835

County: Kane, Cook

Population: 110,145

 

Early Elgin achieved fame for the butter and dairy goods it sold to the city of Chicago.The dairy industry became less important with the arrival of the Elgin Watch Company. Today, the clocks at Chicago's Union Station still bear the Elgin name. Elgin is home to the Elgin Academy, the oldest coeducational, non-sectarian college preparatory school west of the Allegheny Mountains. Elgin High School boasts five navy admirals, a Nobel Prize winner, a Pulitzer Prize winner, a Tony Award winner, two Academy Award–winning producers, Olympic athletes and a General Motors CEO among its alumni. The motorized streetsweeper was invented by Elgin resident John Murphy and later formed the Elgin Sweeper Corporation.Pioneering African-American chemist Lloyd Hall was an Elgin native, as was the legendary marketer and car stereo pioneer Earl "Madman" Muntz and Max Adler, founder of the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, the first planetarium in America.

 

There are 82 public elementary schools in Elgin, split between the School District U-46, Community Unit School District 300, Aurora East Usd 131, and 12 more additional school districts. Additionally, there are 26 high schools and 109 middle schools in Elgin, with more than 24,370 students enrolled in public schools in Elgin.

 

When it comes to institutes of higher learning, Elgin is home to several colleges and universities such as Judson University, National Louis University, Providence Baptist College and Elgin Community College, one of the fastest growing community colleges in the state of Illinois.

 

When you move to Elgin, you'll find that there is a certain historic feel to the Downtown area that makes it unique and sets it apart from many similar Midwestern cities. There are a lot of historic buildings in Downtown Elgin that have been renovated and transformed into clubs, bars and restaurants, and this Downtown resurgence has helped to revitalize the local economy after a rough period in the 1980s when the city lost many landmark businesses.

 

One of the attractions that really helped restore the local economy was the previously mentioned Grand Victoria riverboat casino and it remains one of the biggest tourist attractions in Illinois. For those that want to get in touch with nature, there are a number of great parks in Elgin, including Lords Park, a 112-acre expanse that features the Elgin Public Museum and a host of different wildlife, including a herd of American bison.

 

The city is home to several golf courses and numerous recreation centers, including the Elgin Sports Complex near the south side of the city with a baseball field, soccer fields and a BMX track. Residents can also visit the city's two nature preserves, the Bluff Spring Fen and Trout Park.