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Des Plaines
—  City  —


Location in the Chicago metropolitan area

Des Plaines, Illinois is located in Illinois
Des Plaines
Location in Illinois
Coordinates: 42°02′02″N 87°53′59″W / 42.03389, -87.89972Coordinates: 42°02′02″N 87°53′59″W / 42.03389, -87.89972
Country  United States
State Illinois
Countis Cook
Township Maine
Settled early 1800's
Incorporated 1869
Named for The Des Plaines River
 • Type Council-manager
 • Mayor Matthew Bogusz
 • City 14.42 sq mi (37.3 km2)
Elevation 642 ft (196 m)
Population (2010 Census)[1]
 • City 58,364
 • Rank 20th in Illinois
 • Density 4,087.1/sq mi (1,578.0/km2)
 • Urban 8,711,000 in Chicago urban area
 • Metro 9,461,105 in Chicago metro area
Standard of living (2009–11)
 • Per capita income $30,660
 • Median home value $252,300
Time zone CST (UTC−06:00)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC−05:00)
ZIP code(s) 60016, 60017, 60018, 60019
Area code(s) 847, 224
Demographics (2010)[3]
White Black Asian
77.3% 1.8% 11.4%
Islander Native Other Hispanic
(any race)
0.02% 0.6% 8.8% 17.2%

Des Plaines /dɪsˈplnz/ is a city in Cook County, Illinois, United States. It has adopted the official nickname of "City of Destiny". As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 58,364.[3] It is a suburb of Chicago and is next to O'Hare International Airport. The Des Plaines River runs through the city, just east of its downtown area.


Potawatomi, Ottawa, and Ojibwe (Chippewa) native American tribes inhabited the Des Plaines River Valley prior to Europeans' arrival. The first white settlers came from the eastern United States in 1833,[4] after the Treaty of Chicago, followed by many German immigrants during the 1840s and 1850s.[5] In the 1850s, land in the area was purchased by the Illinois and Wisconsin Land Company along a railroad line planned between Chicago and Janesville, Wisconsin. In 1852, the developers built a steam powered mill next to the river, to cut local trees into railroad ties. Socrates Rand then bought the mill and converted it into a grist mill, which attracted local farmers. The Illinois and Wisconsin Railroad made its first stop in the area in the fall of 1854.[6] In 1857, the Chicago, St. Paul and Fond du Lac Railroad began running its route, stopping near the mill where a small business section had grown up, and the town of Rand was platted. In 1859, the Chicago and North Western Railway purchased the rail line, stopping its train and subsequently named its station "Des Plaines". In 1869, the subdivision name was changed to Des Plaines, and the village of Des Plaines was incorporated.

Des Plaines was reincorporated in 1873 and elected a village board the following year. Local brick manufacturer Franklin Whitcomb was the first Village President.

In 1925, village residents voted to convert to a city form of government and annexed the village of Riverview to the south. Subsequent annexations included the Orchard Place area in 1956. The city experienced rapid growth after World War II and with the opening of nearby Chicago-O'Hare International Airport.

In 1979, Des Plaines was the site of the American Airlines Flight 191 disaster, in which a McDonnell Douglas DC-10 departing from O'Hare lost an engine and wing material and crashed just short of a local trailer park. Two workers at a repair garage were killed and two more, along with three civilians, were injured; all 271 people on board the aircraft also died.

In 2008, the Illinois Gaming Board awarded the state's 10th and last casino license to Midwest Gaming and Entertainment LLC to build a 140,000-square-foot (13,000 m2) casino on approximately 21 acres (85,000 m2) adjacent to the Tri-State Tollway at the northwest corner of Devon Avenue and Des Plaines River Road. Midwest Gaming received the award despite having the lowest bid because other bidders were found unacceptable by the Board, with one board member finding no bidders acceptable. The city approved zoning in early 2010, and the casino opened in July 2011 as Rivers Casino.[7][8][9]


Des Plaines is located at 42°2′2″N 87°53′59″W / 42.03389, -87.89972 (42.033848, −87.899786).[10]

According to the 2010 census, the city has a total area of 14.42 square miles (37.3 km2), of which 14.28 square miles (37.0 km2) (or 99.03%) is land and 0.14 square miles (0.36 km2) (or 0.97%) is water.[11]

Des Plaines is traversed by two interstate highwaysI-90 (the Northwest Tollway) and I-294 (the Tri-State Tollway).

Des Plaines is named for the Des Plaines River, which flows through it. The name is French, meaning "of the plains."

Portions of Des Plaines are underlain by the "Des Plaines Disturbance", an area in which the layers of sedimentary rock are highly abnormal. This probably represents an ancient meteorite crater, 75 to 200 feet (23 to 61 m) beneath the town. The bedrock was highly fractured by the impact, with large blocks of sediment upended. The crater was eventually filled by glacial activity, so that no trace now remains on the surface.

Addresses in the city limits of Des Plaines have their own numbering system. Areas in unincorporated Maine Township have Des Plaines postal addresses that follow the Chicago numbering system. Devon Avenue in Des Plaines is 3200 South, while it is 6400 North in Chicago. Golf Road runs through a large unincorporated area as 9600 North with a Des Plaines mailing address but is 0 North/South when entering the Des Plaines city limits. As sections become incorporated, they take on the city numbering system. For instance in 2003, land at 9661 West Golf Road, Des Plaines, became 2323 East Golf Road, Des Plaines, when it was formally incorporated into the city limits. The largest unincorporated areas are in the O'Hare area and east of the Tri-State Tollway.


As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 58,720 people, 22,362 households, and 15,071 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,071.2 people per square mile (1,572.3/km²). There were 22,851 housing units at an average density of 1,584.3 per square mile (611.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 84.44% White, 7.65% Asian / Asian American, 0.26% Native American, 1.01% Black or African American, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 4.64% from other races, and 1.97% from two or more races. 14.01% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Biggest ancestries: German (21.5%), Polish (18.2%), Irish (13.8%), Italian (10.6%), English (5.2%), Swedish (3.3%).

There are 22,362 households, out of which 29.1% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.8% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.6% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.21.

In the city the population was spread out with 22.3% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 29.2% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 17.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 93.6 males. For every 100 women age 18 and over, there were 89.6 men.

The median income for a household in the city was $53,638, and the median income for a family was $65,806. Males had a median income of $42,241 versus $30,885 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,146. About 3.0% of families and 4.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.8% of those under age 18 and 4.8% of those age 65 or over.

A notable amount of population resides outside the city limits in unincorporated areas which use a Des Plaines mailing address. These areas are often considered part of the city, giving the impression that it is much larger. In the 2000 census[12] the population of these areas was 25,617 people bringing the incorporated and unincorporated population of Des Plaines to 84,337 people.

As of 2010, the median income for a household in Des Plaines had risen to $63,528. As of 2009, per capita income has risen to $30,453.[13]


Largest employers[]

The largest employers in the city area:[14]

# Employer Industry # of Employees
1 UOP Chemical Engineering Services 1,500
2 Rivers Casino Entertainment and Gaming 1,424
3 Holy Family Medical Center Medical Center 1,036
4 Oakton Community College Public Community College 990
5 Maine West High School School District 207 High School Education 905
6 East Maine School District 63 K-8 grade education 750
7 Community Consolidated School District 62 Pre-K to 8th grade education 724
8 Sysco Food Service Food Wholesalers 650
9 Wheels, Inc. Passenger car and truck leasing 650
10 Hart Shaffner & Marx Men's Apparel 550

China Airlines maintains their Chicago office in Des Plaines.[15] It was previously located in Michigan Plaza in the Chicago Loop.[16][17] An Online Trading Academy center is also located in Des Plaines.[18]

Places of interest[]

McDonald's Museum

  • The Des Plaines Forest Preserve surrounds the Des Plaines River and spans most of the eastern border of the city.
  • Des Plaines Public Library
  • Des Plaines Theater
  • Deval Crossing interlocking tower is a very popular spot for train enthusiasts, as one Canadian National and two Union Pacific railways all meet in a triangular pattern. Metra trains run on two of the routes.
  • Lake Opeka in Lake Park
  • Maryville Academy, center for under-privileged children, which hosts the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame
  • McDonald's Museum, a reconstruction of the first franchised McDonald's restaurant built by franchiser Ray Kroc, founder of the McDonald's Corporation
  • Methodist Camp Ground, listed on the National Register of Historic Places,[19] predates the city (founded 1860) and is still active every summer with concerts, day camps, swimming & recreation, picnics, etc.
  • Rivers Casino – Midwest Gaming


College campuses include:

  • Oakton Community College, opened in 1969; a community college with campuses in Skokie and Des Plaines

Public school districts include:

  • Elementary and middle school: District 62 and District 59
  • High school: District 207 with Maine West High School

Private schools include:

  • Immanuel Lutheran School
  • Our Lady of Destiny; created after the merging of St. Stephen's and St. Mary's Catholic schools
  • St. Zachary School
  • The Science and Arts Academy
  • The Willows Academy

Notable people[]

Shawn Green

Mayor Matthew Bogusz

  • Matthew Bogusz, mayor of Des Plaines
  • Eileen Fisher, clothing designer
  • Adrian Fulle, managing member of a film production company
  • Shawn Green, right fielder with the Toronto Blue Jays, LA Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks, and New York Mets; two time all-star; born in Des Plaines
  • Michael Kleen, folklorist, publisher, and social commentator
  • Jill Morgenthaler, US Army colonel; unsuccessful politician; homeland security adviser in Illinois; lived in Des Plaines
  • Robert Reed, actor (The Brady Bunch, 1969-1974); grew up in Des Plaines
  • Rick Zombo, defenseman with the Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, and Boston Bruins; born in Des Plaines

Pop culture[]

Des Plaines is featured in the Left Behind series of novels as well as a recently released American Girl book.

The majority of the hit 1985 film The Breakfast Club was filmed at the now-defunct Maine North High School located in unincorporated Des Plaines.

Des Plaines, during the 1940s and 50s, was home to many huge greenhouse complexes and was the world's largest producer of hothouse roses. The city's vehicle stickers sported a large "American Beauty" rose, and the city's logo was "City of Roses" (replaced in the 1960s by "City of Destiny").

Des Plaines is featured in an episode called "L.D.S.K." from the TV series Criminal Minds. A sniper (or as called on the show, a Long Distance Serial Killer) starts shooting people in Franklin Park. The main characters on the show think the killer is a Des Plaines cop, which is eventually found out to be not true.

Serial killer John Wayne Gacy did not live in Des Plaines. His house was in unincorporated Norwood Township, near Chicago. It was the abduction and murder of 15-year-old Robert Piest, a sophomore at Maine West High School, of Des Plaines, that finally led to Gacy's capture. Additionally, a 1975 Maine West class ring engraved with the initials "JAS" was found in the crawl space of Gacy's home. The ring belonged to missing 19-year-old Maine West alumnus John Szyc. Des Plaines city detectives tracked down Gacy, as the 32 previous known victims were investigated by Chicago and other detectives that mainly wrote off the disappearances as "runaways" and closed the files. The band Venetian Snares released a track called "Des Plaines" on their 2005 album Meathole, which erroneously links the city to Gacy's activities.

Des Plaines is the home of the first franchised McDonald's opened by Ray Kroc, which is preserved as a "museum" on Lee Street, north of downtown.

Chet and Connie Ripley (played by John Candy and Stephanie Faracy) in the movie The Great Outdoors lived in Des Plaines, according to the address on the check Candy wrote to Dan Aykroyd's character.

Des Plaines is mentioned in David Mamet's play, Glengarry Glen Ross.

Des Plaines is mentioned as to the location of a fictitious Art Gallery,in an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent entitled "Art".


  1. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau Delivers Illinois' 2010 Census Population Totals, Including First Look at Race and Hispanic Origin Data for Legislative Redistricting". U.S. Census Bureau. 
  2. ^ "City of Des Plaines". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. 
  3. ^ a b "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Des Plaines city, Illinois". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  4. ^ Des Plaines Centennial Program (1935). Des Plaines Centennial Celebration, June 25–30. Des Plaines, IL. p. 17. 
  5. ^ "History, Des Plaines, Illinois (IL)". City of Des Plaines. Retrieved March 16, 2010. 
  6. ^ Des Plaines Centennial Program (1935). Des Plaines Centennial Celebration, June 25–30. Des Plaines, IL. p. 21. 
  7. ^ "Des Plaines gets last casino license". Chicago BreakingNewsCenter (Chicago Tribune). December 22, 2008. Retrieved March 16, 2010. 
  8. ^ Garcia, Monique (October 6, 2009). "Des Plaines casino construction to start in March, developer says". Clout Street (Chicago Tribune). Retrieved March 16, 2010. 
  9. ^ Krishnamurthy, Madhu (January 26, 2010). "Des Plaines planners approve huge casino complex". Daily Herald. Retrieved March 16, 2010. 
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  11. ^ "Places: Illinois". 2010 Census Gazetteer Files. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 
  12. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  13. ^ US Census Bureau
  14. ^ "Distribution of land uses". Retrieved September 7, 2013. 
  15. ^ "North America." China Airlines. Retrieved on August 30, 2011. "1011 East Touhy Ave., Suite #110, Des Plaines IL60018"
  16. ^ "北美洲地區." China Airlines. Retrieved on April 24, 2010. "芝加哥營業所 Chicago Mini Office 225 North Michigan Ave., Suite 1880, Chicago,IL 60601, U.S.A."
  17. ^ "Branch Offices North America." China Airlines. Retrieved on January 21, 2009. "Chicago Mini Office 225 North Michigan Ave., Suite 1880, Chicago,IL 60601, U.S.A."
  18. ^ "Online Trading Academy Locations". Retrieved March 3, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Property Information Report". Retrieved February 21, 2011. 

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