Main Births etc
Village of Gurnee
Motto: Community of Opportunity
Country United States
State Illinois
County Lake
Coordinates 42°22′N 87°56′W / 42.367, -87.933
Area 13.57 sq mi (35 km²)
 - land 13.50 sq mi (35 km²)
 - water 0.08 sq mi (0 km²)
Population 31,295 (2010[1])
Density 2,318.7 / sq mi (895 / km²)
Founded 1928
Mayor Kristina Kovarik
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Postal code 60031, 60032
Area code 224, 847
Location of Gurnee within Illinois
Location of Gurnee within Illinois
Locator Red.svg
Location of Gurnee within Illinois

Gurnee is a village in Lake County, Illinois, United States. The population was 31,295 at the 2010 census.[1] The village borders the city of Waukegan and is considered a part of the Chicago metropolitan area. Gurnee is perhaps best known for being the location of Six Flags Great America, a major regional theme park, and Gurnee Mills mall, together drawing in over 26 Million visitors annually.[2]


Early settlers in the Gurnee area came by foot horseback and by "Prairie Schooners" drawn by oxen or via the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes. They came from the town of Warren, New York, which was named in honor of Major General Joseph Warren, killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Warren Township, formed in 1850, was also named after him.[3] The first settlement of Warren Township commenced in 1835 in the vicinity of the Aux Plaines River (now the Des Plaines River).

In 1835-36, a land company from New York State erected a Community House (site of the old Gurnee Grade School) to accommodate families while they were locating and getting government land grants to their farms. Near the Community House there was a ford used by the Potowatomi Indians for crossing the river. A floating log bridge was built there in about 1842. Later a stationary wooden bridge was constructed, and still later an iron bridge was erected.

With the erection of a permanent bridge, roads were established and this area became the hub of the township. It was at this junction that the Milwaukee Road crossed the river from west to east and then continued in a northeasterly direction to eventually join Chicago to Milwaukee. This road was "laid out" in 1836 by three early settlers, Thomas McClure, Mark Noble, and Richard Steele. The east-west road, now known as Grand Avenue, was a main route from McHenry County to the port of Waukegan. Stage coaches ran on this route as late as 1870.

The village was named along with the train-station that was built there. The station was named after Walter S. Gurnee, the 14th Mayor of Chicago and one of the directors of the train route.

Just east of the bridge, at the junction of Milwaukee Road and Grand Avenue, was the Mutaw Tavern, earlier known as "Marm Rudd's Tavern" and more recently as the Mother Rudd House. This was a stage coach stop between Chicago and Milwaukee and was a stopover for farmers from the west traveling to Little Fort (now known as Waukegan) to barter their crops for supplies and to ship out from the ports. It also served as a stop during the underground railroad. This building was acquired by the Village of Gurnee in 1984, has been restored, and now houses the Warren Township Historical Society.

In May 2004, Gurnee received major rainfall, causing the worst flooding in 100 years. The flood forced several schools to close[4] and caused building damage to dozens of homes and businesses.


Gurnee is located at 42°22′N 87°56′W / 42.367, -87.933 (42.3737, -87.9344).[5]

According to the 2010 census, the village has a total area of 13.57 square miles (35.1 km2), of which 13.50 square miles (35.0 km2) (or 99.48%) is land and 0.08 square miles (0.21 km2) (or 0.59%) is water.[6] Gurnee is located on the banks of the Des Plaines River and is split by Interstate 94 which divides the village into east (old) and west (new) sides.


Gurnee's Serbian Orthodox community is serviced by St. Sava Monastery

As of the census of 2010, the total village population was 31,295, an 8.5% increase from the 2000 census.[1] There were 12,031 housing units throughout the village, and the population density was 2,318.7 people per square mile. The racial makeup of the village was 73.3% White, 11.6% Asian, 7.8% African American, 0.03% Native American,and 3.5% from other races, and 3.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.7% of the population.

There were 12,031 households out of which 42.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.6% were married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.4% were non-families. 22.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 3.25.

The median income household income was estimated to be $85,421 while the per capita income for the village was $35,564.[1] According to a 2007 estimate, males had a median income of $56,274 versus $35,713 for females. In 2010, 5.1% of the population was reported to be under the poverty line.


The Gurnee Town Centre, a shopping district in West Gurnee.

Six Flags Great America

Gurnee is home to Gurnee Mills, the fourth largest shopping mall in Illinois.[7] Gurnee is also home to Six Flags Great America, a large amusement park, along with Key Lime Cove Water Resort.

Top employers[]

According to Gurnee's 2010/2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[8] the top employers in the village were:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Gurnee Mills 5,000
2 Six Flags Great America 3,000
3 Nosco Printing Group 400
4 Gurnee School District No. 56 300
5 Kenall Mfg. Co. 250
6 Domino Amjet, Inc. 200
7 Nypro Chicago, Inc. 200
8 Lambent Technologies 180
9 Danaher Controls 160
10 Henderson & Son, Inc. 130


The majority of the eastern half of the village is served by Gurnee School District #56. Four schools make up District #56. They are:

  • River Trail School (grades K-8)
  • Prairie Trail School (grades 3-5)
  • Spaulding School (grades PK-2)
  • Viking Middle School (grades 6-8)

The western section of Gurnee, along with portions of the village's eastside is served by Woodland Grade School District #50. Woodland comprises:

  • Woodland Middle School (grades 6-8)
  • Woodland Intermediate School (grades 4-5)
  • Woodland Elementary School (grades 1-3)
  • Woodland Primary School (K)

The village is served by Warren Township High School which is made up of the O'Plaine Road Campus (freshmen and sophomores) and the Almond Road Campus (juniors and seniors). According to the 2007 state report card, Gurnee School District #56 has full recognition. Woodland District #50 also has full recognition. Warren High School District #121 is in the third year of Academic Watch Status. Warren has this status because the district failed to meet the minimum standards of No Child Left Behind for six years in a row.[9]


The Gurnee Public Library is located at 224 N. O'Plaine Road. The Warren-Newport Public Library offers a collection of over 270,000 books, hundreds of magazines, and over 37,000 CDs and DVDs, as well as programming for all ages designed to provide personal enrichment, education and entertainment. The library serves a population of 60,000 residents.

The Warren-Newport Public Library District began in 1971 when the Gurnee Women's Club began to look for a meaningful service which their club could offer the area. Opening day for the library came on January 10, 1973. The library opened its doors for 45 hours per week with 3,000 volumes. The library moved into its current location in 1978. In 1997 the library opened a $5.6 million, 31,000-square-foot (2,900 m2) addition.[10] In fall of 2010 a $8.5 million construction project began to add 4,500 square feet and renovate 28,000 square feet of the oldest parts of the building.


Lake County, Illinois communities that fall completely within the boundaries of the district are Gurnee, Illinois; Grandwood Park, Illinois; Park City, Illinois; and Wildwood, Illinois. Partially included in the district are the communities of Beach Park, Illinois; Grayslake, Illinois; Lake Villa, Illinois; Old Mill Creek, Illinois; Third Lake, Illinois; Wadsworth, Illinois; Waukegan, Illinois; and Milburn, Illinois.[11]

The Warren-Newport Public Library District began in 1971 when the Gurnee Women's Club began to look for a meaningful service which their club could offer the area. Opening day for the library came on January 10, 1973. The library opened its doors for 45 hours per week with 3,000 volumes. The library moved into its current location in 1978, and in 1997 opened a $5.6 million, 31,000-square-foot (2,900 m2) addition.[10]

In 2004, the library was one of the early adopters of passive RFID (radio frequency identification) technology for the automation of item check-in (News Sun, September 28, 2004).

According to statistics gathered by the Library Research Center at the University of Illinois, the Warren-Newport Public Library is the second busiest library in Lake County, after the Cook Memorial Library in Libertyville. (News Sun, October 3, 2006).

According to its mission statement, the Warren Newport Public Library "provides the community with access to information, kindles the imagination of children and adults, and supports lifelong learning."


Interstate 94 (The Tri-State Tollway) is the main expressway servicing Gurnee, allowing easy access to Milwaukee and Chicago.

Gurnee is notable as being one of the only major Chicago suburbs that is not serviced by Metra, although there are nearby stations in Waukegan, Grayslake, and Libertyville.

Drinking water supply[]

The Village of Gurnee water supply comes from the Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency (CLCJAWA) located in Lake Bluff, IL. CLCJAWA purifies water from Lake Michigan.


Elected officials[]

The village of Gurnee is a home rule municipality which functions under the council-manager form of government with a village President and a six-member Board of Trustees, all of whom are elected to four-year terms. The Village President and three of the Trustees are elected every four years. The other group of three Trustees are also elected for four-year terms, but this election is staggered and takes place two years after the first group.

As of 2013, the village office holders are:

  • Mayor: Kristina Kovarik (term ends 2017)
  • Clerk: Andy Harris (2017)
  • Trustee: Jeanne Balmes (2017)
  • Trustee: Tom Hood (2017)
  • Trustee: Don Wilson (2017)
  • Trustee: Greg Garner (2015)
  • Trustee: Steve Park (2015)
  • Trustee: Cheryl Ross (2015)[12]

Mayors (past and present)[]

  • Leo Felton 1928-1941
  • Dr. W.W. Smith 1941-1942 (Resigned to enter Armed Services)
  • Wm. Barnstable 1942-1949
  • Gordon D. Gillings 1949-1973
  • Richard Welton 1973-2001
  • Don Rudny 2001-2005
  • Kristina Kovarik 2005–present

Notable people[]

  • Kevin Anderson, actor
  • Greg Rallo, center for the Florida Panthers
  • Tim Weigel, Chicago television broadcaster


  1. ^ a b c d "US Census Bureau". Retrieved 2013-10-09. 
  2. ^ Susnjara, Bob (2008-02-29). "Daily Herald | Today's the day for Gurnee water park splash". Retrieved 2013-10-09. 
  3. ^ "Gurnee History - Warren Township". The Village of Gurnee, IL. Retrieved 2007-08-02. 
  4. ^ "Violent Spring". CBS News. 
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files for Places – Illinois". United States Census. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  7. ^ "Illinois: Top 10 Shopping Centers". CoStar Realty. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2006-11-25. 
  8. ^ "Villiage of Gurnee Comprehensive Annual Financial Report" (PDF). The Village of Gurnee. 30 April 2011. 
  9. ^ "ISBE eReport Card Public Site". Retrieved 2007-12-03. 
  10. ^ a b "Gurnee History - Warren Newport Public Library". The Village of Gurnee. 4 May 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  11. ^ "Library Profile". Warren-Newport Public Library. Retrieved 2013-10-09. 
  12. ^ "Members & Terms of the Village Board". The Village of Gurnee. 

External links[]

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Gurnee, Illinois. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.