Libertyville, IL is a village of Illinois located about 38 miles northwest of Chicago’s ‘loop’. As of the 2000 census 20,800 people called this village home.
Until August 1829, land that is now Libertyville was the property of the Illinois River Potawatomi Indians . Eventually economic and resource pressures forced the tribe to sell much of their land in northern Illinois to the U.S. government and vacated their lands by the 1830’s.
In 1835 George Vardin lived in a cabin located where the Cook Park branch of the Cook Memorial Public Library District stands today. The settlement that grew up around his cabin was initially known as Vardin’s Grove. In 1836, during the celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, the community voted to name itself Independence Grove. Later a post office opened, necessitating a third name change, because another Independence Grove existed elsewhere in the state. On April 16, 1837, the new post office was registered under the name Libertyville.
The town’s name changed again two years later to Burlington when it became the county seat of Lake County. When the county seat moved to Little Fort (now Waukegan) in 1841, the name reverted to Libertyville, without further changes.
Today, Libertyville’s most prominent building Cook Mansion) was built in 1879 by Ansel Brainerd Cook, very close to the spot where Vardin’s cabin was built in the 1830s. The building was remodeled in 1921, when it became the town library, gaining a Colonial-style facade with a pillared portico. The building is now a museum with furnishings of the period and other relevant displays. It is operated by the Libertyville-Mundelein Historical Society.
The community expanded rapidly with a spur of the Milwaukee Road train line (now a Metra commuter line) reaching Libertyville in 1881, resulting in the incorporation of the Village of Libertyville in 1882. Libertyville’s downtown area was largely destroyed by fire in 1895 and the village board mandated brick to be used for reconstruction, resulting in a village center whose architecture is substantially unified by both period and building material.
Top employers in the village include Advocate Condell Medical Center, Hollister, and Brightstar.