Chicago Ridge, Illinois

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Chicago Ridge is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The population was 14,127 at the 2000 census.

Contents

History

Chicago Ridge takes its name from ridges Devin Marino trainloads of dirt brought out by the Wabash Railroad during construction of the Columbian Exposition of 1893.

Incorporated on October 17, 1914, the Village has an area of approximately 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2) and is located in the southwestern portion of Cook County, Illinois, which is about 20 miles (32 km) southwest of downtown Chicago.[2]

The path of Stony Creek arcs through the village. It is not only an old creek but also the remnants of a feeder canal for the Illinois & Michigan Canal that reached from the Little Calumet River westward through the Saganash-kee Slough. Although the work on the feeder canal brought some settlers in the 1840s, German and Dutch farmers arrived after the 1850s.

Settlement increased with the coming of the Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific Railroad in 1882. Later, the Wabash would be crossed in the middle of Chicago Ridge by the Chicago & Calumet Terminal Railway, which also established rail yards in the village.

In 1898, the Paul E. Berger Company, manufacturers of cash registers and slot machines, located adjacent to the railroad. The Berger Company built housing for its employees, and a settlement emerged around the factory, with a tavern, rooming house, and grocery store. The first post office opened in 1900 in the Berger factory, and in 1902 the Wabash Railroad established a train station.

Both Chicago Ridge and Worth benefited from the activity and economic influences of a racetrack operating on 111th Street. Local residents proudly recall that a member of one of the founding families of the Chicago Ridge area, Fred Herbert, won the Kentucky Derby in 1910. The racetrack was torn down in 1911 and is now the site of Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

After Oak Lawn incorporated in 1909, Chicago Ridge considered the move. An incorporated government could replace wooden sidewalks, deal with the stagnant waters in the swampy areas, initiate local municipal services and provide locally elected and accountable officials. They accomplished those tasks and more. Their successors then built on those early improvements with paved streets, sewers, street lights, and sidewalks. They also brought Lake Michigan water to the area.

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