La Grange, Illinois

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La Grange, a suburb of Chicago, is a village in Cook County, in the U.S. state of Illinois. The population was 15,608 at the 2000 census.



The area around La Grange was first settled in the 1830s, when Chicago residents, already fed up with the rapid population increase in that city in the decade since its incorporation, moved out to the west. The first settler, Robert Leitch, came to what is now La Grange in 1830, a full seven years before the city of Chicago was incorporated in March 1837. La Grange's location, at approximately thirteen miles from the Chicago Loop, is not considered far at all from the city by today's standards, but in that time the residents enjoyed the peace of rural life without much communication with urban residents.

Incorporated on June 11, 1879, the Village of La Grange was the dream of Franklin Dwight Cossitt, born in Granby, Connecticut and raised in Tennessee, who moved to Chicago in 1862 and built a successful wholesale grocery business.

In 1870, Cossitt purchased several hundred acres of farmland in Lyons Township, along the Chicago-Dixon Road, known today as Ogden Avenue (U.S. Highway 34). Ogden Avenue, on the site of a defunct Native American trail, was also referred to as the "Old Plank Road". Planks were often stolen by settlers to be used as building material, which made traveling very bumpy. When the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad came to town, La Grange was a milk stop called Hazel Glen. A few miles to the south, through present day Willow Springs, the Illinois and Michigan Canal had emerged as a major shipping corridor, connecting Chicago and the Great Lakes with the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers.

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