Cary, Illinois
Cary sign near the train station
Location of Cary in McHenry County, Illinois.
Location of Illinois in the United States
Coordinates: 42°12′47″N 88°14′54″W / 42.21306°N 88.24833°W / 42.21306; -88.24833Coordinates: 42°12′47″N 88°14′54″W / 42.21306°N 88.24833°W / 42.21306; -88.24833
CountryUnited States
CountyMcHenry, Lake
TownshipAlgonquin, Cuba
Founded byWilliam Dennison Cary
 • TypeNon-Home-Rule under Mayor/Trustee
 • Total6.31 sq mi (16.34 km2)
 • Land6.23 sq mi (16.15 km2)
 • Water0.07 sq mi (0.19 km2)
823 ft (251 m)
 • Total17,826
 • Density2,898.14/sq mi (1,118.93/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP Code(s)
Area code(s)847, 224
FIPS code17-11592
Wikimedia CommonsCary, Illinois

Cary is a village located in Algonquin Township, McHenry County, Illinois, and Cuba Township, Lake County, Illinois, United States. The population was 17,826 as of 2020.


In 1841, William Dennison Cary purchased 82 acres (33 ha) for $1.25 an acre at the location of the current town and built a farm. In 1856, Cary included a train station for the Illinois & Wisconsin Railway which connected Cary to Chicago and Janesville. The site was approved and a post office was added with the designation "Cary Station." The community around Cary Station was incorporated in 1893 as Cary, Illinois.[4][5] The town soon became a winter resort for skiing.

Early farmers saw this new railway as an opportunity. The economy relied heavily on selling produce, mainly pickles, and the farmers utilized the railway to conduct business with more industrialized cities such as St. Louis and Chicago. The success of this transportation enterprise helped transform Cary into the suburban community it is today.[6] People traveled by rail and most commerce became dependent on the railroad.

In the 1950s, highway transportation overtook rail as the primary means of moving people and goods. Northwest Highway (U.S. 14) parallels the railroad right-of-way, which has been the Union Pacific Northwest Metra line since the Union Pacific merged with the Chicago & Northwestern in 1995.


Cary is located at 42°12′47″N 88°14′54″W / 42.21306°N 88.24833°W / 42.21306; -88.24833 (42.2129566, -88.2483260).[3]

According to the 2010 census, Cary has a total area of 6.358 square miles (16.47 km2), of which 6.27 square miles (16.24 km2) (or 98.62%) is land and 0.088 square miles (0.23 km2) (or 1.38%) is water.[7] It is located on the Fox River.


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[8]

The population of Cary was 17,826 as of 2020.[9] The racial makeup of the village was 83.20% White, 2.0% African American, 0.0% Native American, 1.4% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.1% from other races, and 2.8% from two or more races/ethnicities. Hispanic or Latino/Latina of any race were 10.9% of the population.

There were 6424 households, out of which 2838 had children under the age of 18 living with them.

The median income for a household in the village was $100,339, and the median income for a family was $111,065.


Cary is mainly served by Community High School District 155 for high school students, specifically by Cary-Grove High School and Prairie Ridge High School,[10] and School District 26 for elementary and middle school students. Some portions of Cary also are served by Crystal Lake Community Consolidated School District 47 and Community Unit School District 300.[11]

Trinity Oaks Christian Academy, a non-denominational Christian school, is located in Cary,[12] as well as Saints Peter and Paul, a Roman Catholic school and parish.[11]

Popular culture

The interior of the bed and breakfast room that Bill Murray's character stays in, in the 1993 film Groundhog Day, was built in a warehouse in Cary.[13]

Suzanne Evenson of Cary was featured on HGTV's show House Hunters International on December 8, 2010, showcasing her family's move from Cary to Dubai.[14]

Students from the class of 2004 were featured in the MTV show High School Stories. They concocted a senior prank which included launching a boat onto a pond on school property.[15]

In the summer of 2016, Burger King opened its first ever drive-thru only restaurant in Cary.[16]

A Cary resident, Chris Rudolph, was a contestant on TLC's "Spouse House,"[17] airing in July 2017.


U.S. Route 14, locally known as Northwest Highway, passes through Cary between its northwest and southeast borders.

Illinois Route 31 forms part of Cary's western border.

Metra's Union Pacific/Northwest Line has a station in Cary, and operates daily service to Ogilvie Transportation Center in downtown Chicago.

Lake in the Hills Airport is approximately two miles west of Cary's west border.

Notable people


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b "Village of Cary, Illinois". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  4. ^ Craig L. Pfannkuche, "Cary, Illinois", Encyclopedia of Chicago, The Newberry Library, 2004
  5. ^ "History". Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  6. ^ "History | Cary, IL - Official Website". Retrieved 2017-11-01.
  7. ^ "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2015-08-02.
  8. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  9. ^ "Economic Development | Cary, IL - Official Website". 2016-02-11. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  10. ^ "Map of Crystal Lake" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  11. ^ a b "Schools". Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  12. ^ "Christian Private School Cary, IL | Trinity Oaks Christian Academy". Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  13. ^ "Trivia for Groundhog Day (1993)". IMDb. 1993. Retrieved January 22, 2010.
  14. ^ "House Hunters International". Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  15. ^ Krone, Emily (May 19, 2005). "MTV re-creates prank on Cary-Grove High". Daily Herald. Arlington Heights, IL. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  16. ^ "Cary to get America's first drive-thru-only Burger King restaurant". Northwest Herald. Retrieved 2017-03-20.
  17. ^