This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Wauconda, Illinois" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (June 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Wauconda, Illinois
Entrance of Wauconda Area Library with its leading steps
Wauconda Area Library
"Water, Spirit, Wonder."
Location of Wauconda in Lake County, Illinois.
Location of Wauconda in Lake County, Illinois.
Location of Illinois in the United States
Location of Illinois in the United States
Coordinates: 42°16′1″N 88°8′34″W / 42.26694°N 88.14278°W / 42.26694; -88.14278
CountryUnited States
 • MayorJeff A. Sode[2]
 • Total5.76 sq mi (14.93 km2)
 • Land5.07 sq mi (13.14 km2)
 • Water0.69 sq mi (1.79 km2)
 • Total14,084
 • Density2,776.81/sq mi (1,072.05/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP Code(s)
Area code(s)847 and 224
FIPS code17-79267
Wikimedia CommonsWauconda, Illinois
A portion of Wauconda's Main Street at night

Wauconda (/ˌwɔːˈkɒndə/ or /wəˈkɒndə/) is a village in Lake County, Illinois, United States. Per the 2020 census, the population was 14,084.[4] It is the site of the Wauconda Bog Nature Preserve, a National Natural Landmark. Wauconda Community Unit School District 118 serves students from Pre-K through 12th grade who live in Wauconda and surrounding communities (Island Lake, Lakemoor, Volo, and unincorporated sections of McHenry County). Fremont School District 79 also serves students from communities from northern part of Wauconda.


Wauconda's local government consists of a Mayor, Clerk, and six member Board of Trustees who are elected to four-year overlapping terms of office. Village Board meetings are held on the first and third Tuesday of the month.[5] Committee of the Whole meetings are held the first and third Tuesdays of the month.[6]

The Village Administrator oversees all village departments and serves as a liaison between the village residents and the Board. The Administrator supervises the daily operations of the village with the assistance of staff, including the Chief of Police and the directors of Public Works, Finance, Human Resources/Risk Management, Information Technology, Environmental Quality, Building and Zoning, and Economic Development.

Fire/Rescue is provided by the Wauconda Fire Protection District, an independent taxing body covering all of the Village of Wauconda, all or parts of 10 other communities, 6 townships, and unincorporated parts of Lake and McHenry Counties.[7]

There is a library on Main Street, called Wauconda Area Library, which serves the village.



According to local legend, Wauconda was named after an indigenous chief whose name translated as "spirit water".

Many early settlers of Wauconda came from New England and New York by covered wagon or through the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes.[8]

Elihu Hubbard built the first log cabin on the bank of Bangs Lake in 1836. Justus Bangs, the first settler in Wauconda, built a house next to the lake in 1848 and the lake was later named after him. In 1840, members of the Winnebago tribe who did not leave the shores of the Fox River often went to the area to trade. In 1849, Wauconda was organized into a town by a vote of the people of Lake County to divide Lake County into towns. There were 1,695 votes cast and all except three were in favor of the division. The first town meeting was held on the 1st Tuesday in April, 1850 where the first officers were elected and appointed. I.[8]

Wauconda's first school was built in 1839 and the area's post office was moved to Wauconda on June 27, 1849, with Hazard Green becoming its first postmaster.[8]

Elder Joel Wheeler of McHenry built the first Baptist church in Wauconda in the autumn of 1838. A Methodist church was organized on September 3, 1852, by Reverend C. French, and built in 1856 on the Commons. Both Methodists and Baptists attended prayer at the church until February 1870, when the Baptists reorganized and built a new church on October 30, 1870. A Roman Catholic church was built in 1877 and its first trustees were James S. Murray, Charles Davlin, Felix Givens, John Givens, Hugh Davlin, and Owen McMahon. Its first priest was Father O'Neil.[8]

In 1850, Wauconda had a population of around 200 residents, and the town had three goods stores, two public houses and various mechanics.[8]

The Village of Wauconda was incorporated on August 18, 1877.


By the early 1900s, Wauconda was a popular resort village for Chicago residents and Bangs Lake was made suitable for beaches. The Palatine, Lake Zurich and Wauconda Railroad was completed and hauled agricultural products, delivered mail, transported local passengers, and brought vacationers and day-trippers out from Chicago. Although the railroad did not help develop Wauconda, which remained a small town, it flourished as a resort, and residents depended on it for supplies and for mail.[9]

The railroad closed in 1920 due to lack of business. Later in the decade, Phil’s Beach was opened by Phil Froehlke and the right-of way was purchased for Route 176 (Liberty Street) through the center of town.

By the end of the 1930s, Wauconda’s population exceeded 500 residents. At the end of the 1960s, Wauconda had three elementary schools, a junior high, and a high school. By the end of the 1970s there were about 5,600 residents living in Wauconda.

Throughout the 1980s, most of the beaches on Bangs Lake gradually closed down. They were replaced by houses, townhomes, and other development. Development continued into the 1990s and 2000s as individuals from the outlying Chicago suburbs sought cheaper land. Large new subdivisions were developed north of the town center and small suburbs were established in the surrounding areas.


In 2000, Wauconda's population was 9,386. By 2020, it had grown to 14,084 residents.

The village completed a switch to Lake Michigan water in October 2019. This was the largest infrastructure project in village history, costing $48 million.[10]

On April 4, 2023, a referendum was held in the village to determine Home rule status.[11] The result of the referendum was to reject home rule status.[12]


Wauconda is located at 42°16′1″N 88°8′34″W / 42.26694°N 88.14278°W / 42.26694; -88.14278 (42.266910, -88.142657).[13]

According to the 2010 census, Wauconda has a total area of 5.732 square miles (14.85 km2), of which 5.05 square miles (13.08 km2) (or 88.1%) is land and 0.682 square miles (1.77 km2) (or 11.9%) is water.[14]


Route 12 (north to south), IL 176 (west to east), and IL 59 serve as important roads for the village connecting its surrounding area.


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[15]
2010[16] 2020[17]

2020 census

Wauconda village, Illinois – Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos may be of any race.
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010[16] Pop 2020[17] % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 10,317 9,981 78.84% 70.87%
Black or African American alone (NH) 107 155 0.79% 1.10%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 9 6 0.07% 0.04%
Asian alone (NH) 564 480 4.15% 3.41%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 2 0 0.01% 0.00%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 20 36 0.15% 0.26%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 160 459 1.18% 3.26%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 2,424 2,967 17.82% 21.07%
Total 13,603 14,084 100.00% 100.00%

2000 Census

As of the census[18] of 2000, there were 9,448 people, 3,611 households, and 2,404 families residing in the village. The population density was 2,445.0 inhabitants per square mile (944.0/km2). There were 3,822 housing units at an average density of 989.1 per square mile (381.9/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 90.2% White, 0.4% African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.8% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 6.4% from other races, and 0.9% from two or more races. 11.9% of the population reported being Latino of any race.

There were 3,611 households, out of which 100% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.2% were married couples living together, 8.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.4% were non-families. 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.16.

In the village, the population was spread out, with 25.1% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 35.8% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 11.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.1 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $65,805, and the median income for a family was $56,576. Males had a median income of $64,027 versus $43,125 for females. The per capita income for the village was $40,355. About 2.1% of families and 4.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.1% of those under age 18 and 4.0% of those age 65 or over.


On January 28, 2005, over 2,900 people participated in a snowball fight for ten minutes, setting a new world record for the most participants in such an event.[19]

A weekly farmers market is held on Main Street on Thursdays from July to September.[20]

A three day long carnival takes place yearly in June named Wauconda Fest, which takes place by the skate park, near the Park District building and Wauconda High School. [21]

Many other events are held throughout the year, such as an annual expo in February, inside of the Wauconda High School, 4th of July fireworks held yearly on July 3,[22] a Memorial Day parade, and outdoor movies.

In popular culture


  1. ^ "History of Wauconda". History of Wauconda. Archived from the original on April 29, 2023. Retrieved April 28, 2023.
  2. ^ "Village Board of Wauconda, IL". Retrieved January 19, 2022.
  3. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  4. ^ "Wauconda village, Illinois". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on March 27, 2023. Retrieved April 15, 2022.
  5. ^ "Mayor & Village Board". Archived from the original on March 27, 2023. Retrieved March 27, 2023.
  6. ^ "Committee of fhe Whole". Archived from the original on March 27, 2023. Retrieved March 27, 2023.
  7. ^ "Resources | Wauconda Fire District". Wauconda Fire Resources. Archived from the original on April 29, 2023. Retrieved April 28, 2023.
  8. ^ a b c d e "History of Wauconda | Wauconda, IL". Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  9. ^ Wauconda Government (April 25, 2023). "FY2023 Budget Book" (PDF). Retrieved May 7, 2023.
  10. ^ "Wauconda, IL". Retrieved May 7, 2023.
  11. ^ "Wauconda Home Rule Referendum". Retrieved May 7, 2023.
  12. ^ Lake County, IL (April 20, 2023). "Election Night Reporting". Lake County Il Election Results. Archived from the original on May 7, 2023. Retrieved May 7, 2023.
  13. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  14. ^ "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved December 25, 2015.
  15. ^ "Decennial Census of Population and Housing by Decades". US Census Bureau.
  16. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE – 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – Wauconda village, Illinois". United States Census Bureau.
  17. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE – 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – Wauconda village, Illinois". United States Census Bureau.
  18. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  19. ^ "Illinois town breaks snowball fight mark". UPI. January 30, 2005. Retrieved October 15, 2022. Some 2,936 people showed up in Wauconda, Ill., Saturday to beat the Guinness Book of World Records mark of 2,473 participants in a sustained snowball fight.
  20. ^ "Wauconda Farmers Market". Lake County, Illinois Convention and Visitors Bureau. Archived from the original on April 7, 2023. Retrieved April 6, 2023.
  21. ^ "Wauconda Fest". Wauconda Park District. Archived from the original on April 7, 2023. Retrieved April 7, 2023.
  22. ^ "Independence Day Fireworks Celebration". Archived from the original on April 7, 2023. Retrieved April 6, 2023.
  23. ^ "Police Crash Site :: Blues Brothers Central". Archived from the original on March 15, 2012. Retrieved July 30, 2011.
  24. ^ "Crowded Beach :: Blues Brothers Central". Archived from the original on March 15, 2012. Retrieved July 30, 2011.
  25. ^ Moran, Dan (February 23, 2018). "Wauconda, not to be confused with Wakanda, has an accidental association with 'Black Panther'". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on March 27, 2023. Retrieved March 18, 2018.