Winnetka, Illinois
Official seal of Winnetka, Illinois
Location of Winnetka in Cook County, Illinois
Location of Winnetka in Cook County, Illinois
Location of Illinois in the United States
Location of Illinois in the United States
Coordinates: 42°6′22″N 87°44′16″W / 42.10611°N 87.73778°W / 42.10611; -87.73778
CountryUnited States
TownshipNew Trier
 • TypeCouncil-manager
 • PresidentChris Rintz
 • Total3.89 sq mi (10.08 km2)
 • Land3.81 sq mi (9.87 km2)
 • Water0.08 sq mi (0.21 km2)  2.06%
650 ft (200 m)
 • Total12,475
 • Density3,344.00/sq mi (1,290.96/km2)
 Down 1.87% from 2000
Standard of living (2015-2019)
 • Per capita income$123,319
 • Median value of owner-occupied housing units$1,091,700
Time zoneCentral
ZIP code(s)
Area code(s)847 and 224
FIPS code17-82530

Winnetka (/wɪˈnɛtkə/) is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States, located 16 miles (26 km) north of downtown Chicago. The population was 12,475[2] as of the 2020 census. The village is one of the wealthiest places in the United States in terms of household income. It was the second-ranked Illinois community on Bloomberg's 2019 Richest Places Annual Index.[3]


The first houses were built in 1836.[4] That year, Erastus Patterson and his family arrived from Vermont and opened a tavern to service passengers on the Green Bay Trail post road. The village was first subdivided in 1854 by Charles Peck and Walter S. Gurnee,[5] President of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad. Winnetka's first private school was opened in 1856 by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Peck with seventeen pupils. In 1859, the first public school building was built with private funds at the southeast corner of Elm and Maple streets. The first year's budget for this school was $200.[6] The village was incorporated in 1869 with a population of 450. The name is believed to originate from the Potawatomi language, meaning 'beautiful place'.[7]

The oldest surviving house in Winnetka is the Schmidt-Burnham Log House. Originally constructed on what is now the Indian Hill Club on the south edge of town and in 1917 moved to Tower Road, it was moved in 2003 from Tower Road to the Crow Island Woods.[8]

Winnetka's neighborhoods include estates and homes designed by distinguished architects including George Washington Maher, Walter Burley Griffin, John S. Van Bergen, Robert Seyfarth, Robert McNitt, Howard Van Doren Shaw and David Adler. Among Winnetka's celebrities are actor Rock Hudson and rock singer/songwriter/producer Richard Marx.

Churches in Winnetka were also designed by noted architects. Among them, the former First Church of Christ, Scientist, 440 Ridge Avenue, was designed in 1924 by architect Solon S. Beman.

In the 1920s, a colonial Georgian house was built at 671 Lincoln Avenue. The house is now known as the famous Home Alone house for its interior being used as a shooting location for two films in the series, starting in 1990.

The Chicago and Milwaukee Railway was built in 1855 through Winnetka, connecting its namesake cities. It eventually became the Chicago & Northwestern Railway. Between 1937 and 1942 the railroad tracks through Winnetka were grade separated after several people were hit at grade crossings. In 1995 the C&NW was merged into the Union Pacific. Only Metra trains are operated on this track now; freight operations ended in the late 1980s. Winnetka has three Metra stations: Hubbard Woods, Winnetka, and Indian Hill.

The Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee electric interurban was built through Winnetka and the North Shore in the first decade of the 1900s, and the line through Winnetka was removed in 1955. This is now the Green Bay Trail bicycle path.

In 1904, the Winnetka Park District was established, making it the fourth oldest park district in the state of Illinois. Today, the park district maintains and operates 27 parks, five beaches, and golf, tennis, ice skating/hockey, and paddle tennis facilities.

The Crow Island School, designed by Eliel & Eero Saarinen and the architectural firm Perkins, Wheeler & Will,[9] was declared a National Historical Landmark in 1990. It was declared 12th among all buildings and the best architectural design of all schools.[clarification needed] Ten thousand people attended the opening in 1938.

In 1965, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in Winnetka. A plaque dedicated to him is on the Village Green, a park in the town, where he spoke.[10] As a result of Dr. King's open housing campaign and the North Shore Summer Project, the nonprofit now known as Open Communities was founded.


According to the 2010 census, Winnetka has a total area of 3.893 square miles (10.08 km2), of which 3.81 square miles (9.87 km2) (or 97.87%) is land and 0.083 square miles (0.21 km2) (or 2.13%) is water.[11]

Northern boundary

Winnetka's northern border with Glencoe cuts through 58 homes, forcing homeowners to pay taxes to and seek permits from both villages. The two villages began discussing a solution in 1920s, reaching a tentative agreement in 2007 in which each homeowner could choose a village from which to receive services while the boundary officially remained unchanged. Initially, 46 homeowners chose Winnetka, but the others had the option to choose a village later.[12] The boundary was later updated to reflect these choices.[13]


Demographics (2010)[14]
Demographic Proportion
White 94.8%
Black 0.3%
Asian 3.3%
Islander 0.02%
Native 0.1%
Other 1.5%
(any race)
Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[15]

As of the 2020 census[16] there were 12,744 people, 4,204 households, and 3,461 families residing in the village. The population density was 3,275.25 inhabitants per square mile (1,264.58/km2). There were 4,459 housing units at an average density of 1,145.98 per square mile (442.47/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 89.17% White, 0.25% African American, 0.04% Native American, 3.52% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.71% from other races, and 6.28% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.01% of the population.

There were 4,204 households, out of which 94.31% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 77.88% were married couples living together, 3.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 17.67% were non-families. 16.34% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.44% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.31 and the average family size was 2.94.

The village's age distribution consisted of 32.4% under the age of 18, 4.2% from 18 to 24, 16.5% from 25 to 44, 30.3% from 45 to 64, and 16.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42.1 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.6 males.

The median income for a household in the village was in excess of $250,000, as was the median income for a family. Males had a median income of $200,944 versus $66,726 for females. The per capita income for the village was $134,596. About 1.7% of families and 2.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.8% of those under age 18 and 1.3% of those age 65 or over.


The Winnetka Public Schools system (District 36) consists of three elementary schools and two middle schools.[17] Hubbard Woods (est. 1915[18]), Crow Island (est. 1940), and Samuel Sewall Greeley (est. 1912) Elementary Schools serve grades kindergarten through four, students in fifth and sixth grades attend the Skokie School (opened 1922[19]) and seventh and eighth graders attend the Carleton W. Washburne School (est. 1969[20]), named after educator Carleton Washburne. Winnetka's schools were modeled after Washburne's educational philosophy in an experiment called the Winnetka Plan. The town's schools continue to reflect his educational philosophy. Crow Island is a National Historic Landmark due to its significant architectural design.

Some neighborhoods in the southern part of Winnetka are served by Avoca School District 37, which has schools in Glenview (Avoca West Elementary School; K-5) and Wilmette (Marie Murphy School; 6–8). Kenilworth School District 38 (Sears School; K-8) also includes a very small portion of the southeastern part of Winnetka, near Kenilworth.

Winnetka is in New Trier Township, and public school students who reside in Winnetka attend New Trier High School for grades 9 through 12.

Private schools


Media outlets covering Winnetka include the Winnetka-Glencoe Patch, the Chicago Tribune's TribLocal, the Pioneer Press, Winnetka Talk, and The Winnetka Current.

Notable people

This section of a biography of a living person needs additional citations for verification. Please help by adding reliable sources. Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately from the article and its talk page, especially if potentially libelous.Find sources: "Winnetka, Illinois" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (March 2020) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

In popular culture

"Big Noise from Winnetka," a 1938 jazz song by The Bobcats, has been featured in a number of Hollywood movies, including Let's Make Music and Reveille with Beverly.

Winnetka was mentioned in the novel Havana by Stephen Hunter. Secondary character Roger St. John Evans was mentioned as "The Big Noise From Winnetka".


The house featured in the film Home Alone and in the beginning of its sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

The film Home Alone is set in Winnetka, and featured scenes filmed at 671 Lincoln Avenue. The street address is mentioned in the film, but the street is called "Lincoln Boulevard". The opening scenes of the sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York were filmed at the same house. Over three decades after the original film's 1990 release, sightseers still visit the North Shore neighborhood, particularly around the Christmas holiday season.[30]

Numerous other films have been shot in Winnetka, including portions of films Ocean's 12, Breakfast Club, National Lampoon's Vacation, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Sixteen Candles, Risky Business, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, She's Having a Baby and Uncle Buck. The film Contagion was filmed in the area in the spring of 2011. Holidate, a 2020 Netflix romantic comedy starring Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey, is set in Winnetka.[31]


A popular TV series, Sisters (1991–1996), was set primarily in Winnetka, but was not filmed there, except for some exterior establishing shots. This was also true of its erstwhile summer replacement series, Winnetka Road.

The characters on the TV series The League reside in Winnetka.

The TV series I Didn't Do It is set in Winnetka. The characters attend the fictional Ditka High School.

See also


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  2. ^ "Winnetka - Place Explorer - Data Commons". Retrieved 2023-07-10.
  3. ^ "11 Chicago suburbs make list of 100 richest towns". Chicago Tribune. Feb 20, 2019.
  4. ^ "Village History | Winnetka, IL". Retrieved 2021-02-04.
  5. ^ Dickenson (1956), p. 52
  6. ^ Dickenson (1956), pp.123-125
  7. ^ "Community Profile / Winnetka". Los Angeles Times. 11 October 1998. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  8. ^ "Log House History | Winnetka Historical Society". Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  9. ^ "Crow Island School". National Historic Landmarks Program. Archived from the original on 2013-11-03. Retrieved 2011-04-08.
  10. ^ "Justice Day recalls Dr. King's visit to suburbs 50 years ago - Open Communities". 24 July 2015. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  11. ^ "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2015-12-25.
  12. ^ Schroedtler, Andrew (January 9, 2007). "Border residents get pick of towns". Metro. Chicago Tribune (North–Northwest ed.). p. 4 – via
  13. ^ Winnetka village (82530) (PDF) (Map). 1:10,927. Boundary and Annexation Survey Governmental Unit Reference Map. Washington, D.C.: United States Census Bureau. December 8, 2022. p. 1. Retrieved July 8, 2023.
  14. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Winnetka village, Illinois". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 10, 2020. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
  15. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  16. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  17. ^ Websites for public schools: K-4 Hubbard Woods, Crow Island School, Samuel Sewall Greeley; 5-6 The Skokie School; 7-8 Washburne School
  18. ^ "History of Hubbard Woods School - The Hubbard Woods School". Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  19. ^ "History - The Skokie School". Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  20. ^ "History - Carleton Washburne School". Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  21. ^ "North Shore provides many opportunities for all students to excel - North Shore Country Day School (NSCDS)". Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  22. ^ "History and Mission". Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  23. ^ New Trier News ((cite web)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  24. ^ Lewis, Morgan Milton; Emmons, Jessie Gray Mrs. (1903). Genealogical and Biographical Record of the Lewis and Grisell Families. Coopersville, MI: DeVos Printer. p. 148.
  25. ^ US WO 90/10910, Belden, Glen W.; Brogan, John J. & Thomas C., O'Halleran et al., "Patent:Simulated pit trading system", published March 14, 1989 
  26. ^ a b Peterson, Duff. "Eliot and Fairfield Porter, American Artists from Winnetka". Winnetka Historical Society. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
  27. ^ "445 Sheridan Road". Winnetka Historical Society.
  28. ^ Manchir, Michelle (2014-07-13). "Barbara Turf, former Crate and Barrel CEO, dies at 71". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2014-08-11.
  29. ^ 'Illinois Blue Book 1955-1956,' Biographical Sketch of Bernive T. Van der Vries, pg. 214
  30. ^ Cullotta, Karen Ann. "Almost 30 years later, Winnetka residents say 'Home Alone' changed the neighborhood — but they're OK with it". Retrieved 25 December 2020.
  31. ^ Swartz, Tracy (26 October 2020). "Why is the new Netflix movie 'Holidate' set in Chicago? We love the holidays, screenwriter says". Retrieved 2020-10-27.
Further reading