Vernon Hills is an affluent northern suburb of Chicago in Lake County, Illinois, United States. Vernon Hills serves as a retail hub for its surrounding area (Libertyville, Lake Forest, Mundelein, Lincolnshire, and Buffalo Grove).
The land that was to become Vernon Hills, founded by Richard Theodore Freese, Ron Freese, and Jim Carswell, began with the establishment of a 200-acre farm in 1851. Use of the land remained relatively static until the 1950s, when part of it was purchased for a residential community and golf course; the development was the first use of the name “Vernon Hills.” On June 16, 1958, the village officially incorporated with 123 residents and 125 houses in a single subdivision built by Quinn Hogan and Barney Loeb. During these times, the village and police department were run from a local motel until 1971 when village trustees bought two portable buildings. It saw steady but slow growth until the annexing of a plot of land near the corner of IL Route 60 and IL Route 21 in 1971, which led to the building of 1,200,000-square-foo Hawthorn Center (now known as Westfield Hawthorn). By 1980, the village’s population had grown to almost 10,000 residents, and by 2000, it had surpassed 20,000.
Through the 1980’s and 1990’s, the village grew geographically through the annexation of surrounding areas. This included land that would become the Corporate Woods business park and Centennial Crossing residential development (1986), a 1,200-acre section of Hawthorne-Mellody Farms (1988), and part of the village of Half Day (1994). In 2000, the village acquired land that had belonged at different times to the U.S. Army as a Nike missile base, the U.S. Navy as a naval training center, and the Curtiss Candy Company; it was converted to what is now the 184-acre Vernon Hills Athletic Complex, adjacent to Vernon Hills High School.
Formed in 1973, the Vernon Hills Park District currently has grown to encompass 315 acres of park land, and offers programming for hundreds of children annually. In 1993, The Delores Sullivan Community Center and Aquatic Complex was officially completed and dedicated. CDW, American Hotel Registry, Rust-Oleum, Zebra Technologies, and Cole-Parmer are some of the companies who reside in Vernon Hills.
In addition to the Cuneo Museum and Gardens, and the Westfield Hawthron, Vernon Hills is also home to many restaurants including Portillos, Panera, Buffalo Wild Wings, Maggiano’s, and Sushi Thai. Vernon Hills also hosts a number of community events throughout each year including Summer Celebration, Arbortheater concerts, Oktoberfest and the French Market. Vernon Hills also offers two golf courses; the White Deer Run Golf Course and the Vernon Hills Golf Course.