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Chicago Ridge is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The population was 14,305 at the 2010 census.
Chicago Ridge takes its name from ridges left behind when trainloads of dirt were brought out by the Wabash Railroad during construction of the Columbian Exposition of 1893.
Incorporated on October 17, 1914, the village has an area of approximately 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2) and is located in the southwestern portion of Cook County, Illinois, about 20 miles (32 km) southwest of downtown Chicago.
The path of Stony Creek arcs through the village. It is not only an old creek but also the remnants of a feeder canal for the Illinois & Michigan Canal that reached from the Little Calumet River westward through the Saganash-kee Slough. Although the work on the feeder canal brought some settlers in the 1840s, German and Dutch farmers arrived after the 1850s.
Settlement increased with the coming of the Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific Railroad in 1882. Later, the Wabash would be crossed in the middle of Chicago Ridge by the Chicago and Calumet Terminal Railway, which also established rail yards in the village.
In 1898, the Paul E. Berger Company, manufacturers of cash registers and slot machines, located adjacent to the railroad. The Berger Company built housing for its employees, and a settlement emerged around the factory, with a tavern, rooming house, and grocery store. The first post office opened in 1900 in the Berger factory, and in 1902 the Wabash Railroad established a train station.
Both Chicago Ridge and Worth benefited from the activity and economic influences of a racetrack operating on 111th Street. Local residents proudly recall that a member of one of the founding families of the Chicago Ridge area, Fred Herbert, won the Kentucky Derby in 1910. The racetrack was torn down in 1911 and is now the site of Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.
After Oak Lawn incorporated in 1909, Chicago Ridge considered the move. An incorporated government could replace wooden sidewalks, deal with the stagnant waters in the swampy areas, initiate local municipal services and provide locally elected and accountable officials. They accomplished those tasks and more. Their successors then built on those early improvements with paved streets, sewers, street lights, and sidewalks. They also brought Lake Michigan water to the area.
Chicago Ridge grew from 176 in 1920 to 888 in 1950. With the great demand for housing and the expansion of road networks to include expressways, Chicago Ridge was poised for growth. Along with a strong new industrial and commercial base, the population increased dramatically, to 5,748 in 1960 and 14,127 in 2000.
Chicago Ridge is located at 41°42′9″N 87°46′43″W (41.702482, -87.778690).
According to the 2010 census, Chicago Ridge has a total area of 2.25 square miles (5.83 km2), all land.
Located in Cook County, the village is 18 miles (29 km) southwest of the Loop. Chicago Ridge's irregular shape is bounded by Oak Lawn on the north and east, Bridgeview and Palos Hills on the west, and Worth on the south.
As of the census of 2000, there were 14,127 people, 5,739 households, and 3,483 families residing in the village. The population density was 6,336.3 people per square mile (2,445.9/km²). There were 5,897 housing units at an average density of 2,645.0 per square mile (1,021.0/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 89.13% White, 2.44% African American, 0.23% Native American, 1.47% Asian, 1.96% from other races, and 4.77% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.25% of the population.
The top five ancestries reported in Chicago Ridge as of the 2000 census were Irish (25.5%), Polish (20.3%), German (19.1%), Italian (11.2%) and Arab (6.9%).
There were 5,739 households out of which 29.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.5% were married couples living together, 12.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.3% were non-families. 31.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.12.
In the village, the population was spread out with 23.9% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 35.9% from 25 to 44, 18.2% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 94.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.3 males.
The median income for a household in the village was $44,101, and the median income for a family was $56,314. Males had a median income of $38,464 versus $27,683 for females. The per capita income for the village was $20,278. About 8.1% of families and 10.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.5% of those under age 18 and 8.1% of those age 65 or over.
Chicago Ridge is in Illinois' 3rd congressional district.
Charles Polchow served as the first president of Chicago Ridge when it organized as a village in 1914. He emigrated to the United States from Germany in 1897. Charles and his wife, the former Luzina Zippel, arrived March 10, 1897, to Chicago Ridge. Their first home was a farmhouse at 107th near Oak Park Avenue, where their first four children were born. Later the family moved to another farmhouse at 105th and Central, where they had seven children. One of his sons, Herbert Polchow, became village president of Chicago Ridge in 1953. Farming was the Polchow family's first occupation, but in 1919 at 107th and South Ridgeland Avenue the family built Polchow's Grove and Tavern. Polchow's was one of three taverns, the others being John Henry Meyer's Chicago Ridge Hotel at 103rd and South Ridgeland Avenue and Liberty Hall. Charles Polchow died in 1951 at the age of 78.
The village of Chicago Ridge is governed by a President and Board of Trustees. The Village President is the chief executive officer, and the Board of Trustees is the legislative body. The Village Clerk is the keeper of the records. The Village President, Board of Trustees and Clerk are all elected to four-year terms. Local elections are held every two years in the spring.
The Chicago Ridge Park District offers a "before/after" school care program.
Over the years, recreational and cultural amenities including parks and a library, as well as business and industry were added to the picture.
Landis Plastics, Inc. is based in Chicago Ridge, with five domestic facilities supporting North American customers. Landis manufactures injection molded and thermoformed plastic packaging for dairy and other food products. Over the past 15 years, Landis has experienced robust organic growth in sales of 10.4%. During 2002, Landis generated $211.6 million of net sales. Landis Plastics, Inc. was purchased by Berry Plastics Corp. in 2003.
The Park at Chicago Ridge is a 135-acre (0.55 km2) industrial park located off Southwest Highway at 103rd Street, which features rail transport and easy access to major expressways, including the Tri-State Tollway, and the Stevenson and Eisenhower expressways.
The Chicago Ridge Mall (formerly Westfield Chicago Ridge) at 95th and Ridgeland has over 130 stores and a six-screen theater. The Chicago Ridge Commons at 99th and Ridgeland has over 55 strip stores. Commercial development is currently centered in the industrial sector, the Park at Chicago Ridge.
Chicago Ridge hosts the annual RidgeFest celebration the last weekend in July at Freedom Park. It is one of the best-known summer festivals in the southwest suburban Chicago area. It consistently draws large crowds from throughout the Chicago metropolitan area.
The Chicago Ridge Park District has 23 acres (93,000 m2) of land available for recreational purposes, divided among nine parks containing tennis courts, baseball fields, a fitness center/gymnasium, and a newly completed miniature golf/batting cages complex. The district offers over 100 programs for residents of all ages.
Chicago Ridge has a station on Metra's SouthWest Service, which provides daily rail service between Manhattan, Illinois, and Chicago Union Station.
Chicago Ridge provides some public services. These include the Chicago Ridge Public Library, Elden Finley Junior High School, Ridge Central Elementary School, Ridge Lawn Elementary School, Freedom Activity Center (which provides preschool), and Teen Center.
Public schooling is provided through the Chicago Ridge School District 127½. Elden Finley Junior is Chicago Ridge's middle school. The mascot is a Viking. The colors are black, white, and gray. They provide grades 6 through 8.
Ridge Central Elementary School is one of Chicago Ridge's elementary schools. The mascot are stars, and the colors are navy blue and gold. They provide grades pre-kindergarten through fifth.
Ridge Lawn Elementary School is the other of Chicago Ridge's elementary schools. The mascot is an eagle. The colors are royal and white. They provide grades pre-kindergarten through fifth.
Chicago Ridge high school students attend Harold L. Richards High School in neighboring Oak Lawn.
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