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Palos Park is an affluent village in southwestern Cook County, Illinois, United States. The population was 4,847 at the 2010 census.
Palos Park is located at 41°39′56″N 87°50′12″W (41.665682, -87.836633).
According to the 2010 census, Palos Park has a total area of 3.973 square miles (10.29 km2), of which 3.93 square miles (10.18 km2) (or 98.92%) is land and 0.043 square miles (0.11 km2) (or 1.08%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,689 people, 1,802 households, and 1,389 families residing in the village. The population density was 1,241.8 people per square mile (479.0/km²). There were 1,852 housing units at an average density of 490.5 per square mile (189.2/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 97.16% White, 0.28% African American, 0.04% Native American, 1.73% Asian, 0.19% from other races, and 0.60% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.11% of the population.
The top five ancestries reported in Palos Park as of the 2000 census were Irish (25.0%), German (21.7%), Polish (14.4%), Italian (8.0%) and English (6.8%).
There were 1,802 households out of which 26.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 69.9% were married couples living together, 5.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.9% were non-families. 20.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.01.
In the village, the population was spread out with 21.7% under the age of 18, 5.3% from 18 to 24, 20.0% from 25 to 44, 33.8% from 45 to 64, and 19.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.8 males.
The median income for a household in the village was $78,450, and the median income for a family was $88,628. Males had a median income of $70,313 versus $36,893 for females. The per capita income for the village was $39,861. About 3.8% of families and 4.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.1% of those under age 18 and 6.7% of those age 65 or over.
The Village Council is composed of John Mahoney (Mayor; Liquor Control Commissioner), James Pavlatos (Commissioner of Accounts & Finances), Nicole Milovich-Walters (Commissioner of Streets & Public Improvements; by Village Code also in charge of Recreation), Dan Polk (Commissioner of Public Health & Safety), and G. Darryl Reed (Commissioner of Building and Public Property). Marie Arrigoni is the elected Clerk. All six are elected at large to concurrent four year terms.
Palos Park is in the Illinois 3rd congressional district.
In Palos Park the IL House District 36 runs east of Bell Rd., and west of Southwest Highway for those areas south of 121st St. (121st St. is the short street on the north side of the Palos Park train station) and west of the Metra tracks for areas north of 121st St. It includes parts of Palos Hills, Worth, Chicago Ridge, Oak Lawn. It includes all of Evergreen Park, home to first term 36th District House Rep. Kelly Burke.
In Palos Park the IL House District 35 runs east of IL House District 36 through the Village. It includes Merrionette Park & parts of the Heights, Oak Lawn, and Alsip. In terms of the power base, it was designed to contain parts of the following five Chicago Communities: Auburn Gresham, Beverly, Washington Heights, Mt. Greenwood, & Morgan Park. It is represented by another first termer, Bill Cunningham, from Chicago.
In Palos Park the IL House District 82 is west of Bell Rd., i.e. in Lemont Township. It includes Holy Family Villa, the Bishop Lyne Residence, and the St. Francis of Assisi Residence. This district includes parts of Homer Glen, Lemont, Willowbrook, Burr Ridge, Indian Head Park, and LaGrange. It is represented by Jim Durkin from Western Springs, who ran for U.S. Senate against Dick Durbin in 2002. The same area is represented in the IL Senate’s District 41 by Illinois Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno who is from Lemont.
The 35th and the 36th House Districts are combined into IL Senate District 18. The 18th is represented by Edward Maloney, who has represented the district since 2003. He is retiring and IL House District 35th Rep. Cunningham is running for the IL Senate District 18.
The landscape of Palos Park, thickly forested hills, sets this village apart from other communities, just as its reputation as an artists' retreat did in the first half of the twentieth century. The village is surrounded on the north, west, and south by the Cook County Forest Preserves, while Palos Heights lies to the east.
In the 1830s settlers from the eastern United States and Ireland began to farm the flatter ground west of what is Palos Park, while the hilly, wooded areas of Palos Park were used as sources of lumber and fuel. In the 1840s so many Northern Irish settled here that the first post office was briefly named Orange. An 1851 map shows only one road now La Grange Road running to the west of the Palos Park area. The first railroad came through in 1883 along the route of the present Southwest Highway and connected the area to Chicago.
In the 1890s Palos Park became known as a country retreat. Near the railway station, a group of well-to-do Germans founded a club called the Sharpshooters Association. The first subdivision of one- to ten-acre parcels was platted, attracting Chicagoans seeking fresh air and a respite from the crowds at the 1893 World's Columbian Exhibition. Artists, writers, retired theater and circus performers, and wealthy city dwellers built second homes in Palos Park. The community's position as an arts center was clearly in place by 1903 when the Palos Improvement Clubhouse was built. It seated 350, more than all the villagers combined.
In 1913 the railroad route was straightened, shifting slightly to the east, and in 1914 the villagers voted to incorporate as a village. In 1916 the Cook County Forest Preserve began buying land in the Palos Park area to ensure that it would remain a retreat for urban dwellers. This restricted the area of Palos Park from future growth and maintained the areas sylvan atmosphere.
Until midcentury, the village's population remained in the hundreds. The Calumet Sag Channel was completed across the north side of the small community in 1922. In 1928, the Southwest Highway opened along the old railroad right-of-way and improved access to the area. A handful of stores developed to serve the community, which continued to be dominated by artists and writers. Well-known people who sojourned in Palos Park included Ernest Hemingway, sculptor Lorado Taft, author Pearl Buck, and playwright Sherwood Anderson.
Slowly the summer and weekend homes were converted to year-round residences. The population rose as families from urban areas settled here, and the village became a bedroom community for people commuting to jobs in Chicago.
The village of Palos Park (population 4,689 in 2000) contains little to no industry, although there is some commercial development along 131st Street. The village's lack of development and low density has been maintained by Cook County forest preserve holdings and strict residential zoning.
Residents in eastern portions are in Palos School District 118
High school students in eastern portions are served by Consolidated High School District 230's Amos Alonzo Stagg High School.
Palos Park Public Library serves the community.
Palos Park has a station on Metra's SouthWest Service, which provides daily rail service between Manhattan, Illinois and
Chicago, Illinois (at Union Station).
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