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Illinois Counties
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Illinois Counties

There are one hundred and two counties in Illinois. St. Clair County was the first county established in what is today Illinois. Most counties in Illinois were named after early American leaders, especially of the American Revolutionary War, as well as soldiers from the Battle of Tippecanoe and the War of 1812.

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Lake County, Illinois

Lake County Education, Geography, and HistoryLake County, Illinois Courthouse

Lake County is a county in the northeastern corner of the state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 703,462, making it the third-most populous county in Illinois. Lake County was created on March 1, 1839. The county seat is Waukegan. The county is named for Lake Michigan.

Lake County is one of the collar counties of the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is located along the shore of Lake Michigan.

According to the 2000 census, Lake County is the 31st richest county by per capita income. The lakefront communities of Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Highland Park are part of the affluent North Shore area.

Etymology - Origin of Lake County Name

The county is named for Lake Michigan.


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

Lake County History

Lake County was created on March 1, 1839 (Laws, 1839, p. 216) and was formed from McHenry County . Present area, or parts of it, formerly included in: McHenry County (1836-1839), Cook County (1831-1836), Putnam County (1825-1831), Fulton County (1823-1825), Pike County (1821-1823), Clark County (1819-1821), Crawford County (1816-1819), Edwards County (1815-1816), Madison County (1812-1815), St. Clair County (1801-1812) and Knox, Northwest Territory (1795-1801).

The County was named for after the many small lakes in and around the county. The County Seat is Waukegan. Prior County Seats was Burlington (1839-1841) and Waukegan- Name changed from Little Fort in 1849 (1841-Present).

Lake county formed by act of the legislature approved March 1, 1839, it was enacted that "all that portion of McHenry County east of a range or sectional line not less than three miles nor more than four miles east of the present county seat of McHenry County shall constitute a new county to be called the county of Lake."

June 20, 1839. At a special meeting of the Board of Commissioners of McHenry County it was ordered, "That an election be held in Lake County on the first Monday in August next, in each precinct as now organized in McHenry County, for three commissioners, one commissioners' clerk, one coroner, one probate justice of the peace, one treasurer, one recorder, one school commissioner, two justices of the peace, and two constables in each precinct." It was further ordered, " That the portions of Indian Creek, Abingdon, McHenry and Virginia precincts which lie east and west of the division line between Lake and McHenry counties be attached to the opposite precincts."

June 25, 1839. "Ordered by the court, That the poll books be opened at the August elections to vote for and against a division of the county of McHenry, the line thereof to be the center of the Fox River from north to south, and that the east end be called Lake County."
Instead of the "center of the river", as the dividing line, Lake County took all the east of the section line running north and south three miles east of the river at McHenry; in other words, two-thirds of range 9, east, together with all lying east of the line mentioned.

1885 History of McHenry County, Illinois

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,368 square miles (3,543 km2), of which, 448 square miles (1,159 km2) of it is land and 920 square miles (2,384 km2) of it is water, much of it in Lake Michigan. The total area is 67.28% water.

 Lake county is located in northeast Illinois. Illinois Beach State Park, North Point Marina, and Volo Bog State Natural Area are located in this county.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Kenosha County, Wis.
  • East: Lake Michigan
  • South: Cook County
  • West: McHenry County


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