Deerfield. 1 Village (1990 pop. 17,327), Cook and Lake counties, NE Ill., a residential suburb of Chicago; inc. 1903. The huge Sara Lee Bakery is its major industry, and there is other light manufacturing. 2 Town (1990 pop. 5,018), NW Mass., on the Deerfield River; inc. 1677. In a 1704 Native American attack nearly 50 inhabitants were killed; most of the survivors were taken to Canada, and some were killed on the way. Old Deerfield St. is lined with 18th-century houses. Deerfield Academy, one of the country's foremost private secondary schools, is in the town.
Deerfield, river, 70 mi (113 km) long, rising in S Vt. and flowing S into NW Mass., then SE to the Connecticut River at Greenfield, Mass. The river has extensive hydroelectric facilities but is also a canoeing and kayaking hub.

Deerfield is a village in Lake County, Illinois, United States. A portion of the village is in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The population was 18,420 at the 2000 census. It is one of the suburbs that make up Chicago's North Shore.

Deerfield is home to the headquarters of Walgreens, Baxter Healthcare, APAC Customer Services, Fortune Brands, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, and Così, and was at one time the headquarters of the Sara Lee Corporation. Deerfield High School is one of the top public schools in the state. Trinity International University, an evangelical Christian university, is located in Deerfield.

Deerfield is represented by the 10th Congressional District of Illinois, 29th District of the Illinois Senate, and the 58th District of the Illinois House of Representatives.


Deerfield is located at (42.168275, -87.851341). According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 5.5 square miles (14.3 km²), of which, 5.5 square miles (14.2 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.54%) is water.


As of the census of 2000, there were 18,420 people, 6,420 households, and 5,161 families residing in the village. The population density was 3,359.4 people per square mile (1,297.8/km²). There were 6,518 housing units at an average density of 1,188.7/sq mi (459.2/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 95.88% White, 0.33% African American, 0.04% Native American, 2.52% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.43% from other races, and 0.77% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.69% of the population.

There were 6,420 households out of which 43.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 73.0% were married couples living together, 6.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.6% were non-families. 17.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81 and the average family size was 3.21.

In the village the population was spread out with 30.6% under the age of 18, 3.7% from 18 to 24, 26.8% from 25 to 44, 26.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there are 93.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.5 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $107,194, and the median income for a family was $118,683. Males had a median income of $90,226 versus $48,450 for females. The per capita income for the village was $50,664. About 1.3% of families and 1.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.1% of those under age 18 and 1.8% of those age 65 or over.


Originally populated by the Potawatomi Native Americans, the area was settled by Horace Lamb and Jacob B. Cadwell in 1835 and named Cadwell's Corner. A shopping center located on the site of Cadwell's farm at Waukegan Road and Lake Cook Road still bears that name. The area grew because of the navigable rivers in the area, notably the Des Plaines River and the Chicago River. By 1840, the town's name was changed to Leclair. Within a decade, settler John Millen proposed a further name change to Deerfield in honor of his hometown, Deerfield, Massachusetts and the large number of deer living in the area. At the time, the alternate name for the village on the ballot was Erin. Deerfield won by a vote of 17-13. The village's first school, Wilmot School, was founded in 1847. Originally a one-room schoolhouse, Wilmot is now an elementary school which serves 548 students. It is located at the corner of Deerfield and Wilmot Roads on land donated by Lyman Wilmot. The village was incorporated in 1903 with a population in the low 400s.

In the 1850s, the Deerfield home of Lyman Wilmot, which still stands at 601 Wilmot Road, served as a stop on the Underground Railroad as escaped slaves attempted to get to Canada.

In a 1917 design by Thomas E. Talmadge of the American Institute of Architects, Deerfield served as the center for a new proposed capital city of the United States. By that year, all of Deerfield's original farms had been converted either to residential areas or golf courses.

On May 26, 1944, a US Navy plane crashed in Deerfield on the current site of the Deerfield Public Library, killing Ensign Milton C. Pickens. Following World War II, a portion of Waukegan Road (Route 43) that runs through Deerfield has been designated a Blue Star Memorial Highway.

On June 27, 1962, ground was broken by Kitchens of Sara Lee (now Sara Lee Corporation) for construction of the world's largest bakery. The plant, located on the current site of Coromandel Condominiums on Kates Road, began production in 1964 using state-of-the-art materials handling and production equipment. It was billed as the world's first industrial plant with a fully automated production control system. President Ronald Reagan visited the plant in 1985. The plant closed in 1990 as Sara Lee consolidated production in Tarboro, North Carolina. By 1991, headquarters employees had moved to downtown Chicago. In 2007, Sara Lee severed its final tie to its former home town with the closure of the Sara Lee Bakery Outlet Store.

In 1982, Deerfield began an experiment with a community farm. Two hundred residents applied for plots on a three-acre community garden. The project had such a strong initial success that the village opened additional community farms on vacant land in the village.

On December 19, 2005, the village board passed a strict anti-smoking ordinance. The law bans smoking in all public places, including businesses, bars, restaurants, parks, parade routes, public assemblies, and within from any of the above.

On October 4, 2007, Deerfield resident Rhoni Reuter, the pregnant girlfriend of former Chicago Bears cornerback Shaun Gayle, was murdered in the first homicide committed in Deerfield in 38 years. The murder occurred at Poplar and Elm Streets close by to Alan B. Shepard Middle School; as a result, the school and Deerfield High School were "locked down" for part of the day.

In November, 2007, listed Deerfield third in a list of the 50 best places to raise children. The rankings were based on five factors, including school test scores, cost of living, recreational and cultural activities, number of schools and risk of crime. Deerfield ranked behind Groesbeck, Ohio and Western Springs, IL.

But Not Next Door

In 1959, when Deerfield officials learned that a developer building a neighborhood of large new homes planned to make houses available to African Americans, they issued a stop-work order. An intense debate began about racial integration, property values, and the good faith of community officials and builders. For a brief time, Deerfield was spotlighted in the national news as "the Little Rock of the North." Supporters of integration were denounced and ostracized by angry residents. Eventually, the village passed a referendum to build parks on the property, thus putting an end to the housing development. Two model homes already partially completed were sold to village officials. The remaining land lay dormant for years before it was developed into what is now Mitchell Pool and Park and Jaycee Park. At the time, Deerfield's black population was 12 people out of a total population of 11,786. This episode in Deerfield's history is described in But Not Next Door by Harry and David Rosen, both residents of Deerfield.

Over the past 30 years, however, Deerfield has seen a large influx of Jews and, more recently, Asians and Greeks, giving the community a more diverse ethnic makeup.

Historic village

Located in front of Kipling Elementary School is the Deerfield Historic Village. This outdoor museum consists of five historic buildings and includes the headquarters for the Deerfield Historical Society.

The Historic Village includes the Caspar Ott House, considered to be the oldest building in Lake County, built in 1837. It was restored by Bob Przewlocki. The George Luther House (1847) now includes the Society's offices and displays on rural post offices and village stores. The Bartle Sacker Farm (1854) houses a collection of farm implements. The fourth building is a 1905 Carriage House. While those buildings are all original (although relocated from their original sites), the little red school house is a replica of a one-room school house. Each year, all fourth graders in district 109 spend a day learning in the school house.

Shopping districts

In 1998, a significant portion of the Deerfield downtown area (mostly comprising an outdated shopping center called the Deerfield Commons, as well as the former Deerfield Savings and Loan) was demolished and replaced with a new outdoor shopping district, Deerfield Square, designed by CRM Properties. In addition to merchandising space, Deerfield Square includes office space and an outdoor plaza which is used during the summer for free outdoor concerts.

Free concerts are also held across the street from Deerfield Square in the shopping area known as Red Star Plaza.

Along the border with Northbrook, Deerbrook Mall opened in the late 1960s. It includes both an indoor and outdoor shopping area. Near Deerbrook Mall is Cadwell Corners, a small outdoor mall that carries the village's original name.

Deerfield in popular culture

In 1979 Deerfield created a "No-Kissing Zone" at the local train station in response to complaints about traffic jams at the station caused by couples taking too long to kiss their goodbyes at the drop-off point. The "No-Kissing" signs (patterned after international traffic signs) attracted national attention and were featured in 'Time Magazine and ABC's "AM America" (precursor to "Good Morning America"). A Deerfield family appearing on the game show "Family Feud" presented Richard Dawson with replica pins of the signs.

In the 1980s Deerfield and other North Shore communities inspired the teen movies of director/screen writer John Hughes. The fictional Shermer, Illinois, included elements of Deerfield and neighboring Northbrook and Highland Park.

A number of media properties have been set and/or filmed Deerfield, including television drama Once and Again, comedy Married... with Children and portions of reality show American High. In film, the Deerfield train station is shown in the film Risky Business, and Stolen Summer used various parts of the village.

The village was identified as the hometown of Kitty Pryde in the X-Men comics.

Deerfield also figures in the musical Dear Edwina, written by Marcy Heisler, a Deerfield native, and Zina Goldrich. The fictional protagonist lives at 427 Birchwood Avenue in Deerfield Although the play is set in Paw Paw, Michigan much of it (including the address) is inspired by Heisler's hometown, Deerfield.


During the 1982 NFL players strike, Deerfield High School served as the practice field for the Chicago Bears players locked out of Hallas Hall.

The Chicago Bulls' current practice facility, the Berto Center, is in Deerfield. Previously, the Bulls practiced at Multiplex, a Deerfield health club, which has since closed. A number of Bulls players and staff have subsequently lived in Deerfield, including Kirk Hinrich and Phil Jackson.


Deerfield is served by four public Elementary schools (Kipling, South Park, Walden, and Wilmot), and two public Middle schools (Caruso and Shepard), all comprising School District 109. The majority of Deerfield's children go on to attend Deerfield High School, however a small portion attend Highland Park High School (both of which comprise School District 113). Additionally, some residents send their children to one of several private schools serving the area.

At one time District 109 contained as many as eight Elementary schools, however, Maplewood, Woodland Park, Briarwood, and Cadwell (originally known as Deerfield Grammar School) were all closed beginning in the 1970s through the 1980s and their students absorbed by the four larger, remaining Elementary schools.

Sister city

Deerfield has one Sister City:

Notable residents


Further reading

  • Marie Ward Reichelt, History of Deerfield, Glenview Press, 1928.
  • Harry Rosen and David Rosen, But Not Next Door, Ivan Obolensky, 1962.

External links

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