Evanston, residential city (1990 pop. 73,233), Cook co., NE Ill., on Lake Michigan; settled 1826, inc. 1892. A largely residential suburb north of Chicago, Evanston has businesses and manufactures goods such as books and published documents, paper, paint, chemicals, and medical supplies. It is also the national headquarters of many companies and organizations, including the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, Rotary International, and various agencies of the United Methodist Church. Evanston is an education center; Northwestern Univ., the National College of Education, Kendall College, and two theological seminaries are there. Frances E. Willard lived in the city, and her home is a national landmark. The house of Vice President Charles G. Dawes seats the Evanston Historical Society.
Evanston, Illinois is an affluent suburban Chicago municipality on Lake Michigan on the North Shore in Cook County, Illinois directly north of the City of Chicago, east of Skokie, and south of Wilmette. Evanston was first settled in 1836 and has a total population of 74,239. It is part of Chicago's affluent North Shore region. Evanston is concurrently a city and township, according to state and municipal charters.


Evanston was created out of the larger geographic unit which was called "Grosse Pointe Territory" in the 1830s and retitled Ridgeville in 1850. After being chosen as the home for Northwestern University, the city was incorporated in 1863, and named after John Evans, the University's founder. During the 1960s Northwestern University changed the city's shoreline with a 74 acre (300,000 m²) lake-fill.

In 1939, Evanston hosted the first NCAA basketball championship final at Northwestern University's Patten Gymnasium.

Today, the city is home to Northwestern University and other educational institutions as well as headquarters of Alpha Phi International women's fraternity, Rotary International, the National Lekotek Center, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, the Sigma Chi Fraternity and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union.

Evanston is also the birthplace of Tinkertoys and (along with many other cities such as Ithaca, New York and Two Rivers, Wisconsin) claims to have invented the ice cream sundae.


Evanston is located at (42.046380, -87.694608) and is at an elevation of 600 ft.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.8 square miles (20.1 km²), of which, 7.8 square miles (20.0 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.26%) is water.

In August 2004 there was some confusion as to the size of Evanston. Evanston is often locally listed as being 8.4 sq mi, but this number appears to be incorrect. The 7.8 sq mi listed by the United States Census Bureau is more accurate.

Politics and Government

Evanston has a council-manager system of government and is divided into nine wards, each of which is represented by an Alderman, or member of the Evanston City Council. Its current mayor is Lorraine H. Morton. The city government has often had a shaky relationship with Northwestern University, which is a not-for-profit institution and so does not pay property taxes to the city. In the founding charter of Northwestern University, signed in 1851, the state granted the school an exemption from paying property taxes, and unlike other well-off private universities with statutory exemptions, Northwestern does not make Payments in Lieu of Taxes for the real estate it removes from property tax rolls. The university does, however, provide its own police services.

Evanston has a history of supporting candidates affiliated with the Democratic party in elections on all levels of government. In the 2004 presidential election, Democratic candidate John Kerry won 82% of Evanston's vote. His Republican opponent, George W. Bush, only won 17% of the vote in Evanston.


A perennial debate in Evanston is the issue of Northwestern University's status as a tax-exempt institution. Northwestern's critics allege that it consumes far more from the city than it contributes. However, its backers fire back that the benefits of having an elite research institution are worth it, even if the university does occupy prime real estate tax-free. This controversy was revived in 2003 when the university purchased an eight-story office building downtown, removing it from the tax rolls. A referendum was put on the April elections ballot dubbed by supporters as a "Fair Share Initiative," but was ultimately rejected.

Beginning in the late 1990s, there has been considerable controversy over an explosion in high-rise development, especially in the downtown district. Detractors contend that the development has taken away what they call a "unique Evanston identity." They cite a growing number of local businesses that have gone out of business to be replaced with chain stores as its worst offense. In contrast proponents claim that the high-rises have brought much-needed life to what was a dying suburban downtown, and much-needed revenues to chronically underfunded city coffers. Along with the high rise explosion, recently there's been talks of building a skyscraper in Fountain Square. Many people oppose it, putting up "SAVE EVANSTON, STOP THE TOWER" signs on their front yards.

Recently (as of 2006) there was concern with Evanston's low-income population being able to find affordable housing. Evanston's west side, a formerly strong middle-class African American community, has been undergoing a redevelopment process, which has led to a steadily decreasing minority population in Evanston. The city's Mayor Lorraine H. Morton has tried to persuade builders to build less expensive medium sized homes under $350,000, but none of her attempts have been successful.


Public schools

High school

Most of Evanston (and part of the village of Skokie) is within the boundaries of Evanston Township High School District 202. The district has a single high school, Evanston Township High School (ETHS) with an enrollment of just over 3000, covering grades 9 through 12. The school's mascot is the Wildkit (a diminutive of Northwestern's Wildcats) and the school's colors are orange and blue. Its biggest rival is New Trier High School in Winnetka. Its superintendent is Dr. Eric Witherspoon. A small part of Evanston which is undeveloped is served by New Trier High School.

Primary schools

Evanston-Skokie Community Consolidated School District 65, covering all of Evanston and part of Skokie, provides primary education from pre-kindergarten through grade 8. The district has ten elementary schools (through fifth grade), three middle schools (grades 6 through 8), two magnet schools (K through 8) and three special schools or centers. Total district enrollment in 2004 was 6,622 students.

The region of Skokie served by Evanston schools is referred to colloquially as Skevanston.

Elementary schools

  • Dawes Elementary School
  • Dewey Elementary School
  • Kingsley Elementary School
  • Lincoln Elementary School
  • Lincolnwood Elementary School
  • Oakton Elementary School
  • Orrington Elementary School
  • Walker Elementary School
  • Washington Elementary School
  • Willard Elementary School

Middle schools
*Chute Middle School
*Haven Middle School
*Nichols Middle School
Magnet schools
*King Lab Magnet School
*Rhodes Magnet School
Special schools and centers

  • Early Childhood Center
  • Park School
  • Daniel & Ada Rice Children's Center

In 2007, Willard Elementary School ranked 8th in the state overall on the Illinois Standard Achievement Test (ISAT).

Private and parochial schools

In addition to the public schools, Evanston offers a variety of other educational choices. Roycemore School (640 Lincoln Street) is an independent coeducational college preparatory day school providing a liberal arts education to students from junior kindergarten through grade 12. Since the closing of St. George High School in 1969, there is no Catholic high school in Evanston, but many Evanston residents attend co-educational Loyola Academy in Wilmette, all-boys Notre Dame High School for Boys in Niles, all-girls St. Scholastica Academy in Chicago or Regina Dominican High School in Wilmette, and other area Catholic high schools.

There are also a variety of non-public primary schools in or near Evanston:

  • The Barbereux School - independent; grades pre-k through 1
  • Chiaravalle Montessori School - Montessori; grades pre-k through 8
  • Midwest Montessori School - Montessori; grades pre-k through 3
  • Pope John XXIII - Catholic; grades pre-k through 8
  • Athanasius School - Catholic; grades pre-k through 8
  • St. Joan of Arc School - Catholic; grades pre-k through 8
  • Roycemore School - independent; grades pre-k through 12
  • North Shore School - independent; grades K through 8
  • Baker Demonstration School - independent; grades pre-k through 8


The CTA's Purple Line, part of the Chicago 'El' system, runs through Evanston. From its terminal at Howard in Chicago, the line heads north to the South Blvd, Main, Dempster, Davis, Foster, Noyes, and Central stations, before terminating at Linden in Wilmette. Metra's Union Pacific/North Line also serves Evanston, with stations at Main Street, Davis Street and Central Street, the first two being adjacent to Purple Line stations. The CTA's Yellow Line also runs through the city, though it only stops at Howard. Evanston also contains several I-GO cars.

Evanston is also served by four CTA bus routes as well as four Pace bus routes.


As of the census of 2000, there were 74,239 people, 29,651 households, and 15,952 families residing in the city. The population density was 9,584.1 people per square mile (3,698.6/km²). There were 30,817 housing units at an average density of 3,978.4/sq mi (1,535.3/km²). The 2000 census showed that Evanston is ethnically mixed with the following breakdown in population: 62.56% White, 22.50% Black or African-American, 6.11% Hispanic or Latino, 6.09% Asian, and 2.85% from other races. There were 29,651 households out of which 25.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.4% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.2% were non-families. 36.3% 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 2.27 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the city the population was spread out with 20.2% under the age of 18, 16.4% from 18 to 24, 32.0% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 10.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 89.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.4 males.

According to a 2006 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $62,138, and the median income for a family was $98,553. Males had a median income of $51,726 versus $39,767 for females. The per capita income for the city was $33,645. About 5.1% of families and 11.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.3% of those under age 18 and 7.1% of those age 65 or over.

Populations of the past

  • 1900 - 19,259
  • 1910 - 24,978
  • 1920 - 37,215
  • 1930 - 63,338
  • 1940 - 65,389

Recent population trends

  • 1970 - 80,113
  • 1980 - 73,706
  • 1990 - 73,233
  • 2000 - 74,239

Local Media

  • Daily Northwestern - the student newspaper at Northwestern University.
  • Evanston Now - a locally-owned online newspaper.
  • Evanston Review - a weekly newspaper published by the Sun-Times News Group.
  • Evanston Roundtable- a locally-owned semi-weekly newspaper.
  • The Evanstonian- Evanston Township High School's student newspaper.

People from Evanston

The following list includes notable people who were born or have lived in Evanston.

Entertainment figures

Sports figures

Writers, thinkers, artists, scientists, and cultural figures

Politicians and statesmen

Historical figures


In popular culture


Film and television

Points of interest


External links

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