According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 2.7 square miles (7.0 km²), all land; however, the North Shore Sanitation Canal lies on its eastern border.
The agrarian population grew after the establishment of a Chicago & North Western Railway station in nearby Skokie in 1891 and the completion of the North Shore Channel in 1909, which made the easily flooded prairie land manageable. More saloons and taverns soon appeared, specifically along Crawford and Lincoln Avenues. Because only organized municipalities could grant liquor licenses, 359 residents incorporated in 1911 and named the village Tessville. Tessville annexed land throughout the 1920s, finally stretching to Central Avenue on the west and Kedzie Avenue on the east. During Prohibition, Tessville became a haven for speakeasies and gambling facilities.
Tessville was long reputed for drinking and gambling until the 1931 election of its longest-serving mayor, Henry A. Proesel, a grandson of George Proesel, one of the original American settlers. In 1932, Lincoln Avenue, formerly a plank toll road, became a state highway. Proesel then worked with the federal government's Public Works Administration and hired the community's entire unemployed workforce to plant 10,000 elm trees on the village streets. Most important, the community passed a liquor license law (1934) that limited the number of licenses allowable within the city limits and became a model ordinance for other communities. Proesel finally changed Tessville's image when he renamed the village Lincolnwood in 1936.
Lincolnwood's institutions, industries, and clubs continued to grow along with the suburb. The Bryn Mawr Country Club (1919), the East Prairie Welfare Club, later to become the Lincolnwood Woman's Club (1927), the Lincolnwood Afternoon Club (1953), American Legion Post #1226 (1952), and the Lincolnwood Jewish Congregation (1958) helped create a sense of community in the village. Lincolnwood School District 74 formed in 1938, and the Lincolnwood Public Library (1978) provided residents with quality education and offered much needed services. Bell & Howell's relocation to east Lincolnwood (1942) spurred growth and increased other industry relocation to the village.
The Purple Hotel, located at the corner of Lincoln and Touhy Avenues, has a place in local lore. Its parking lot was where mobster Allen Dorfman died from an assassin's gunfire in 1983. The crime has never been solved. The Purple Hotel was built in 1960 by the Hyatt Corp. and was originally called the Lincolnwood Hyatt House. Well-known Chicago pianist, Myles Greene, who now performs at Tuscany's in Oak Brook, was the first performer to open in the hotel 40 years ago. After it was a Hyatt, it became a Radisson, and finally a Ramada. Since 2004, it has been independent, simply calling itself by the name locals have used for years: the "Purple Hotel." The name came about because of the building's distinctive purple facade, somewhat radical for earth-toned suburbia. In 2006, the Village sued the owners of the Purple Hotel because of health and safety code violations such as mold in guest rooms. In January 2007, it was announced the hotel was to be closed, with future plans unknown. In May 2007, Chicago-based Sertus Capital Partners, LLC entered into a conditional contract to purchase the hotel property, with plans to demolish the famed hotel and build residential and retail space. However, Sertus called off its proposed purchase of the Touhy Avenue property from the current owner Donald Bae in August 2007. The plans were scraped due to the high cost that owners asked for the property and problems with an extended lease of one of the tenants on the property.
Serial killer William Heirens lived in Lincolnwood in his childhood.
There were 4,482 households out of which 30.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 67.2% were married couples living together, 7.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.1% were non-families. 21.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.75 and the average family size was 3.22.
In the village the population was spread out with 22.9% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 19.8% from 25 to 44, 26.7% from 45 to 64, and 23.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 89.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.4 males.
The median income for a household in the village was $71,234, and the median income for a family was $83,687. Males had a median income of $52,708 versus $40,098 for females. The per capita income for the village was $35,911. About 1.9% of families and 2.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.5% of those under age 18 and 3.3% of those age 65 or over.
The Lincolnwood Public Library, established in 1978, is located in the center of the Village at Pratt and Lincoln Avenues. It houses more than 58,000 books, periodicals, audiotapes, compact discs and DVDs. The Lincolnwood Library is a member of the North Suburban Library System, which enables residents access to library collections held at other libraries in the state. The library also holds children’s story hours, book reviews and English as a second Language classes.
In the early 1970s, Lincolnwood's Boys Baseball program produced two Big League World Series champions, (1970 and 1973), a fourth place finish in the Senior League World Series (1971), and a Big League World Series participant in 1974.
Saint Francis Hospital operates a health center in Lincolnwood. Its main hospital and medical center is about 2 1⁄2 miles and about 6 minutes east in Evanston. Other area hospitals that serve Lincolnwood are Rush North Shore Medical Center in Skokie and Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago. Resurrection Hospital and Evanston Hospital, a teaching hospital, are also minutes away and serve Lincolnwood.