History of Northbrook

Traces of Northbrook’s pioneer past remain today in the eighteen streets named for settlers. These settlers made their home on the boundless prairie that was once home to hunting camps for bands of traveling Potawatomi Indians. Settlements in all corners of the Township were built around schools that became the foundation for Northbrook’s four elementary school districts. The settlement at Sanders and Dundee was for many years the largest settlement in the area.

Joel S. Sherman claimed 159 acres of land at the going rate of $1.25 an acre in what is now Northbrook’s central business district in 1843. Some of the first settlers sold land to new families arriving from Germany. One of those settlers was Frederick Schermer who was among the founders of St. Peter Church. A portion of the land he bought in 1875 from the Sherman family was used for a railroad station. Soon, the station and the community that grew around it were named for him.

On November 18, 1901, the Village of Shermerville was incorporated with 311 residents and a mere 60 homes in the 2 square-mile area around the railroad station. In 1923, the Village Board by a six-to-one vote changed the name of the town to Northbrook after the North Branch of the West Fork of the Chicago River which meanders through the central business district and the grove that became the Village Green Park. The population at the time was 500. In 1940, the population was a mere 1,265 people.

A major growth spurt in the late 1940s swelled the population to 1,265. The acres of open farm land soon filled with houses. The ribbons of highways made the Village accessible to Chicago and other metropolitan areas made the Village a desirable place to raise young families. The addition in 1963 of a water pipeline directly to Lake Michigan fueled additional growth.

The Village continued to expand, develop and redevelop. The former Sky Harbor Airport became an Industrial Park in the late 1960s. A decade later, the major indoor regional mall, Northbrook Court opened on the Lake Cook corridor. In the mid-1990s, The Village Square Shopping Center joined office buildings along Skokie Boulevard. Developments such as Crate & Barrel’s world headquarters, Willow Festival and Meadow Ridge have made their appearance along Techny and Waukegan Roads.

Today, through the vision and planning of Village leaders, Northbrook boasts a healthy mix of residences, businesses, recreation and open land.

History Museum and Inn Shop

1776 Walters Ave.

The Museum features a recreated Shermerville home of the 1890s, museum displays and research materials with a Northbrook focus. The Inn Shop, a consignment store selling collectible and antique items, is located in the historic Northfield Inn.

Museum hours: Sunday 2-4 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Or by request (847) 498-3404

Inn Shop hours: Thursday ­ Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Consignments accepted on Wednesday 11 a.m. ­ 2 p.m.