Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Entries : Beach Park, IL
Beach Park, IL

Beach Park, IL

Lake County, 39 miles N of the Loop. This semirural community encompassing 7.5 square miles lies between the larger Lake County towns of Zion and Waukegan. Fearing forcible annexation to either Zion or Waukegan and the impact of the growth and development in those towns, Beach Park residents voted for incorporation in 1988. Although Waukegan attempted to block it, the referendum passed by a large margin.

Beach Park was completely rural until the 1930s, when people from Chicago and Milwaukee constructed campgrounds and mobile-home parks in the area. Though containing neither a “beach” nor a “park,” the community was ideal for vacations as well as permanent residency, because of its proximity to the Illinois Beach State Park, located directly east. As intended by area residents and village officials, Beach Park began as a community unencumbered by tract housing, factories, or commercial development. By the time of its incorporation as a village, the community was still characterized by varied housing types, including a large number of single-family and mobile homes, and was free of industrial or commercial development.

Though the rate of population growth in Beach Park fell far short of its two neighbors, the number of residents rose steadily from 8,468 in 1980 to 9,513 in 1990 and 10,072 by 2000. These residents were predominately white and middle class.

At the time of incorporation, Beach Park residents, hoping to maintain the semirural character of the village, resolved that there would be no property taxes levied and therefore no funds available for roads, streets with curbs, streetlights, or police. The “home rule” style of government that residents and village officials adopted not only guaranteed independence from Zion and Waukegan, but that the character of the community would always differ from these neighboring Lake County towns.

Beach Park, IL (inc. 1988)
Year Total
(and by category)
  Foreign Born Native with foreign parentage Males per 100 females
1990 9,513   3.5% 101
  8,824 White (92.8%)      
  293 Black (3.1%)      
  48 American Indian (0.5%)      
  118 Asian/Pacific Islander (1.2%)      
  230 Other race (2.4%)      
  543 Hispanic Origin* (5.7%)      
2000 10,072   7.2% 99
  8,592 White alone (85.3%)      
  457 Black or African American alone (4.5%)      
  28 American Indian and Alaska Native alone (0.3%)      
  150 Asian alone (1.5%)      
  3 Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone (0.0%)      
  616 Some other race alone (6.1%)      
  226 Two or more races (2.2%)      
  1,368 Hispanic or Latino* (13.6%)      
“Beach Park's Founding Fathers Fight for Control.” Chicago Tribune, March 11, 1993.
“Primary May Put a New Town on the Map.” Chicago Tribune, March 14, 1988.