The Village of Beach Park dates back as far as 1908 when the railroad lines from Chicago to Milwaukee were first discussed. Prior to constructing their own lines in Milwaukee, passengers on the Chicago, Milwaukee Electric transferred to M-R-K cars at Kenosha or Racine with a stop named "Beach Depot" on the route map.
In 1928 the stop changed names to "Beach Station". There was a small park located along the shores of Lake Michigan at the Beach Station and the conductor would call out "next stop, ... Beach ... Park ... hence, ... Beach Park!
In the early 1920's the F. H. Bartlett Co. of Chicago had come to this area, purchased the land and subdivided the land according to the Chicago Development standards with 25 to 30 foot lots of various sizes. They advertised these parcels as "country living for city residents" in Chicago at the Chicago Exposition and on the weekends people would come in busloads to purchase a piece of property for themselves. F. H. Bartlett was a "silent screen" buff and many of the streets in his subdivision were named after silent screen movie stars -- those names still remain on several Village streets to this day. For instance, Fairbanks (Douglas Fairbanks), Gish (Lillian Gish), Chaney (Lon Chaney), Pickford (Mary Pickford) and of course Chaplin (Charlie Chaplin).
In 1949 the Village had already adopted the name of Beach Park and had a school district and a fire protection district in place. In the early 80's there was talk of annexing a large parcel into the City of Waukegan which would have cut Beach Park almost in half never allowing an incorporation of the Village. The residents learned that this was happening and with a vengeance, proved fighting for and "ideal of incorporation" to be successful.
In 1987 several people met to discuss the possibility of incorporating Beach Park. After two years of hard work and planning, this small group of people was able to see a referendum pass and Beach Park, Illinois become a reality. In 1989 we were on the map!!!
The founders struck out on a unique platform. There was to be NO real estate tax levy and the Village was to provide few services. The thrust of the incorporation was to preserve a simple lifestyle and not be swallowed up by the forward march of the cities to the north and south. As the initial fumbling and foundering of organizing and establishing the working of government was going nicely and the simple lifestyle was thriving, things were as everyone had hoped, simple and easy! That would soon change!
The village would soon discover that without a tax base, the ability to supply all of the land with sewer and water was an impossibility. Without infrastructure to support development of larger tracts, our new village would be in jeopardy once again. Parcels along the periphery were defecting to neighboring cities seeking sewer and water. Beach Park would soon be unable to function as a village if this trend were not broken. Living on our share of the Illinois income tax, motor fuel tax and sales taxes, we had to be innovative and forge forward in many new directions. We have done that. About 1/3 of the Village is now supplied with municipal water and sewer, the streets project, a project started in 1997 to have all roads paved, has been completed and the majority of drainage issues facing the village have been addressed, still collecting NO real estate taxes!!
Over the past 18 years of incorporation, the Village of Beach Park has seen three Mayors, (H. James "Doc" Solomon, Milton C. Jensen and the current Mayor, John Hucker). Many Trustees have come and gone and have brought new and innovative ideas to the community.
In the future you can look forward to even bigger and better happenings in the Village. It is not everyday that a community goes from nothing ... to a population of 13,000 plus!