Skokie, Illinois


Skokie, Illinois
Skokie, Illinois
US-IL-Chicagoland-Skokie.png
County: Cook
Township: Niles
Incorporated: Village, 1888
Mayor: George Van Dusen
ZIP code(s): 60076, 60077, 60203
Area code(s): 847 & 224
Population (2000): 66,559
Change from 1990: up 6.6%
Density: 6,588.2/mi² (2,521.1/km²)
Area: 10.1 mi² (2.62 km²)
Per capita income: $27,136
(median: $57,375)
Home value: $272,000 (2005)
(median: $234,700)
Website: skokie.org
Demographics (2000)[1]
White Black Hispanic Asian
65.6% 4.51% 5.75% 21.28%
Islander Native Other
1.86% 0.17% 0.87%

Skokie (pronounced /ˈskoʊki/; formerly Niles Center) Coordinates: 42°02′00″N 87°44′34″W / 42.0333333°N 87.74278°W / 42.0333333; -87.74278 is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States. Its name comes from a Native American word for "fire". A Chicago suburb, for many years Skokie promoted itself as "The World's Largest Village".[2] Its population, per the 2000 census, was 63,348. Sharing a border with the City of Chicago, Skokie's streets, like that of many suburbs, are largely a continuation of the Chicago street grid, and it is serviced by the Chicago Transit Authority, further cementing its connection to the city.

Skokie was originally a German-Luxembourger farming community, but was later settled by a sizeable Jewish population, especially after World War II. At its peak in the mid 60s, 40% of the population was Jewish, the largest percent of any Chicago suburb. In recent years, however, Skokie's population has become significantly more diverse and several Jewish synagogues and schools have closed. Nevertheless, it was considered the logical location for the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, which opened in northwest Skokie in 2009.

Skokie has received national attention twice for court cases decided by the United States Supreme Court. In the mid-1970s, Skokie was at the center of a case concerning the First Amendment right to assemble and the National Socialist Party of America, a neo-Nazi group. Skokie ultimately lost that case. In 2001, although Skokie was not a direct party to the case, a decision by the Village regarding land use led the Court to reduce the power of the United States Environmental Protection Agency[citation needed].

Contents

Geography

The Village of Skokie has a total area of 10.0 square miles (26.0 km²), all land. The village is bordered by Evanston, Chicago, Lincolnwood, Niles, Morton Grove, Glenview, and Wilmette.

The village's street circulation is a standard street-grid pattern, with major east-west thoroughfare every half-mile: Old Orchard Road, Golf Road, Church Street, Dempster Street, Main Street, Oakton Street, Howard Street, and Touhy Avenue. The major north-south thoroughfares are Skokie Boulevard, Crawford Avenue, and McCormick Boulevard; the major diagonal streets are Lincoln Avenue, Niles Center Road, East Prairie Road and Gross Point Road.

Skokie's north-south streets continue the street names and (house number) grid values of Chicago's north-south streets — with the notable exceptions of Cicero Avenue, which is renamed Skokie Boulevard in Skokie, and Chicago's Pulaski Road retains its original Chicago City name, Crawford Avenue. The east-west streets continue Evanston's street names, but with Chicago grid values, such that, Evanston's Dempster Street is 8800 north, in Skokie addresses.

History

Beginnings

A 1925 Chicago-style bungalow in Skokie.

In 1888, the community was incorporated as Niles Centre. About 1910, the spelling was Americanized to "Niles Center". However, the name caused postal confusion with the neighboring village of Niles. A village-renaming campaign began in the 1930s. In a referendum on November 15, 1940, residents chose the Indian name "Skokie" over the name "Devonshire."

During the real estate boom of the 1920s, large parcels were subdivided; many two- and three-flat apartment buildings were built, with the Chicago-style bungalow a dominant architectural specimen. Large scale development ended as a result of the Great Crash of 1929, and consequent Great Depression. It was not until the 1940s and the 1950s, when parents of the baby boom generation moved their families out of Chicago, that Skokie's housing development began again. Consequently, the village developed commercially, an example being the Old Orchard Shopping Center, currently named Westfield Old Orchard.

During the night of November 27–28, 1934, after a gunfight in nearby Barrington that left two FBI agents dead, two accomplices of notorious 25-year-old bank-robber Baby Face Nelson (Lester Gillis) dumped his bullet-riddled body in a ditch along Niles Center Road adjoining the St. Peter Catholic Cemetery,[3] a block north of Oakton Avenue in the town.[4]

Toponymy

Virgil Vogel's Indian Place Names in Illinois (Illinois State Historical Society, 1963), records the name Skokie deriving “directly from skoutay or scoti and variant Algonquian words for fire. The reference is to the fact that marshy grasslands, such as occurred in the Skokie region, were burned by the Indians to flush out the game”.

Allowing for inevitable usage corruptions, this seems correct since maps long named the Skokie marsh as Chewab Skokie, a probable derivation from Kitchi-wap choku, a Potawatomi term meaning great marsh. The explanation is thus credible, because it is consistent with the Skokie area's former physiography. Similarly, Skokie might derive from the same Algonquian roots as derives the word Chicagozh'gak and sh'kag, two, different voicings of the base words for skunk and wild leek in languages of this group. Moreover, in Native Placenames of the United States (U. of Oklahoma Pr, 2004), William Bright lists Vogel's Potawatomi derivation first, but adds reference to the Ojibwa term miishkooki (marsh) recorded in the Eastern Ojibwa-Chippewa-Ottawa Dictionary (Mouton, 1985), by Richard A. Rhodes.

Supreme Court rulings

Twice in its history, Skokie has been the focus point of cases before the United States Supreme Court, once involving a First Amendment issue, the other touching upon the Commerce Clause.

NSPA controversy

In 1977 and 1978, Illinois Nazis of the National Socialist Party of America (derived from the American Nazi Party) attempted to demonstrate their political existence with a march in Skokie, far from their headquarters on Chicago's south side. Originally, the NSPA had planned a political rally in Marquette Park in Chicago; however the Chicago authorities thwarted these plans, first, by requiring the NSPA post an onerous public-safety-insurance bond, then, by banning all political demonstrations in Marquette Park.

Seeking another free-speech political venue, the NSPA chose to march on Skokie. Given the many Holocaust survivors living in Skokie, the Village's Government thought the Nazi march would be politically provocative and socially disruptive, and refused the NSPA its permission. In the event, the American Civil Liberties Union interceded in behalf of the NSPA, in the case of the National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie, wherein an Illinois appeals court raised the injunction issued by a Cook County Circuit Court judge, ruling that the presence of the swastika, the Nazi emblem, would constitute deliberate provocation of the people of Skokie. However, the Court also ruled that Skokie's attorneys had failed to prove that either the Nazi uniform or their printed materials, which it was alleged that the Nazis intended to distribute, would incite violence.[5]

Moreover, because Chicago subsequently lifted its Marquette Park political demonstration ban, the NSPA ultimately held its rally in Chicago. In 1981, the attempted Illinois Nazi march on Skokie was dramatised in the television movie, Skokie.

Migratory bird rule

In 2001, Skokie's decision to use an isolated wetland as a solid waste disposal site resulted in a lawsuit. Ultimately, the case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court, and resulted in an overturn of the federal migratory bird rule. See Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook Cty. v. Army Corps of Engineers for more information.

Parks, recreation and attractions

North Shore Center for Performing Arts in Skokie
The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie - view from the East

The Skokie Park District maintains public spaces and historical sites within its more than 240 acres (0.97 km2) of parkland and in its ten facilities. The district is a recent winner of the national "Gold Medal for Excellence" in parks and recreation management. Every May since 1991, the park district hosts the Skokie Festival of Cultures to celebrate the village's diverse ethnic composition.

Skokie also has a sculpture garden that is situated between Dempster Street and Touhy Avenue on the East side of McCormick Blvd. It was started in 1988 and now has over 70 sculptures. Three areas that are toured in May through October of each year, on the last Sunday of the month with a presentation by a docent.[6]

Just north of the sculpture garden is a statue to Mahatma Gandhi with five of his famous quotations engraved around the base. This was dedicated on October 2, 2004.[7]

In addition to municipally-managed public spaces, the Village is also home to the state of the art North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, encompassing Centre East, Northlight Theatre and the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra. The facility celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2006.

The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center opened in Skokie on April 19, 2009.[8]

Library

On October 7, 2008, Skokie Public Library received the 2008 National Medal for Museum and Library Service from First Lady Laura Bush in a ceremony at the White House. The National Medal is awarded annually by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, the primary source of federal support for the nation's 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums, to 5 libraries and 5 museums. The library's cultural programming and multilingual services were cited in the award presentation. Skokie Public Library is the first public library in Illinois to be awarded the medal.[9]

Economy

The Village's AAA bond rating attests to strong economic health via prudent fiscal management. In 2003, Skokie became the first municipality in the United States to achieve nationally-accredited Police, Fire, and Public Works departments, and a Class-1 fire department, per the Insurance Services Office (ISO) ratings. Likewise, in 2003 Money magazine named Skokie one of the 80 fastest-growing suburbs in the U.S.

Besides strong manufacturing and retail commerce bases, Skokie's economy will add health sciences jobs; in 2003, Forest City Enterprises announced their re-development of the vacant Pfizer research laboratories, in downtown Skokie, as the Illinois Science + Technology Park, a 23-acre (93,000 m2) campus of research installations (2-million ft.² [180,000 m²] of chemistry, genomics, toxicology laboratories, clean rooms, NMR suites, conference rooms, etc.). In 2006, the Evanston Northwestern Healthcare company announced installing their consolidated data center operations at the park, adding 500 jobs to the economy. Also, map maker Rand McNally, private label cooperative Topco and online grocer Peapod are headquartered in Skokie.

Top employers

According to the Village's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[10] the top employers in the village are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Pfizer 2,127
2 Skokie Hospital 1,500
3 Woodward-MPC Airframe Systems 1,200
4 Evanston Northwestern Health Care 700
5 Anixter 665
6 Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County 513
7 Continental Electrical Construction 500
8 Village of Skokie 490
9 Forsythe Technology 350
10 Topco 350

Demographic composition

Per the census[11] of 2000, the Village of Skokie was composed of 63,348 people who formed in 23,223 households containing 17,045 families. The village's population density was 6,308.70 people per square mile (2,436.1/km²) living in 23,702 housing units (average population density: 2,360.4/square mile [911.5/km²]). The village's racial composition was: 65.6% White, 4.51% African American, 0.17% Native American, 21.28% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.86% from other races, 3.23% from two or more races. The Hispanic and Latino population, of any race, made up 5.71% of the village.

The 23,223 households comprise: 32.2% with minority-age children (younger than 18 years), 60.5% were cohabiting married couples, 9.9% of households were headed by a woman (with no husband present), and 26.6% were non-family cohabitants, 23.6% were single-person households, and 13.6% included an elder person (65 years of age or older). The average Skokie household size was 2.68 persons, and the average household family size was 3.20 persons.

Chronologically, Skokie's age population comprises: 23.0% of minority age (younger than 18 years); 7.0% aged from 18 to 24 years; 25.0% aged from 25 to 44, 25.5% aged from 45 to 64, and 19.6% aged 65 years and older. The median Villager's age is 42 years; for every 100 women younger than 18 years, there were 90.1 men; for every 100 women age 18 and older, there were 85.2 men.

Financially, Skokie's median household income was $57,375; the median family income was $68,253; a man's median income was $44,869; a woman's median income was $33,051. The per capitum income is approximately $27,136; 4.2% of families and 5.4% of the population lived on an income inferior to the Government's Federal poverty line income, including 5.9% of children under 18 and 5.3% of elders aged 65 years and older.

Public transport

The Chicago Transit Authority's Yellow Line rapid transit train (formerly the Skokie Swift) has its terminus at the Dempster Street station in Skokie. Currently, construction has begun to build a new Yellow Line train station at Oakton Street, to serve downtown Skokie and environs. It is slated to open in 2011. Additionally, the CTA is commissioning an Alternative Analysis Study on the extension of the Yellow Line terminal to Old Orchard Road for Federal Transit Administration New Start grants.[12] The New Starts program allows federal funds to be used for capital projects provided all solutions for a given problem (i.e., enabling easy transportation for reverse commuters to Old Orchard Mall) is considered. The solution recommended by the CTA is the elevation of the Yellow Line north of Searle Parkway to a rebuilt Dempster Street station, then following abandoned Union Pacific Railroad tracks and the east side of the Edens Expressway to a new terminal south of Old Orchard Road. Currently this solution needs to undergo public commenting as well as FTA and CTA board approval to continue.[13]

Although the Yellow Line is the principal, and fastest transport to and from the city, the Village also is served with CTA and PACE bus routes, as well as a Greyhound Bus Terminal at the Dempster Street train station. For automobile transport, Interstate 94, the Edens Expressway, traverses western Skokie, with interchanges at Touhy Avenue, Dempster Street, and Old Orchard Road.

Sister city

In 1967, Skokie and Porbandar, a city on India's Kathiawar Peninsula, became sister cities. Porbandar is Mahatma Gandhi's birthplace; in his honor, the Village erected a statue of India's "Father of the Nation", on the McCormick bicycling trail.

Cultural connections

Film history

Movies filmed on location in Skokie

References to Skokie in film

  • Skokie is referred to in the film The Usual Suspects: the Verbal Kint character claims having been in “a barbershop quartet in Skokie, Illinois”.
  • Skokie is referred to once in the sitcom Two of a Kind. A character named Paul claims to have a brother that lives in Skokie.
  • Old Orchard mall has been mentioned on The Colbert Report, and in the film Mean Girls.
  • Skokie has been mentioned in the hit Disney channel original series The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.
  • In the Steven Spielberg cartoon Freakazoid, one of the villains, Cobra Queen was mentioned to be from Skokie.
  • Echoes of the NSPA uproar can be heard in The Blues Brothers, when Elwood and Jake Blues declare, "I hate Illinois Nazis" and disrupt a rally that is blocking traffic.
  • In the Showtime television drama series The L Word, the character named Jenny Schecter comes from Skokie, and is supposed to spend six months there, in her traditional Jewish family, between season 2 and season 3. She leaves Skokie to go back to Los Angeles in the first episode of the third season.
  • In the movie Risky Business a friend of Joel (the protagonist played by Tom Cruise) says his cousin Rubin from Skokie wants to get in the party.
  • In the movie Source Code, the PA at the Glenbrook train station can be heard announcing the departure of a train to Skokie.

In the musical Naked Boys Singing, the 'perky little porn star' comes from Skokie.

Novel mention

In K.A. Applegate's Everworld fantasy series, one of the main characters (Jalil) works in the Boston Market grocery store in Skokie.

Novelist Stephen Witt was born in Chicago and raised in Skokie. The main character in his novel, American Moses, is from Skokie.


Schools

Public schools

High schools

  • Niles North of District 219
  • Niles West of District 219
  • Niles East of District 219 (closed and building razed)
  • Evanston Township High School of District 202 (only serves students who live on the border of Skokie and Evanston east of Crawford, south of Golf and north of Greenleaf St. in zipcode 60203 and a small part of zipcode 60076)
  • Niles Township District 219 was awarded the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts Top program for fine arts education in the United States on April 27, 2007.

Junior high schools

  • Oliver McCracken Middle School, (formerly Oakview Junior High) of District 73.5
  • East Prairie Middle School, (Pre-K through 8th) of District 73
  • Fairview South School of District 72
  • Lincoln Junior High of District 69
  • Old Orchard Junior High of District 68
  • Chute Middle School of Skokie/Evanston District 65

Elementary schools

See the same map as middle schools.

  • Jane Stenson School, (K through 5th) of District 68
  • Devonshire School, (K through 5th) of District 68
  • Highland School, (K through 5th) of District 68
  • Sharp Corner School, (K through 8th), formerly Sharp Corners School of District 68, located at 9301 Gross Point Road. Closed and renamed Solomon Schecter Day School
  • Madison School, (pre-K through 2nd) of District 69
  • Edison School, (3rd through 5th) of District 69
  • Fairview North formerly of District 72
  • Fairview South School, (K through 8th) of District 72
  • Cleveland School, (K through 6th) of District 73.5 (school closed and building razed)
  • Elizabeth Meyer School, (pre-K and K) of District 73.5
  • John Middleton School, (1st through 5th) of District 73.5
  • East Prairie School, (Pre-K through 8th) of District 73
  • Walker Elementary School, (K through 5th, located in Skokie) of Skokie/Evanston District 65
  • Dr. Bessie Rhodes Magnet School, (K through 8th, located in Skokie) of Skokie/Evanston District 65, formerly Timber Ridge Magnet School (may be attended by Skokie students in District 65)
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Laboratory School, (K through 8th magnet school, located in Evanston) of Skokie/Evanston District 65 (may be attended by Skokie students in District 65)

Religiously affiliated schools

Jewish day schools

  • Arie Crown Hebrew Day School, (pre-K through 8th) Orthodox Judaism
  • Cheder Lubavitch Hebrew Day School, (pre-K through 8th) Orthodox Judaism, separate boys and girls programs
  • Hillel Torah North Suburban Day School, (pre-K through 8th) Orthodox Judaism
  • Skokie Solomon Schechter Day School, (K through 5th) Conservative Judaism
  • Fasman Yeshiva High School, (9th through 12th) Orthodox Judaism, boys only

Catholic elementary schools

  • Saint Peter School, Downtown Skokie
  • Saint Joan of Arc School, northeast Skokie
  • Saint Lambert School, east central Skokie (closed down in 2003 due to low enrollment)

Protestant schools

  • Saint Paul Lutheran School (Preschool,K-8th)

Post-secondary education

  • Oakton Community College (Ray Hartstein Campus) This is the site of the old Niles East High School. The original structure, built in the 1930s, was demolished in the 1990s.
  • Hebrew Theological College, a private university. It was chartered in 1922 as one of the first Modern Orthodox Jewish institutions of higher education in America.
  • Ort Technical Institute, [2] For over 125 years ORT has been training people in over 60 countries for jobs in technical fields.
  • Knowledge Systems Institute (KSI), a private graduate school of computer and information sciences. KSI is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
  • National-Louis University has a campus near the Skokie Courthouse and is a high-ranking school for education.

Notable corporations

Past

References

Notes

Bibliography

  • When the Nazis Came to Skokie: Freedom for Speech We Hate, Philippa Strum, University Press of Kansas (31 Mar 1999), ISBN 0-7006-0941-5
  • Skokie, 1888-1988: A centennial history, Richard Whittingham, Village of Skokie (1988), ASIN B00071EORW [3]
  • Steven J. Heyman (ed.), Controversies in Constitutional Law: Hate Speech and the Constitution (New York and London: Garland Publishing Inc., 1996, Vol. II)
  • The industrialization of the Skokie area, James Byron Kenyon, University Of Chicago Press (1954), ASIN B0007DMRX8

External links


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