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Village History

Chronology

  • 1833 - The Adam Brown family arrived here from Elkhart, Ind., and became the first permanent white settlers in the region, setting at two historic roads, Sauk Trail and Vincennes Road (Chicago Road today). Adam Brown lived there 62 years until his death in 1895, at age 89.

  • 1907 - On March 20th the Citizens of Hannah and Keeney subdivision voted to incorporate their community as the Village of South Chicago Heights. On July 13, Rennie Smith was born. Rennie would grow up to be the village's 10th Village President.

  • On May 7th at a public meeting, citizens adopted the trustee form of government.

  • 1908 - On April 21st the first village election was held, with 82 votes cast. The first Village Hall at 2835 Jackson Avenue was built. The building still stands today.

  • 1909 - On June 3rd the volunteer Fire Department was organized, with 14 members.

  • 1910 - According to the U.S. census, the Village's population was 563. The U.S. Grant School at 120 West 26th Street (1910-1959) was built. The school was named to honor the 18th president of the United States, Ulysses Simpson Grant, who served from 1869 to 1877.

  • 1911 - Village water works was installed, consisting of a pump and a tank.

  • 1915 - Home delivered mail service was first instituted in the village.

  • 1920 - The Village's Athletic Association for ages 15-20 was established.

  • Mrs. Hattie Keeney leased her water well to the village. It was purchased by the village in 1923.

  • 1921 - The village purchased its first motorized fire truck.

  • 1926 - Bids for the village hall were opened. The contract was awarded to Yung && Frintz. The old village hall was sold to Stephen Vavrus. A new village hall at 2729 Jackson Avenue (1926-1996) was built. Additions to village hall were made in 1954 and again in 1969.

  • 1947 - The volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary (1947-1969) was chartered, with 10 members. Mrs. Hattie Keeney donated the land south of the village hall for a park.

  • 1948 - The first Homecoming celebration, sponsored by the volunteer Fire Department, was held at Fireman's Park on Jackson Avenue.

  • 1952 - The South Chicago Heights Kiwanis Club was organized.

  • 1957 - The Saukview School at 3341 Miller Avenue opened. The Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 252, officially dedicated their clubrooms at 2646 Chicago Road.

  • 1959 - The American Savings Bank (Now the Fifth Third Bank) at 3307 Chicago Road was opened.

  • 1959 - The fire department presented a warranty deed to the village for Lot 5 in Block 9, directly south of the present village park. This is the parcel of land were water ball fights were held during the Annual Fireman's Homecoming.

  • The Village Board approved the building of a shopping center south of American Savings to house the Jewel Tea Company store. At the present time, the bank is known as the Fifth Third Bank. The Jewel store has moved across the street to a larger building. The old Jewel store now houses the village hall.

  • Gordon Johnson, builder, was granted a building permit for a building to be known as Sauk Trail Manor Subdivision Shopping Center. The name of the shopping center has since been changed to La Petite Plaza.

  • On February 2, the new (and present) U.S. Grant School building at 2712 Miller Avenue opened.

  • 1964 - On November 2, the American Shopping Plaza (former site of the Jo-Jo Kiddie Land Amusement Park) opened.

  • 1968 - The historic Burgel house, located at the northwest corner of Sauk Trail and Chicago Road (Brown's Corners) was razed.

  • 1975 - Trustee Charles Praxmarer was named the first Village Administrator.

  • 1976 - Tennis courts were constructed at the park adjacent to the village hall. The village celebrated the Bicentennial Year with its first Annual Picnic. Among the scheduled activities was a contest sponsored by the Village of South Chicago Heights and the South Chicago Heights Kiwanis Club to design the Village Flag. Phyllis Fowlie was the winner with her design and was presented with a savings bond by Kiwanis Club President David L. Owen. Her design is still used today as the village logo and flag.

  • 1977 - The Village's 70th Birthday Celebration took place in May, and the flag poles, now in front of the fire and police station were donated. Scheduled activities included a Village Picnic, dedication of the Village Flag and dedication of the tennis courts. In September, the board approved a bid for the purchase of the first ambulance for the Fire Department.

  • 1978 - An organizational meeting of the Village's Senior Citizens' group, now known as the Nifty Over Fifty Club, met on October 15 with 35 people in attendance. Membership now numbers 67.

  • On October 16, the Village Board met for the first time in the newly remodeled board room upstairs at the village hall on Jackson Avenue.

  • Lots 1, 3, and 6 in Alexander Park Subdivision were purchased by the village for a third park.

  • 1979 - The Village Board authorized the purchase of the property at the northwest corner of Sauk Trail and Enterprise, now the site of the Senior Citizens Center.

  • 1980 - Fire Chief Petrarca presented to the village the title to a 1966 Ward LaFrance 70 ft. snorkel purchased by the Volunteer Fire Department from Louisville, Kentucky Fire Department. The truck was refurbished by the Department before being put into service.

  • A plat for the development of the Sauk Trail Industrial Park, the second industrial park in the village, was approved by the board.

  • 1981 - The village was awarded the Governor's Cost-Cutter Award for use of volunteers in the fire services program for the Fire Department's combined efforts in refurbishing the 1966 snorkel purchased from the Louisville, Kentucky Fire Department.

  • Bids were awarded by the Village Board for construction of the Senior Citizens Center, and construction of the Center began in May.

  • 1982 - In January, the Board authorized the use of Motor Fuel Tax Funds for the construction of the parking lot and lighting at the new Senior Citizens Center.

  • The new Senior Citizens Center at 3140 Enterprise Park Avenue opened.

  • On September 8, the Nifty Over Fifty Club held their first meeting at the new Senior Citizens Center.

  • The Village's 75th Birthday Celebration took place in September. The two-day event was highlighted by a Kiddie Parade, and Dinner/Dance on Saturday, and a Grand Parade, Village Picnic and fireworks on Sunday.

  • 1983 - The Fire Department becomes a member of the Emergency Medical Service System of Cook County.

  • 1984 - The Fire Department's 75th Diamond Jubilee Anniversary Celebration was held.

  • 1985 - On January 2, the Village's Firefighters Association was established.

  • 1988 - Sauk Trail is widened to four lanes between Chicago Road and Ashland Avenue.

  • 1989 - Bonnie Sue Hudson was appointed by Mayor David L. Owen and became the first female Village Trustee.

  • The South Chicago Heights Fire Department presents smoke detectors to residents in single-family homes.

  • The Mosquito abatement program began.

  • Village flags were presented to Grant and Saukview schools.

  • On September 18, the Beautification Committee was established.

  • On December 9, the First Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony was held.

  • 1990 - Blue container yard waste program was started. Mayor David Owen secured a $30,000.00 grant from the State of Illinois to start the program.

  • 1991 - The Recycling center opened.

  • 1992 - The Access to Care program began.


  • The Mayor's first annual Senior Citizen's Picni was held. Also, the Mayor's first annual Back-To-School Picnic was held.
  • 1994 - The Veterans Memorial was dedicated at Senior Senior Citizens' Center, corner of Sauk Trail and Enterprise Avenue.

  • 1995 - The Enhanced 9-1-1 System took effect.

  • 1996 - The New Village Hall opened at 3317 Chicago Road.

  • 1997 - The" "Vial of Life" program was started by the 9-1-1 Board. A film container was given to each household in the village, with instructions to record pertinent medical history information for each household member in the container. The containers were to be kept in the refrigerator to provide emergency personnel with uniform access to medical information in the event of an emergency.

  • The K-9 Unit was formed. Police Dog, Arras, joined the South Chicago Heights Police Department.

  • On July 31, Mayor Owen was appointed as Vice-President of the Illinois Municipal League Board of Directors and has been elected to that office every year since.

  • A 90th Anniversary Celebration Dinner/Dance was held September 19th, and a Village Picnic took place on Saturday, September 20th.

  • 1999 - In March, the Courtesy Car program began.

  • A picnic pavilion was constructed at Veterans Memorial Park (Senior Center Grounds), Sauk Trail and Enterprise Park Avenue.

  • 2000 - On February 28th, a ground-breaking ceremony for construction of the new Walgreen's, 3120 Chicago Road, signaled the first phase of commercial re-development in the TIF district.

  • On April 18th, the Historical Committee conducted its first meeting.
  • 2001 - In November, the long delayed project to deliver Lake Michigan water to our village was completed.

  • 2002 - A $89, 250 new state-of-the-art Osage Ford F-450 ambulance was purchased.

  • On May 6th, during a village board meeting, the village observed the 95th Anniversary of its incorporation with a ceremonial unveiling of an historic photo archives.
  • 2004 - A new state-of-the-art Spartan Crimson fire truck was purchased.

  • On July 19th, a historic marker honoring Adam Brown was dedicated at the northwest corner of Sauk Trail and Chicago Road.

  • The Fifth Third Bank, 3307 Chicago Road, constructed a new facility.

  • On December 1st, the Centennial Committee conducted its first meeting.
  • 2005 - On January 18, the Village Board honored Mayor David Owen for his 30 years of service as an elected official.

  • On February 7, the village board sponsored students going to Australia in the People to People Student Ambassador program.

  • On February 21, the Historical Committee began research for the Centennial Celebration.

  • On May 16, the village board authorized the purchase of a new truck for Public Works.

  • On July 5, Mayor Owen presented a proclamation and medal honoring Police Officer Tim Wehrle and his K-9 dog, Arras. Arras was honored at his retirement.

  • On September 19, Mayor Owen and the Village Board donated funds to the victims of hurricane Katrina.

  • On November 21, the Centennial cookbook was planned.

  • 2006 - On January 16, the Founders Day Banquet Dinner was planned for April 21, 2007.

  • On February 6, the village entered an intergovernmental agreement with Cook County to provide LIVESCAN (computerized fingerprinting process) for the police department.

  • On April 3, John Koester became the new owner of Hi-Way Bakery.

  • On April 17, the village entered an intergovernmental agreement with the State of Illinois to provide improvements to Illinois Route One (Chicago Road). The agreement was to widen the road with a center turn lane.

  • On June 5, William Joyce and Larry Nardoni presented an emergency preparedness plan to the village of South Chicago Heights that follows guidelines from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

  • On June 19, Mayor Owen announced that Bloom Trail High School will construct a water main and purchase lake water from South Chicago Heights.

  • On October 16, the Village Board approved the lease-purchase of a handicap assessable van from PACE to use as the new Courtesy Car.

  • On November 20th, Officer Tim Wehrle was given an accommodation for an outstanding job. Mayor Owen stated that, "Officer Wehrle is a credit to our police force and community."

  • 2007 - On January 2, a new emergency generator valued at $70,000.00 was installed at the Police and Fire Department buildings.

  • On March 5, LIVESCAN was demonstrated at the Police Department.

  • On March 19, the Village Board approved credit card payments from customers for the Illinois Funds E-Pay website with the State Treasurer's Office.

  • On April 16, the Village Board approved a proposal from the Houseal Lavigne Associates to develop a Comprehensive Plan for the village. This Master Plan was essential for the coordination with METRA's plan to put a train station in South Chicago Heights for the South-East Commuter Rail line.

  • On April 21, the Founders Day Dinner/Dance was held at the Villa De Bruno with guest speakers: U.S. Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., State Senator Debbie Halverson, State Representative George Scully and Mayor David L. Owen.

  • On May 7, Mayor Owen and the Village Board commemorated the 100 year Birthday of South Chicago Heights with the dedication of a new village clock and a special board meeting featuring the Village Board in period dress.

  • On June 9, 16 and 23, Movies in the Park continued the Centennial Celebration.

  • On July 12 through the 15, a gala homecoming weekend at Fireman's Park featured a carnival, food, vendors, a street dance, a parade, and fireworks.

  • On August 5, a Kiddie Parade concluded the Centennial Celebration events at the Mayor's Annual Back-To-School Picnic.