In 1935, two young developers, Carlton Smith and Allen Dawson, built their first homes on farmland along Elmhurst Road as the start of a well-planned community to meet the dreams of depression-weary families. The first family moved in during January 1936 and by the end of the year there were six affordable homes in the pleasant rural area to be called Prospect Heights.
The development firm worked with the resilient, caring families to create and maintain a responsible community in which they could raise their children with pride. In 1938, they formed the Prospect Heights Improvement Association (PHIA). It served as a virtual government of the community for 38 years, albeit without legal authority because Prospect Heights was an unincorporated area in Cook County. By 1955, there were almost 600 homes in unincorporated Prospect Heights.
During the 1960s, the boom in development began to cause real problems. Local residents had no control over this growth and the PHIA decided that incorporation was the only solution. Over 50% of the residents voted in favor of incorporation. Thus, January 31, 1976, exactly 40 years after the first family moved in, the City of Prospect Heights was born.
Incorporation & the Future
With incorporation, Prospect Heights continues to grow and assume a new character. In addition to the single-family half-acre homes, the city now proudly includes a multifamily area, as well as increasing numbers of businesses and centers of economic development. As the city continues to evolve and grow, it does so with a commitment to character and to the residents and business who reside within its borders.
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