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Waukegan is the largest city in Illinois' Lake County, located in the northeast corner of the state. The city's highlights include its close proximity to Chicago, economic and cultural diversity, historical points of interest, and a vibrant arts and culture scene. You'll enjoy numerous parks, family-friendly attractions, performance art venues and recreational opportunities that boost quality of life and make Waukegan an excellent place to call home.
The History of Waukegan
The land where Waukegan now sits was first visited by Europeans in 1673. Pere Marquette arrived in the area and soon established a French trading post between settlers and the Potawatomi tribe. Records dating back to 1829 show that the settlement was then known as Little Fort. By 1841, Little Fort had become the county seat, resulting in a population boom through 1846. In 1849, the town was officially incorporated as Waukegan, the Potawatomi word for "fort" or "trading post."
Early settlers were attracted to Waukegan because of its reputation as a port town. The Illinois Parallel Railroad also brought newcomers and jobs to the area, and in 1859, Waukegan was officially incorporated as a city. Today, the city retains a distinctive industrial character that stands out from most of Chicago's suburbs, hinting at its extensive history. As one of the oldest communities in Illinois, Waukegan boasts a number of historical points of interest that tell of a long and storied past.
Jobs in Waukegan
If you're going to be looking for a job in Waukegan, it's helpful to learn a little bit about the local economy. The city's unemployment rate is lower than that of a number of neighboring cities, including Chicago, and right in line with the state's average. This means that the job hunt shouldn't be too difficult of a process, with a reasonable number of jobs within your reach.
The city's major employers are focused largely in the health care, government and education sectors. Health care organizations Cardinal Health and Vista Health Systems provide hundreds of local jobs between them, while medical supplies manufacturer and distributor Medline Industries is another major presence. The largest employers in Waukegan include Lake County and Waukegan Community Unit School District 60, which provide a number of jobs ranging from teachers and support staff to administrative and office roles.
Waukegan Community Unit School District 60 serves the public schools in Waukegan, including early childhood, elementary, middle and high schools. There are a handful of private schools in Waukegan, one of the largest being Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep.
Resources for Moving to Waukegan
As you organize your move to Waukegan, the following information may be helpful:
- Utilities: Commonwealth Edison is the major electricity provider in the Waukegan area. The city facilitates water and sewer services.
- Garbage and Recycling: Advanced Disposal provides weekly collection of your trash, recyclables and yard waste.
- Transportation: Both the Metra rail system and Pace Bus have routes through Waukegan, providing transportation around the city as well as to neighboring cities.
Waukegan consists of 19 constituent neighborhoods that offer a variety of homes and amenities. The most expensive neighborhoods include the areas of Delaney Road and Oak Grove Avenue, Sheridan Road and Grand Avenue, and Spaulding Corners. Overall, Waukegan is an extremely affordable place to live, with a median home price that's well below the national average.