Back in the 1840s, the area 23 miles south of the Chicago Loop was called Hickory Bend. That area would be surveyed in 1871 as the Village of Glenwood. It served as a depot for farmers as well as a home to the railroad workers and coalyards nearby. The village was incorporated in 1903 with nearly 500 residents.
In the 70 or so years since, nearly 3,000 homes would be constructed and the area’s population would peak at over 10,000 residence. The average residence in Glenwood is a single-family detached home. Under 500 (of the 3,500 total) housing units in the suburb are rented.
While freight trains run regularly through the village, Metra comes no closer than Homewood nearby. However, fewer than 1 in 13 residents in Glenwood even commute to work using transportation. Most drive the average one-hour in commuting time to downtown Chicago.
The village’s primary school is Glenwood School, founded in 1887 by Robert Todd Lincoln and Oscar Dudley. The school has a second campus in St. Charles, Illinois. It serves as a boarding school with a military regime for boys and girls from broken or troubled low-income homes today.
Glenwood sits in the Illinois 2nd Congressional District. Public schools in the Gleenwood area include Longwood Elementary School, Brookwood Middle School, Hicory Bend Elementary and Brookwood Junior High.
Places of worship in the community are diverse and many. They include: St. Andrews Church, St. John Catholic Church, The Spiritual Israel Temple of Glenwood, Calvary Baptist Church of Glenwood and Glenwood Bible Church.
The community is also the site of the Mount Glenwood Cemeter, which is known to be the first racially integrated cemetery in the Chicagoland area. In the early 20th century, African-Americans traveled from the city to bury their dead in the cemetery. Some notable Black Chicagoans have been buried there, including Fred Slater, Illinois’ first African American circuit court judge, and Marshall “Major” Taylor, the world’s fastest bicyclist in the 1890s.