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It's theorized that the name Winnetka comes from the Potawatomi language and means "beautiful place". Residents have made sure to adhere to that by having their homes built by architects that include Howard Van Doren Shaw, David Adler, and Solomon Beman. The Schmidt-Burnham Log House was built in 1836, the year Winnetka was founded, and is preserved in its entirety. The town has regular appearances in films by director John Hughes and is the location of the house from the movie Home Alone.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Winnetka is almost three times the U.S. average. This is largely due to the cost of housing, which is much higher than nearby communities. Property taxes are also higher than average but typical for Cook County. Another issue that constrains affordability is the fact that Winnetka has built homes on every available plot. Small, older homes are frequently torn down and larger, more expensive homes are built in their place.
Winnetka is well-served by all forms of transportation. The Metra train station located on Elm Street operates on the Union Pacific/North Line which follows the path of the lakefront to end in downtown Chicago to the South and Kenosha, Wisconsin to the north. Pace bus operates multiple routes that transport riders to nearby train stations, shopping destinations in the area, popular entertainment venues, high schools, and corporate campuses. Both Tower and Willow roads travel east to west and intersect with the Edens Expressway (I-94) located on the western edge of town. Green Bay Road and Sheridan Road flow northwest to southeast with Green Bay Road ending in Evanston and Sheridan Road eventually turning into Lake Shore Drive.
Elementary and middle school students living in Winnetka attend school in Winnetka Public Schools System District 36. There are three elementary schools and two middle schools in the district. The schools follow a progressive education curriculum called the Winnetka Plan. It was designed by Carleton Washburne during his tenure as superintendent between 1919 and 1943. It focuses on the stimulation and development of the child as a whole by exposing them to more than the standard educational concepts of reading, writing, and arithmetic. High school aged students attend New Trier Township High School in District 203.
The Winnetka Historical Society has done an excellent job of collecting, displaying, and disseminating the rich history of Winnetka. It also operates the Schmidt-Burnham Log House and holds tours regularly. The Winnetka Golf Club is a public 18-hole course that features beautiful landscaping that feels more like a garden than it does a golf club. The town features a variety of activities throughout the year that include a Memorial Day Parade that counts several military units among its participants. The Winnetka Children's Fair is a town tradition that's been going on for 73 years and features carnival rides among other fun activities. The town of Winnetka may have a reputation as being an exclusive enclave, but it welcomes visitors and newcomers to enjoy everything that the town has to offer.
Disclaimer: School attendance zone boundaries are supplied by Maponics and are subject to change. Check with the applicable school district prior to making a decision based on these boundaries.