Algonquin Then & Now
Discover the history and highlights of the village of Algonquin, dubbed the “Gem of the Fox River Valley.”
Algonquin, the “Gem of the Fox River Valley,” was settled in 1834 by Samuel Gillilan. Dr. Cornish, Dr. Plumleigh, Eli Henderson, Alex Dawson and William Jackson were also among the riverfront town’s first white inhabitants. Pottowatomi Indians were the first to call the area home.
The village was incorporated in 1890 and given the name Algonquin at the suggestion of Samuel Edwards, who once owned a ship of the same name. Algonquin is also the name of an indigenous North American Tribe tribe.
Algonquin’s economy began to grow in 1855, when the railroad was built and provided a means of transporting farmers’ goods to the Chicago market. The village was also a summer vacation destination for many Chicago residents.
Today, Algonquin has grown to become home to more than 30,000 residents, and the village still keeps to its roots with a yearly celebration, Founders’ Days.
Where Yesterday and Today Meet
Downtown Algonquin is full of historic charm, specialty shops and unique local businesses. Today, it is still full of successful, thriving local businesses. Support your local business owners by taking advantage of the personalized services of the following merchants:
Get fueled up for your shopping excursion at Sugar Hills Bakery (644 S. Main St., 847-658-8765, www.sugarhillsbakery.com). Pick up a delicious European-style pastry and a coffee at this quaint bakery. You can also pick up a cake for that special occasion or just because. Sugar Hills can also creates custom 3-D cakes that will amaze you.
For a true nautical adventure on the Fox River with the best fresh seafood in the area, Port Edward Restaurant (20 Algonquin Road) is a must-visit, especially in the summer when you can enjoy dockside dining.
In 1956, Michael Doerner opened Doerner Jewelers (119 S. Main St., 847-458-9779, www.doernerjewelers.com) in Chicago. Today, his daughter, Gabriele Doerner-Reego, a licensed gemologist, runs the family business in downtown Algonquin. At Doerner Jewelers, expect impeccable customer service, on-site repairs and an amazing selection of jewelry and watches. Whether you’re in the market for a custom piece or just curious, stop in to see the impressive collection.
Registered Nurse Diane Perrone is owner of Materna Wellborn (130 S. Main St., 847-458-9823, www.maternawellborn.com), which offers “Resources for Mothers of Breast Fed Babies.” Perrone and her staff of nurses and experts offer nursing services, including newborn follow-up care, postpartum follow-up care, growing preemies, lab work drawn at home, home photo therapy, lactation consultation and Synagis vaccines for at-risk infants. Materna Wellborn is an authorized dealer of medela pumps, products and replacement parts.
Bella Vita Salon and Day Spa for Men and Women (321 S. Main St., 847-854-8190, www.bellavitasalonanddayspa.com) is housed in an historic Victorian home in downtown Algonquin. The salon and spa offers hair styling, pedicures and manicures, massages, facials and other skin care services and spa packages. The Platinum Package is more than seven hours of relaxation, including a specialty facial, hour and a half massage, body treatment, manicure, pedicure, spa hair treatment and a spa lunch. The package includes a complimentary delivery of the certificate and a rose, and limo service is available.
My Secret Garden (402 S. Main St., 847-354-2773, www.mysecretgarden.org) hosts dress-up parties for princesses and little ladies of all ages. Located in a renovated 1882 Victorian home in downtown Algonquin, My Secret Garden takes care of all your party needs, from invitations to setup, food, activities and more. June 5 through August 15, come in for open dress-up Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reservations are suggested, call 815-354-2773 or e-mail email@example.com.
If you’re looking for economical flooring or custom drapes, Colonial Carpet and Wood (103 S. Main St., 847-658-4878) will give you the attention only a small business can. These experts have been in the business for more than 35 years and offer complete installation services.
Victorian Rose Garden Bed & Breakfast (314 Washington St., 847-854-9667, www.sleepandeat.com) is a getaway close to home. Stay for a romantic weekend, use facilities for a business meeting or put up out-of-town friends and family at this 1886 Victorian home in downtown Algonquin.
The Law Office of Mathew R. P. Perrone, Jr., (210 S. Main St., 847-658-5140, www.perronepatents.com) specializes in intellectual property matters, with a concentration on patents, trademarks and copyright law. Contact the firm for high-quality, attentive professional services. Set up a free, 20-minute, in-office consultation and take advantage of evening and weekend hours by appointment. Protect your ideas today.
It is a little-known fact that Algonquin has an arboretum, a place where a variety of trees or shrubs are planted for study and exhibition. The arboretum developed with plans to landscape the new Village Hall grounds. Since 1996, Algonquin’s arboretum has flourished. Groupings of 16 species were planted, along with educational signage that provides information about each plant. The site includes native and non-standard species so the trees’ success, or lack thereof, in Algonquin’s soils and climate can be studied. See the arboretum for yourself at 2200 Harnish Drive. It is open all year for a casual walk. You can schedule a tour for your class or group by calling the Public Works Department at 847-658-2754.
In addition to this rare treasure, Algonquin is also home to many parks, which offer a variety of amenities and opportunities for fun. Algonquin Lakes Park (700 Lake Plumleigh Way) is 35 acres and includes baseball fields, soccer and football fields, a picnic shelter, playground, basketball shoot around, walking paths, a gazebo and public washrooms. High Hill Park and Nature Preserve (501 Kirkland Dr.) is a 30.1-acre park with a playground, walking paths, sledding hill, basketball court, scenic viewing area and wetland preservation area. Towne Park (100 Jefferson St.) is 12 acres in the heart of Algonquin. Amenities include the village’s largest playground, a baseball field, picnic shelter, basketball court, public washrooms and, not to be forgotten, the beautiful Fox Riverfront.