Long Grove’s charming shops, historic character, genuine friendliness of the merchants, as well as unique gifts, jewelry, exceptional home decor, and distinctive foods and wines are sure to catch your fancy. Come discover for yourself why Long Grove Historic Village is often called the hidden gem in Chicago’s northern suburbs.
A charming four-season village, Long Grove offers more than 60 distinctive shops, galleries, and restaurants housed in authentic homes and businesses that date back to the 1800’s. Visitors can stroll the cobblestone walks that wind through the historic downtown and enjoy seasonal lush gardens and scenic views. They can make it a quick trip or a day’s outing, shopping and indulging their tastes with a variety of food and bakery products, cafés, and fine eating establishments. Long Grove Historic Village is located just 35 miles northwest of Chicago, near Routes 53 and 83, north of Lake Cook Road in suburban Long Grove, Illinois.
This little crossroads was settled in the early 1800’s by German immigrants who tended their farms. They came to town to buy their supplies and have their horses shod. Farmers and craftsmen from Alsace-Lorraine, seeking freedom and prosperity, made the arduous trek across the Atlantic to America, the “Land of Opportunity.”
When the Erie Canal opened in 1825, many journeyed on to the Great Lakes area for its good farmland, abundant woodlands, and plentiful game. The crossroads in Long Grove developed where two Indian trails crossed. One trail ran northwest from the Chicago portage along the Des Plaines River through Buffalo Grove and Long Grove. The other trail came southwest from the Lake Michigan shore and continued through Long Grove to the Fox River.
The first settlers in the Long Grove area were George Ruth and his family, who came from Pennsylvania, and claimed 160 acres of pristine prairie land, including all four corners of the trail crossing. Within 10 years, almost all of the surrounding land had been claimed. By 1880 Long Grove was a thriving village with two general stores, two blacksmiths, two wagon and carriage shops, a tavern (which is still in operation), a hotel, a creamery, three churches, and four one-room schools.
Today, buildings in the crossroads area are marked with plaques identifying the original owners and recognizing their importance to Long Grove’s history. The signature covered bridge and the village landmarks in the historic district have all been carefully guarded as the town evolved into a unique destination for visitors seeking a distinctly preserved refuge. Though the blacksmiths, grist mills, and dairies no longer operate, their structures house a myriad of intriguing shops to visit. In Long Grove, you can wander through a bit of early Americana with its one-room schools, early taverns, and general and specialty stores which now house world-class contemporary shops and restaurants.
Long Grove Times- Artifact Explored
Historic Flag Pole on Towner Green
An interesting local artifact that’s always on display in Downtown Long Grove is the flag pole on Towner Green. From the Gosswiller family history compiled by Emma Gosswiller- When communism overran Northern Vietnam in 1954, William Umbdenstock wanted to erect a flag pole in memory of his father, Mathias Umbdenstock, who was a Civil War Veteran. The flag pole was erected on July 4, 1954 in the center of town.
Here’s the local lore about the flag pole. It wasn’t just any old flag pole.. It was the flag pole from Norma Sales’ farmhouse, which was located near the intersection of Long Grove Road and Middleton Road. Norma was the long time owner of the Village Tavern, across the street from where the flag pole now stands. At one time it was close to 100 feet in height. A lightning strike on Norma’s farm is said to have damaged it and caused it to be reduced to its more modest size.
Norma acquired her farm and its gigantic flag pole from Terrible Terry Drugan, who ran the Irish Valley Gang in Chicago during the prohibition times. Why such a big flag pole? It was visible from Rand Road a mile away and was used to signal to alert Drugan if someone was looking for him. If the flag was at the top that meant it was okay to come home, if the flag was at half mast it meant he should stay away.