Known as “The Heart of The Fox,” for its location along the Fox River, McHenry is a suburb in northern Illinois, situated 50 miles northwest of Chicago. With a scenic downtown area sitting along the Fox River, McHenry is home to a number of popular shops and restaurants.
McHenry draws its name from one of the first explorers to reach the area: Major William McHenry. McHenry led an expeditionary force through much of northern Illinois in the 1830s during the Black Hawk War. His forces settled along the Fox River, specifically at an old Native American fort along the west side of the riverbank, where the town of McHenry presently sits. Thanks to its location along the river, McHenry became a popular spot for settlers, who built mills, hotels and other businesses centered around the river. The village was incorporated in 1872, and eventually grew to encompass land east of the Fox River. The community still maintains its small town charm, with the Riverside Hotel – built in 1864 – still standing today.
Primary education is offered by McHenry School District 15, which provides schooling for thousands of students from grades K-8. There are two high schools in the community, McHenry West High School and McHenry East High School, both of which are part of McHenry School District 156. The two schools sit adjacent to each other and are referred to as East and West Campus. Both Campuses serve Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors, with the West Campus being constructed purely to fill demand. McHenry sits along Metra’s Union Pacific/Northwest Line, offering convenient transportation to downtown Chicago.
McHenry’s significant residential growth has brought steady commercial development, with large retailers flocking to the area. Downtown McHenry has three districts: Main Street, Green Street and Riverside Drive. Despite its growing stature, by preserving these hallmarks of its history, McHenry has been able to maintain its small town charm. The community also boasts an extensive Parks and Recreation department, managing over three dozen park sites as well as an aquatic center, skate and dog parks, and one of the most popular destinations in the community: Petersen Park Beach. With canoes, rowboats, paddleboats, kayaks and bikes available for rent, the area is filled with residents and visitors alike during the summer days.
333 S Green St., McHenry, IL 60050
4530 W Crystal Lake Rd., McHenry, IL 60050
McHenry Public Library
809 Front St., McHenry, IL 60050
McHenry Municipal Center
333 S Green St., McHenry, IL
Metra – Union Pacific Northwest
4201 W Medical Center Dr., McHenry, IL