Riverwoods was a popular recreational area along the Des Plaines River in the 1920s. Incorporated in 1959, Villagers have been committed to preserving the woodlands’ natural beauty for generations to come.
Wealthy steel magnate Edward L. Ryerson fell in love with the area in 1923, building a cabin for weekend getaways and later a country house. When an adjacent property went up for sale, he was concerned the land would be developed, destroying the area’s peaceful serenity. So he bought the property and started a farm.
Today, the area is open to the public to enjoy, thanks to Ryerson and neighbors who donated the land to the Lake County Forest Preserve. The preserve includes 6.5 miles of trails for hiking and cross-country skiing. A trail named for Ryerson’s son is wheelchair-accessible and has an audio guide for visually impaired visitors.
The National Park Service recognized 471 acres of forest preserve as the Edward L. Ryerson Historic District. The land includes the original country house, cabins and farmstead.
The secluded Village has an active preservation program, with an ecologist, a cost-sharing preservation program for homeowners, mapping of the entire area in 2017 and updating woodland and tree protection ordinances in 2018.
The community restored the Woodland Preserve, which was overgrown, and added a shelter with signage documenting the project to teach others about preservation.
Homes in the Village include a significant number of mid-century modern homes. More than 40 homes were designed by Edward Humrich, a notable “prairie modernist” architect.
Nearby Deerfield offers recreational programs, public schools and Metra access for Riverwoods residents.
Riverwoods students primarily attend neighboring Deerfield District 109 schools including Deerfield High School; and Stevenson High School. There are several parochial and private schools in neighboring communities.
The Village is located at Deerfield Road between Route 21 and I-94, providing easy access to downtown Chicago and O’Hare airport. Nearby Deerfield provides Metra service to Chicago 27 miles away.