The Village Offices will be closed on Thursday, November 23rd and Friday, November 24th for Thanksgiving.

History

"Rondout School dates back to 1864, where it started as a one room schoolhouse on the corner of Bradley and Old School Roads. My mother attended Rondout School at its current location in the 1950s as a two-room schoolhouse, and she rode her horse to school on nice days.

 

"I attended Rondout School in the 1980s. The teacher/student ratio is amazing and the students get a lot of individual attention. I honestly enjoyed going through all of grade school with the same friends.... I made such tight bonds with grade school friends, and we still regularly talk and get together today. My kids are now attending Rondout School, which has grown a little bit, but still has the same inviting feeling when I walk through the doors." – Julie

Native American Roots

Originally settled by Native Americans, Mettawa took its name from the chief of a former Potawatomi Village that in the 1830s was located near Mettawa's southwestern border. The Indians traveled and hunted in this area and beyond to the two Villages just south of our borders.

In 1833, Daniel Wright learned about the fertile ground at Half-Day from two French-Indian traders living in the bluffs near Waukegan, (known then as Little Fort). Wright became Lake County's first permanent white settler when he built his house with Chief Mettawa's help. He was considered a good friend of the tribe. When his wife was sick, Mettawa sent for a doctor. When a fire destroyed Wright's home site buildings, Mettawa and the tribe helped him rebuild. The U.S. government forced the Indians to leave these lands in 1836, but much history remains on the old horseback trails, bent-trail marker trees, arrowhead relics, and the name given to Mettawa in tribute to Chief Mettawa by our founders.

By 1844, the U. S. government issued property deeds to settlers wanting to homestead in this beautiful area. In fact, Bradley Road takes its name from one of these early families. The first homesteaders in this area east of the Des Plaines River found a land filled with wetlands, prairie with beautiful flowers, hickory-oak forests, and a network of Indian trails linking the Villages and Forts. For the next 100 years much of the land suitable for growing crops was farmed.

In the early part of the 20th century, some land holdings were assembled into larger country estates and used as summer retreats.Adlai E. Stevenson Edward H. Bennett Two famous residents and landowners of the area were Adlai E. Stevenson (Governor of Illinois and candidate for U.S. President) and Edward H. Bennett (co-author with Daniel Burnham of the 1909 Plan of Chicago).

By the mid-20th century, there were 118 residents living in what is now the Village of Mettawa.

In 1959 a group of these residents decided to incorporate the Village of Mettawa to help control development and to maintain their increasingly rare rural environment by enacting five-acre zoning. The Village name was proposed by James Getz, the first Village Mayor who later served as President of the Lake County Historical Society.

Since 1960, the Village Board has supported the Lake County Forest Preserve as it acquired many acres of land in the Village for Forest Preserves. Today's Village borders contain five large preserves: MacArthur woods, the Adlai E. Stevenson Home, Grainger Woods, Daniel Wright, Lloyd's Woods (latter included into Wright Woods) and the Old School Forest Preserves.

True to the founders' vision, Mettawa's residents and businesses remain dedicated to land conservation and preservation of the rural character of the Village. The Mettawa Open Lands Association (MOLA) was founded in 1989, and formally activated in 2006. Since that time, professional local landscapers and MOLA volunteers have been working to transform "Whippoorwill Farm," a Mettawa Gateway Preserve, into a beautiful native landscape reminiscent of earlier times.

Side-by-side with the contractors at the Farm are DePaul University scientists/students performing "Best Practices" research (using five different methods to establish a prairie on a severely eroded field). Another example of land stewardship is the Deerpath Farm subdivision conservation community, which includes 140 acres of permanently protected open space, including wetlands, prairie and woods mixed with homesites.

For more than 18 years, businesses have worked with the Village in an effort to preserve the open lands. All business tax revenues collected by the Village help support Mettawa's vision by funding open space improvements, trail development and providing tax rebates for the residents. Currently, some of the largest businesses based in Mettawa include Costco, Capital One, Computer Discount Warehouse (CDW), the Marriott Residence Inn and The Hilton Garden Inn (where official Village meetings are held). Mettawa is home to several other businesses listed on the website, such as Greens by White.

Today, Mettawa boasts over 545 residents, but many more people than that see its beauty everyday as they travel through the Village by foot, horseback, and bicycle along the Mettawa Trails with access to the Des Plaines River Trail or in their cars on Everett Road, Route 60/Townline Road, Riverwoods Road/Boulevard, Bradley Road, Old School Rd., St. Marys Road and Little St. Marys Road.

The Village Board with the support of other concerned residents serve to continue the mission of its founders in striving to protect the history, legacy, landscape, sustainability and preservation of the Village of Mettawa.

Prehistory

An ancient ocean recedes. Native ecosystems evolve: prairies, wetlands, woods of hickory, oak, maple, and basswood.

10,000 years ago

The first people inhabit this land,

using stone implements to hunt.

1695

Potawatami live in Lake County. French establish Little Fort trading post (now Waukegan).

1833

Daniel Wright becomes Lake County’s first settler and builds his cabin with Chief Mettawa’s help.

1844

First plat-claims filed on government-surveyed land.

1864

First teacher hired by Rondout School District ($18/mo)

1885

Click here to view a map of Libertyville Township and adjoining municipalities. The rendering was taken from an illustrated Atlas of Lake County, circa 1885, and includes Mettawa in sections 25-27 and 34-36.

1917

Rondout School built

1927

Mettawa Manor built

1938

Adlai Stevenson house built

1951

Mettawa-area is zoned 5-acre by Lake County

1960

Village of Mettawa incorporated with 118 residents & 1200 acres.

1970

Mettawa’s population = 275

1975

Bradley Road paved

1989

Mettawa Open Lands formed.

1996

Grainger Woods Forest Preserve is created,

1998

Adlai Stevenson home opened to the public.

2000

Ribbon-cutting of the Mettawa Trail

2010

Mettawa celebrates 50 years