Waukegan, Illinois

Waukegan Business Signs

Waukegan is a city located within the northern-most region of the present-day U.S. state of Illinois.  Prior to meddling by Europeans, this area was, predictably, inhabited by the Illinois people.  This area was also inhabited by the Potawatomi people.  In fact, the name ‘Waukegan’ is derived from the Potawatomi word for “little fort” or “fortress.”  The name was initially coined by John H. Kinzie and Solomon Juneau, and it was officially adopted by the area in 1849.  However, Waukegan, Illinois was originally founded back in 1829.  It was incorporated into a town in 1849 and then into a city in 1859.

Today, according to a 2016 estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau, the city of Waukegan, Illinois has a total population of 88,182 people.  This makes it the 9th most populous city in the state of Illinois.  It also makes Waukegan, Illinois the fifth-largest city on the western shore of Lake Michigan, after Chicago, Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Kenosha.  Waukegan, Illinois is also considered part of the Chicago metropolitan statistical area.  According to that same 2016 estimate, the Chicago metropolitan statistical area has a total population of 2,704,958 people.  This makes it the 3rd largest metropolitan area in the country.

As reported by the city of Waukegan, Illinois’ 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the largest employer in the area is Lake County.  Lake County is responsible for 2,000 employees.  Coming in at a close second, however, is Waukegan Community Unit School District 60, which employs 1,900.  Other employers with 1,000 employees or more located within the city of Waukegan, Illinois include Cardinal Health, Vista Health System, Uline, and Coleman Cable.

One of the city of Waukegan, Illinois’ latest attractions is Genesee Theatre.  Genesee Theatre, which originally opened in 1927, is now a concert hall and movie palace.  Genesee Theatre has seating capacity for 2,433 people.  Waukegan, Illinois is also known for various annual events and festivals.  These celebrations include, but are certainly not limited to, ArtWauk, the Chicago Latino Film Festival, Fiestas Patrias Parade and Festival, and HolidayWAUK.

Waukegan, Illinois is also home to historical sites such as Bowen Park and Naval Station Great Lakes.  Naval Station Great Lakes is part of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, and home to the United States Navy’s only boot camp.  The Recruit Training Command is garrisoned there.  In use since 1911, Naval Station Great Lakes is considered a U.S. Historic District and listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.  Other attractions listed on the National Register of Historic Places in and around the city of Waukegan, Illinois include the Waukegan Building and the Waukegan Public Library.

Waukegan, Illinois was also the birth place of Jack Benny and Ray Bradbury.  In fact, even though Ray Bradbury moved away to the West Coast as a young child, his memories of Waukegan seeped into many of his books and stories, among them Dandelion Wine.  He often referred to his birthplace as ‘Green Town.’  Ray Bradbury Park, located within Waukegan, Illinois, is, of course, named after him.

Do you, by any chance, own a small business in and/or around the Waukegan, Illinois area?  Would you like to perhaps one day become one?  The resources listed below could help guide you should you choose to accept such a quest:

Apply for a Business License in Waukegan, Illinois:


Business in Waukegan, Illinois:


City of Waukegan Chamber of Commerce:


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