THIS IS THE STORY of a place called Skokie. It is a place that was settled years ago by immigrants, primarily from Germany and Luxembourg, who were seeking good land, homes, and a place to worship their God. Most of them were truck farmers because the area in which Skokie is located was on good soil and the markets for their produce were nearby.

In 1888, our ancestral citizens incorporated the village, called Niles Centre then, in the state of Illinois, county of Cook.

Now, 100 years later, we are celebrating the centennial anniversary of that village which has come to be known as Skokie. From muddy streets and a scant population of but a few hundred, Skokie has grown into a vibrant, pulsing community of over 60,000 citi­zens. Today it has a deficit-free budget of $39 million, of which the General Fund is $18.5 million.

Skokie is now the sixth largest industrial/commercial center in Illinois. It is the eighth largest in retail sales. The village has one of the largest and most prominent public libraries in the state. There are 26 houses of worship, 19 public schools, six parochial schools, and an enviable Class 2 Fire Rating (there are only 60 Class 2 ratings in all 50 states).

The East Dempster Street Renovation Project leads the village into its second century, following the principle that has defined the growth of Skokie over the years: Moving Forward.

The council-manager form of government has given Skokie a stable political environment of which we are all proud today. And so, while we say, “Thanks for the memories,” we must also point out that everything is admirably in place as we start our second century: Moving Forward.

Albert J. Smith

Mayor 1965 - 1987

Editor’s Note:

The village of Skokie was known first as Niles Centre but, at a time somewhere around 1910, the spelling was changed to the more Americanized Niles Center. For the sake of consistency, we have endeavored to use the spelling Niles Centre whenever the village is referred to in context prior to 1910, and Niles Center from 1910 until the name was formally changed to Skokie.