Old Cottage Photo
Old Cottage

The Inverness area was first settled in 1836 by George Ela and became known as Deer Grove. Other settlers such as Ezekial Cady, Thomas Falls Wilson and Thomas Atkinson arrived in the area in the following two years. After surveying the township area, in 1840 the US Government offered land in the area for $1.25 per acre. Most of the early settlers did not have the funds to buy their own land. Thomas Bradwell, who was more affluent than the others, made loans to the original settlers so they could purchase their own property. Bradwell's name appeared on these deeds until the loans had been repaid. In 1844, Thomas Bradwell, John Cammack, John Kerr, Edson Keith and Richard Swift all received government land grants in the area. By 1854, rail service was established to Deer Grove and in 1859 the line was incorporated into the Chicago and Northwestern Railway system. The Inverness area was now easily accessible to Chicago. The frontier had been opened.

In 1926, Mr. Arthur T. McIntosh, one of Chicago's leading land developers, bought the Temple farm and house, which was originally built by Ralph Atkinson. It was the first of eleven parcels to be acquired by him. These lands, combined with the acquisition of the Cudahy Company Golf Course, comprised 1500 contiguous acres for development. With the area under McIntosh's control, it became known as Inverness after the McIntosh clan home in Scotland. McIntosh's vision was to create a truly distinctive community for young couples who wanted to raise their families in a country-like atmosphere. Inverness offered high, wooded land and meadows, which were important to the beauty and vitality of a residential area near Chicago.

Old Post Card

An important person during this early development was Way Thompson. Thompson preserved the  [Inverness Book] natural beauty of the area by laying out the road system to take advantage of the rolling land and subdividing lots to conform to natural contours. A minimum lot size of one acre was established. Thompson also approved all house plans and where they were located on the lots. The first ten homes were even decorated by his wife, Barbara. The first new homes were occupied by 1939. These homes were mostly situated around the edge of the Inverness Golf Club and were designed to be affordable to young couples. They were priced from $9500 to $20,000. McIntosh built the first 20 homes. After that, the homes were custom built for individuals who purchased lots from McIntosh.

The center for recreation in the community in 1939 was the Inverness Golf Club. By 1951 it was apparent that a new clubhouse was needed. The McIntosh Company financed construction of the new building. Membership fees were also raised from $150 to $250, plus a 20% tax. Membership was limited to 200. Other clubs also had an important place in the social life of residents. The Garden Club was organized in 1940 at the Four Silos. Twenty families founded the Inverness Association in 1944 and dues were $1.00 per year. The Inverness Book Club was started in 1954. In September 1965, the Women's Club of Inverness was organized. All four of these clubs are in existence today.

Old Street Sign

Construction in Inverness was halted during World War II. After the War, Inverness began to grow again. During the early post-war years, the McIntosh Company had complete control over the sale of lots as well as the resale of homes. The exterior appearances and house plans were approved by the Company. Placement of homes was carefully controlled to protect the character of the community.

As Inverness grew it became apparent that a more structured framework was needed. In 1962, Inverness was incorporated as a Village to be governed by a President and Board of Trustees. The first meeting of the Village board was July 5, 1962 and was held at the Field House, which was then at the western edge of the Village. In the spring of 1977 the Village Hall was relocated to a 100-year old farmhouse on Palatine Road. It was again relocated in 1985 to its present location at the Four Silos, which has become a famous landmark and gateway to the community.

During the 1970's and 80's, the Village continued to grow at a pace that exceeded earlier predictions. Homes became larger and styles were more varied. It was also during this period that the Village annexed large areas of existing homes in unincorporated Cook County, which laid the foundation for further annexations to the west, which continued to expand the village limits to what they are today. Williamsburg Village, the only business development in the Village, was started in 1981. While the Village has grown considerably from its origins, it still maintains the rural character and natural beauty that attracted Mr. McIntosh over 70 years ago. Today it is a quiet, stable residential community of attractive homes with a population of almost 7600.