The quaint town of Blue Island began in 1835 as a way station for those traveling to and from Chicago along the historic Vincennes Trail, originally a Potawatomi Indian portage trail. A full days journey from downtown Chicago, Blue Island became a lodging center but an agricultural center where livestock were bought and sold.
The town acquired its name from the blue azure that could be seen when the area was viewed from the north. Indians standing on a high hill looked southward saw what appeared to be a high table created by glaciers, covered with heavily wooded timber, beautiful vegetation, and what seemed to be a mist of blue vapor.
The emergence of the Rock Island Railroad in the early 1900's transformed Blue Island into a leading industrial hub.
Located just southwest of Chicago, Blue Island continues to boast a small town atmosphere with all the conveniences of a large city. \
Well known for its quiet, well-kept residential streets, Blue Island expresses the home town values felt by its friendly residents. The restoration of turn-of-the-century homes, Victorian cottages and Prairie School Architectural style homes enhances the historic tradition of Blue Island's neighborhoods as well as its commitment to pride.
Blue Island consists of many well built, open and spacious single family homes. Roomy, family-style 2 and 3 flat rentals mix well with the residential architecture. Newly constructed townhomes throughout Blue Island and on the golf course are also available.
While it is not unusual that third and fourth generation families continue to choose Blue Island as home, many young couples are also finding both monetary and aesthetic value in buying a first home in Blue Island.
Public and private schools thrive on solid, traditional curriculums enhanced by innovative programs. In District 130, prekindergarten and early childhood programs are offered for three and four-year-olds who need special services to prepare them to enter elementary school. Outstanding educational opportunities are available to all students through the regular and fine arts curricula. Middle school students have access to a state-of-the-art computer lab and special opportunities to participate in such as band, the school newspaper and yearbook. More information on District 130 and its special programs and services can be found on its home page at http://www.lincoinnet.net/users/lsd130/.
Eisenhower High School District 218, a winner of a number of State and U.S. Department of Education awards, enriches students with computer science, honors and A.P. programs. Additionally, students have the opportunity to participate in a host of academic, performance, government, community service and honorary organizations and clubs. Eisenhower also sponsors 21 varsity athletic teams.
Private education is also available with a Catholic curriculum at several local churches. Knowledgeable staff teach a rich curriculum which includes modern methods and materials offering opportunities for growth in education as well as faith and Christian values.
The Blue Cap Schools and Work Center assists individuals with developmental disabilities in educational and social areas. The primary goal is to establish, maintain and operate programs for infants, children and adults who are developmentally disabled.
Blue Island high school graduates are within easy commute of some of the finest universities in the nation including University of Chicago, University of Illinois Circle Campus, DePaul University and Loyola University. Blue Island is also served by Morraine Valley Community College and Governor's State University.
Blue Island offers a myriad of activities for young and old to enjoy. Our 18 hole Meadows Golf Club offers a beautiful setting and athletic challenge for many golfers. Nearby forest preserves also offer a day of family fun. In addition, the Blue Island Park District oversees 10 public parks which are host to summertime softball and wintertime tobogganing. Numerous programs range from swimming and exercise classes to infant/toddler music and personal computer programs for kids, adults and seniors. For those interested in community theater, aspiring Thespians will have the opportunity to develop their talent at Showcase Theater. There are also numerous activities throughout the year such as Blue Island's July 4th Parade, the German festival Saengerfest, outdoor art fairs, special outdoor shopping days and the new business and community expo.
Something for Seniors
Seniors will find numerous services and resources through the Senior Citizen Project office located at City Hall. Open five days a week, services include information and referral; a chore service to help with light household tasks or grocery shopping; legal services and a free will service; a Lifeline Program which offers seniors emergency medical response; and a Senior Companion service which provides home visits to shut-ins. Transportation, recreation and meals are available at the Calumet Township Senior Center. There are also numerous programs for seniors offered by area financial institutions and the park district.
While the draw of the city lights may beckon Blue Islanders now and then, there are many entertainment opportunities within our growing community. DreamStreet is Blue Island's newest professional playhouse featuring highly successful Broadway hits and musicals. Antique stores and a bustling antique mall provide unique treasures for the wandering shopper. Blue Island offers many fine restaurants in the area. And the Olde Western Avenue business district bustles with exciting restaurants including one of the Chicago area's finest New Orleans style restaurants, authentic Mexican cantinas and genuine Irish pubs.
Ideally situated off of I-57 and just 13 miles from downtown Chicago, our unique combination of transportation options offers residents and visitors easy and economical access to many places.
* Blue Island is just 13 miles or 30 minutes by car to Chicago's Loop.
* I-80, I-57 and I-294 link Blue Island with Chicago's suburbs and ultimately anywhere in the Midwest.
* There are 31 trains leaving Blue Island daily for Chicago. The Metra Rock Island express train can get passengers to Chicago's loop in just 27 minutes.
* Four PACE bus routes and a new Park and Ride facility make bus transportation convenient and effective throughout Blue Island and surrounding communities.
* Air travel is convenient with Chicago's Midway Airport just 30 minutes away and O'Hare International Airport is just a 45 minute drive.
A resurgence in the vitality of many businesses in Blue Island's downtown district has attracted the attention of many neighboring communities. Blue Island is fortunate to have an active and successful Main Street program to enhance the retail areas.
An active Chamber of Commerce also exists in Blue Island helping to beautify the business strips, promote and organize holiday shopping and festivities, assist in the revitalization of business districts and coordinate networking opportunities among all businesses.
Nearly 20 manufacturing firms headquartered in Blue Island employ 2,600 people in the area. Our unique proximity to local transportation including rail, truck and water via the Cal-Sag Canal make Blue Island attractive to the region's industrial leaders. Furthermore, suppliers, a diversified workforce and committed local government support the needs of local industry.
A new 85-acre industrial park has been designated a T.I.F. District, encouraging several large businesses to choose to build their offices in Blue Island. These include a mini-mart, truck stop, concrete and cement manufacturer, a recycling company and car dealership. Other incentives are also available to industrial firms and retailers.
Blue Island boasts some of the finest health care in the Chicago metropolitan area. It is the home of St. Francis Hospital and Health Center, a leader in cardiovascular care, with one of the oldest, most respected open heart surgery programs in the area. It is ranked among the top in the state of Illinois. St. Francis also offers special expertise in women's care, maternal/child health and minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery.
Conventional hospital services are supplemented by five, fully staffed family health centers, conveniently located throughout the southwest suburbs. Staffed by primary and specialty care physicians, the health centers offer on-site X-ray, lab and occupational health services for local businesses.
Blue Island is also home to Pronger Smith Medical Associates, one of the largest and oldest medical groups in the Chicagoland area. As a multi-specialty group, Pronger Smith can meet almost every medical need that families may have. In addition to primary care, surgical specialists in general, orthopedic, opthalmology, urology and hand surgery as well as OB/GYNE are available in one, convenient location.
Pronger Smith also has an extensive occupational medicine clinic with on-site minor surgery suites to facilitate prompt, emergency care needs related to on the job injuries.
The Blue Island Police and Fire departments provide highly trained professionals offering 24-hour protection. Modern fire fighting equipment is used by the fully staffed fire department which is also certified in Emergency Medical Training. The Police department's new enhanced 911 center with state-of-the-art equipment provides faster dispatching to residents. Walking patrols in the business districts and residential areas also provide added security.
The city library, operating since 1891, contains a collection of over 82,000 books and offers special programs for library patrons. The library houses a History of Blue Island Museum comprised of artifacts dating from the City's founding in 1835, as well as extensive geneology research material.
Blue Island welcomes you to visit, shop and see for yourself what we have to offer first time guests and residents alike! For more information, call the Blue Island Chamber of Commerce at 708-388-1000.
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