Nothing against urban environments, but a more suburban area is a welcome change of pace for those who seek an active lifestyle. McHenry County, Illinois offers it all; from galleries to ski jumps and county roads to I-90, this county pleases both city mouse and country mouse.
Approximately 50 miles northwest of Chicago, McHenry County is considered part of the Chicago metro area. The population is just over 300,000, an increase of almost 20 percent within the last decade; that makes McHenry the sixth-largest county, in terms of population, in Illinois. Considered a center for agriculture and recreation, McHenry has lately undergone some suburbanization.
Yet there’s so much room to roam. The county’s 30-plus communities offer year-round recreational activities such as hiking and biking over 20,000 acres of conservation land including the spectacular Glacial Park, Moraine Hills and Chain O’ Lakes State Parks; and there’s canoeing and kayaking on the Fox River, as well.
McHenry County also offers quaint yet vibrant downtown districts full of history, with their main streets offering specialty shopping in a wealth of antique shops. Attractions here include the world’s largest corn maze at Richardson Corn Maze. Volo Auto Museum features more than 300 classic cars on display, as well as 25-plus famous Hollywood and TV cars.
McHenry County College, established in 1967, serves the majority of county residents. The college includes 2,000 full-time students and 5,800 part-time students.
Much of McHenry County’s economy centers on manufacturing, metalworking, media development and printing, transportation equipment, food production and agriculture, technology and healthcare. McHenry County is gradually gaining a reputation as a center for health care, due to its unique location and proximity to a wide range of hospital systems.
McHenry’s major employment centers are in Crystal Lake, Algonquin, Huntley, McHenry, and Woodstock. The southern portions of the county are within the Golden Corridor, the area around the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway said to generate a “gold” mine of economic profit for the area. Several Fortune 500 company headquarters as well as office parks, industrial parks, exhibition and entertainment centers, medical facilities, hotels, shopping centers and restaurants are located along the Golden Corridor.
The median income for a household in McHenry County is $64,826; its county seat is Woodstock.