First inhabited by Native Americans, including the Potawatomi and Sac and Fox tribes, Frankfort was used as a conduit between the Des Plaines and St. Joseph rivers. Originally, the area was part of the Virginia Territory before the French signed a treaty with Manitoqua, the Potawatomi chief, for land in the Prestwick area. The first pioneers came to Frankfort in the early 1830s by means of the Des Plaines River from the southwest and by wagon from the east along the Sauk Trail, a roadway that still exists today.
William Rice, the first non-native settler, made a permanent settlement in Frankfort in 1831. While the first pioneers, coming mainly from the New England colonies, were mostly of English and Scottish descent, German settlers made the village of Frankfort a reality. Later in the 1840s German settlers migrated from Germany to Frankfort. They had fled harsh conditions in their homeland by coming to America and proved to be very industrious and experienced farmers as they soon bought most of the fertile farm land from the "Yankees", who were more inclined to provide services for local needs. Establishing both ownership and pride in the area, the German settlers implemented the first system of resident concern for local lands, which has been maintained ever since.
What is now known as Frankfort Township was originally part of the Hickory Creek Precinct. Will County was originally divided into ten precincts. The county, in 1850, was changed to the township form of government. Frankfort Township was named by Frederick Cappel after his native city, Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany. In 1855 the Joliet and Northern Indiana Railroad built a line through an area linking Joliet, Illinois, with Lake Station, Indiana. The J&NI Railroad was leased to the Michigan Central Railroad, and service was implemented in July 1855. Nelson D. Elwood, an officer of the rail line, and Sherman Bowen, a Joliet attorney and real estate man, jointly platted a village of around 23 acres (9.3 ha) in March 1855 and named it Frankfort after the township. It was commonly referred to as "Frankfort Station" because of the railroad depot located there.
John McDonald became the first railroad agent in 1857.
In 1879, the village of Frankfort was incorporated, and elected John McDonald as the first Village President. Along with the establishment of the government, among the first undertakings of the newly formed administration was the institution of land use policies. Early plats that were recorded indicated a traditional grid pattern with residential uses surrounding the business district and railroad line and additional land provided for schools and public open spaces.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,330 people, 1,144 households, and 870 families residing in the village. The population density was 989.3 people per square mile (381.5/km²)....Learn More
The city, along with Homer Township within the city limits, continues to develop both in terms of many new (and newer construction) homes and new businesses entering the area.Learn More
As of the census of 2010, there were 18,740 people, 6,358 households, and 5,120 families residing in the village. The population density was 2,432.4 people per square mile (938.4/k...Learn More
What is now the Village of New Lenox was first settled in the late 1820s, in the area of Gougar crossing (Route 30 and Gougar Road) and it was called VanHorne Point. New Lenox Town...Learn More