The village of Huntley has a long history going back over 150 years. After The Blackhawk Wars of 1834, the area became available to settlers who began to arrive from New England in 1838, a year after McHenry County was first established. Several years later, in 1846, Thomas Stillwell Huntley arrived with his family and first settled north of the future village. The Huntley family later acquired land to the south. Huntley was established in 1851 when The Chicago and Galena Railroad reached the area and Mr. Huntley furnished the site for a train station. He also opened a general store near the station and a few frame houses that stood there.
The Chicago and Galena Railroad, which eventually became Union Pacific Railroad, was integral to Huntley’s economic growth, supplying transport of agriculture products to Chicago. Huntley became known as a dairy center by supplying milk to local factories for processing as well as dairy products to Chicago. Throughout the years, Huntley grew very slowly, continuing on as a small community based in agriculture. It wasn’t until 1993 when Prime Development began to develop the southern part of Huntley as commercial property. Soon after, Del Webb Sun City (a community for seniors) was developed, with the first residents moving in 1999. From that time, growth in Huntley has exploded. The 2000 Census showed a population of 5,730, but a special census in 2005 showed a population of 16,719 – a growth of nearly 300% in five years. Estimates predict that by 2020 over 50,000 people will call Huntley home. As the village has grown, numerous subdivisions have been built, coexisting with distinct older neighborhoods.
The rapid growth of the area has also required eight new schools to be built since 1995. Huntley is served by Consolidated School District 158, considered to be an excellent and innovative school system (though there has been some finance-related controversy). The district schools are all located on 3 campuses so that students going from elementary to middle school will usually remain on the same campus.
The Huntley Park District oversees more than 10 parks, including the beautiful 24.5 acre Deicke Park, which is adjacent to the Rec Center and 62 acre Betsey Warrington Park. The Rec Center features a fitness center and space for classes and workshops, as well as the Cosman Cultural Center (auditorium). Betsey Warrington Park encompasses the Stowell-Deicke Farmstead and Stingray Bay Aquatic Center. The district also oversees Pinecrest Golf Course.
The village has many features unique to Huntley – from the charming library to the gazebo in the town square to the Dairy Mart. There is an annual Home and Business Expo, Memorial Day Parade, the Huntley Fall Fest, the Huntley High School Fine Arts Festival, to name just a few Huntley traditions. Some other events include Boy Scout pancake breakfasts held at the American Legion Hall and the Turkey Testicle Festival held at Parkside Pub.
Add to all else: location – the village is located along what is known as the “Golden Corridor” of Interstate 90, fairly equidistant from Chicago, Rockford and Wisconsin. Many people have been attracted to Huntley, from seniors to young families looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. With a long proud history and an eye towards the future “The Friendly Village With Country Charm” has universal appeal with all it has to offer.