Overview – Marengo, Illinois (pop. 7,700) is located in south-western McHenry County at the
intersections of US-20, IL-176 and IL-23. Residents, both individuals and businesses, enjoy the natural beauty of the rolling countryside and vast conservation areas in a rural environment while having the convenience of nearby multi-mode transportation, sound public education, and opportunities to grow. These attributes among others, truly makes Marengo a hidden gem in the Chicagoland area.
Location – Click Here to View Map
People – There has been an influx of residents since 1990. Many new residents are families with younger children. In many cases, the adults work in Chicago suburbs and sought Marengo for the lower land values and city conveniences. A large portion of the population has lived here all their lives. They have seen the city go through many changes. Like many smaller towns in the mid-west, residents share an esprit-de-corps with their hometown.
Economy – Since Marengo’s founding, agriculture has always been a strong factor in the local economy. Surrounding farmland is still productive. Because of Marengo’s close proximity to Chicago and the remaining suburbs, nurseries that supply the trees, shrubs and flowers for newer development have also capitalized on the land. In addition to crops and plants, the rich limestone deposits close to the surface have resulted in several quarries operating south of the city. Manufacturing has played the largest role in recent decades. The largest of the factories is Nissan Forklift by employing roughly 300 local people. Other notable manufacturers include Engineer Polymer Solutions – Materials (Valspar), Arnold Engineering, Thompson Linear, and Marengo Tool and Die.
Government – The City of Marengo has a mayor-council form of government with eight council members elected from four districts. The City performs the following operations: water, sewer, public works, and police. Several special districts run the local library, parks, fire protection, rescue squad, and schools. The City also occupies four different townships; Coral, Riley, Seneca and Marengo.
Geography – Marengo is located between Rockford and Elgin. The city sits between two glacier moraines. The Marengo Moraine, north of the city, is the most predominant and formed by the Wisconsinan Glacier roughly 30,000 to 12,000 years ago. The northern branch of the Kishwaukee River runs on the northern end of the city. The “Kish” is a class “A” river meaning there is a strong ecosystem that supports native species.
History – The first settlement in Marengo was in 1835, making the community arguable the oldest in the county. The community’s first name was Pleasant Grove, but soon changed after learning that the name was taken. In 1857, the settlement incorporated. Over the years, Marengo has played a role of our larger American history. This includes a stop on the Underground Railroad, the home of the Chicago Cubs star pitcher Carl Lundgren for the 1907 and 1908 World Series (the last time the Cubs won it), and by supplying an outstanding labor for the World War II war effort by building advanced magnetic components. Not to mention, tomorrow is another day.