Lake in the Hills was once a small residential community where farms dotted the landscape. Paved streets and major highways have replaced dirt roads, but a few original farms and fieldstone foundations still stand as reminders of our past. In 1923, Federal Judge Walter J. La Buy started purchasing property around what is now Woods Creek Lake, the largest lake in the Village. He acquired 472 acres for his estate by 1926, and built five stucco houses for his children along the south side of Woods Creek Lake on Indian Trail.
Today, only one of those homes stands in its original state, while the others have been altered and enlarged. Distinguished by the European Cottage style of architecture, like other early homes in Lake in the Hills, the stucco houses were used as summer homes. Judge La Buy created picturesque views throughout the area by planting many pine and oak trees that still stand as major attractions for homebuyers. Through his efforts, the lake was dammed and further dug out in 1923, expanding Woods Creek Lake to just short of where the western-most stucco houses stand. The lot between 292 and 290 Indian Trail, now owned by the Village, was designated as the children's beach. Mules were used to complete the initial excavation, a difficult task in those times. Today, the lake is much larger than its original size after several enlargements over the years.
An island accessible by footbridge was created a few feet from the beach. During the 1940s, Raymond Platt, affiliated with the Dearborn Builders of Chicago, and his wife Bernice and brother-in-law J.R. Ladd, purchased property from Judge La Buy. The Platts made their permanent home in Lake in the Hills by 1947, and in May of that year created the Lake in the Hills Development Corporation. The island area was then made accessible to the general public. Corporation members nicknamed the area "Out of Bounds Hunting and Fishing Estate," and the organization was credited with the property being called “an outstanding example of a well-planned community in a natural setting.”
Many of these summer homes soon became year-round residences. In September of 1950, the Property Owners Association (P.O.A.) was formed to address the problems of snow removal and road maintenance. This was the beginning of the first organized Village decision making body, which was formally incorporated November 29, 1952. Lake in the Hills has continued to grow and develop since the 1950s. With its incorporation as a village in 1952, Mr. Platt donated his sales office at 55 Hilltop to serve as the first Village Hall.
In 1959, a new Village Hall and police court were relocated to 1111 Crystal Lake Road. This remained the municipal center until 1992, when the Village Hall and Police Department offices were erected at 1115 Crystal Lake Road. The Public Works Department was housed at 600 E Oak Street until 1995, when it was relocated to a state-of-the-art Public Works facility, south of Albrecht Road and west of Miller Road.
In 2002, the current Village Hall was erected at 600 Harvest Gate. Lake in the Hills has seen significant growth over the years, increasing from a population of just under 6,000 in 1990 to a population of 28,965 today.
For more information on the history of Lake in the Hills, contact the Lake in the Hills Historical Society at 847-658-1066.