History of Fox River Grove

Pioneers built homesteads in the Fox River Valley between 1830 and 1860. They were originally attracted to the area that would become Fox River Grove for its beautiful scenery, abundance of clear water and opportunity for hydroelectric power provided by the Fox River. The Fox River was the principle travel route for Native Americans and early settlers such as the Opatrny, Dvorak, Welisek, and Welleck families.

Fox River Grove incorporated as its own Village in 1919, becoming the ninth Village in McHenry County. Turn any corner in Fox River Grove and you will find many buildings from the past still in use today.

Historic Landmarks
The Norge Ski Jump and Club is one of the most noted historic landmarks in town. Norge is known throughout the world and attracts thousands of spectators to its two annual ski jump competitions.

The old Grove Theatre in town housed the first pipe organ to accompany silent films and the infamous Al Capone and his bodyguards attended the show.

The Picnic Grove and Marina included 40 acres of recreational paradise, featuring picnic areas, baseball diamonds, a merry-go-round, large Ferris wheel, boat rides, and beer halls, attracting as many as 15,000 visitors in a single day. Today, this area has been developed into a beautiful subdivision of homes.

The Crystal Ballroom was located in the Crystal Palace owned by Louis Cernocky, and hosted well-known bands of the 1940's such as Guy Lombardo, Frankie Masters, and Wayne King.

The Bettendorf Castle in Fox River Grove sits high atop the hill off of Route 14 near the railroad tracks. This unique caste was built by hand, stone-by-stone, by Theodore Bettendorf and is a replica of a castle in Luxembourg where Teddy grew up. It took 36 years to complete and includes many features of a real castle, including a drawbridge. The castle is currently a privately owned residence.

For a glimpse into the history of Fox River Grove, please refer to the pictorial history book titled "Cary and Fox River Grove", Images of America, Arcadia Publishing, Authors Pam Losey and Shirley Beene of the Cary-Grove Historical Society.

Information provided by the Cary-Grove Historical Society.


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Village Hall
305 Illinois Street
Fox River Grove, IL 60021
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  • Telephone: 
    (847) 639-3170
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  • Office Hours:
    M-F 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. S 9:00 a.m. - Noon

Fox River Grove, Illinois

Village Hall
305 Illinois Street
Fox River Grove, IL 60021

847-639-3170