The History of New Lenox

Rich in History, Rich in Progress

New Lenox was originally home to Native Americans, oak, hickory and butternut tree savannahs. Wildflowers filled the woods that surrounded Hickory Creek. The first settlers who came to the area made their homes at Gouger Crossing, now Gouger and Rt. 30. Settlers followed the Kankakee and Des Plaines Rivers to Hickory Creek. The original name of the community was Van Home Point. The Village was platted in 1858 including the area between Cedar Road and the campgrounds (now the United Methodist Church property) and from Hickory Creek to Walnut (now Haven) Street.

Prior to that in 1852, the Township was established after the building of the Rock Island railroad line connecting Chicago and Rock Island and named New Lenox after Lenox, New York (after the hometown of the first Township Supervisor, J. Van Duser). In 1863 the settlement was also officially named New Lenox, but it was not until 1946 that the Village was actually incorporated. Since that time, New Lenox has experienced substantial growth and development. The rich soil which drew the settlers is being converted from farming to residential and commercial development. The remaining farms are a reminder of the agricultural roots of the area.

New Lenox Historical Society

While history is the story, it is the New Lenox Historical Society that works diligently to bring the story to life by collecting memories and treasures from the past for future enjoyment. Officially formed in 1986 to preserve photographs and documents, the real work began in 1998 with a community wide effort to save Schmuhl School, the last remaining one-room schoolhouse in the Township. The school was moved from the south side of Rt. 30 and Schoolhouse Road to its current location on the north side of the same intersection. It sits in Hickory Creek Barrens Forest Preserve and has been designated an official landmark of Will County. Now restored, Schmuhl gives visitors an experience that children a century ago lived. The Historical Society encourages you to get involved and become part of their mission to preserve our collective history. Please visit for more information.

New Chamber Members

The New Lenox Chamber welcomes our new members!