"A University "Creates" A Town" Top 5 Page for this destination Evanston by deecat

Evanston Travel Guide: 97 reviews and 149 photos

Evanston: Named After University Founder

The history of Evanston is so intermingled with Northwestern University that you cannot speak of one without the other!

Northwestern University was actually founded before the city of Evanston. Once the university was founded (1851), its founders submitted to a county judge its plans for a city. They named the town Evanston after one of the university's founders, John Evans.

The university purchased a "397-acre tract of land on the shore of Lake Michigan" and established a campus and then developed the land near it as the town of Evanston.

I've visited Evanston several times over the last thirty years, but until our VT meeting and tour of Evanston, lead by Pedersdottir (Katja), I knew very little about its history. Katja pointed out that the University still owns much of the land that the town buildings sit on. The business people can own the buildings, but they cannot own the land.

Evanston is located just north of Chicago (12 miles) Evanston has a population of almost 80,000 people, people of all nationalities. This Chicago suburb is well-known for its beautiful tree-lined streets, "Painted Ladies" (Victorian Houses) along Sheridan Road, downtown Condominiums with Lake Views, Lakeshore Mansions, , excellent and convenient public transportation, wonderful parks, and a stunning location on beautiful Lake Michigan.

Diverse, both racially and economically, it has always been known for its social consciousness as well as for its many civic ventures. One of its drawbacks is its history of high taxes.

I've always known of Evanston for
its numerous eating establishments that are highly recommended. After the VT tour (October, 2004), I'm convinced that I will be visiting Evanston to find out for myself.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Diverse, Beautiful, Innovative, Excellent Restaurants, Great University, Stunning Location
  • Cons:High Taxes
  • In a nutshell:A Lovely City On Prime Land
  • Last visit to Evanston: Oct 2004
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (15)

Comments (36)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Oct 31, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    Me again, coming back for another look at your fine Evanston page. I once went to Mather Place at the Georgian to visit my former seventh-grade math teacher, who was also our next-door neighbor for many years, after she and her husband moved there.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Jun 15, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    Dee, I'd like to experience walking on Lake Michigan some day!

  • Nov 6, 2009 at 7:51 AM

    What a wonderful city filled with culture, a top-notch university, great places to eat, and what a spot for a VT meet.

  • Jun 1, 2009 at 8:44 AM

    Loved the lagoon picture - I was up last week and it was drained. We used to go ice skating there back before the fountain and cement barriers were added. You could "shoot the duck" down the bank to the island and then back again.

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo
    Jan 27, 2009 at 4:50 PM

    Dee... could you order for me when we go to dinner? Love the salad and wine choice at Jilly's. I was not aware of the university, but you've given us a very comprehensive summary. We'll be looking for the painted ladies on your next trip.

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo
    Nov 8, 2008 at 11:32 AM

    Very interesting page about Evanston and its university! We haven't such university towns here in Russia so it's difficult to imagine how life can be in such a town where so many students live... Thank you Dee for showing it to me!

  • VeronicaG's Profile Photo
    Sep 28, 2008 at 5:34 PM

    I was almost half way through your page before realizing I had viewed it before, but I wanted to at least mention tht Dawes Park looked an inviting place for a stroll!

  • gilabrand's Profile Photo
    Dec 20, 2006 at 11:04 PM

    Your "Rock" tip was on the Home page. It reminded me of a slab of rock I just saw in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, covered with ancient graffitti (left by Christian pilgrims for centuries).

  • traveldave's Profile Photo
    Mar 2, 2006 at 3:55 PM

    When I lived in the Chicago area, I passed through Evanston quite often, but I never took the time to see any of its attractions. Thanks for the tour and information.

  • shrimp56's Profile Photo
    Jan 21, 2006 at 5:04 AM

    We used to get up here a lot when the kids were still here. It has changed so much over the years.


“Yesterday is a cancelled check; tomorrow, a promissory note; today is the only cash you have; spend it wisely. Kay Lyons”

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