River Forest, Illinois

River Forest is a suburban village adjacent to Chicago in Cook County, Illinois, United States. Per the 2020 census, the population was 11,717.[2] Two universities make their home in River Forest, Dominican University and Concordia University Chicago. The village is closely tied to the larger neighboring community of Oak Park. There are significant architectural designs located in River Forest such as the Winslow House by Frank Lloyd Wright. River Forest has a railroad station with service to Chicago on Metra's Union Pacific West Line.

River Forest, Illinois
River Forest Public Library
River Forest Public Library
Flag of River Forest, Illinois
Official seal of River Forest, Illinois
RF, RoFo
Location of River Forest in Cook County, Illinois.
Location of River Forest in Cook County, Illinois.
River Forest is located in Greater Chicago
River Forest
River Forest
River Forest is located in Illinois
River Forest
River Forest
River Forest is located in the United States
River Forest
River Forest
Coordinates: 41°53′35″N 87°49′3″W / 41.89306°N 87.81750°W / 41.89306; -87.81750
CountryUnited States
TownshipRiver Forest
 • TypeVillage
 • Total2.48 sq mi (6.43 km2)
 • Land2.48 sq mi (6.42 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
 • Total11,794
 • Density4,724.60/sq mi (1,824.37/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP Code(s)
Area code708
FIPS code17-64304
Wikimedia CommonsRiver Forest, Illinois


The Des Plaines River seen from the Lake Street bridge in River Forest, Illinois.

The Native American history of the area is closely tied to the Des Plaines River and includes Menominee and Chippewa settlements near what is now the Desplaines Avenue and Roosevelt Road forest preserves of Cook County. The Menominees would eventually be driven out by the Potowatomi Nation in 1810. The Potawatomi were in turn pushed west of the Mississippi by the Treaty of Chicago of 1833.[3]

1831 saw the establishment of a steam sawmill on the east bank of the Des Plaines River. In 1842, the first planked road in what is now Lake Street was created.[3] The community was known as Noyesville at the time. In 1848 the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad completed construction of tracks westward from Chicago, and train service commenced in January 1849.

In the 1850s two families acquired land and drove development in the area. David Thatcher settled in what is now western River Forest and named that part of the community Thatcher. Henry Quick arrived from Harlem, New York and named the eastern part of Noyesville as well as Harlem Avenue after his home town.[3]


A trail in the Thatcher Woods forest preserve in River Forest

River Forest lies along the Des Plaines River to the west and is bordered by Illinois Route 43 to the east and Illinois Route 64 to the north. Along with the Des Plaines River, much of the western boundary of River Forest consists of the Thatcher Woods forest preserve of Cook County and the Des Plaines River Trail. According to the 2010 census, River Forest has a total area of 2.482 square miles (6.43 km2), of which 2.48 square miles (6.42 km2) (or 99.92%) is land and 0.002 square miles (0.01 km2) (or 0.08%) is water.[4]


Climate data for River Forest, Illinois
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 32
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 19.4
[citation needed]


The Dominican University (Illinois) quad along Division Street.

Dominican University and Concordia University Chicago are both located in River Forest.

There are two public elementary schools, Lincoln Elementary School and Willard Elementary School, and one public middle school, Roosevelt Middle School. The elementary and middle schools are in River Forest Public Schools District 90. River Forest shares a high school with Oak Park, known as Oak Park and River Forest High School, located in Oak Park.[5]

River Forest is home to two Catholic grade schools and one Lutheran grade school. St. Luke Parish and St. Vincent Ferrer School are Catholic schools, and Grace Lutheran School is Lutheran. All three enroll children from 3 years old through eighth grade. River Forest has one all-girls' secondary school, Trinity High School.

River Forest also has the Keystone Montessori School, established in 1994. It serves children 9 months of age to 8th grade as an alternative learning style for children.[6] It educates children using the philosophy of Maria Montessori.

The River Forest Public Library is located at 735 Lathrop Avenue.

Government and infrastructure


The United States Postal Service operates the River Forest Post Office at 401 William Street.[7]





Metra operates a station in River Forest along the Union Pacific West Line at 8001 W. Central Avenue[8]

Pace runs routes 309 and 313 along Lake Street through River Forest, stopping a block from the Metra station.[9][10] Pace also runs routes 307 and 318, with southbound busses driving on North Avenue (318 only) and Harlem Avenue on the edge of River Forest.


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[11]
2010[12] 2020[13]

As of the 2020 census[14] there were 11,717 people, 4,040 households, and 2,754 families residing in the village. The population density was 4,720.79 inhabitants per square mile (1,822.71/km2). There were 4,266 housing units at an average density of 1,718.78 per square mile (663.62/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 72.91% White, 7.51% African American, 0.12% Native American, 8.01% Asian, 2.70% from other races, and 8.75% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.46% of the population.

There were 4,040 households, out of which 35.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.69% were married couples living together, 4.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.83% were non-families. 31.83% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.32% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.13 and the average family size was 2.47.

The village's age distribution consisted of 25.4% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 18.4% from 25 to 44, 28.3% from 45 to 64, and 17.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.8 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.5 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $125,288, and the median income for a family was $193,171. Males had a median income of $116,643 versus $57,703 for females. The per capita income for the village was $79,929. About 1.3% of families and 2.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.2% of those under age 18 and 1.9% of those age 65 or over.

River Forest village, Illinois – Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010[12] Pop 2020[13] % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 9,050 8,308 81.01% 70.91%
Black or African American alone (NH) 733 869 6.56% 7.42%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 4 9 0.04% 0.08%
Asian alone (NH) 505 932 4.52% 7.95%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 2 0 0.02% 0.00%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 38 93 0.34% 0.79%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 170 515 1.52% 4.40%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 670 991 6.00% 8.46%
Total 11,172 11,717 100.00% 100.00%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.


River Forest Tennis Club building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in River Forest, Illinois

River Forest is perhaps best known for the diversity of early 20th century American residential architectural styles including several Frank Lloyd Wright designs and others within the Prairie School. The Winslow House and the River Forest Tennis Club are most notable for Frank Lloyd Wright's early styles.

Winslow House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in River Forest, Illinois

Notable people


Notable events


River Forest hosted the 2016 Little League Baseball Illinois State Tournament at Keystone Park.

2019 Little League Illinois State Baseball Champions[15]

2023 Junior Little League Illinois State Softball Champions[16]

For 18 years, the neighborhood has hosted a yearly 9/11 Lemon-Aid stand on the 700 block of Bonnie Brae which donates all proceeds to local charities. The first year, the event raised $400 for Hepzibah Children's Association. Last year, $36,000 was raised for Kidz Express. To date, $323,000 has been donated by the event.[17]

Every year, the Rotary Club of Oak Park River Forest hosts the Food Truck Rally in Keystone Park that donates all net proceeds to local charities. The event includes 10 trucks with sweet, savory, and beer trucks; a live music stage; and a family activities area.[18]

See also



  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  2. ^ "River Forest village, Illinois". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 15, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c "A Brief History of River Forest | Oak Park River Forest Museum". oprfmuseum.org. Retrieved January 7, 2024.
  4. ^ "G001 – Geographic Identifiers – 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved December 25, 2015.
  5. ^ "Oak Park and River Forest High School". www.oprfhs.org.
  6. ^ "Keystone Montessori School". www.ksmontessori.org.
  7. ^ "Post Office Location – RIVER FOREST." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on April 17, 2009.
  8. ^ "River Forest | Metra". metra.com. Retrieved August 17, 2023.
  9. ^ "309 - Lake Street | Pace Suburban Bus". www.pacebus.com. Retrieved August 17, 2023.
  10. ^ "Pace Bus - Route 313". www.pacebus.com. Retrieved August 17, 2023.
  11. ^ "Decennial Census of Population and Housing by Decades". US Census Bureau.
  12. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE – 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – River Forest village, Illinois". United States Census Bureau.
  13. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE – 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – River Forest village, Illinois". United States Census Bureau.
  14. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  15. ^ "Illinois State Little League® Tournament Historical Results".
  16. ^ "Junior League Softball Central Regional Teams".
  17. ^ "LemonAid". LemonAid. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  18. ^ "River Forest Park District » Food Truck Rally". Retrieved February 7, 2020.