The village of Hodgkins maintains its own police department, public works department, and water department. Hodgkins Elementary School is part of La Grange School District 105. High school students attend Lyons Township High School. The Hodgkins Park District offers a large community center and schedules a myriad of activities all year long. The Hodgkins Public Library is a full-service facility within the RAILS (Reaching Across Illinois Library System). The Village of Hodgkins currently employs 25 full- and part-time employees. Hodgkins is covered by two local newspapers, the Suburban Life, and the Desplaines Valley News.
Government of Hodgkins
Hodgkins is governed by an elected president and six trustees. The Village President, Village Clerk, and three Trustees are elected every four years. The other group of three Trustees are also elected for four-year terms, but this election is staggered and takes place two years after the first group. The Village Treasurer, the Village Chief of Police, and the Village Superintendent of Public Works are appointed. Hodgkins is in Illinois’ 3rd congressional district.
History of Hodgkins
The first European visitors to present-day Hodgkins, explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet, paddled down the Des Plaines River in 1673, passing through the area, making their camp in present-day Summit. Settlement in the area, however, was somewhat stagnant until the early 19th century. It was at this time, around 1836, that Irish and Italian immigrants came to the area to work on the Illinois and Michigan Canal. The construction and eventual operation of the canal was responsible for the formation of many villages presently located along its banks, including Hodgkins. The I&M Canal is still in existence, located about one mile south of Hodgkins. The canal and its adjacent land, now known as the I&M Canal National Heritage Corridor, was designated a National Heritage Corridor by Congress in 1984. The I&M Canal National Heritage Corridor is rich in historic sites, nature preserves and wildlife, and stretches from Chicago to LaSalle-Peru.
The village of Hodgkins was originally known as Gary, a name locals claim was derived from “Garibaldi”, in recognition of the large number of Italian laborers working in an area grain mill. After several name changes, the Village of Hodgkins was incorporated in 1896. Jefferson Hodgkins, the president of the Kimball and Cobb Stone company, which was also the first business to locate in the village, was the man for whom Hodgkins was named. Modesto Lenzi, the somewhat dubious “King of Gary”, became the village’s first president that same year.