Geographical Location and Land of McHenry County, IL
Illinois houses the 5th largest population in the United States and ranks as the 25th state with the largest land area. It is even considered the state that best reflects the entirety of the country due to its agricultural productivity, natural resources, and diverse economic base. In addition, it is a major transportation hub, the largest nuclear power generator in the US, and is home to the world’s largest bottle of catsup. But in terms of being a center for agriculture and recreation, there is a specific county in Illinois that stands out among the rest – McHenry County. There is no wonder why people are searching for home builders in McHenry County, IL in such vast numbers. Here is a little more information regarding this beautiful place, below.
McHenry County was named after Major William McHenry who was an Indian fighter who died in 1835. The following year, McHenry County was formed out of the counties of Cook and LaSalle. Then in 1839, carving out the eastern townships of McHenry created Lake County, resulting to its present borders spanning a total land area of 611 sq. mi. (1,580 sq. km.) wherein only 1.3% is water.
The county’s geographical breakdown is as follows:
§ 61% is agricultural
§ 16% is residential
§ 11% are designated open spaces (such as parks and golf courses)
§ 2% is either governmental or institutional
§ 1% is mining (such as gravel pits)
§ 1% is industrial
§ 1% is commercial
§ 7% is considered vacant
McHenry County can be best described as a great change of pace from the usual hustle and bustle of the urban environment. With the county’s natural rolling hills, oak groves, marshes, and streams, McHenry is definitely considered environmentally and culturally unique. It is also notable for being located in a region wherein a lot of industries can have strategic advantage and prosper.
The landscape of McHenry Country varies depending on where you are located, and there are also distinguishable changes in the characteristics of the community it holds.
In the east, communities built along the river such as Barrington Hills, Trout Valley, Holiday Hills, Fox Lake, Port Barrington, Fox River Grove, and Johnsburg all take advantage of activities and opportunities based on recreation. For communities such as Crystal Lake, Wonder Lake, Oakwood Hills, McCullum Lake, and Lake in the Hills, they build vacation homes near the shores of their lakes. The Fox River Valley is characterized by hilly topography that has flat flood plains near river inlets. This gives them the opportunity for recreational activities such as the Nordic Ski Jump facility and Moraine Hills State Park. Fox River Valley can be difficult to access though given the rolling terrain and water features.
The south of the County mostly comprised of flat farmlands that have undergone large scale conversions to residential and commercial uses, making most of this part highly urban. This area is characterized by large subdivisions that have curving roadways, adequate water detention ponds, and open spaces for future plans.
The cores of the communities in the north and the west are built along railroads. They still retain the ambience of a central town square. For the cities of Woodstock, Hebron, Harvard, Spring Grove, Marengo, Union, and Richmond, they are all dispersed and separated from each other because of the County’s remaining operations on agriculture.
Large row crop areas and small agricultural operations can be found throughout McHenry County. Even along the busiest commercial strip of the County that is Randall Road, a few agricultural operations can still be found.
Another industry where the County benefits much from and is common among all the area in it is earth extraction or gravel pits. Due to gravel mining in the County for the past 100 years, it has caused some areas to develop barriers for transportation and recreational activities alike. Such are the cases of Illinois Route 31, Randall Road, and Rakow Road wherein they handle tremendous loads of traffic since the effect of gravel pit operations hindered the possibility of a roadways network to be built between Crystal Lake and Algonquin.
There are large and unique glacial deposits located across the County that support biodiversity, making it a home for many flora and fauna. Just like much of the Upper Midwest, McHenry County usually experiences summers that are hot and humid, and winters that are cold and snowy. It is also important to note that the County is an area prone to high wind events, severe thunderstorms, and even flooding.