The early settlers of the Wadsworth area were farmers who arrived in the 1830’s.  A saw mill was built in 1835 on Mill Creek by a man named Jacob Miller.  Other businesses that supported the farmers were feed and grain mills and blacksmith shops.  A few general stores operated out of private homes.

These early settlers were interested in the education of their children and the first grade school was organized in 1847.  A one-room school was built on donated land.  The school had various locations and buildings over the years until a brick school was built in 1925.  This one-room school continued in use until 1963, when the Wadsworth School District was annexed to the Gurnee Grade School District.  The day of the one-room school was over in Lake County.  In 1984 the Wadsworth Village Board voted to acquire the school property and in 1985 the Wadsworth School Building became the Wadsworth Village Hall.

An early settler named Mr. Lux laid out the plat of what became Wadsworth.  He sold and donated some of the land needed by the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad.  This railroad completed its first line in 1872.  Mr. Lux hoped to name the town Luxville or Luxberg, but that honor went to Elisha Wadsworth who was a major shareholder in the railroad.  The railroad had a major influence on the economy of Wadsworth.  Trains stopped in Wadsworth to take on water and coal for their steam engines.  There was a depot, an agent and a telegraph operator plus other railroad employees.  Farmers shipped milk to Chicago and would often take the milk train to Chicago once a month to collect their milk money from the dairies.  After the high school was built in Gurnee, students from Wadsworth could take the milk train in the morning and return train in the afternoon.  By the mid-1930’s, the trains no longer stopped in Wadsworth and thus the economy waned.

A major industry in Wadsworth in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s was the production of bricks and field tile.  Winter’s Brick Yard and Cashmore Tile and Brick Yard were two enterprises involved in this.  Several brick houses in Wadsworth were built by Jonathan Cashmore or his children and are still in use today.

Many of the buildings in Downtown Wadsworth go back to the late 1800’s or early 1900’s.  There were grocery stores, taverns, restaurants, general stores and dance halls.  Some of these buildings are gone, but others remain, although with different uses.

The Village of Wadsworth incorporated in 1962 and celebrated its 50th Anniversary as an Incorporated Village in 2012.  Its current population, following the 2010 Decennial Census, is 3,815.  The Village prides itself on its rural character which is exemplified in its acre minimum requirement for residential lots and proximity to active farmlands and Lake County Forest Preserve land holdings.  Located in northern Lake County within Benton, Newport and Warren Townships, the Village’s neighbors include the Cities of Waukegan and Zion and the Villages of Beach Park, Gurnee and Old Mill Creek.  The Village proudly salutes and welcomes commuters entering and leaving the State of Illinois at the northern end of I-94 at the Wisconsin State Line.

* Special thanks to the Newport Township Historical Society for the above article.
Official Website of Wadsworth, Illinois