The current mayor of Niles is Andrew Przybylo.
Niles was first settled in 1827. The village of Niles was incorporated on August 24, 1899. The village had a population of 500 people at that time.
Article 4 of the Treaty of Prairie du Chien, signed between the United States government and several chiefs of the Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatamie left particular tracts of land to individuals of mixed-Native American ancestry. Among these individuals were Billy Caldwell, Victoria Pothier, and Jane Miranda. The land given to these individuals helped for what would eventually established part of the border of Niles. During the 1832 Black Hawk War, there is evidence that one band of Native Americans may have reached Billy Caldwell's property as part of an attempt to reclaim land lost to the United States.
There is no clear indication of the origin of the name "Niles." In 1929, the Chicago Tribune ran an article opining that the name was taken from the Niles Register, a newspaper published in the 1820s out of Washington, D.C., and distributed nationally; however, no proof of that has yet been discovered; accounts state only that the name was chosen at public meeting prior to township organization in 1850. Another belief is that the name "Niles" was named after Niles Construction which did much of the building early during the city's founding.
Niles was the first community in Illinois and one of the first in the United States to establish free ambulance service, in 1946.