Oak Park is a village adjacent to the West Side of the city of Chicago in Cook County, Illinois, United States. It is the 29th largest municipality in Illinois as measured by population, and has easy access to downtown Chicago (the Chicago Loop) via public transportation such as the Chicago 'L' Blue and Green lines, CTA buses, and Metra commuter rail. As of the 2010 United States Census the Village had a total population of 51,878.
In 1837, Joseph Kettlestrings purchased of land just west of Chicago. By 1850, the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad was constructed as far as Elgin, Illinois, and passed through what would later become Oak Park. In the 1850s the land on which Oak Park sits was part of the new Chicago suburb of Cicero. The population of the area boomed during the 1870s, with Chicago residents resettling in Cicero following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
The Village of Oak Park was formally established in 1902, disengaging from Cicero following a referendum.
Oak Park has a history of alcohol prohibition. When the village was incorporated, no alcohol was allowed to be sold within its village limits. This law was relaxed in 1973, when restaurants and hotels were allowed to serve alcohol, and was further loosened in 2002, when select grocery stores received governmental permission to sell packaged liquor.
Oak Park attracts architecture buffs and others to view the many Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes found in the village. The largest collection of Wright-designed residential properties in the world is in Oak Park. Other attractions include Ernest Hemingway's birthplace home and his boyhood home, the Ernest Hemingway Museum, the three Oak Park homes of writer and Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs, Wright's Unity Temple, Pleasant Home, the Oak Park-River Forest Historical Society, and the Seward Gunderson Historic District.
Oak Park is home to Oak Park and River Forest High School, which is also the public high school for the bordering village of River Forest. A comprehensive college preparatory school, Oak Park-River Forest High School has a long history of turning out alumni who have made major or notable contributions to their field of endeavor. Among these are Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway, football Hall-of-Famer George Trafton, McDonald's founder Ray Kroc, city planner Walter Burley Griffin, comedian Kathy Griffin, basketball player Iman Shumpert, and the voice of iconic cartoon character Homer Simpson, Dan Castellaneta.