History & Awards
In 1890, William McClintock, a newspaper publisher and Civil War veteran from Ohio
purchased 80 acres of land between Homewood and Harvey that became the core acreage of Hazel Crest. McClintock platted and registered the land as South Harvey, anticipating great benefits from Harvey, which was being advertised as a planned industrial city and attracting widespread interest. McClintock built a depot so that the local milk train would stop in what would eventually become Hazel Crest. This single move opened up transportation to Chicago and beyond. It was not easy for McClintock to develop the new community.
In 1893, his property was abruptly annexed by the Village of Homewood. In 1895, McClintock and other residents who wanted the freedom to determine their own future, led a successful campaign to de-annex from Homewood. McClintock also led a petition drive to change the name from South Harvey to Hazel Crest due to the rolling nature of the land and the abundance of hazelnut bushes.
In 1912 area residents voted to incorporate Hazel Crest. Soon after, residents began municipal services, a volunteer fire department, a public school and St. Anne Catholic Church, which continues to serve the community today. McClintock died in 1903 and never saw Hazel Crest prosper. Because of the rail yards, excellent commuter access, and the proliferation of local businesses, Hazel Crest developed to accommodate residential growth. In all, 25 distinct neighborhoods and upscale condominium developments were gradually built as families flocked to the thriving Village. Neighborhood associations were established and became the foundation of civic life in Hazel Crest, a tradition which continues today. The 2010 Census places the population of Hazel Crest at 14,100.
Hazel Crest also has a tradition of strong human services, community involvement and commitment to excellence. It was one of the first communities to have a Human Relations Commission, now known as the Community Relations Commission. The Village has been recognized for the volunteer spirit of its residents with two Governor’s Home Town Award, the most recent in 2006. For over 27 years the Village has had the distinction of being the "Tree City USA". Sponsored in conjunction with the National Arbor Day Foundation, the United States Department of Agriculture, and Forest Services, Urban and Community Forestry, and the National Association of State Foresters, the award recognizes communities for practicing sound urban forestry management.