One interesting historical fact about Park Ridge is that it was originally named Brickton. In 1873 Brickton was officially incorporated, but the residents voted to rename it to Park Ridge. Over the next decades, as Park Ridge established its identity as a residential community, its leaders sought to develop the look of a traditional New England town, with large homes on wide lots and a profusion of trees. Apartments were banned and industrial development discouraged.
Park Ridge experienced a major building boom during the 1910s and ’20s. City dwellers discovered the pleasant surroundings and convenient commuter trains. From 2,009 in 1910, the population ballooned to 10,417 in 1930. Anticipating annexation pressure from Chicago, the village had reorganized as the city of Park Ridge in 1910. Maine East High School and the landmark Pickwick Theater date from this era.
As its population grew, Park Ridge moved to increase its tax base by encouraging office development and allowing a limited number of apartments. Lutheran General Hospital relocated from Chicago, and a second high school (Maine South) opened in 1964. In later years, as the community filled up its vacant land and property values soared, builders began to tear down small, older homes and replace them with huge new dwellings.
Park Ridge entered the twenty-first century as a mature, upper-middle-class residential suburb. The population continues to be largely white Anglo-Saxon Protestant, but now with a significant number of Polish Roman Catholics. Concerns include maintaining the residential strengths of the community and alleviating the noise from O’Hare Airport.
Encyclopedia of Chicago