Des Plaines, Illinois in Cook County was originally settled by the French who named the town, “of the plains.” Today, the town is officially nicknamed the "City of Destiny."
This suburb of Chicago, which sits right next to O'Hare International Airport and the Des Plaines River, runs through the east of the city's downtown. Des Plaines is traversed by two interstate highways, the I-90 Northwest Tollway and I-294 Tri-State Tollway, and named for the Des Plaines River, which flows through it.
Des Plaines sits atop the "Des Plaines Disturbance," an area that is said to have been created by an ancient meteor. When it impacted, the bedrock was highly fractured with large blocks of sediment upended in which the layers of sedimentary rock are highly abnormal. This ancient crater sits 75 to 200 feet beneath the town and was eventually filled by glacial activity. Today, no trace remains on the surface.
The Potawatomi, Ottawa, and Ojibwe (Chippewa) Native American tribes inhabited the Des Plaines River Valley prior to Europeans' arrival. The first white settlers came from the eastern United States in 1833, following the Treaty of Chicago signed the same year. After the first settlers arrived, many German immigrants moved to the area during the 1840s and 1850s. In the 1850s, land in the area was purchased by the Illinois and Wisconsin Land Company along a railroad line planned between Chicago and Janesville, Wisconsin. In 1852, the developers built a steam powered mill next to the river, to cut local trees into railroad ties.
Socrates Rand then bought the mill and converted it into a grist mill, which attracted local farmers. The Illinois and Wisconsin Railroad made its first stop in the area in the fall of 1854. In 1857, the Chicago, St. Paul and Fond du lac Railroad began running its route, stopping near the mill where a small business section developed. In 1859, the Chicago and North Western Railway purchased the rail line, stopping its train and subsequently named its station "Des Plaines." In 1869, the subdivision name was changed to Des Plaines and the Village of Des Plaines was incorporated.