Life in New Lenox
With a population of 27,214 people as of 2020, New Lenox is a pleasant village just 36 miles outside of downtown Chicago. The vast majority of citizens are aged 45 to 54 years, making up 15.5% of the population. It was deemed as “formally organized” in 1946, having previously been established as a township conveniently located near the newly built Rock Island Railroad. The town was originally named Tracey to honor the general superintendent of the Rock Island Railroad, John F. Tracy. But he eventually requested that the town be renamed.
From the beginning, New Lenox was a railroad town. The Rock Island railroad established a presence in 1852, opening up the region to the rest of the world in a very real way. The famous Wabash line (the origin of the famous “Wabash Cannon Ball”), the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern, and the Michigan Central train lines all eventually had a presence in the town.
Today, this spirit of connectivity continues with New Lenox’s connection to two Metra lines and its position as a hub for several highways that include the Veterans Memorial Tollway. New Lenox was also the first rural Illinois town to host a Bell telephone company in 1898, where residents enjoyed 24-hour operator access by 1905.
If you’re looking to stay connected to the rest of Chicagoland, New Lenox is the prime choice for building your dream home. It’s known as the “Home of Proud Americans” for a reason!
School and Home Life in New Lenox
New Lenox falls under the purview of New Lenox School District 122, which features eight different elementary schools and two middle schools. Preschool is offered and programs for children requiring special education services are available at the Cherry Hill Elementary and Early Childhood Center.
The three high schools of New Lenox have the convenient names of Lincoln-Way West, Lincoln-Way East, and Lincoln-Way Central. There is also a private Roman Catholic high school, Providence Catholic High School, available for students to attend. Joliet Junior College, America’s first public community college, features pre-baccalaureate programs for students planning to eventually transfer to a four-year college.
About 53% of the homes in New Lenox were built from 1980 to 1999, which mostly caters to suburban families of middle to high income. The residents of these homes tend to be of higher income, and don’t have many children on average. However, they may have to deal with higher transportation costs. Seniors are the fastest-growing section of this group. 42% of New Lenox’s homes are newer, lower density houses that cater to citizens with high levels of both income and education. This category is growing quickly, and some people are concerned about the rising costs of transportation. In both of these categories, residents need to invest in high-quality roofing in order to maintain the market value of their homes and protect them from leaks for years to come. Luxurious materials like cedar shake or synthetic shingles are more likely to be found in housing of this category.
The remaining 5% of New Lenox is comprised of lower cost housing (though still appealing to middle income buyers). This category is likely to house citizens that feel the burden of home costs a bit more than others. However, it is important for these residents to have their roofs regularly inspected to preserve the integrity of these homes. Older housing in general requires regular inspections to ensure that everything is structurally sound and homeowners can resolve problems before they require costly solutions.
Things to Do In New Lenox
- The Village Commons: Multiple events happen out on the Village Commons throughout the year, from summer movie events to the Last Call Before Fall craft beer event. The annual Triple Play concert series has featured headliner artists such as Pat Benatar, Counting Crows, ZZ Top, and more. In winter, visitors can enjoy a holiday market, ice skating rink, and more.
- Old Plank Road Trail: This fantastic rail trail is one of the top attractions of the New Lenox area, with 22 miles of centrally located trail with plenty of split-off points leading to the Commons. The entire trail runs from Joliet to west of Chicago Heights! Originally developed as the path of an independent railroad in 1855, the trail features previously beautiful sections of tallgrass prairie for hikers to take in.
- The New Lenox French Market: From late spring to early October, visitors can take in local food, crafts, and plants available for purchase. There are often events taking place for free during market season.
- Sanctuary Golf Course: Right on the border of New Lenox and Joliet, this 6,900 yard course provides a sizable challenge via 68 bunkers and water features on 14 of the 18 holes. Fun offerings are available all over this course, including meal-and-golf packages based around summer barbecues and their annual Golf & Fish Derby.
- Hickory Creek State Nature Preserve: Over 1,500 acres of land host 50 different bird species in this lovely historical preserve. Take in the view of local plants throughout the year. In spring, the bright yellow blooms of the yellow trout lily are sure to delight.
New Lenox Weather
New Lenox is a city of extreme weather, with long summers that are humid and warm followed by freezing and windy winters. The rainy season, where you’ll have at least a 26% chance of rain, lasts from late March to late October. June is the rainiest of the month and features an average of 11 days of at least 0.4 inches of rain. In December, it’s cloudy or completely overcast about 57% of the time.
Humidity is a major consideration for visiting and moving to New Lenox. The muggy season lasts from late May to late September. By July 28th, summer days are rated anywhere between “humid” and “oppressive” about 48% of the time. New Lenox is also a fairly windy place, with winds ranging between an average of 7.6 mph in August to 12.6 mph in March.
About 137 days out of the year feature temperatures at or below freezing. The average temperature is 30 degrees Fahrenheit in January and 85 degrees in summer. It’s considered cooler in New Lenox than most locations in Illinois, with snowfall occurring about six months out of the year. Therefore, making sure that roofs are ready for winter is of the utmost importance. Residents of this area need to make sure to work to prevent ice dams and other snow-specific threats to roof integrity.