Flossmoor Real Estate

    Flossmoor, a small residential town in the southern suburbs, is to a great extent the creation of the Illinois Central Railroad.  The town is situated in the Calumet River watershed and lies in the townships of Bloom and Rich.

    The Illinois Central bought 160 acres in Flossmoor in 1893.  The company’s plan was to strip away the black dirt and use it as fill at the World’s Columbian Exposition, but the soil proved unsuitable.  When the railroad later decided to sell its land, it received an unexpected boost.

    In 1898, a group of investors conceived the idea of building a golf course in the area.  They asked the Illinois Central to extend service beyond Homewood, then the southermost stop on the commuting line, and to erect a station close to the site of the proposed course.  When the railroad agreed, the investors established the Homewood Country Club (renamed Flossmoor in 1913).  The venture was such a success that other country clubs soon followed, particularly Ravisloe, in Homewood; Idlewild, in Flossmoor; Olympia Fields in Olympia Fields; and Calumet in Homewood.

    The Illinois Central broker its land into lots, platted the subdivision in 1901 and in 1903 built a half-dozen houses.  The U.S. Post Office selected the name Flossmoor from a list the Illinois Central had assembled through a contest to name the place.  The railroad vigorously promoted Flossmoor, even running free-lunch excusions for prospective buyers from Chicago, and steadily built ridership by touting the country clubs and providing special services for golfers.  Residential construction pciked up after 1910, and by World War I, the upper-middle-class community was firmly established and included some of the railroad’s executives.  Electrification of the commuter train lines in 1926, further increased the desirability of the area.

    Flossmoor incorporated as a village in 1924.  Among the first local laws was an ordinance that prohibited industry within the town limits, thus guaranteeing the village’s residential character.  It also implicitly screened in new residents who worked elsewhere.  By 1967, Flossmoor and neighboring Homewood were among a handful of suburbs where more than half the workers commuted to jobs in Chicago.

    In the postwar period, Floosmoor and Homewood formed some significant partnership.  Homewood-Flossmoor Community High School in Flossmoor opened its doors in 1959 and was proven exceptionally successful, winning Blue Ribbon Awards from the U.S. Department of Education in 1982-82, 1994-95, and 2001-02.  A join park district was incorporated in 1969.