At first glance, Deerfield doesn’t look like a town with a lot of history. Virtually all the homes were built in the last 50 years, and the “old” downtown area that dated from the 50s and 60s was completely redeveloped about 10 years ago. But the town has been around since 1835, and the first school, Wilmot School, was founded in 1847. It was built on land donated by Lynn Wilmot, whose nearby home was a stop on the Underground Railroad.
The Deerfield Area Historical Society preserves the town’s past in their Historic Village, five buildings that recreate a typical prairie community of the 1800s. Each year, 4th-graders from local elementary schools spend a day at the one-room schoolhouse in a hands-on history lesson that few ever forget.
The newly renovated Sachs Recreation Center has 3 gyms, tennis and racquetball courts, a fitness facility and an indoor pool, plus a spa and café for relaxing after a workout. At the Jewett Park Community Center, a preschool and indoor playground attract the younger set, while older sibs work the barre at the Deerfield Dance Studio or practice their moves at the Skate Park. The Park District also operates a variety of neighborhood parks, two outdoor swimming pools and the Deerfield Golf Club, which offers a challenging 18 holes at affordable prices.
Each summer villagers come together for the Fine Arts Festival in June, and on July 3rd and 4th for Deerfield Family Days, with a 10K run, parade, live music, food and fireworks. An active group of volunteers is instrumental in these community events, as well as other activities in the parks and schools.
In Deerfield, vintage homes are those built before 1980, and they are found mostly on large shady lots in the northeast section of the village. Priced between $500,000 and $1 million, these were traditionally Deerfield’s highest priced homes. But teardowns and other recently built luxury homes have pushed the high end of the range to $2 million and up.
Throughout the village, a mix of newer homes and ranches and tri-levels from the 1960s are available at prices as low $250,000, down from a few years ago, although most are in the range of $400,000 to $700,000. Deerfield has a variety of multi-family housing, with some older condos at the low end priced under $200,000, and newer luxury townhomes in the $400,000 to $500,000 range.
Deerfield’s concentrated downtown area makes it more walkable than many of its neighbors, and many residents enjoy strolling to restaurants, parks and shopping. Commuters converge on the Metra station each morning for the 50-minute trip to Chicago’s Loop, but driving is made easy by the village’s close proximity to I-94.
Shopping, Dining and Nightlife
Downtown’s newly renovated Deerfield Square functions as a welcoming community gathering place, where teenagers congregate on Saturday afternoons and families enjoy outdoor concerts on summer evenings. But it’s primarily a shopping center, and residents appreciate the easy access to national retailers such as Barnes & Noble; White House, Black Market; and Whole Foods. A selection of local shops can also be found near the Square, selling everything from furniture to flowers to tropical fish.
Residents who live near downtown especially appreciate the area’s great selection of restaurants—in good weather they can walk to the Italian Kitchen for pasta, or Trax Tavern and Grill for its roof-top patio and, for the party crowd, karaoke on Saturday nights.
Deerfield is very proud of its highly rated schools, both elementary and Deerfield High School, which is considered a leader in innovative education and is consistently ranked among the best in the state. Private schools include a Holy Cross elementary school and Chicagoland Jewish High School.