Socrates Rand, who served as Justice of the Peace for the community, was instrumental in bringing the first railroad to Des Plaines. He organized many of the community members to assist in the laying of the track. With the birth of the railroad came tremendous growth, as the farmers found it easier to trade and transport their goods to nearby Chicago. With this resource in mind, many businesses soon opened their doors, strategically placing themselves near the railroad. A small number of businesses which had been attracted to this area were located in what was officially known as the Town of Rand, named for Socrates Rand. “Auxplaines” (French for prairies) was how this area was originally known and when the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad purchased the railroad station they named it the Des Plaines station. In 1870 the name was officially changed from the Town of Rand to Des Plaines.
Today Des Plaines has a population of 56,945 and is home to a large contingent of prominent business and industrial firms as well as professional, retail and service companies. Its well kept homes range from modest brick bungalows to large and elaborate executive style homes and from rental apartments to luxury townhomes and condominiums.
The city has an extensive park system that includes 59 parks and facilities that offer residents a 18 hole par 3 golf course, family aquatics center, fishing, boating, fitness facilities, miniature golf, soccer and softball fields, basketball courts and much more.
The city also boasts of a state of art public library, history center, award winning public and private schools, a community college, a senior center and all denominations of worship.
The City of Des Plaines operates under the Council-Manager form of government. The Council acts as the City's legislative body, enacting the laws and establishing the policies that govern the city. The Council consists of a part-time Mayor and the Alderman representing each of the eight individual wards. A full-time City Manager oversees the day-to-day operation of the city.