Village of Winnetka Government Services


Winnetka firefighters pose on one of the Fire Department’s trucks, c. 1915.

Fearless Firefighters

What started as a bucket brigade has since grown into a fully operational fire department. Beginning in 1893 with development of the Lakeside Hose Company and the Winnetka Fire Department, Winnetka’s fire safety has adapted and grown with the Village over time. Read about the origins and history of the Winnetka Fire Department. CLICK HERE!

Scroll through the gallery to see historic photos of the Winnetka Fire Department over time. CLICK HERE!

Water and Electricity

Did you know that Winnetka distributes its own electricity and has its own water plant? By 1900, Winnetka’s water and electric plant had become the first municipal plant on the North Shore when it was built at the foot of Tower Road. While Winnetkans have debated the future of the plant since the 1950s, it remains operational. Learn more about the only remaining power plant on the North Shore. CLICK HERE!

And to explore more about the history of Winnetka’s water plant, CLICK HERE!

Winnetka Water Plant, 1894.

Winnetka Police and Fire Department sign, 1972.

Keeping Winnetkans Safe

Many towns outside of Chicago have their own police force, and Winnetka is no different. In fact, Winnetka has had some form of police brigade since the inception of the Village itself. Learn about Winnetka’s original volunteer Marshal force and its evolution into the police department we have today. CLICK HERE!

Planning for the Future: The Winnetka Plan

In 1921, Winnetka pushed forward a progressive engine of change in comprehensive Village planning. Edward H. Bennett of Chicago led a team to chart a direction for the Village on issues from railroads to lakefront development, traffic patterns to utilities, playgrounds to public buildings, and much more. Since then, Village planning has been a periodic occurrence, with the “Winnetka Futures 2040” now in the works. To read more about the history of Village planning, CLICK HERE!

And to glean insight into the “Winnetka Futures 2040” plan, CLICK HERE!

Proposed Village center from the first Winnetka Plan created by Edward H. Bennett, 1921.


Village Hall, c. 1925.

Governance at Village Hall

Each suburb on the North Shore has its own government to ensure the town or village is well looked after. In fact, Winnetka’s Village government is responsible for many of the Village’s services, including the fire, police, and public works departments. To learn more about Winnetka’s Council-Manager style of government, CLICK HERE!

To explore the history of Winnetka’s local government’s home at Village Hall, CLICK HERE!