The Evanston suburb, located immediately north of Chicago’s city limits, is one of the oldest and largest communities of the North Shore. The town itself grew around the establishment of Northwestern University in 1851—three years later, the university’s founders petitioned the county to begin developing Evanston, named after local leader John Evans. In 1857, the fledgling Evanston suburb split off from Ridgeville Township, and incorporated in 1863. The town experienced massive growth immediately after the Civil War—between 1860 and 1870, the population grew four times in size. A second major population boom occurred between 1920 and 1930, with the city growing by over 70 percent. Today, the Evanston suburb thrives as an independent city, with many cultural outlets, a prosperous business economy and public lakefront recreation activities. Northwestern University is acclaimed as one of the best schools in the nation, and the historic architecture is greatly admired.