The Village of Hodgkins was originally known as Gary, a name locals claim was derived from “Garibaldi”, in recognition of the large number of Italian laborers working in an area grain mill. After several name changes, the Village of Hodgkins was incorporated in 1896. Jefferson Hodgkins, the president of Kimball and Cobb Stone company, was the man for whom Hodgkins was named. Modesto Lenzi, the somewhat dubious “King of Gary”, became the village’s first president that same year.
The first business to locate in Hodgkins was the Kimball and Cobb Stone Company on a piece of property sold to it by William and Jane Muxworthy in 1883. The President of the Company was Jefferson Hodgkins. In 1897, the business was sold to Vulcan Materials.
In the mid-1960’s, the Santa Fe Railroad made available 275 acres of open land for future development. Among the many business’s located in the Santa Fe Improvement Park are Continental Baking Company, Certified Grocers of Illinois, Sealed Air Corporation and Liberty Publishing. Also located along the west end of the Village is the United Parcel Service package sorting facility. The facility is the largest of its kind in the world and was constructed in 1991. In addition, the Santa Fe Industrial Park expanded construction of the Railway Intermodel Facility. During the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, the motor freight industry began to decline and many of these companies were forced to cease operation. In 1985, Hodgkins joined with the Village of McCook to create the McCook-Hodgkins Enterprise Zone. In 1986, Hodgkins created a Tax Increment Finance District, both of these tools allowed the Village to offer better incentives to new businesses desiring to locate in the Village. Ettleson Buick-Cadillac-Oldsmobile and the Quarry Shopping Center were constructed on the sites formerly occupied by several motor freight companies. Major anchor stores at the center include Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Kohl’s and Target Greatland. Additional stores in the center are Pep Boys, Office Max, Lane Bryant, Ulta 3, and many more. Restaurants include Lone Star Steak House, Applebee’s, SubWay and Casciani’s Pizza. In 2001 a CITGO Mini-Mart Gas Station opened at the corner of East Avenue and Joliet Road. By utilizing these economic tools, Hodgkins attracted more than 15,000 new jobs into our community by the year 2000. Hodgkins also has a 14 screen movie theatre, The Quarry Cinema.