Where the buffalo roam

“Were there ever buffalo in Buffalo Grove?” This is one of the most commonly asked questions here at the museum. The short answer is definitely, possibly maybe.

Buffalo Grove was originally named for the grove of trees which stood near Buffalo Creek, very near the current intersection of Buffalo Grove Road and Lake-Cook Road. The story goes that a group of buffalo (American Bison) used to graze in those trees, hence the name.

However, there is no conclusive evidence to support the claim. In fact, while American bison inhabit areas ranging from Canada to Mexico, they prefer wide open grasslands.  So, it would be unusual for them to to live in Buffalo Grove with such dense wooded areas.

There is always some element of truth in folklore.  Although it would be unusual, it is not completely out of the realm of possibility.  Buffalo Grove is rare among Lake County towns because it has only had one name throughout its history. In comparison, Long Grove, Arlington Heights, and Waukegan have all changed names at least once. Mundelein has actually had four different names over the years!

To learn about the American Bison, visit: http://www.animalfactguide.com/animalfacts/american-bison/

Published by Raupp Museum

The Raupp Museum is a local history museum serving the community of Buffalo Grove, Illinois and surrounding areas. The museum's three galleries showcase Buffalo Grove's history from the early 1830s to the present. Educational programs are available for school groups, scout groups, and adult clubs.

One thought on “Where the buffalo roam

  1. The eastern bison subspecies was actually more common in wooded areas and forests, so it’s indeed quite likely that there were once real buffalo in Buffalo Grove!

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