About Prairie Crossing
Prairie Crossing, the nationally recognized Conservation Community is now selling 36 condominiums. It has sold the last of its 359 new construction single-family homes. The community was designed to combine responsible development, the preservation of open land and easy commuting by rail. It is now considered a national example of how to design our communities to support a better way of life.
Living at Prairie Crossing
Homeowners at Prairie Crossing will share in the rich sense of community already in place. They are welcome at Prairie Crossing's many activities and events: gatherings at the historic Byron Colby Barn, gazebo concerts, farm markets, swimming and cookouts at the beach in the summer, ice skating, sledding and cross country skiing in the winter. Homeowners enjoy boating, fishing or skating on the community's lakes, and swimming at the sandy beach. The Prairie Crossing Farm Market features a delicious locally grown and organic produce, honey and eggs. Residents with children can apply for admission to the on-site Prairie Crossing Charter School, a public elementary school where learning is focused on the natural environment. A cooperative of homeowners with horses manages the small stable.
Single-Family Homes at Prairie Crossing
The single-family homes of Prairie Crossing are well known for excellent design and architecture. Accomplished architects were asked to look at beautiful old Lake County homes, both in nearby towns and on farms, and come up with new designs based on the Midwestern architectural tradition. This has resulted in the distinctive look of the Prairie Crossing single-family homes. Close to twenty-five single-family home plans were offered at Prairie Crossing since its inception, and there is an integrated feel to the architecture because each plan is grounded in the history of the area. Despite their traditional look, the homes at Prairie Crossing designed for modern living and are 50% more energy-efficient than comparable homes in the Chicago area, thanks to U. S. Department of Energy-approved "green" construction techniques.
All 359 new construction single-family homes at Prairie Crossing have been sold. Interested buyers can purchase single-family homes on the 'resale' market through the homeowners or a realtor.
The Condominiums at Prairie Crossing
Train Access to Prairie Crossing
Prairie Crossing has recently introduced 36 condominiums located in Station Square, a new area within the Prairie Crossing community. These maintenance-free 2 and 3 bedroom one-level residences are set around a town square, steps from shops and the train. Click here for more information about the Condominiums.
Two Metra commuter lines cross on the Illinois prairie next to Prairie Crossing. These two lines - with connections to Chicago and O'Hare International Airport - are just a few minutes walk from Prairie Crossing. Residents can walk to the train and be in downtown Chicago in an hour on the Milwaukee District North Line, or at O'Hare in 35 minutes on the North Central Line.
Open Space & Trails
At Prairie Crossing people live in ways that are good for them and healthy for the land. Over 60 percent of the 677-acre site is protected open land that is actively used by people and wildlife. Ten miles of trails wind through a landscape of farm fields, pastures, lakes and ponds, native prairies and wetlands. Residents use them to walk, run, bike, ski, ride horseback, and watch the many species of birds, butterflies and other wildlife that are attracted to a healthy ecosystem and native landscaping. In addition, Prairie Crossing is linked by regional trails to the Liberty Prairie Reserve, over 3,200 acres of legally protected land.
The Prairie Crossing Organic Farm
A certified organic farm, in operation for over a decade, provides homeowners with views over cultivated fields of vegetables and flowers and a seasonal on-site Farm Market. At the market, residents and the general public buy vegetables, fruits, flowers and other products like honey and eggs -- all produced without pesticides or herbicides.
A Sense of Place
One of the ten guiding principles that have directed Prairie Crossing since its inception is "A Sense of Place." To reinforce the community's sense of its Lake County roots, historic buildings were preserved for current use. One of these is the Byron Colby Barn, a dairy barn built nearby in 1885. It was taken down timber by timber and transported to Prairie Crossing, where a barn raising and renovation took place in 1996. The barn now serves as a community center and site for weddings, parties, concerts, school assemblies and conferences.
The sense of place is further enhanced by the colors of the houses, which echo the earth tones and warm colors of the native prairie landscaping in the common areas and help create an inviting and cohesive community. Street at Prairie Crossing, named after the plants that once spread across Illinois, such as such as Blazingstar, Coneflower, and Prairie Orchid, provide other reminders of the Midwest heritage of the community.
Native Prairie Landscaping
Prairie Crossing is well known for its beautiful native prairie landscaping. With more than 165 acres of restored prairies, 20 acres of restored wetlands, and 16 acres of historic hedgerows, the Prairie Crossing landscape is contributing to the restoration of the native ecology of the region. Many Prairie Crossing residents integrate these native plant communities into their own landscaping to showcase their houses in formal groupings or planted as wild meadows. Native landscaping also serves an important function in cleansing the storm water on the site and protecting the water quality of lakes. Hardier and more sustainable, it requires less water and labor than traditional lawns or more formal plantings, prevents flooding and lowers maintenance costs.
Lake Aldo Leopold
Due to a site design that filters storm water runoff through the prairies and wetlands, the water in Prairie Crossing's Lake Aldo Leopold (named after the great Wisconsin conservationist and author), is pure enough to swim in. Residents gather at the popular community beach and also canoe, kayak and sail on the lake. The water quality is such that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources selected Prairie Crossing as a site for stocking endangered native minnows that are critical to a healthy biodiversity in our streams and lakes.
The land that is Prairie Crossing was purchased in 1987 by a group of neighbors who wanted to preserve open space and agricultural land. They formed a company with the goal of developing this beautiful 677 acres responsibly, with a total of only 359 single-family homes and 36 condominiums as opposed to 2,400 homes that were planned by another developer. George and Victoria Ranney, a husband and wife team, have guided the development of Prairie Crossing since its inception.
Critical Acclaim for Prairie Crossing
Prairie Crossing has been nationally recognized for its innovations in planning and community design. It has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the Daily Herald, Landscape Architecture, and the National Geographic. Its houses and native landscaping have been highlighted in Country Living, Midwest Living, and Better Homes and Garden's Perennials.