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The Des Plaines River Valley was occupied by the Potawatomi, Ottawa, and Chippewa Indians immediately prior to the arrival of the first settlers from the east during the second quarter of the 19th century. Following the Treaty of Chicago in 1833, pioneers from New England and New York began farming the prairie that would eventually become Des Plaines. German immigrants, seeking economic and political freedom, arrived in the area in large numbers during the 1840s and 1850s. German was the primary language in many Des Plaines homes and churches. Following World War II, movement of people from Chicago, plus the development of Chicago-O'Hare International Airport at Orchard Place, signaled a great period of growth for Des Plaines. The population jumped from the prewar 9,000 to over 50,000. Our City TodayOver 30 churches representing every major denomination are now in the City. Additionally, the City's elementary and secondary schools are nationally acclaimed. The art and theater guilds, the community concert series, a fine public library system, and a historical museum are true indications of the cultural growth of the community. A progressive park district and extensive forest preserve options accommodate the recreational needs of all ages. During the past two decades industrial growth has also been phenomenal, the City having become a raw materials and finished products distributing center as well as the headquarters of several major corporations. The combination of superior air transportation, good railroads, and a network of expressways have fostered the full development of Des Plaines. Today, Des Plaines is indeed a progressive city characterized by diverse residences, industrial opportunities, and an abundance of business and trade facilities. Des Plaines is a growing environment, constantly on the move.