The property had been the longtime home of the Glenview Naval Air Station, which trained generations of military pilots and ground crews from 1942 until its closure in 1995. The airfield served a critical function in World War II, having been used as a Primary Training Command site.
Its alumni list read likes a who's-who of military men. Astronaut Neil Armstrong and Presidents George Bush and Gerald Ford all trained at the station during the war. The field was also home to Chicago's most famous naval hero, Edward O'Hare, a fighter pilot who saved the U.S.S. Lexington from sure annihilation in 1942 and was posthumously honored with an international airport bearing his name.
When budget cuts forced the U.S. Navy to close the airfield in 1995, developing the area was no easy task for Glenview, an affluent community in Chicago's north suburbs. The village spent months contemplating how the 1,102-acre property could best be used.