The spreading popularity of the automobile put pressure on Cook County to improve its roads. Chicagoans were eager to step back in time and visit the surrounding “cow towns”. In 1919 Cook County Board Commissioner and Mount Prospect Village President, William Busse, got together with Arlington Heights Village President Al Volz and decided to build Northwest Highway. The road had been nothing but a pair of wagon ruts for many decades. But Palatine and Barrington were not cooperative. They didn’t want to raise taxes to pay for the necessary street sewers. So Cook County built the road around those two downtowns. Almost immediately the road was flooded on Sundays with city gawkers.
Chicago’s northwest suburbs had its share of daredevils in the halcyon days of aviation. Eight-year-old Palatine boy Verton Collignon was the world’s youngest glider pilot, staying in the air 16 seconds. He flew from a field behind Johnson Street. That same year of 1930 saw Arlington Heights Judge Homer Byrd trying to take off from a field at what is now Northwest Community Hospital. He gave the propeller a spin to get it going and lo and behold the plane began moving without him. Tracing a big circle the plane came back to its original spot and the judge leapt for the cockpit but was knocked down by the wing. On the fourth try he managed to subdue the plane!