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The site of Waukegan was first recorded on a 1778 French map created by Thomas Hutchins, and the modern name was adopted in 1849. Waukegan possessed an abolitionist sentiment from the beginning. In 1891, the barbed-wire manufacturer, Washburn and Moen, established operations in the area and prompted a substantial growth with an influx of immigrants from a wide variety of locations including Lithuania, Armenia, Finland and Sweden. It also welcomed a number of African American migrants from the South. While many of the surrounding areas evolved into highly residential areas, Waukegan has maintained a unique industrial quality, and houses a number of recognized historical sites. While many residents work in this industry, others work predominantly in healthcare and education.

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Located in Lake County, Illinois, Waukegan is the ninth biggest city in the state with a population of 88,826. The city is comprised of 19 constituent neighborhoods with a variety of different residents. Over half of the housing in the region is made up of single-family homes, and around a quarter of the housing is comprised of high-rise complexes.

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