Winnetka is a village in northern Cook County, Illinois, United States, located 16 miles north of downtown Chicago. The population was 12,187 at the 2010 census.
The first houses were built in 1836. That year Erastus Patterson and his family arrived from Vermont and opened a tavern to service passengers on the Green Bay Trail post road. The village was first subdivided in 1854 by Charles Peck and Walter S. Gurnee, President of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad. Winnetka's first private school was opened in 1856 by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Peck with seventeen pupils. In 1859 the first public school building was built with private funds at the southeast corner of Elm and Maple streets. The first year's budget for this school was two hundred dollars.The village was incorporated in 1869 with a population of 450. The name is believed to originate from Potawatomi language, meaning "beautiful place".The oldest surviving house in Winnetka is the Schmidt-Burnham House.