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The Village was first settled in 1870 as a farming community known as South Harvey.

A newspaper publisher named William McClintock moved here from Ohio in 1890, bought 80 acres and built a depot so that the local milk train would stop here. This single move opened up transportation opportunities to Chicago and beyond, and was the first building block in making modern-day Hazel Crest a major transportation hub.

In 1900, the name was changed to Hazel Crest to reflect the large number of hazelnut bushes that grew in the south of town. The Village was incorporated in 1912.