During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many elegant homes were built in Glencoe. In addition to several structures by Frank Lloyd Wright, there are houses designed by Howard Van Doren Shaw, David Adler, Robert E. Seyfarth and George Washington Maher, among others.
Glencoe has a Village Manager form of government. It had one of the first public safety departments (combined police/fire/paramedic). In 1921 it adopted the first zoning code in Illinois. Its land-use plan, adopted in 1940, has been adhered to with minor changes since then. Most all nonconforming uses have been eliminated through attrition and it has developed to the allowed uses outlined on the 1940 zoning map. It is predominantly a single-family residential area, with no industrial uses. It has a small cohesive central business district that provides most basic services, including post office, library, Village Hall, performing arts theatre, train station (to Chicago), and other shopping needs.
The village has completed major reconstruction of its street and sidewalk network. The village installed brick sidewalks and period street lights in the business district. Many public buildings have been or are being remodelled or expanded, including the public schools, Village Hall, library, Park District Community Center, and refrigerated outdoor ice rink. The building housing the Glencoe Woman’s Club (formerly Woman’s Library Club) was torn down. It was replaced by a new building, designed by Jeanne Gang, that houses Writers Theatre, which opened in 2016. The private golf clubs (Lake Shore Country Club and Skokie Country Club) have also conducted major remodeling, additions, and reconstruction.