PALATINE HISTORY & ARCHITECTURE
Palatine’s roots reach back to the 1830s when settlers from New York and New England traveled west to stake their claim in the fertile green prairies they had heard so much about from soldiers who were returning from the 1832 Blackhawk War. Using Native American trails, they continued north and west of the settlement at Fort Dearborn named Chicago, from the Native American phrase for the area which meant "wild onion place."
These early pioneers made their homes in the lush groves of trees that became known as Deer Grove, Plum Grove, Englishman’s Grove, and Highland Grove.
George Ela, who built his log cabin in Deer Grove in 1835, is credited with being the first European to live in the area. Two well traveled Native American trails, Woodstock Trail and Lake Zurich Trail, survive in another form today; they are known as Algonquin Road and Rand Road!
The Illinois and Wisconsin Railroad made its way to the Deer Grove Trading Post in 1853. Although the railroad failed, another, which ultimately became the Chicago and Northwestern, followed soon after. It is the only left-handed railroad in the country, probably due to the fact that its first engines came from England.
A thriving settlement soon grew around the railroad station, guided by the vision of Joel Wood, who surveyed and laid out the Village of Palatine in 1855. The Village was incorporated on April 2, 1866 and chartered by the State in 1869. Street lights were installed in 1871, after the Village purchased 12 lamps for $3 each and hired a lamplighter for 50 cents a night.
Palatine residents take great pride in their long history and deep roots. The George Clayson House, built in 1873 at 224 East Palatine Road, has been meticulously renovated and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Clayson House Museum holds more than 1,000 treasures of the past from Palatine’s earliest days. Be sure to stop by for a visit to see, touch and understand the proud history that is Palatine’s heritage.
Palatine featured many different architectural styles, influences and eras. The Palatine Historical Society has created a list of what is considers to be historic homes in the Palatine Township, which can be found here: https://palatinehistoricalsociety.com/history/residences/
Researching Your Home
Finding the history of your house and the land on which it sits can be both entertaining and rewarding. Below is a list of possible resources to help you on your journey:
- Cook County website
- Palatine Historical Society
- Village of Palatine Community Development
- Palatine Public Library
- Palatine Township Assessor’s Office
Designating Your Home
If you believe your property should be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, pleas visit the National Park Service to determine eligibility. The process usually starts with your State Historic Preservation Office. If you own or know of a property that has exceptional historic significance and should be nominated as a National Landmark, visit the IL Preservation Division and National Park Service’s National Historic Landmarks Program.
Deed Restrictions on Your Home
Deed restrictions are legal covenants placed upon a property that restrict the usage or place limits on the property. Deed restrictions may be placed upon a home that limit architectural changes or tear-downs. If you wish to deed-restrict your historic property, please consult with an attorney or advisor.
Historical Designation Plaques
The Historical Society provides plaques to identify and promote awareness and appreciation of those buildings in Palatine that it finds to be 100 or more years old. The cost is $50 and inquiries can be placed with the Historical Society at 847-991-6460 or at https://palatinehistoricalsociety.com/contact/.
Local landmarks or points of interest can be found on the Historical Society’s website here: https://palatinehistoricalsociety.com/history/palatine-businesses/
MAPS (COMING SOON)
Follow the links to interactive maps or PDF pages:
- Cemetery Walk
- Downtown Historic Crawl
- Historic Designations in Palatine
- Art in Palatine
The Palatine Historical Society hosts a variety of events each year, which can be found on their website here: https://palatinehistoricalsociety.com/events
There is no Historical Preservation Ordinance, Plan, District or Commission in Palatine. Renovations or property work must follow the Village of Palatine Ordinances. For questions, please contact the Community Development Department at 847-359-9042.
Disclaimer: This information is for informational purposes only.
- National Register of Historic Places
- National Trust for Historic Preservation
- National Park Service - Preservation Briefs
- National Park Service - The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation Preserve America
- Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and Historic American Engineering Record (HAER)
- Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
- Illinois Association of Museums
- Certified Local Government Program
- Illinois Main Street
- Illinois Property Tax Assessment Freeze Program
- Landmarks Illinois
- Cook County Historic Preservation
- National Park Service: Historic Preservation Home
- National Park Service: Historic Preservation Standards and Guidelines
- National Alliance of Preservation Commissions
- Preservation Directory.com
- Illinois Digital Archives