Palatine is the next town to be highlighted in WGN Radio’s Your Hometown series on Thursday, August 25.

Located 30 miles northwest of the city, the European settlement of Palatine dates to the 1830s. George Ela is credited with being the first settler to live in the area, building a log cabin in Deer Grove in 1835.

The railroad, established in 1853 and the only left-handed railroad in the country, led to larger settlement. The name “Yankton” was considered before the name “Palatine”, after a town in New York state, was adopted. Joel Wood, considered to be Palatine’s founder, arrived by wagon from Pennsylvania, helped with the railroad and planned the village in 1855. Wood Street in downtown Palatine is named after him.  

The Village of Palatine was incorporated on April 2, 1866. Street lights were installed in 1871 for which the village paid a lamplighter 50 cents a night. Once a residence built by in 1873, the George Clayson House (224 East Palatine Road), is now a museum and library operated by the Palatine Historical Society. It was restored in 1976 and returned to its original color, style, and floor plan. Designation on the National Register of Historic Places followed in 1979.

Palatine once hosted the Cook County Fair from 1914 to 1931 in an area that is now the Fairground Park subdivision. Today’s Algonquin Road (Rte. 62) and Rand Road (Rte. 12) were former well-traveled Native American trails: Woodstock Trail and Lake Zurich Trail.

Deer Grove, Cook County’s first forest preserve and a remnant of the land prior to settlement, offers residents from Palatine and surrounding communities plenty of opportunity for outdoor recreation. Also within the village limits is William Rainey Harper College, a public community college that opened in 1967 and serves more than 35,000 students in the northwest suburbs.