Located 26 miles northwest of the Chicago Loop, Palatine was a rather swampy area in the early 1800’s, through which the Salt Creek passed – as it does now. To the northwest was Deer Grove, named for the numerous deer sheltered there – Plum Grove was two miles to the south. Early settlers tended to choose these forested areas for their farms; George Ela came to Deer Grove in 1835, while Vermonters Ben Lincoln and Ben Porter chose Plum Grove, at about the same time. In 1853, the Illinois & Wisconsin Railroad was constructed across the township. The village began to emerge around the depot, built just south of the Salt Creek swamp. Some citizens wanted to call it Yankton, based on the majority of Easterners settled there, but the name Palatine was selected, after a town of the same name in New York. Palatine became a community of some size, made up mainly of farmers, shipping their produce to Chicago. Some commuters also began to settle here, but Palatine remained very rural through World War II, despite the construction of Northwest Highway in the 1930’s.
All that changed with the construction of the Northwest Toll Road in 1955. The whole area opened up to rapid automobile travel, and residential building accelerated. Streets were laid out in irregular patterns to avoid the very rectangular appearance of many suburbs closer to the city of Chicago. By 1970, the Palatine Hills golf course, on the northwest edge of town, was the only remaining large open area. Beyond that lies the Deer Grove Forest Preserve, a substantial remnant of the forested area that had originally drawn both Native American and Europeans to its environment.
Palatine has developed into a self-sufficient community, with a flourishing downtown business district and 30 total shopping areas throughout the community. In addition, cultural pursuits also flourish here. Palatine boasts more than 90 civic, fraternal, charitable, social and performing organizations. Cutting Hall, run by the Park District, is the center for Performing Arts. There are two Aquatic Parks in the Village, as well as soccer fields and sledding hills. The Palatine Public Library, ranked among the top five libraries in the nation serving population between 50,000 and 100,000 people contains over 175,000 volumes and offers children’s programs, book discussion groups and community workshops. On the event side, Palatine’s Street Fest, July 4th celebrations and various other events, including the weekly Farmers Market during summer months, promote the local community spirit.
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