Colonel Palmer House

Colonel Palmer House Our mission is to preserve the home of Gustavus and Henrietta Palmer, provide a venue for local history interpretation and education, and serve as the home of the Crystal Lake Historical Society.
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12/27/2019
Crystal Lake Historical Society

Crystal Lake Historical Society

Calling all Crystal Lake students past and present - we need your memories! The Crystal Lake Historical Society is developing a new exhibit titled “The Faces of Education” that will be unveiled in early 2020 at the Colonel Palmer House. Please share a memory of your favorite Crystal Lake school teacher(s) and a photo if at all possible. Make sure to include his/her name, school, subject and year you were in their class - high school or elementary. You can share a memory by commenting on this post or email us directly at [email protected].

St Lucia Tea
12/13/2019

St Lucia Tea

The Colonel Palmer House will be closed Saturday, December 14th. Please join us at the Luminaria Walk at Veteran Acres P...
12/13/2019

The Colonel Palmer House will be closed Saturday, December 14th. Please join us at the Luminaria Walk at Veteran Acres Park from 5-7:30 PM
431 N. Walkup Avenue

Enjoy a beautiful night under the stars as we light a trail through our magnificent Veteran Acres. Stop at any of these locations to warm up at our cracklin' campfire: Nature Center-fire & candy cane forest; Oakwoods Lodge-fire & caroling; VA Playground Shelter-fire & s'mores

WALK WILL START AT THE VA PLAYGROUND SHELTER

Parking available at Veteran Acres (431 N. Walkup Avenue); Nature Center (330 N. Main Street) and Handicapped Only Parking Oakwoods Lodge (2nd Street and Route 176)

Suggested donation (pay at the event) $1 per person/max $5 per family. Donations to be used for Nature Center outdoor education programs

New Exhibit Alert! The Colonel Palmer House for a limited time will have a new exhibit all about the Swedish Holiday St....
12/12/2019

New Exhibit Alert!

The Colonel Palmer House for a limited time will have a new exhibit all about the Swedish Holiday St. Lucia Day and the unique traditions that go along with the holiday! This exhibit will be on display until the end of December, so make sure to check us out during our open hours.

St. Lucia’s Day, festival of lights celebrated in Sweden on December 13 in honor of St. Lucia. Alongside Midsummer, the Lucia celebrations represent one of the foremost cultural traditions in Sweden. Lucia is an ancient mythical figure with an abiding role as a bearer of light in the dark Swedish winters.

The Colonel Palmer House is open to the public Thursdays and Fridays 11am-5pm and Saturdays 10am-4pm.

Happy Thanksgiving from us at the Colonel Palmer House! The Colonel Palmer House will be closed Thanksgiving weekend: Th...
11/27/2019

Happy Thanksgiving from us at the Colonel Palmer House! The Colonel Palmer House will be closed Thanksgiving weekend: Thursday, November 28th through Saturday, November 30th. Thank you!

Exhibit Alert!The Ice Industry in Crystal Lake: The crystal clear water from our very own lake made some if the finest i...
11/14/2019

Exhibit Alert!

The Ice Industry in Crystal Lake: The crystal clear water from our very own lake made some if the finest ice in northern Illinois. During the winters, ice was cut from the lake, stored in the large ice houses, and shipped by train all over Chicago.

This temporary exhibit details the intriguing ice harvesting process, a timeline of the industry in Crystal Lake and displays real tools used for ice harvesting. Stop by the Colonel Palmer House, during our open hours, to check out this exhibit until the end of November!

Thank you to all who have served!
11/11/2019

Thank you to all who have served!

Colonel Palmer House's cover photo
10/29/2019

Colonel Palmer House's cover photo

Colonel Palmer House
10/29/2019

Colonel Palmer House

Crystal Lake Historical Society
10/17/2019

Crystal Lake Historical Society

ATTENTION! Friday night's performances of "Dearly Departed: A Doleful Story" are SOLD OUT! There are a few tickets available for Saturday. We anticipate those to be snatched up today. www.cl-hs.org

Please Note: The Colonel Palmer House will be closed to the public October 1st and will reopen Thursday, October 24th wi...
10/01/2019

Please Note: The Colonel Palmer House will be closed to the public October 1st and will reopen Thursday, October 24th with our normal hours of operation. This is due to general maintenance on the house and Dearly Departed. Tickets are available for Dearly Departed at www.cl-hs.org

Thank you!

The Colonel Palmer House will be open today, Saturday, September 28th from 2pm to 4pm due to the Johnny Appleseed Festiv...
09/28/2019

The Colonel Palmer House will be open today, Saturday, September 28th from 2pm to 4pm due to the Johnny Appleseed Festival in Downtown Crystal Lake. Come on down to the festival and visit with us from 11am to 1pm.

09/18/2019
Join us TODAY at the at Colonel Palmer House until 4 pm as we use the apples from our certified “Johnny Appleseed” Apple...
09/14/2019

Join us TODAY at the at Colonel Palmer House until 4 pm as we use the apples from our certified “Johnny Appleseed” Apple Tree to make some apple butter the old fashioned way. FREE, just stop by!

Come by to take a turn stirring the apple butter and try your hand at canning some of our apple butter made like the pioneers!

Colonel Palmer House's cover photo
09/05/2019

Colonel Palmer House's cover photo

Swedenberg MemoriesBeing Lucia: "When I was 16 I was Lucia at Verdandi Lodge in Andersonville. Walking down the center a...
08/31/2019

Swedenberg Memories

Being Lucia: "When I was 16 I was Lucia at Verdandi Lodge in Andersonville. Walking down the center aisle, a wreath with glowing candles on my head - it was my mother, Esther who surprised me with her singing Santa Lucia in Swedish.

Then 22 years later my daughter, Kimberly wore a white gown, a Lucia wreath and her two brothers as star boys, entered our living room, before daylight with my mothers beautiful voice singing once again Santa Lucia in Swedish. How pleased my father was!" - Susen Berg

Swedenberg Memories"I loved when I read in an article in the Oak Mfg. newsletter , 'Oak  Contract' said that Ed Bessey '...
08/30/2019

Swedenberg Memories

"I loved when I read in an article in the Oak Mfg. newsletter , 'Oak Contract' said that Ed Bessey 'took one look at [my grandfather] Nels and decided to build a factory around him and there you have the start of the present Oak Mfg. Co.'

While there is little truth to that, it does point to the fact that Nels was one of the earliest employees at Duntile and the longest running employee at Oak excluding management. His tenure of employment lasted from 1927-1961 when he retired at 76 years and was interrupted only once when, Nels quit.

He walked out and directly to the train depot to catch the next train to Chicago to look for work elsewhere. Before the next train, Elof was at the station convincing Nels to come back to work for him at Oak."

Swedenberg Memories"It seemed to us grandchildren that Nels Pearson could do anything. With his Swedish ingenuity he cou...
08/29/2019

Swedenberg Memories

"It seemed to us grandchildren that Nels Pearson could do anything. With his Swedish ingenuity he could create solutions to what seemed to be impossible challenges. The most amazing example was when he moved the garage at the East Grove Avenue House ~ all by himself. He jacked up the corners and put a roller skate underneath each one. Then, little by little he turned the building 90 degrees and moved it about 30 feet to its new location." - Lorine Pearson Walters

Swedenberg Memories"We said 'skoal' at the dinner table and a Swedish grace." -Laura Chelini
08/24/2019

Swedenberg Memories

"We said 'skoal' at the dinner table and a Swedish grace." -Laura Chelini

Swedenberg Memories"The telephone company thought they were doing Nels and Anna Pearson a favor when they gave them thei...
08/23/2019

Swedenberg Memories

"The telephone company thought they were doing Nels and Anna Pearson a favor when they gave them their new phone number, one that would be easy to remember 33-33-J. However, to a Swedish immigrant the number is pronounced differently. When asked by the operator for her number, Anna said, 'tree tree tree tree, yay,' which sounds more like a cheer to be said on Arbor Day than a phone number."

Swedenberg Memories"Alice Benson spent her days with her grandmother, Elna Benson. When Alice went to school at age 7, s...
08/22/2019

Swedenberg Memories

"Alice Benson spent her days with her grandmother, Elna Benson. When Alice went to school at age 7, she had to learn English. She spoke some Swedish until her 80's."

Swedenberg Memories"Coffee is a very popular drink in Sweden. My dad, Edwin Pearson remembered his mom, Anna, putting a ...
08/17/2019

Swedenberg Memories

"Coffee is a very popular drink in Sweden. My dad, Edwin Pearson remembered his mom, Anna, putting a steaming cup of black coffee in front of him in his teen years. He thought it seemed like a rite of passage and he drank coffee from then on! He was surprised that his kids didn't like the taste. He had a couple of granddaughters however who carried on the tradition by working in coffee shops!" - Chris Arnold

Swedenberg Memories"Uncle Ken Pearson remembered and often repeated his father Nels' announcement at a family dinner: 'V...
08/16/2019

Swedenberg Memories

"Uncle Ken Pearson remembered and often repeated his father Nels' announcement at a family dinner:

'Vi fick det bra da vi kom till detta land'

'We got it good when we came to this country!'"

Over the summer, we have been collecting stories from folks that lived in our very own Swedish Community, Swedenberg. We...
08/16/2019

Over the summer, we have been collecting stories from folks that lived in our very own Swedish Community, Swedenberg. We will be sharing those stories here on our page, so keep your eye on our page for the next two weeks as we share the memories of Swedenberg. If you have a story or memory you would like to share, please send them to our page!

There are only 2 weeks left to visit our Swedenberg exhibits here at the Colonel Palmer House. If you have not checked us out yet, make sure to stop by during open hours!

Colonel Palmer House's cover photo
07/18/2019

Colonel Palmer House's cover photo

The Colonel Palmer House will closed on Thursday, July 4th due to the observation of Independence Day. The Colonel Palme...
07/03/2019

The Colonel Palmer House will closed on Thursday, July 4th due to the observation of Independence Day. The Colonel Palmer House will reopen for normal hours on Friday, July 5th. We at the Colonel Palmer House wish everyone a very Happy Independence Day!

Crystal Lake Park District
06/29/2019

Crystal Lake Park District

Unique and creative birthday party packages are available at the Colonel Palmer House. To reserve your party, please contact Ashley Palazzo, Colonel Palmer House Facility Manager at 815.477.5873 or [email protected].

BIRTHDAY PARTIES

For 1.5 hours, the historic Colonel Palmer House staff will host you and your guests as we celebrate your birthday Victorian-era style. Luncheon includes seasonal fruit, three finger sandwiches, and three delectable desserts (cake not provided) and of course, tea! Victorian dining etiquette will be presented and lively parlor games will be played. Party times available on Saturdays and Sundays. Maximum 25 guests.

FAIRY BIRTHDAY: Be swept away into a fantasy world of fairies with our short fairy presentation and fairy-themed crafts. Available for children 4 & older.

VICTORIAN BIRTHDAY: Victorian dining etiquette will be presented and parlor games from the 1800s-era will complete the party.

Fee: $25 per person (resident or non-resident)

The Colonel Palmer House will be closed Saturday, June 22nd for the Crystal Lake Park District's Beach Bash! Join us at ...
06/22/2019

The Colonel Palmer House will be closed Saturday, June 22nd for the Crystal Lake Park District's Beach Bash! Join us at Main Beach from 11am-3pm for a day of fun! There will be lots of activities and entertainment for all ages!

The Colonel Palmer House will be at this event with the The Crystal Lake Park District Nature Center to join in on the summer fun! We hope to see you all there!

For more info check out the Crystal Lake Park District webpage at www.crystallakeparks.org

Did you know Crystal Lake has a rich Swedish culture and history? Explore our Swedish roots all summer long with engagin...
06/20/2019

Did you know Crystal Lake has a rich Swedish culture and history? Explore our Swedish roots all summer long with engaging and educational exhibits right here at the Colonel Palmer House!

Check out special displays on the citizens of Swedenberg of Crystal Lake, the immigration experience, the genealogy of the early Swedish immigrants, and many more. These very special exhibits are on display until the end of August and you can visit us during our open hours of every Thursday and Friday from 11am-5pm and Saturday from 10am-4pm.

A huge thank you to Kurt Pearson, the descendants of Swedenberg, and to the Crystal Lake Historical Society for making these exhibits possible. If you would like more information please feel free to contact us by email: [email protected]

Congratulations to Bjorn from Sweden who traveled the farthest distance to attend MidSommar Fest! Help is needed to cont...
06/20/2019

Congratulations to Bjorn from Sweden who traveled the farthest distance to attend MidSommar Fest! Help is needed to contact the other two winners – if you know Karen from Mesa or Margaret from Phoenix, please contact the Colonel Palmer House at [email protected] with their contact information. All three winners will receive a free one year membership to the Crystal Lake Historical Society.

06/08/2019

FREE EVENT TODAY! 11am-4pm Did you know Crystal Lake has a large Swedish population? Explore our Swedish roots at this fun and educational festival of folklore! Join us for activities that include maypole decorating and raising, crown crafts, Swedish traditions, Scandinavian dance group, Swedish treats, CL Brewing and more!

Check out a special presentation on the Swedenbergers of Crystal Lake from Kurt Pearson, member of the Crystal Lake Historical Society. This is a free, family friendly event that is Saturday, June 8th right here at the Colonel Palmer House!

06/07/2019

The Colonel Palmer House will be closed today, June 7th in preparation for our MidSommar Festival on Saturday, June 8th from 11am-4pm. We hope to see you all here tomorrow to celebrate our local Swedish culture!

GARDEN PLANT SALE TODAY ONLY! 9AM to until they sell out at the Colonel Palmer House at 660 E Terra Cotta Ave, Crystal L...
05/25/2019

GARDEN PLANT SALE TODAY ONLY! 9AM to until they sell out at the Colonel Palmer House at 660 E Terra Cotta Ave, Crystal Lake. Here's an unique opportunity to purchase pre-loved cultivated by friends of the Colonel Palmer House.

Gardeners are selling their prized plants dug from their own garden beds. As dedicated partners of the Colonel Palmer House, they have donated and tended to numerous plants on our property. Stop by today and check us out! Prices will vary.

Colonel Palmer House's cover photo
05/18/2019

Colonel Palmer House's cover photo

Do you like history? Do you like to have fun while learning about the rich history of Crystal Lake? Want to know how you...
04/01/2019

Do you like history? Do you like to have fun while learning about the rich history of Crystal Lake? Want to know how you can make an impact on our community? If these statements sound like you, then you can get involved with volunteering at the Colonel Palmer House!

We are always looking for folks to help us bring history to life. If you know of others who may be interested or high school students in need of volunteer hours, feel free to contact the facility manager at the Colonel Palmer House.

There are also opportunities to volunteer with The Crystal Lake Historical Society! Check out the link below to find out how you can get involved and bring our history to life!

https://cl-hs.org/about-us/volunteer/

03/14/2019

The Colonel Palmer House will be open today, Thursday, March 14th from 2:00-5:00pm due to staff training.

The Colonel Palmer House is full of fascinating local family history. Here is a look at Colonel Gustavus and Henrietta P...
03/11/2019

The Colonel Palmer House is full of fascinating local family history. Here is a look at Colonel Gustavus and Henrietta Palmer's own genealogy!

Curious about how to find out your own family history? Then make sure to sign up for our next Lunch and Learn program: Tracing Your Genealogy!

Join us on Friday, April 5th from 12:00-1:30 PM with Genealogy presenter, Debbie McArdle. She has 45 years of research experience that includes; old fashioned sleuthing of courthouses, churches, cemeteries, and communities. Debbie will guide the way to using proper internet genealogical libraries, that will use DNA to find family connections. *Ages 15 and up

Register now at crystallakeparks.org Activity code: 241901-03 ($15 per participant)

Colonel Palmer House's cover photo
03/09/2019

Colonel Palmer House's cover photo

03/08/2019

The Colonel Palmer House will be closing early today, March 8th at 3pm

Happy Valentine's Day from the Colonel Palmer House! In spirit of this holiday, here is a little tidbit of history about...
02/14/2019

Happy Valentine's Day from the Colonel Palmer House! In spirit of this holiday, here is a little tidbit of history about this sweet day.

According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, St. Valentine’s Day may have been established as early as A.D. 500 in Rome. However it wasn’t until 1382 that it was associated with romantic love. A poem written by Geoffrey Chaucer that honored the 1st anniversary of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia is credited with that shift.

Valentine’s Day became popular in British society during the 17th century with the addition of small gifts being exchanged by the middle of the 18th century.

Similar trends occurred in America with handmade cards being exchanged in the early 1700’s. By the early 1830’s, pre-printed cards were the trend. A universal postal system and the easy availability of paper helped to increase the exchange of valentines.

Esther Howland, known as the “Mother of the American Valentine” began her business of making and selling valentine cards after receiving a valentine from England in 1847. The business quickly grew and with her partners it eventually became the Whitney Valentine Company. They produced valentines until 1942 when wartime paper shortages forced them to close.

Stop into the Colonel Palmer House today to learn more about vintage Victorian Valentines with a special Valentine's themed tour!

01/12/2019

The Colonel Palmer House will be closing early Saturday, January 12th, due to snowy weather conditions.

Just as a reminder the Home Wine Making Lunch and Learn has been moved to Friday, May 3rd, 2019! You can register now fo...
01/04/2019
www.crystallakeparks.org

Just as a reminder the Home Wine Making Lunch and Learn has been moved to Friday, May 3rd, 2019! You can register now for the event at crystallakeparks.org

Register now for all new Lunch and Learn programs at the Colonel Palmer House! Looking to pick up a new skill this seaso...
12/20/2018
www.crystallakeparks.org

Register now for all new Lunch and Learn programs at the Colonel Palmer House!

Looking to pick up a new skill this season? Lunch and Learns have returned to the Colonel Palmer House with programs that will enlighten you on various skills you can try out! Come join us and enjoy a delicious lunch while learning something new! Register online now at crystallakeparks.org

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Colonel Palmer House's cover photo
12/20/2018

Colonel Palmer House's cover photo

11/17/2018

Home for the Holidays! Drop by the Colonel Palmer House for a special Victorian Christmas tour!

Address

660 E. Terra Cotta Avenue
Crystal Lake, IL
60014

Opening Hours

Thursday 11:00 - 17:00
Friday 11:00 - 17:00
Saturday 10:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(815) 477-5873

Alerts

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A Part Of Crystal Lake History Since 1858

The Colonel Palmer House built in the year 1858 by a stone mason named, Andrew Jackson Simmons. The Palmers, Gustavus and Henrietta, were pioneers from Nunda, New York that traveled by covered wagon to Crystal Lake in 1842. As early pioneers to this area the Palmers purchased 80 acres of land from the Federal Government and would eventually acquire about 300 acres of property. Gustavus was a successful farmer and respected by his friends and neighbors, earning him the honorary title of “colonel”.

This 19th century Federal and Greek revival-style home is wonderfully preserved and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Colonel Palmer House has a unique partnership with the Crystal Lake Park District, the Crystal Lake Historical Society, and the City of Crystal Lake, all of these organizations work together to bring local Crystal Lake history to our community!

The Palmer House is open for tours Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and has various engaging events and programs throughout the year! If you would like to learn more about local Crystal Lake history, you can make an appointment with the Crystal Lake Historical Society to look through our archives!

History Happens Here: The Colonel Palmer House strives to present local history to a diverse range of visitors in an enjoyable and engaging manner.

Give our page a Like and stay updated on all the exciting new events and programs going on here at the Colonel Palmer House!

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