660 East Terra Cotta Avenue
Crystal Lake, IL 60014
Colonel Palmer House Hours of Operation
Tuesdays, 3 pm-7 pm
Thursdays, 11 am- 4 pm
Fridays, 11 am-4 pm
If you are planning to do research, it is best to call ahead to make certain someone will be available to assist you.
Please note: The Colonel Palmer House will be closed to the public on Saturday, May 18 so that staff may attend a meeting.
Scout Programs and Group Tours by appointment.
Crystal Lake Historical Archives may be researched by appointment Monday-Thursday.
Call (815) 477-5873 or email to schedule an appointment or tour.
Gustavus A. Palmer and his wife Henrietta arrived in McHenry County from Nunda, New York by covered wagon circa 1841. As early pioneers to the area they purchased land from the Federal Government to start their homestead. The Colonel, as he was called by his neighbors, would eventually acquire over 300 acres of property. As a successful farmer he hired Andrew Jackson Simons, a local architect, to build this Greek Revival and Federalist style brick home in 1858.
Located on its original site at the corner of Route 176 and Terra Cotta Road in Crystal Lake, the Palmer House was donated to the City of Crystal Lake in 1979 and maintained by the Colonel Palmer House Restoration Association. In 1998, the Crystal Lake Park District entered into a 99-year lease for the house and two acres of property.
The building is now open to the public for tours, special events, and research of local history. The home contains the office of the Crystal Lake Historical Society who maintains records of Crystal Lake history and collections of local artifacts.
In 1985, the Colonel Palmer House was entered in the National Register of Historic Places. It remains the only building on the National Register in Crystal Lake. The house was also granted Landmark Status by the City of Crystal Lake Historic Preservation Commission.
The Colonel Palmer House typifies the design style of homes built during the second quarter of the 19th century and is based on the Neo-Classical Revival style. It features are comprised of elements which include both Federal and Greek Revival styles of architecture.