Location

660 E. Terra Cotta Ave, Crystal Lake

Phone: 815.477.5873

Hours

Th-Fri, 11 AM - 5 PM

Sat, 10 AM - 4 PM

Contact Ben Johnson at bjohnson@crystallakeparks.org

colonel Palmer house info in digital guide


Drop In Programs

Palmer's Puzzles! Something new at Colonel Palmer House

The Colonel Palmer House needs your help to solve a series of puzzles leading to the 1921 ballots for the vote on ownership of the lake. Stop by the Colonel Palmer House to test your puzzle-solving skills! Stop by during regular hours of operation.


EXhibits


Take a trip back through the decades as we Celebrate a Century with the Crystal Lake Park District at the Colonel Palmer House. Stroll through the exhibits inside the historic home and learn about the history of baseball, water sports, the Nature Center, the ice harvesting industry and much more.


special event

Many of the early settlers in the Crystal Lake area were of German ancestry including Henrietta and Gustavus Palmer. Experience a holiday tea with historic German roots and traditions. Suitable for all ages.

Location: Colonel Palmer House, 660 E. Terra Cotta Avenue, Crystal Lake

Sat, Dec 11, choice of Noon-1:30 pm or 3-4:30 pm

Sun, Dec 12, choice of Noon-1:30 pm or 3-4:30 pm

$29 resident/$38 non-resident

Register online

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)

To reserve your party, please contact Ben Johnson, Colonel Palmer House Facility Manager at 815.477.5873 or bjohnson@crystallakeparks.org.


  • General Information

    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. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the home and grounds provide the perfect setting for historic presentations.

    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.



    A Unique Partnership

    The Colonel Palmer House is operated and maintained by the Crystal Lake Park District and leased from the City of Crystal Lake. The Park District and Crystal Lake Historical Society partner to bring our area's history to the community. This partnership won the 2009 Small Institution of the Year Award from the Illinois Association of Museums. Our thanks to the many dedicated interpreters, re-enactors, hobbyists and staff who volunteer their time and knowledge to make our programs successful.


    Contact Info

    Ben Johnson, Colonel Palmer House Manager
    815.477.5873
    bjohnson@crystallakeparks.org

  • activities

    The Colonel Palmer House is known for its many programs and special events that bring history to life. Check the Crystal Lake Park District seasonal program guide for the most up to date information. History Happens Here!

  • SCOUT PROGRAMS

    The Crystal Lake Park District provides comprehensive Boy Scout/Girl Scout programs at the Colonel Palmer House.

    CUB SCOUTS

    • $6 per participant
    • Achievement & Electives for Tiger, Bear, Wolf and Webelo
    • 1-1.5 hour of instruction
    • All instructors have completed Youth Protection Training

    BOY SCOUTS

    • Merit Badge Programs
    • Fee based on Merit Badge
    • Programs available any time including evenings and weekends
    • Length of programs vary
    • All instructors have completed Youth Protection Training and are registered Merit Badge Counselors

    GIRL SCOUTS

    • Call to reserve your troop's ideal date
    • All day Journey Activities
    • 1-2 Badge Programs
    • LIA Opportunities
    • Fees based on program/activity

  • VOLUNTEERs

    Volunteer opportunities at the Colonel Palmer House are ongoing, both inside the house and on the grounds. Contact the manager for upcoming events and details.

  • RENTALS

    CATERED TEA

    Looking for something new for one of your club's monthly meetings? Join us at the historic Colonel Palmer House and let us do the work! Costumed staff will make all the arrangements including a program on the Palmer family history and tour of the home.

    Date: Saturdays or Sundays

    Maximum Capacity: 24

    Fee: $25 per person

    Perfect for:

    • Historic Groups and Guilds
    • Bridal Showers Baby Showers
    • Birthday Parties

    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)

    To reserve your party, please contact the Colonel Palmer House Facility Manager at 815.477.5873 or bjohnson@crystallakeparks.org.

    INFO