Welcome!

Perhaps you were born and raised in Crystal Lake.  Or perhaps you've recently moved here.  Maybe your ancestors helped settle the area.  Regardless, we welcome you to The Crystal Lake Historical Society website, and hope you will learn more about our Society and our community's rich history.


Summer Sundays

Travel back in time with each of our FREE Summer Sunday special events where our costumed presenters have plenty of displays and hands-on experiences. Each Summer Sunday is from 1-4pm on the lawn of the Colonel Palmer House. Come inside and see the historic house restored to its 1800s glory.

Sunday, June 4th – Over There: U.S. Enters the Great War

On April 6, 1917 the United States joined its Allies in the Great War (WWI). Join us as we commemorate this sacrifice to service both at home and abroad, 100 years ago. Members of the 2nd Infantry and US Marines 47th Co. re-enactors will be present along with displays and presentations on Camp Grant, Crystal Lake service men and women, homefront efforts, WWI posters, a National War Garden and much more. An ensemble from the Crystal Lake Community Band will commemorate the day with music from the era.

Click here to learn more about ALL of our Summer Sunday events.

2017 "Then and Now" Calendars 


2017 Calendar Available

Crystal Lake – Then and Now
Stroll through the pages of this beautiful calendar to view vintage and current images of various Crystal Lake scenes. Some of the image locations are easily recognizable, while others have changed dramatically!

Calendars are available for $10 at: 

Proceeds benefit the Crystal Lake Historical Society


Membership Support

Memberships in the Society expire on December 31st of each calendar year.  Because of the lateness in the current year, memberships received now will be extended through the end of 2017. Click here to learn more about member benefits, rates, and payment options.

One of the most valuable benefits of membership is the Society newsletter, The Crystal Times, which is published quarterly.  An online version of Index to Names found in the newsletter is available on the Local History / Research Resources page.  A limited number of back issues to The Crystal Times are available for sale.  Please email the Society for specific requests. 

Remember, it is through the support of our members that we can continue to preserve our community's history. 

 Plan a Visit

The Crystal Lake Historical Society is located at the Colonel Palmer House, which is at the intersection of Illinois Route 176 and Terra Cotta Road in Crystal Lake. 

Summer/Fall Hours:

Tuesdays (3PM - 7PM)

Thursdays (11AM - 4PM)

Fridays (11AM - 4PM)

1st Saturday of each month (11AM - 4PM) 

PLEASE NOTE: The Colonel Palmer House will be closed June 12-16, but will reopen again on Tuesday, June 20th.

If you are planning to do research, it is best to call ahead to make certain someone will be available to assist you.

Mary Ott is the Site Coordinator at Colonel Palmer House.  Email her at: palmerhouse@crystallakeparks.org or call 815/455-1151