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, July 16th – CPH Presents: A Country Fair

Let’s all go to the fair! Step right up ladies and gentleman, there are animals to see and games to play, all right here at the Colonel Palmer House Country Fair. Inspired by the return of the McHenry County Fair in 1949 after 25 years, this event features a youth fair. Music will fill the grounds as members from the Crystal Lake Community Band take us back to the 1940s.

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.  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 Tuesday, July 11th.

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