Palatine is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding this year with events, small and large, throughout the year. The community officially began on April 2, 1866, when 73 residents voted in favor of the area becoming a municipality and 20 voted against it. But because the development of Palatine was very much an evolution, there are many dates that lay claim to its founding. The first settlers, George Ela, Russell Andrus and Asahel Harris and family, all arrived in 1835 and many others followed, primarily from New England. The first child of settlers, born in the area, was Clarinda Cady, born in 1838. “The gently-rolling countryside and the cool shade of wooded groves seemed like home to the newcomers who had left green hills and fertile river valleys to begin this adventure in the west,” according to Palatine’s Centennial book, written in 1955. “The stretches of soil showed such promise that neighbors and relatives ‘back east’ were sent for; and the cleared sections began to make a pattern on the prairie.” The name “Palatine” became associated with this part of Cook County in 1850. The Illinois Legislature passed an act requiring each county to be divided into townships of approximately six miles square and each township to be named. So the leaders of Township 42 met at the Wittenberg schoolhouse to choose a name. Many names were suggested, including Yankton, Deer Grove, Marion and Palatine. Harrison Cook suggested Palatine because he had come from Palatine, New York, and that name was ultimately chosen. 1855 was another pivotal year; earlier residents of Palatine chose it as the community’s founding date, as
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reflected by the Centennial being celebrated in 1955. According to Alice Rosenberg, archivist for the Palatine Historical Society, that is when the railroad came to Palatine and it was also when Joel Wood surveyed the village into lots, blocks and streets and people like Elisha Pratt began building (and in many cases relocating) homes and businesses to the area around the station. Churches, a grist mill, a blacksmith shop, a post office and a cemetery followed soon after. Anyone who wonders why Palatine ended up getting the railroad through its real estate should think no further than money. When the Illinois and Wisconsin Railroad began building west of Dunton (Arlington Heights) in 1853, several communities wanted track to come to them. The railroad told them the constituency that raised the most money for the purchase of railroad stock would get the track. Clay’s Crossing (one mile west of Palatine) subscribed to $3,000 in stock, and Palatine subscribed to $10,000 in stock (there is no record of how much Glendale one mile east of Palatine raised to purchase stock). Joel Wood and Mason Sutherland, the Palatine representatives, came home victorious, and the single-gauge track was laid in June, 1855. There was one freight train each day at first. It came out from the city in the morning and went back in the afternoon, and the first Palatine train station was a freight car. Passenger service began six months later. Before long, the company hired Julius Thurston of Palatine to turn the switch, fill the water tank, check bills and handle the freight. For this he was paid the princely sum of $15 per month. Soon, however, the railroad failed and the stockholders lost everything. A new company using the same
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