The Clayson House was constructed as a residence in 1873 by George Clayson, a nurseryman who served on the Palatine Village Board. It has been jointly owned by the Palatine Park and Library Districts since 1976, and is the home of the Palatine Historical Society. Its restoration was undertaken as a bicentennial project by the citizens of Palatine Township and the Palatine Historical Society. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 21, 1979; opened to the public on October 7, 1979.
The History of Clayson House
James Wilson sold the land bounded by Palatine Rd. (then Chicago Ave.), Northwest Hwy. (then Baldwin Road), Wood St. and Oak St. to George Henry Clayson in 1872. Clayson began planting fruit trees and grape vines on the property and in 1873 had a house built for his family. It was built by a local carpenter likely choosing from a plan book of various sizes, styles, and layouts. The house is considered to be French Second Empire in style because of the Mansard roof with dormers. It also has some Victorian Italianate features in its bay window and brackets. It cost about $2300 to build.
Mr. Clayson later sold 1 1/2 acres to Charles Cutting and in 1881 sold the rest to Moses Brown. The Claysons had already moved to Nunda (now Crystal Lake) to expand on his nursery business. The Brown family lived on Chicago Ave. until 1901 and then sold the house to William Meine. In 1904 Meine conveyed the property to Henry Wolff.
The Wolff family lived in the house longer than anyone else. Henry and his wife, Carrie, had one child named Elsie. Mr. Wolff died in 1945. Elsie and her husband, Julius Drexler, made some changes in the house. They took out the back stairs and had a bathroom installed near the landing on the second floor. Some rooms were rented out to boarders. At some point a hip roof was placed over the Mansard roof. After Elsie’s death in 1965, Julius subdivided the property. Julius sold the land to Elmer Plote in 1969 and moved to Des Plaines. Plote conveyed the house to John & Roberta Springer and they in turn conveyed it under a trust to Citizens Bank & Trust in 1972. The Palatine Public Library bought it from the bank in trust with the Palatine Historical Society and the Palatine Park District in 1976 in recognition of the American Bicentennial. A preservation architect was hired to return the house to its original style and floor plan. It is painted its original color. The George Henry Clayson house now stands as a magnificent reminder of Palatine’s Victorian past and is on the National Register of Historic Places.