For many years Palatine residents drove into Deer Grove to collect wood for their stoves. In 1911 Palatine veterinarian Dr. John Wilson developed a portion of the grove along Quentin Road into a recreational complex called Deer Grove Park. This park flourished with the coming of the Palatine, Lake Zurich and Wauconda Railroad. Fearing commercialization, far-sighted Chicagoans realized that the grove needed to be preserved for future generations to enjoy. A legal team under Palatine attorney Ralph Peck Sr. initiated condemnation proceedings against 300 defendants who owned 1200 acres in 102 parcels. It took many battles in court to create the jewel we call the Deer Grove Forest Preserve.
From Palatine drive south on Plum Grove Road sometime and turn right on Old Plum Grove Road. As you travel down the pretty winding lane take a look at the scenery on the left. What you are looking at is the western edge of an ancient stand of trees known as Plum Grove. We have a description of that part of the grove from 173 years ago. Mr. E. L. Berry surveyed this part of Palatine Township for the federal government in 1838. He described what he saw in a set of field notes attached to the survey: “Timber and prairie level, soil good and fit for cultivation. Timber: White Oak, Black Oak, Hickory, Elm, Walnut; Undergrowth: Hickory, Hazle, and Vines.” Is this description still correct?