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Historic Videos

‘Old Maud’, a true historical tale of the PLZ & W railroad line that ran in Illinois in the early 1900’s. At the turn of the century, people of Chicago needing a break from city life, and looking for clean air, fresh water, picnic areas, and lakeside cottages, would venture northwest from Chicago to Palatine. There one could board a small rail line called the Palatine, Lake Zurich, and Wauconda Railroad, the PLZ&W. ‘Old Maud’ was one of the engines that hauled travelers and materials out to the area in northeast Illinois. It was a time without many roads, or motorcars. This train was necessary to develop this area, and has many stories of its short run. The enterprising golfers that loved their beautiful Lake Zurich Golf Club prevented the proposed train route through their course by respectfully burying four unclaimed cadavers between the 3rd and 4th Greens. They are resting there to this day. Crossing the Cook County border into Lake County became a haven for both hilarious and nefarious times. We learned this at the hysterical society and museum of Lake Zurich. Young Ernest Hemingway, one day, ventured from his home in Oak Park to ride the P.L.Z.&W. Near the end of the line, at Wauconda, the train could not quite make the slight incline to finish it’s trip. Passengers were asked to get out to lighten the load. It was jokingly referred to as the Palatine, Lake Zurich, & Walk-the-rest-of-the-way. This small rail line ran only 12 years, from 1912 to 1924. Many things caused the demise of the PLZ&W. Ironically, it was the railroad itself that carried the materials needed to improve the roads and seal ‘Maud’s’ fate. This short documentary concentrates on the good times of the short life and adventures of ‘Old Maud’ and the PLZ&W.

Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum says that the movie Rule Sixty – Three is a “lost film”.

Another motion picture that is probably lost is The Two Affinities. A portion of this was filmed from a PLZ&W RR baggage car.

Right Foot Forward was a two-reel comedy filmed in Palatine in 1920. The directors chose Palatine because we had no paved streets.

The Pathe Weekly filmed Boy Scouts and an Indian encampment at Deer Grove in 1920.

Clarinda Cady’s 90th birthday celebration in 1928. She was the first white child born in Palatine Township, Cook County, Illinois.

The worst Chicago & Northwestern train wreck in 50 years occurred Thursday, November 9, 1950. The aftermath above was captured on film by a local businessman. Twenty freight cars piled up in downtown Palatine. A total of 57 cars were smashed up or derailed. There were no casualties, but if a northbound passenger train had been on time, or if five gasoline tank cars had been full, the results would have been catastrophic. A steel beam from a gondola was driven into the ground about 18 feet. The National Guard and Red Cross rushed to the scene. Police had difficulty keeping curiosity-seekers out of harm’s way. A full description of the disaster is available on microfilm from the Palatine Enterprise issue of November 17, 1950.

We were contacted by The Midwest Chapter of the Model T Ford Club and one of their members Clem Engelmann filmed part of the 1955 Centennial Parade in Palatine when Palatine celebrated it’s 100th year. The 16mm film is 8:43 long. See if you can recognize anyone in the film. The film was taken in part on Brockway St and part at Sanborn School. Copyright Clem Engelmann.

Local optometrist Dr. Charles Mankenberg opened up an office at a house at 35 W. Palatine Rd. in 1949. On April 24, 1958 the house was moved by Haemker & Sons to West Wilson St.

This 1961 video showcases downtown Palatine.

About 1980 Judith Gamoran directed a video of Frank Regan interviewing Marilyn Pedersen. Marilyn detailed the tremendous amount of work done by the many volunteers who restored the Clayson House.

Unedited video of a fire that destroyed a building that housed the WINGS Resale Store and warehouse at Rohlwing Rd. and Northwest Hwy. Clothing and other household items were stored inside. The fire started after a thunderstorm and arcing commercial power lines were observed. The search for the power shut-off caused a delay in fighting the fire. The video is presented upon the one-year anniversary of the fire that occurred on June 18, 2010.

Ethel Baumann (1917 – 2016) lived her whole life at 1352 N. Hicks Rd. See her interview of 11-14-2013 here with Marg Plank and Connie Rawa (filmed by Joe Petykowski) discussing her life.

Dave Hammer gave a speech June 17, 2023 at the Palatine Public Library on the early history of the Palatine Fire Department here.