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Ku Klux Klan

The Ku Klux Klan arrived in Palatine almost a hundred years ago. In 1923 a Chicagoan named J. W. Wakem invited his city friends to drive out to the farm he owned at the northwest corner of Palatine Road and Roselle Road for a Klan rally. Because roads were not well-marked in those days, Mr. Wakem had men with white flags stationed all along the route. The Herald covered the story and said that the fiery cross was much in evidence.

A year later the Klan gave a lecture at the Palatine Village Hall. The Herald printed an advertisement and a poster was displayed in the village hall. That same summer Klan members in full hooded dress marched into downtown Palatine and conducted an initiation ceremony at Seip Auditorium on Bothwell Street.

In August the Klan announced a big picnic at Wakem’s farm, calling the farm “Klan Grove”. A dance floor was built and an immense crowd came to watch initiation ceremonies. A month later Klan Day was declared at the Cook County Fair southeast of Hicks Road and Baldwin Road.

Two years later legislators in Springfield began authoring bills to restrict activities of the Klan by forcing members to register with the Secretary of State.

The property at Roselle Road and Palatine Road was purchased in 1925 by the Cudahy Packing Co. of Chicago. The meatpacker built a golf course for the use of its employees. In 1938 A. T. McIntosh purchased it and renamed it Inverness Country Club.