Why do our roads go this way and that? It often depends on who created them. Large animals and the Indians who hunted them are probably responsible for the gentle curves of Algonquin Road and Dundee Road. The original trails tended to go around obstacles. The federal government built military roads such as Army Trail Road, Lake Street and Rand Road. Early farmers wanted roads such as Freeman and Baldwin to meander past neighbor homes. Baldwin once followed Northwest Highway east from Quentin Road to what is now Clark Street, Carpenter Street and finally Williams Drive. Palatine Township used survey lines to supervise the construction of Quentin Road and Roselle Road.
With business in the doldrums in 1835, the three Lebanon, New Hampshire, brothers decided to strike out for the West. Their father gave them each a thousand dollars. Having heard that Indian lands east of the Mississippi River were opening up, the Ela brothers set out. The youngest, George, chose an area the Indians called Deer Grove, just southwest of present-day Quentin Road and Lake Cook Road. He farmed there for nine years. 156 years later an archaeologist discovered remnants of that first homestead in Palatine Township: a square nail, handforged door hinge, doorlock, harness rivets, trigger guard, bridle cheek piece, barrel hoop, cattle nosering, pocket knife and handforged chains.
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?