Patch Passport: Travel Back in Time
Palatine's history centered around the building at 60 N. Bothwell since 1857.
Lamplighter Inn, 60 N. Bothwell St., has a long and rich history in Palatine. Constructed in 1857, the building is one of the oldest structures in the village.
Over the decades, it has been the home of the Masonic Lodge, a bakery, housed a barbershop and one of Palatine's first schools, and was a meeting place for churches and public officials. The building also has been the site of occasional violence and even murder.
Palatine’s history has its beginnings about 176 years ago. The area was green, open and ripe for farming, and settlers from the east steadily populated it starting in the 1830s:
- Palatine officially was incorporated on March 19, 1866, but settlers had been in the area as early as 1835.
- Palatine Township was established April 2, 1850, under the leadership of John Slade. There was debate over whether to call the township Palatine or Yankton. The name was chosen at the urging of Harrison Cook, who came to the area from a town in New York called Palatine.
- Early settlers were self-sufficient but relied on stagecoaches traveling from Chicago to bring mail via the Algonquin Trail.
- In the 1850s, Joel Wood and Mason Sutherland lobbied the railroad for a sidetrack to be built to connect the area to Chicago. The sidetrack was built in 1855.
Wood surveyed the land and laid out what eventually would become Palatine.
At the time there were a few hundred residents, a far cry from the nearly 70,000 people who call Palatine home today. Two years after the sidetrack was built, and nine years before the village was incorporated, the Masonic Lodge was built at 60 N. Bothwell St.
The structure one day would become today’s Lamplighter Inn. But in the 118 years before the bar and restaurant was established, the building had a number of different uses.
The Masonic Hall was located in what was called the “shopping district,” which was roughly bordered by Colfax on the north, the George Clayson House Museum building on the east, Palatine Road on the South and Smith Road on the west.
In addition to serving as a meeting place for the Masons, public school classes were held there because of overcrowding. It also was used as a meeting place for local government bodies after village incorporated.
From 1868 until 1870, Palatine Immanuel Lutheran Church parishioners held services there, until they purchased a building where the church is located today at Colfax and Plum Grove Road.
Kuebler’s barbershop was stationed in the back of the building from 1874 until at least 1900. The Masons sold the building to Charles Rappolt in 1905. Rappolt ran a bakery on the second floor.
Dick’s Tavern was opened in the early 1930s after Dick Sanford purchased the building. Around 1934, an unknown gunman entered the bar and shot Sanford’s daughter Alice, a piano player named Ed Batterman, and then turned the gun on himself.
Batterman and the gunman both died. Alice sustained a gunshot wound to the head and lived out her days in a nursing home; she reportedly was unable to speak or communicate with others. A motive for the shootings never was determined.
The building was bought in 1954 by Everett MacCrea and Al Zwirblis, who opened Mac & Al’s Corner Tap. In April 1962, MacCrea and his wife, Louise, were in the bar at closing time when Ronald Martin, who was in the establishment earlier that night, came back and started shooting.
Louise was shot three times but none of the injuries were life-threatening. MacCrea was shot in the head and died on the bar floor. Martin was convicted of murder, and the motive was determined to be theft. A check from the cash register was found in his possession.
In 1975, the Bellanca family opened Lamplighter Inn Tavern and Grille. Initially, they thought about naming the establishment after the owners but decided to take into account the lengthy history of the building and its place in the early beginnings of Palatine.
That history includes the village’s purchase of 12 street lamps in 1871, and the hiring of lamplighters at 50 cents a night to make sure the growing area was properly lit.
One of those lamps was set directly in front of where Lamplighter Inn stands today.
“Our goal is to honor the history and tradition of this building in the community while always being family-friendly,” said Lisa Bellanca, co-owner with her husband, Frank.
Historic pictures dating back to the late 1800s fill the rooms and halls of the building.
Information in this article was provided through interviews with Marilyn Pedersen, George S. Clayson House Museum coordinator and Lisa Bellanca, owner of Lamplighter Inn; and through the publications Then & Now: Palatine, Illinois and the Palatine Centennial Book Edition Updated.