The Commission

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Crystal Lake Fire Department, 1914
Crystal Lake Fire Department, 1914. (Click picture to enlarge)

The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) is a group of dedicated volunteers that have an interest in historic preservation and a deep sense of pride in the history of Crystal Lake.  The Commission meets the first Thursday of each month at 7:30 p.m.

The Historic Preservation Commission:

  • Hears requests for landmark status, certificates of appropriateness, and grants.
  • Plans and participates in many historic events and presents the Annual Heritage Tour.

Landmark Program

The landmark program is an excellent way to preserve the history of Crystal Lake and your home.  The City's landmark program:

  • Bestows legal protection to a property for the purpose of preserving its public character and history. 
  • A landmarked property is recognized as a public asset that enriches the community of Crystal Lake by virtue of its architecture and/or the people and events associated with it. 
  • The Commission, acting on behalf of the community, works to ensure the integrity of a landmarked property is not destroyed by demolition, inappropriate changes or neglect.  
  • Landmark status preserves the exterior facade of your home or business. 

Landmark Program Application Process:

  • Requires working with staff and HPC members to research your property's history. 
  • After receiving landmark status, you are eligible for grant funding.  
  • Landmarked properties receive a commemorative plaque, purchased by the commission, for public display. 
  • Download the application here.  
  • One of the Commission members who resides in a landmark plaqued property wrote a step-by-step guide to getting through the landmark process, " A Practical Guide to Historic Landmark Designation for the City of Crystal Lake ."  
  • A list of current landmarked properties can be found here.

Property Renovations, Alterations and Additions:

Landmark status does not limit your enjoyment and use of your property.

Matching Grant

The Historic Preservation Commission financially supports local history by dedicating the majority of money earned from fund raising to financial assistance for landmarked properties. 

  • The grant is a 50/50 matching grant up to $500 biannually for qualifying projects.
  • The grant application requires approval of the Certificate of Appropriateness, all cost estimates and details about the proposed work including photographs. 
  • One requirement of the grant program is to have an approved Certificate of Appropriateness.  The form is available here.
  • The Commission will  approve or deny the request. 
  • Grant funds are not approved and disbursed until the completion of the work and all supporting documentation (final payment receipt and photographs) have been submitted to the commission. 

Annual Heritage Tour

  • Each year a new tour is created, highlighting a section of the City or time period in the City's history. 
  • Tickets are sold to the community and frequently sold out.
  • Funds raised from the tour are used to provide matching grants.
  • Additional information regarding the Annual Heritage Tour can be found here.


The Historic Preservation Ordinance is the guiding document for the Crystal Lake Historic Preservation Commission.  The Ordinance is periodically reviewed and updated by the Commission and formally adopted by the City Council.   

Historic Preservation Ordinance

Commission Member Requirements

Members of the Commission are appointed by the City Council. The members are appointed on the basis of expertise, experience, or interest in:

  • historic preservation
  • architectural history
  • building construction
  • engineering
  • architecture
  • landscaping
  • finance
  • neighborhood organization
  • real estate

Commission Members 

  • Hamilton Hale 
  • Diana Kenney
  • Ron Scherf
  • Lisa Solak
  • Bob Wyman
  • Jim Wyman

City Staff Representative 

Elizabeth Maxwell, Planner


Winter Sports at Crystal Lake
Early postcard of Crystal Lake. (Click picture to enlarge)