In 1834, when Native Americans still inhabited and traveled through the area, several families settled on a high elevation in what is now Palos Park, and like other settlers, built rough log cabin homes. The McCord and McClaughry Families inhabited the property and building now known as the McCord House. The house was expanded through the years, and during the Civil War period, an elegant Italianate-style addition was completed. It is distinguished by a classic entry, long and narrow arching “eyebrow” windows, carved moldings, balustrade ornamentation and natural hardwood floors. This is the McCord House that stands before us today, serving as a stately reminder of an elegant time gone by.
Ownership of the farm passed from the McCord family in the early 1940’s. In 1944 Frank Connell purchased the home, then in poor condition, with eighteen acres of farmland. The Connell family worked extensively to restore the home. Through their thoughtful and detailed renovation, they preserved this historic building. It remains today very close to its original form.
In the 1980’s Frank Gasior purchased the home and the immediate surrounding property, much of which was later developed. After a number of years the Village of Palos Park annexed the property and became the owners and official stewards. Through a village-appointed ad hoc committee, the McCord House 501(c)(3) Not for Profit Corporation was formed in February 2003. The corporation currently leases the property from the Village of Palos Park and the operating name of the facility is McCord Gallery & Cultural Center.
Due to the Chicago fire of 1871 and a fire within the personal records of the McCord family, the entire history of McCord House may not be able to be recovered. The Historic Preservation Commission of the Village of Palos Park, McCord NFP and an independent researcher continue to uncover pieces of the history. McCord Gallery & Cultural Center looks forward to preserving the jewel that is McCord House by sharing it with the community.