April 13, 2014

On Saturday, April 26, 2014 the Hoffman Estates Historical Sites Commission will conduct small group-guided tours of the Greve Cemetery on Abbey Wood Drive.

Groups will be shown the interrelated Greve, Meyer, Ottman and Sunderlage pioneer families buried at the cemetery which is also known as Wildcat Grove Cemetery or Evangelical and Reformed Cemetery.

Tours will start at 1:00, weather permitting.  Call 847-781-2606  for reservations after April 21.  Event is free of charge.


April 6, 2014

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the March 2014 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

In doing research about our grocery stores that opened in the early years of our village, I discovered that the year 1963 was quite eventful.  That was the year that the newest downtown shopping center opened at Golf and Roselle Rd.  It was across Roselle Rd. from the Hoffman Plaza Shopping Center that opened in 1959.  At that time it was called Golf-Rose Shopping Center. The name was changed to Golf Center and over the past 50 years the shopping center has seen many changes.Golf shopping

The first store to open in August of 1963 was the Golf Paint Glass & Wallpaper store.  It was located about were Dress Barn is now.  The grand opening offered a chance to win one of 2 picnic tables or 10 transistor radios.  Tri-County latex wall finish was $3.95 a gallon.  Balas Carpeting and Furniture opened next to the paint store in October.  Grants Department Store opened on October 17th at the far south end of the shopping center were T.J. Maxx is.  They had the “New Grant’s Opening Sale” in October with the sale of (your choice) a 15.1 Cu. Ft. chest freezer, a full size 10 lb. automatic washer or an automatic defrost refrigerator for $188. The National Food store opened on October 15th at the north end of the shopping center were Petland is now located. National Food

Several other small businesses were in between.  Hoffman Liquors, a Laundromat and a bakery that was there for many years and remembered by many of the early residents.  The bakery was Little John’s Butter Bakery.  Later the name changed to the Golf-Rose Butter Bakery that had wonderful German bakery goods.

On October 31 the dedication of the new shopping center would bring residents a fun and exciting Halloween celebration.  There would be a pumpkin carving competition, costume judging, and a sky high bonfire in the evening.  Residents were encouraged to “bring their junk” to fuel the huge bonfire.

In addition to the new shopping center, other building projects were getting underway.  In the spring of 63, plans for the community pool, were announced, with completion by June. In September, the Robert Hall clothing store was under construction at the southeast corner of Roselle & Golf Rd.  The 8400 square foot building would be ready for business in the fall.

The circus came to town in June to the Hoffman Plaza to help the Lions Club raise money for the new community pool.  Lions, llamas, chimpanzees, aerial acts and a dancing elephant were featured.

presbyterianThe United Presbyterian Church (to the right) and Bethel Baptist Church had their ground breakings in the summer and fall of 1963.  Bethel Baptist Church had been meeting in the Blackhawk School at Illinois Blvd. and Schaumburg Rd.  Due to the growing population, St. Hubert Catholic School added additional classrooms in 1963.

But the most exciting event of 1963 wouldn’t be in new shopping centers or new buildings and churches going up around town but the partial eclipse of the sun on July 20th.  Everyone was talking about it and everyone, especially the children, was given instructions on the importance of protecting their eyes during this awesome event.

The village was growing by leaps and bounds and 1963 was a banner years for the development of our downtown area.

Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Village Historian


April 5, 2014

Civil War dressesThe Hoffman Estates Historical Sites Commission and the Hoffman Estates Museum is proud to present, “Discovering Our Civil War History.”

The exhibit of contrasts will feature antique women’s dresses from the collection of Lakes Region Historical Society Museum Director Ainsley Brook Wonderling, as well as the camp life of Civil War volunteers.  Lakes Region Historical Society Museum is in Antioch, IL.

Also, re-enactors of the 8th Regiment of Illinois Volunteer Cavalry will be in uniform to portray and explain the role of the Union Cavalry.  Some members of the 8th may come from Schaumburg Township.

This unique event will take place at the Hoffman Estates Village Hall, 1900 Hassell Road, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 12.

Refreshments and admission are free.  For more information, call 847-781-2606.


April 5, 2014

Join us at the Schaumburg Township District Library for a program on the early history of Schaumburg Township as the area was being settled.  After the 1832 Black hawk War, Yankee and German farmers emigrated to the Schaumburg area buying plots of land from the government.  Pioneers

Dr. Ann Keating, Professor and History Department chair at North Central College in Naperville will discuss how language and ethnicity differences had to be negotiated in those early decades.

The program will be held:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 7:00
Rasmussen Room
Central Library

Please call 847-923-3347 to register.


March 30, 2014

JewelRecently, a person who found this blog posed a question concerning a grocery store that he remembers during his youth in Schaumburg Township.  His description was:

“What was the name of the grocery store with the big apple on the sign outside?   I remember it as a small child but only remember it being in Schaumburg but cannot remember what street it was on.”

Does this ring a bell with anyone?  Some of the grocery stores that have been in this area in the past are A&P, National, Jewel, Dominicks, Guido’s, Butera, Eagle, Cub Foods and Kohls.

If you can provide an answer, I’d sure appreciate it if you’d leave a comment below.  Here’s hoping the collective memory can come up with it!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


March 23, 2014

The Volkening Heritage Farm is on the hunt.  They are trying to track down a good photo of the Boeger/Redeker family farmhouse that used to exist on their property.  They don’t know that it exists but it’s entirely possible.  Maybe someone can help, because the story goes something like this…

After Johann Boeger came to the United States from Germany, he made his way to what would be Schaumburg Township and purchased his parcels of land from the United States government between the years 1845 and 1848.  The property is located on the southeast corner of Plum Grove and Schaumburg Roads.

He couldn’t have known that, almost 170 years later, the bulk of his property would remain true to its roots.  The original prairie he encountered is now a nature sanctuary and the farm he built is now a working, living farm.  Today, we know the farm as the Volkening Heritage Farm and it is located on the Spring Valley property.  Both entities are part of the Schaumburg Park District.

In the years after Mr. Boeger arrived, he built two homes for his family.  House #1 was built in the 1850s and is the small farmhouse that is there today.  House #2, the house that we are looking for, was built in the 1860s.  One photo of House #2 in its heyday exists but it is faded and, as you can see, the house is somewhat hidden in a copse of trees.Redeker house 1

This house stood for over a hundred years.  It is thought that a separate wing was added on at one point.  Eventually, though, the house was handed down to Mr. Boeger’s great-grandson, Herman Redeker.  As Spring Valley was being formed and land was being purchased in the late 1970s, Mr. Redeker was concerned about the well-being of the house, even though it had fallen into serious disrepair.  That is evident in this photo from the July 26, 1974 issue of The Herald.  Redeker house 2

Mr.Redeker eventually negotiated a deal in 1976 with the Arlington Heights Park District.  They dismantled the house piece by piece with the intent to rebuild it at Pioneer Park.  Unfortunately, that plan never came to fruition.

Today, the Heritage Farm would love to have a good, working photo of this missing house.  Maybe it’s a picture of the house all by itself.  Or, maybe it’s like a number of photos of this period where the Boegers had a picture of their family taken in front of the house.  If you can help, please contact Patricia Kennedy at the Volkening Heritage Farm.  It would be most appreciated!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


March 16, 2014

Yesterday I got a lovely gift in my Inbox.  One of the readers of the blog has saved multiple items from her childhood.  Lucky for us she loved the Beef ‘n Barrel restaurant so much that that she kept the menu.  And we’re double lucky that she gave me permission to put it on this blog.

beef 1

Beef 2

Beef 3You’ll notice that the Schaumburg restaurant is not listed on this takeout menu.  It came after the Elk Grove Village and Oakbrook locations.

Boy, though, you have to love the prices.  And the list of cocktails is quite old school.  But skip the specialties, I’ll take the Gold Rusher’s Onions!

If you’d like to read the original blog posting on the Beef ‘n’ Barrel, you can do so here.  A big thank you to our reader who took the time to send the scan.  We all appreciate it.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


March 9, 2014

After more than 114 hours Woodfield Mall finally had a couple of winners. Vinnie Torro and Louise Heath, the kissing couple, successfully locked lips as part of the Great Kiss Off of 1974—and the rock band, KISS, for whom the event was named, was happy to play a part.

Kiss albumIt all started as part of a nationwide promotion for the first album by KISS that was given the same name.   Local radio station, WCFL and Warner Bros./Casablanca Records were in on the promotion. According to the website, radio station WHSE in Ft. Lauderdale, FL started the contests on May 10 and they began to spread. Woodfield picked up on the gimmick but also developed it as “a fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital, Memphis, Tenn.” (The Herald, June 10, 1974)

The contest began June 8 at noon with 11 couples from across the country competing. These couples had already participated in a preliminary round for radio stations near their homes and were ready to win the big prize. At stake was an eight-day cruise to Acapulco and a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Each couple was given a five-minute break every hour. They were also given some incentive with a big kickoff for the event led by WCFL’s superjock, Larry Lujack. According to the book, And Party Every Day: The Inside Story of Casablanca Records written by Larry Harris,KISS came too, and they walked around the mall in full regalia.” The photo below is from their visit.kiss

The Casablanca leadership of Neil Scott, the founder, and his partners, Buck Reingold and Larry Harris were on hand. Joyce Biawitz, one of KISS’ manager was also there. According to Mr. Harris, “a stage had been erected in a large open area in the middle of the mall.” Mr. Scott began asking the crowd for donations to St. Jude’s. With little response from the crowd, “he had Buck go up to the next level of the mall, stand at the railing where he could see the stage below, and wait for a cue. Again Neil, addressed the respectably large crowd that had gathered on both levels, but this time he made it about the children: ‘C’mon folks, the children really need your money.’  At that moment, Buck released a big stack of one-dollar bills into the air, and suddenly it was raining money.”  People soon got the hint and began throwing down their own money from the upper level.  “People on the lower level were picking up the bills, crumpling them, and throwing them toward the stage.” According to The Herald they wound up raising around $5000 for the hospital. Quite a stunt!

According to the book, Nothin’ to Lose:  The Making of Kiss, 1972-1975 by Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons and Ken Sharp, one of the furniture stores in the mall loaned love seats for the couples to use while they were kissing.  By the end of the first day of the kiss-off however, three couples were already out. On Wednesday at 4 p.m., after  100 plus hours, two couples from the original eleven were left. One couple had dropped out because of cramps, another because of an upset stomach, and others because they fell asleep. Not a surprise.

Finally, Thursday morning at 6:01 a.m. after 114 hours and one minute, the second-place couple agreed to bow out. They didn’t just walk away. Their take home prize was $500. Vinnie and Louise, the first-place couple from Florida, accepted the $1000 cash equivalent of their trip and donated it to friends who had recently lost their home in a New Jersey fire. Because of this generous response, WCFL donated another Acapulco trip. Winners all around!

If you were there for the Great Kiss-Off, send us a comment.  Or, if you were lucky enough to see KISS as they walked Woodfield Mall, that’s even better.  We’d love to hear what your first impression was of the band members fully outfitted in makeup and black costumes!

Album cover photo is from Wikipedia.  

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library



March 2, 2014

The Schaumburg Township Historical Society is inviting you to get involved with our local history!  Join them for a short program on learning what the historical society has to offer and how you can be a part of it.

If you are interested in the history of the early settlers of Schaumburg Township, come on by.Volkening home

If you are interested in the German family farming era, stop in.

If you are interested in the Schaumburg Township history YOU have lived, join us.

3078It will be a great opportunity to make an impact and keep the interest in the area alive and growing.  Take a look at their website for a peek at what they’re about.

What:  Local History of Schaumburg Township
When:  March 10, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
Where:  Rasmussen Room South at the Schaumburg Township District Library, 130 S. Roselle Road, Schaumburg
Who:  Schaumburg Township Historical Society
For more information:  Contact Bob Vinnedge at or Jane Rozek at 847-923-3331.

Woodfield Water Tower 1


February 23, 2014

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the February 2014 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

The closing of the area’s Dominick’s grocery stores brought back memories of our history with large grocery chains.

A grocery store was vital to a new community.  When our homes sprang up from the corn fields in 1955 the early residents had to travel to nearby towns like Roselle or Palatine to buy groceries.  It wasn’t the most convenient way to shop but nothing else was available.

When the Hoffman Plaza shopping center opened in the summer of 1959, it had many of the stores that were needed by our pioneer families.  Jewel Tea grocery store was more welcome that any of the other stores except perhaps for the Snyder Drug store.    There was much joy in Hoffman Estates when the residents could shop close to home in their own town. Hoffman Plaza

Jewel has been in business for 115 years and our Jewel, although it’s changed locations within the Hoffman Plaza, has offered us wonderful shopping for the past 54 years.

In 1963 the Golf Rose Shopping Center was being built.  The addition of other stores and shops gave our residents more reason to shop in their own town.  What they really loved was the addition of a National Tea grocery store on the north end of the shopping center.  At the south end was a W. T. Grant’s department store. In between was a bakery, Golf Paint & Glass, Hoffman Estates Liquors and Balas Carpeting & Furniture.

The National had been in the Chicago area since 1899 and was well known to those who moved out from Chicago to buy their first home. But the store didn’t remain for long.  By the mid 1970’s, very much like Dominick’s, the grocery chain abandoned the area leaving close to 9,000 workers without jobs.

Another memory of mine is the A & P. It wasn’t in Hoffman Estates but in Schaumburg.  Although I live in Hoffman Estates, this A & P was located on Higgins Rd. just 2 blocks from my home in the Highlands.  It faced Higgins with the back of the store facing Golf Rd. It was there in 1965 when we moved in but I can’t recall when it left that location.

In the snowstorm of Jan. 1967, it remained open only because the clerks couldn’t make it home and slept in the store which was wonderful for those of use able to walk there to buy milk and bread.  This location now has the St. Alexius Medical Center, Binny’s and the New China Buffet.

With all the competition from these stores over the years, our Jewel continues on as the first and one of the favorite grocery stores in town.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian


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