December 21, 2014


Topographical map 2

I recently came across this 1953 topographical map of the Palatine quadrangle.  In looking over it, I noticed the blue stream running through the portion of the map shown above.  This is the West Branch of the Du Page River and it doesn’t start in Campanelli Park as I mentioned here.  If you follow it, you’ll notice that it once started just south and east of the intersection of Schaumburg and Springinsguth Roads.  With the development of the Weathersfield subdivision, the land–and the stream–were graded at some point, moving the starting point of the river further south.

At the time of this map’s publication, the land where the stream originated was part of  the Ode D. Jenning’s farm.  Mr. Jennings died in 1953 and the property then passed into his wife’s hands.  You can see their long lane ending at a group of buildings.  Three of the buildings on this property still stand.  You know them as the Schaumburg Barn, the offices of the Schaumburg Athletic Association and the Jennings home which serves as a location for a non-profit organization.  For more information, read about Mr. Jennings here and his farm here.

You’ll also notice in this map that you can actually see some of the ridge of the continental divide.  It is the portion that is outlined in a darker brown next to the number 28.  In reading a topographical map, these darker portions indicate a higher elevation of the land.  There is another such site almost due south.  This is the path of the continental divide that creates the drainage pattern for the township.

The green blob that straddles Schaumburg Road is Sarah’s Grove, pre-development.  This area later covered Timbercrest, The Woods (both appropriately named) and Friendship Village.  The long lane that runs south of the grove started at Roselle Road and ended at the Engelking farm.  It was the origination of today’s Weathersfield Way.

The racing oval to the south was part of the Daisy Mayer farm at the time.  According to an oral history done with Ralph Engelking, this oval was built in the Depression as a training track for trotters.  The farm was called May Day Stock Farm.

You can see another oval almost due east across Roselle Road.  This farm belonged to Virginia Mansfield who was known locally for the horses she raised.  These were two of five racing ovals in Schaumburg Township.

Topographical maps give a wealth of data from elevation to swampy areas to schools to cemeteries.  We have a number of them in the library’s Illinois Collection map file that cover Schaumburg Township.  Feel free to stop by anytime and take a look.  Or maybe you see something else that catches your eye on this map?  Leave a comment and let us know!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


December 14, 2014

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

I love trees.  Ever since I was a young girl, trees were always special.  I climbed in them all the time.  I’d go all the way up to the tip top and feel the tree sway from side to side. I guess I could’ve fallen from a lot of the trees I climbed, but I didn’t.

When we moved to Hoffman Estates, I was happy to see trees in the parkway and several trees in my front and side yards.  All the trees were so small.  Not many leaves to rake in the beginning.  In later years it was fun to rake and have the kids hide and jump in the piles.  Now my trees, maples and elms, have grown much higher than my home and give the yard and house a cool shade all summer long.

Soft MapleWhen F & S Construction built the homes in Hoffman Estates in the early years, they planted maples.  They’re soft maples, some are shag bark maples, and they’ve broken easily in really high winds over the years.  We’ve also had years were we had cottony maple scale on our trees.  They’ve come through in spite of storms and disease.

When they planted the green ash trees in later years, they were wonderful trees.  They grew quickly and we loved them.  I had one in my parkway and it was a columnar green ash, just the right shape for the parkway.

When we had those dry summers over the past few years, I’d be more worried about my trees than my lawn.  I’d set out the sprinkler and give them a good soaking.  As my trees grew larger, my air conditioner bill grew smaller.

The leave raking wasn’t as much fun since the kids were getting older. They were too big to hid or jump in them anymore although the piles were bigger and could have hidden a teenager very easily. The kids weren’t too interested in racking them either.

Now as I drive around the village, I’m sad to see all the trees that have been killed by the Emerald Ash Borer.  It’s thought that they arrived from China in packing materials.Emerald Ash Borer

The village has been working so hard to remove the diseased trees.  It’s a major undertaking to get new ones planted and our job to care for them.  Many neighborhoods will have to wait for the newly planted trees to grow and thrive and once again provide beauty, shade and homes for the birds and squirrels.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian


December 7, 2014



Woodfield Christmas

If you’ve spent any time at all in the Schaumburg Township area during the holiday season, Woodfield Mall is a must visit.  Center Court is always completely bedecked with lavish decorations, the various wings are full of shoppers  and Santa can be found in his chair during most of the hours the mall is open.

Recently one of my fellow librarians found this commercial  on the website of the Museum of Classic Chicago Television.  The commercial advertises Woodfield Mall at Christmastime and aired on November 14, 1984.  It featured a number of items that were ideal gifts for their shoppers and is a true 1980s theme with Izod shirts, boom boxes and square-faced watches.  (Which of the perfume bottles do you recognize??)

Please take note, too, of the “We Have It All” theme running through the commercial.  And, of course, they always recognize their anchor stores.  Note how they flash past you at the end–J C Penney, Sears, Lord & Taylor and Marshall Fields.

What are your favorite Christmas memories of Woodfield Mall?  Sitting on Santa’s lap?  Madly rushing around to find the perfect gift(s) on Christmas Eve?  Going to the theater on Christmas Day?  Or, something so simple as finding the perfect parking place up close?  We’d love to hear.  Or, maybe, tell us your favorite gift from Woodfield Mall.  Don’t we all have one?!?

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian



November 30, 2014


Sometimes you never know what will wind up in your mailbox.  About a month ago I received these four photos from Keith Wiener, one of the blog’s followers.  The photos were taken over a period of time by Gus Wiener, his father, who lived on Aster Lane in Hoffman Estates.  What a wonderful surprise!  And Mr. Wiener has graciously allowed me to share them with you.

They show many buildings and businesses that are no longer around.  Here’s what I see in each photo.  If you see something I don’t, please feel free to post a comment!

Keith 2


This photo is looking south at the intersection of Golf and Roselle Roads.  Roselle Road appears to be four lanes at this point.  From left to right I can see the Standard station that was on the northeast corner of the intersection.  Across Golf Road is the Robert Hall Village store with its large sign of bright orange neon lettering.   Robert Hall was at this location until late 1973/early 1974 when it relocated to Barrington Square.  That is a good indication that this photo was taken in the early 1970s.

Further south is the back of a square white building with a slightly gabled roof.  This is Rogner’s Shell Station that was on the northeast corner of Higgins and Roselle Roads.

Across Roselle Road is Suburban Bank with its green neon sign.  This brown, fortress-style building is still near the corner and has gone through a number of name changes in the intervening years.   Today it is a branch of BMO/Harris Bank.

Finally, across Golf Road and on the front right portion of the photo is a Citgo gas station.  This corner is now vacant but prior to the building’s tear down, it contained a Shell station.

Keith 3


This photo also shows a building that is no longer in existence.  It is Woodfield Lanes bowling alley that was on the north side of Golf Road between Plum Grove and Roselle Roads.  It was built in 1979 and torn down in 2001 to make way for the Woodfield Lexus dealership.  Because the trees and shrubbery near the building look fairly small, this photo must have been taken in 1979 or, possibly, 1980.  Mr. Weiner lived nearby so he may have taken the photo BECAUSE it was new.

Keith 4


This photo is the most intriguing to me.  According to Keith, the photo was taken from his father’s backyard on Aster Lane.  It looks west down Golf Road and it is only by looking closely that I noticed in the background to the right there are some high-rise buildings.  That would mean those buildings are the Towers of Schaumburg which opened in 1975.  (It was later XXI Kristin Place and is now known as The XXI.)  The other buildings to the left of the grove of trees are Village in the Park apartments that began construction in 1970 and opened in the spring of 1971.

Then there’s the farm off to the right in the foreground of the photo. I am told this was the Wilkening Farm–which makes sense since Wilkening Road now bisects Golf Road at this point.  It’s nice when things come together like this.

Obviously, this photo was taken in the mid to late 1970s or early 1980s after the Towers of Schaumburg were developed.

Keith 1We are again back to Golf Road.  In the background of the center of the photo is the Motorola tower.  And, to the right is the sign for Carlos Murphy’s.  Remember that restaurant?  It opened around 1984 and was quite a hotspot until 2001.  It is now the site for the Bahama Breeze restaurant.  My only question?  Is that the restaurant off to the left in mid-construction?

If you have any suggestions or comments, please feel free to comment here or pass them onto me by email.   Just trying to get this history correct with your help!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


November 23, 2014

The Volkening Heritage Farm & Merkle Cabin will help you experience the holiday season as it was in 1880s Schaumburg.  Elaborate Victorian decorations and traditional German foods filled the home with light and warmth, but farm work continued at its own pace.

See how German-American farm families in 19th century Schaumburg celebrated Christmas with traditional foods, simple homemade gifts and a continuation of their daily farm chores. Meet a traditional St. Nicholas and enjoy a cup of soup by the fireplace at the log cabin. The day will include refreshments, holiday treats, cookie decorating for the kids and craft activities.

Admission is $3/person or $12/family; free for children 3 and under.

Join the farm and their sponsor, Whole Foods, as they celebrate the holiday seaso on Saturday and Sunday, December 6 & 7 from 12 to 4 p.m.


November 16, 2014


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

Congratulations to James B. Conant High School on its 50th anniversary.  It was the first high school in Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg Township, opening in September of 1964.  At the time, it was planned to house 1,700 students.  The building was built at a cost of $13.50 a square foot.  The architects, Fridstein & Fitch had also designed Hoffman Plaza and many of the other elementary schools in Hoffman Estates. Conant was designed with many windowless classrooms, to lessen distractions, and it would be air conditioned so students could attend summer school in comfort.  The new school would have 52 classrooms. 700 parking spaces would be provided for students and staff.  That first year, only freshman, sophomores and juniors attended.

A little known fact about Conant High School is the serving of the first school lunch. It was served to the school board members, who were touring the new facility, in the unfinished cafeteria. It was hosted by the school architect, Marvin Fitch. Tables made of cement block and slabs of plaster board with plastic over the top served as “furniture”. Since the school was still under construction, the meal had to be catered.  The board was served boneless fried chicken, hot potato salad, molded fruit salad, rolls & butter with cherry and apple pie to finish the meal.  The August, 1964 Daily Herald reports that the catered food “had to be brought into the building over a block wide quagmire of mud.”

A favorite hangout for the early Conant students would’ve been Hippo’s Hot Dogs. It was just a short walk from school.  It was a great place to go for one of the best hot dogs in town.

The land for Conant High School was donated by F & S Construction Company who built Hoffman Estates. It had been part of the Arthur Hammerstein Farm.  One of the farm’s caretakers lived in the old home that is west of Conant on Aberdeen.  Another farm, the Winkelhacke farm, was across Plum Grove Road to the east.  The Winkelhacke family had been one of the first families to move to Schaumburg Township sometime between the late 1830s and early 1840s.  The early students would’ve been familiar with the farm.  A small portion of the farm north of the football field was planted in corn for many years after the school opened.  Helen Brach, whose family owned the Brach Candy Company, also had a large farm that was just to the east of the Winkelhacke farm.  The entire area was a mix of farms, new homes and new schools.

Some of the old timers who lived on the local farms have told their stories about traveling to Palatine High School long before Conant came to be. There were no school buses.  Everyone had to find a ride with parents who had cars.  Many of the “kids” would learn to drive when they were freshman and would pile their friends & others in the car and drive to school.  Winter was their biggest challenge.  There were on snow days back then and the roads were terrible.

Happy 50th to all the staff and students of Conant High School.

I’d love to have all those “kids” who grew up in Hoffman Estates come to our Hoffman Estates Museum program on Saturday, Sept. 27th from 1 till 2:30 pm  at the Village Hall.  Share your stories of what you did growing up in Hoffman Estates.  What didn’t you tell your Mom?  Bring your pals with.  I hope to see you then.  If you have questions, please send me an e-mail.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian


November 9, 2014

Bicycle from ENGLAND



This is a prize of a picture that was sent to me by Daniel Sedory, one of the blog’s followers.  It is a great representation of 1960’s Hoffman Estates complete with new bike, old car from the 1950s and brand new houses along Bode Road.

It is obvious the photo was taken to highlight the new bike which, according to Daniel, was given to him by his parents in 1966 or ’67.  It was manufactured in England and was a 3-speed with the shifter on the right handle bar on top.  It was black and, as a result, Daniel referred to it as “Black Beauty.”  He remembers how quiet the bike was and remembers riding around the neighborhood after dark–and sometimes after curfew–without making a sound.  “Occasionally I’d be able to ride right up behind some kid my age on the sidewalk, say “Hi” and scare them cuz I’d been so quiet.”

The bike came from a bike store on Roselle Road and the day Daniel picked up the bike he rode it home.  Thinking the store might be Bike Connection just north of the intersection with Golf Road–and knowing it had been there awhile–I stopped by and talked to owner, Rick Johnson.  He said the store opened in the early 1970s so that notion fell through.  It might be possible that one of this blog’s readers remembers the bike store it might have been?

The backdrop of the photo then leads us to a car that looks to be from the 1950s.   I wasn’t too sure about the make and model until one of our readers told me it was a 1952 Mercury Custom sedan.  It looks neat sitting in the background.

And, then there’s the new houses that surround both the car and the bicycle.  According to Daniel, the photo was taken outside of, what was then, 290 Bode Road.  The Sedory’s were the first owners when this house was built in 1960.  This area of Hoffman Estates is part of the Parcel C development that was constructed by F & S Construction.   Curb and gutter have been installed along the streets and the grass is growing quite nicely but the tree is not yet mature.  It is still a very new street.

All in all it is a neat juxtaposition between new and old–and a great photo of early Hoffman Estates.  Thank you to Daniel for passing it on with so many details included.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

My thanks to Rick Johnson at Bike Connection for providing me with details on the bike as well as the logo.  His helpfulness helped advance the story you read here.



November 2, 2014

If you enjoyed your geography or science classes, you probably know that the Continental Divide of the United States runs down the backbone of the Rocky Mountains.   The streams and rivers on the east side of the Rockies flow into the Atlantic Ocean and those on the west side flow into the Pacific Ocean.

Continental divides are naturally-occurring high spots that delineate how an area is drained of water.  Interestingly enough, Schaumburg Township has its own small continental divide that runs north to south down the middle of most of the township.  The divide and high point runs between Salem and Roselle Roads and is most noticeable driving east on Wise Road near Roselle Road.  You know you’ve reached a high point because it is possible to see the skyscrapers of Chicago from the road.Wise Road 2

Below is a topographical map of part of Schaumburg Township.  This map is part of the greater Palatine quadrangle and was redrawn in 1972.

Topographical map

If you zoom in, you can see that on the east side of the divide the small streams that run through that part of the township drain into Salt Creek and eventually into the Des Plaines River.  These would include the streams that run through Friendship Village, Town Square and along the southern border of the Schaumburg Golf Club.  Yeargin Creek, which runs through the Schaumburg Municipal Center property, also drains into Salt Creek as do the creeks that run through the Spring Valley property.

On the west side of the divide the streams are part of the Poplar Creek system that eventually drains into the Fox River.  You can find these branches of Poplar Creek as they flow through the Hilldale Country Club, the Hoffman Estates Village Hall property, Poplar Creek Country Club and in front of the St. Alexius property that is close to Barrington Road.

There is one exception to this continental divide drainage pattern in Schaumburg Township and that can be found in the southwestern part of the township.  The West Branch of the DuPage River actually begins in Campanelli Park and eventually flows into the Des Plaines River.  It drains south in Schaumburg along Braintree and then east along Syracuse Lane into Hanover Park.  It takes a southerly turn at Anne Fox Park, flows under Irving Park Road and continues along Longmeadow Lane into the Metropolitan Sanitary District Basin and out of the township.  Obviously, the continental divide does not come into play in this part of the township since we have an east-flowing stream on the western side of the township!

If you look at the map below, you can see the head waters of the DuPage River in Campanelli Park and the path that it follows through Schaumburg Township.

Schaumburg Map

Do you remember playing in these creeks as you grew up in Schaumburg Township?  Did any of them flood after big rains?  Or maybe your family had a pet name for the creek behind your house?  Feel free to share your stories about our township’s streams…

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library



October 26, 2014

100_0405In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a new gas station in town at the corner of Hassell and Barrington Roads–and it has a rocket man on top of it.

In a move that takes us back to the 1950s, Ricky Rockets Fuel Center, has resurrected the idea of a cartoon-like icon serving as an advertisement for their business.  You can see that the rocket man sits on top of the gas station itself and a smaller version is on top of the business’s sign. 100_0408

But, wait, there’s another great icon in Schaumburg Township and it’s on Meacham Road.  Where else are you going to find a grill large enough to make hamburgers for your entire neighborhood but at the Weber Grill Restaurant?








Do you remember any other icons  used in Schaumburg Township over the years to advertise various businesses?  I can think of a few–maybe you can too?  Share your ideas with the group!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

Photos taken courtesy of Dave Heller, General Manager of the Weber Grill Restaurant and Vince O’Kray, Manager of Ricky Rockets Fuel Center.  Thank you for your cooperation!


October 19, 2014

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

Something strange was going on in Parcel A.  It was the first area of the village to be developed in 1955. It all happened 45 years ago in August.ghost on street

Was it the cool night air?  Was it overactive imaginations?  Maybe it was eating that last big slice of pizza, something like Marley’s “undigested bit of beef” that made those boys see a ghost on Aspen Ln.

It sure scared Bob & Tommy as they walked home from Shakey’s Pizza at about 9:30 pm.   They were heading home along Aspen Ln. and had just passed Hawthorne when they saw something strange by the creek.  They reported it to be a 6 ft. tall misty form hovering over the same spot in the creek.  As they approached it, the misty form went into a tree.  They hurried to a friend’s house and they all went to see if it was still there.  Sure enough, it was still in the tree.  Being typical boys, they decided to throw stones at it.   To their surprise, it began chasing them up to the corner of Bluebonnet and Aspen were it stopped and hovered over the ditch.  Too afraid to run home, they went in their friend’s house and waited until a car came down the road to light up the dark street as the bolted from the house and ran along with the car till they reached the safety of their homes.

Was there a ghost on Aspen Ln.?  Word spread fast.  Larry and Ric made sure that the newspapers heard about it as well as everyone else in their crowd.  In the weeks that followed this ghostly discovery, crowds of people came to see the ghost.  The adults that came out to Aspen Ln. told the police that they were only watching out for the kids and making sure they didn’t trespass on the neighbors property.  Oh yes, the police became a part of the ghostly gatherings trying to disperse the curious adults and teens.

The neighbors invited friends to come and join in the nightly watch for the ghost.  Several adults did confess to seeing the ghost but refused to give their names to the newspaper.  Crowds gathered each night only to be more and more disappointed when the Aspen ghost refused to appear or perhaps it was spooked by all the people.

Everyone seemed to have an opinion as to what the ghost might be.  One man said that the area had been Indian camping grounds.  It could have been an Indian returning to his favorite campsite.  Another felt that it was nothing more than gas vapors coming up from the creek that went through Parcel A.  Kids in the area tried to help the ghost stories along by tacked up a white paper ghost to the tree.

Whatever happened to the ghost on Aspen Ln.?  It’s anybody’s guess.  Maybe it was real.  We’ll never know.

Thanks to Norma Simone who wrote “Haunting the Ghost of Aspen Lane” in the Aug. 27, 1969 edition of the Record Newspaper.

Please tell your stories of growing up in Hoffman Estates at the Hoffman Estates Museum’s 55th birthday celebration for the Village on Sept. 27, 2014 from 1 to 2:30 pm at the Village Hall.  We want to hear all about the things you did that you didn’t tell your Mom about until now. The Hoffman Estates Village Hall is located at 1900 Hassell Rd.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian


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