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’m not too sure about the make and model. Maybe one of our readers can help us with that too?

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


October 12, 2014

On Sunday, October 19, 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  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 October 13.  Event is free of charge.


October 5, 2014

trenchWhat:  Fighting in the Trenches: Schaumburg Township Veterans of World War I.  [An exhibit]

When:  The month of October 2014

Where:  The second floor of the Schaumburg Township District Library, 130 S. Roselle Road, Schaumburg

Over 100 years ago, on July 28, 1914, the Great War began when Emperor Franz-Joseph of Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia and Russia.  For the next three years all of Europe was entangled in a messy land war that involved huge losses of life and little progression by either the Allied or Central powers.

By 1917 it had become obvious to the Allied countries that they desperately needed both the financial and manpower assistance of the United States if they were going to succeed. Up to this point, the United States had resisted joining the Allies in their fight despite the loss of 159 American lives in the 1915 incident of the sinking of the RMS Lusitania.  This attitude changed when the Germans sent the Zimmerman telegram to Mexico in early 1917, promising them parts of the United States in exchange for their assistance.  Thus the die was cast for America joining the war on April 6, 1917.

A draft was soon organized on June 5, 1917 and young men across the United States from the ages of 21-31 were required to register.  Another draft followed on June 5, 1918 and included any men who had turned 21 since the prior year.  An even more comprehensive draft was held three months later on September 12, 1918 and called for any men between the ages of 18 and 45.

During these registration periods, approximately 75 men in Schaumburg Township dutifully filed their cards with the draft board.  The majority registered in the first draft on June 5, 1917 and more followed at various times in 1918.  Of this number, 26 men served and they are as follows:

  • Henry Bartels
  • Albert Fasse*
  • John Freise
  • Albert Gathman
  • Henry Harke
  • Louis Hattendorf
  • Arthur Heide
  • Ernest Heim
  • Thomas Ford Heslop
  • Herman Knake
  • Herman Kruse
  • Elmer Nerge
  • George Nerge
  • Louis Henry Nerge
  • Harley Ottman
  • Alfred Quindel
  • Justin Rose
  • Ernest Schultz
  • Emil Sporleder
  • August Stein
  • Charles Stein
  • William Stein
  • Herman Thies
  • William Thies
  • Robert Voightmann
  • William Wede

*Albert Fasse was the only soldier who did not return home.  He served as a private in the Army’s 131st Infantry Regiment of the 33rd Infantry Division and died on October 10, 1918 in the Battle of the Argonne Forest. He is buried in Romagne, France at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery.

On Sunday, October 5, 1919, a welcome home celebration for the returning men was held at the Schween Oak Grove Pavilion which was located in today’s Timbercrest subdivision.  Festivities included a parade, speakers, baseball game, wrestling match, dinner and dance.

This month, October 2014, we too honor the men of Schaumburg Township who served our country so well.  It should be noted that many of the families of these men had been in this country for a mere 60 or 70 years.  Their willingness to send their sons to fight in the “war to end all wars” was a testament to their patriotism and pride in the adopted country that this close-knit community now called home.


September 28, 2014

Last week I mentioned a 1969 Hoffman Estates Residence & Business Directory that was sent to me by a blog follower.  I have pulled out all of the businesses in the directory to see if any of them trip a memory.  What follows is the listing, M-Z, of those I discovered. 5

The items I found interesting were:

  • What was Edward Pacana Foods?  Was it maybe in the old Schaumburg Center School building?
  • What exactly was Plaza Valueland?  Kind of like a Ben Franklin?  [According to ads in the Hoffman Herald, it was, in fact, very much like a Ben Franklin.  It was largely toiletries sold at a discount.  Wigs seemed to be a specialty.]
  • What was The Sorority House in the Golf Rose Shopping Center?National Food

MacArthur Douglas School, 521 Chippendale Rd

Melmar Realty Co, 498 Devonshire Lane

M’Gonigle & Sloan Inc., 2 N Golf Rose Shopping Center

National Food Stores, Golf & Roselle Rds

Newport Painting & Decorating, 389 Newport Rd

Northwest Printing Service, 101 Apple at Golf

Orchid Cleaners & Shirt Laundry, 9 Golf Rose Shopping Center

Osco Drug, 10 Hoffman Plaza

Our Saviours Methodist Church, E Golf Road

Pacana Edward Foods, Schaumburg  & Roselle Rds (2 Doors East of Roselle Rd)

Plaza Shell Service, Higgins & Roselle Roads

Plaza Valueland, 7 Hoffman-Plaza Shopping

Rainbow Inn, Rt 72

Ralston Electronics, 11 Hoffman Plaza

Re & Paul Twinbrook Texaco Service, Roselle & Bode Rds

Record The Division Pioneer News Inc, 26 W. Golf Rose Shopping Center

Red’s Barber Shop, Higgins & Roselle

Rice Heating & Cooling, Roselle & Higgins Rds

Rogners Plaza Shell Service, Higgins & Roselle Rds

Robs [Rohs] Dirt Sand & Gravel, Golf Rd

Roselle Appliance Service, Schaumburg & Roselle Rds

Roselle-Golf Realty Co, Golf Rose Ctr

Roselle Record, 117 Flagstaff

Russell’s Barber Shop, 2 Hoffman Plaza

St. Hubert Church, 126 Grand Canyon

St. Hubert Convent, 125 Grand Canyon

St. Hubert School, 170 Flagstaff

Schaumburg Town Committee on Youth, 15 Golf Rose Plaza

Schaumburg Travel Service, 338 W Golf Road

Sentiments & Sweets, 24 Golf Rose Shopping Center

7-Eleven Food Store No. 2, 217 S. Roselle Rd

Smith Heating & Welding, 149 Mohave

Snyder’s Hoffman Drug Inc, 32 Golf Rose Shopping Plaza

Sorority House The, 22 Golf Rose Shopping Ctr.

Stacey Plumbing & Heating Co, 214 Ash Rd

State Farm Ins–Tom De Bruyne Agent, Schaumburg & Roselle Rds

Stompanato Sons Plumbing, 218 Illinois Blvd

Suburban Import Motors, 120 E. Golf

Sundance Western Wear, Roselle Rd & Golf Rd

Ted’s Plumbing, Roselle & Higgins Rds

Thunderbird Theatre, Golf Rose Shopping Center

Twinbrook Hardware, 4 Hoffman Plaza

Twinbrook School, Ash Rd

Twinbrook YMCA, Schaumburg Rd

U-Haul Dealer, Roselle & Higgins Rds

United Rent All, 80 E. Golf Rd

Universal Painting Contractors, 2 Hoffman Plaza

Wolfgram & Assoc, 293 W Berkley Pl

Wurster R, 14 Golf Rose Shopping Ctr

Please feel free to post your comments!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library




September 27, 2014

In the village of Schaumburg there is only one building on the National Register of Historic Places.  It is a hidden gem that is still a private residence.  Known as the Paul Schweikher House, this home was built in 1938 by Mr. Schweikher, a renowned architect who lived there until 1953 when he moved to Connecticut to head Yale University’s architecture school.

You now have an opportunity to view this local architectural wonder. The house will be open to the public for pre-scheduled, 40-minute tours on Saturday, October 11 2014 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The cost of the tours is $25 per person, paid in advance of the event with a maximum of 12 persons per tour. For registration, visit, call Executive Director Todd Wenger at (847) 923-3866 or email

Tours of the house will feature Schweikher’s masterful integration of brick, glass, and wood, including an iconic brick fireplace, passive solar room, cantilevered construction, exposed wood beams, built-in furniture, a Japanese soaking tub, raked gravel courtyard, and gardens designed by the noted Midwestern landscape architect Franz Lipp.

This event is being sponsored by the Schweikher House Preservation Trust   For information about the house, please visit


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