July 20, 2014


Woodfield Mall has never had a formal food court.   In the early 1970s, though, there was a restaurant that came mighty close to the real thing.  It was called International Park and was owned under the auspices of International Cafes Inc.

As a result of a bit of give and take in the comments on the Woodfield Mall Opening Day posting, a couple of posters provided us with additional information.  Kassie said that stepping into the International Park restaurant on the lower level next to the ice skating rink gave you many dining choices.  A Coney Island section enticed you with a selection of hot dogs and cotton candy.  There was a hamburger grill, a counter for Chinese food, another area for standard American fare and yet another spot that gave you the chance to indulge in Italian favorites.

Peggy said the restaurant was owned by Don Linn.  Both women are former employees and, between the two of them, mentioned that he owned other stores at the mall including The Alley, Luv Is and Rags to Riches.

The chef was Joe Trocolli and he was in charge of the kitchen.  The restaurant opened in August or September 1971 and, according to their ad in the Daily Herald, International Park was their “new concept operation.”

Peggy also shared these photos with us from the International Park.  The first shows a group of employees relaxing after a long shift at the restaurant.  Clearly, red and white striped shirts and aprons were part of the uniform.

This is a scan of her pay stub.  She was paid $1.70 an hour and managed to get 34.75 hours during the pay period.  This was in January so the mall was doing well during the long winter months.  image (2)The store endured until late 1976 or into 1977.  The last mention I could find was in a November 1976 classified ad looking for new employees.  Maybe someone else can contribute more information to the story of this early food court-styled restaurant at Woodfield Mall?

Many thanks to Peggy and Kassie for sharing their memories and photos from their days of working at International Park.  Contributions such as theirs make this blog fun and valuable to the Schaumburg Township memory bank.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library



July 13, 2014

Back in April, I posted some photos of matchbooks from restaurants of Schaumburg Township’s past.  Soon another frequent blog reader passed on some of the matchbooks he had in his collection.  You can see them below.

I’m not familiar with Perry’s and I had no idea there was a Connie’s or a Jake’s in Schaumburg Township.  And Lucky’s and John’s Garage?  Well, they were favorites for families visiting Woodfield.  Sante’s and Spring Cove were very traditional family restaurants.  Does anyone remember the similarly-styled, similarly-named Spring Garden on Roselle Road? Lastly, there was Hippo’s, the restaurant that strikes a cord with everyone.

Good things CAN come in small packages.

Matchbooks 1

Matchbooks 2

My thanks to Jay Campbell for passing on the matchbooks!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian




July 6, 2014

The Schaumburg Township Historical Society will sponsor an open house of the Schaumburg Center School on Sunday, July 13, 2014.  The open house will be held from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m.  The schoolhouse is located on the St. Peter Lutheran Church property.

Constructed in 1872–and first called Sarah’s Grove School, it is believed to have been the first of five public schools in Schaumburg Township. It was later renamed Schween’s Grove School and called Schaumburg Centre Public School until 1954. For 82 years, the building served as a one-room schoolhouse, and was the last active one room schoolhouse in District 54.

With the widening of Schaumburg Road, the building was saved from demolition and temporarily placed on the grounds of the Town Square Shopping Center in 1979. It was permanently relocated to the St. Peter Lutheran Church property in September, 1981. It has been fully restored as a museum and is under the auspices of the Schaumburg Township Historical Society.


June 29, 2014

What was it like growing up in your neighborhood?  As kids, spending time outdoors and playing with our friends was a lot of fun.  In today’s world, kids don’t always do the same things we did as we grew up.  Of course it depends on your age.  Through the years, how kids play has changed. 0441

During the 50’s and 60’s and 70’s, as the village was being built, playing outside was great fun.  If you lived in a neighborhood where the houses were being built, unending adventures awaited you when you got home from school.  You’d hurry home to change your clothes because your mom would kill you if your school cloths got ripped or dirty.  Not that you cared, but Mom sure did.

There were always strict orders to stay out of trouble and be home in time for dinner.  Many moms didn’t work and you would tell her were you were going and the fun began the minute you ran out the door.

The first place you’d go to were the homes being built in your neighborhood.  You had to check out the work the men had done during the day.  Was the house almost finished?  Climbing around the piles of wood and inspecting everything was your job.  Sometimes you’d find some nails that had been dropped on the ground.  If there were a few scraps of wood that the men had left on the ground, they’d be great to use to build something. Each day you always seemed to find small treasures.

The houses weren’t the only fun places to play.  You had the pile of dirt to climb on and slide down.  If you were daring enough, you’d jump down. You sure looked a mess when you got home. Good thing you changed your cloths.0442

If you lived near a farm you had fun running through the rows of corn.  It was scary because sometimes you got lost.  Did you ever pick a few ears of corn?  Mom said not to, but did you? It never tasted good. The farmer feed it to the pigs.

Before you knew it, it was time for dinner.  What would you do after dinner, maybe a little jump rope fun with your friends, or a game of baseball with the kids in the neighborhood? School work always came before any TV.  You’d hurry to get it done so you could watch your favorite programs.

Growing up for many of us didn’t include computers, smart phones or DVD’s.  As the years go by we see many changes in how kids have fun.  Don’t you enjoy telling those stories of what you did growing up?

Would you like to share your stories of growing up in Hoffman Estates?  I’m looking for anyone who grew up in Hoffman Estates during the past 55 years to come share those stories on Saturday, Sept. 27th at village hall from 1 till 2:30 pm. 

We’ll have a group of volunteer “kids” who will be our Hoffman Estates Museum’s living history panel.  The museum wants to celebrate our 55th birthday by bringing back those who grew up here.  Come join us for “Growing up in Hoffman Estates or What I Never told Mom”.  Call or e-mail me at 847-755-9630 (evenings) or

Pat Barch Hoffman Estates Historian






June 22, 2014

The St. John United Church of Christ at the corner of Roselle and Algonquin Roads, invites you to join them for Pioneer Day on June 29, 2014 from 9:30-4:00.  They will be celebrating their 1846 founding by stepping back in time at this free event with a variety of activities and vendors.

The day will begin with a 10:30 a.m authentic 1846 church service

This will be followed by:

  • Church Tour & Pipe Organ Tour
  • Walk the Labyrinth Guided Cemetery Walk featuring Margaret (Sunderlage) Berlin, Catherine (Meyer) Hunerberg and William and Louise Helberg will be presented by the Schaumburg Township Historical Society
  • Family Games hosted by the Volkening Heritage Farm
  • Women’s Bake Sale
  • Pioneer Settler’s Pack Presentation hosted by the Raupp Museum
  • Childrens’ School Tent
  • Horse Shoeing
  • News of the Day, Circa 1846
  • Bread Making Demonstration
  • Circuit Rider Comes to Town

Local vendors who will be showing their wares and conducting small raffles include:

  • La Spiceria
  • Wool spinning by From Sheep to Shawl
  • Knife sharpener
  • Soapmaking by Scenter of the Mind
  • Gourds by Kristine
  • Diantha the Weaver
  • Artemas the Tinker, Itinerant Repairman

Music will be performed by the Fox River Trio and Roger Kotecki.  A German heritage food tent serving traditional German fare will also be part of the festivities.

This free event will introduce you to life in the rural Palatine/Schaumburg Township area.  The church is located at the corner of Algonquin and Roselle Roads.  A $2 parking donation would be appreciated.


June 15, 2014



Schaumburg School 3

About two months ago, this photo was passed on to me by one of my fellow librarians.  The picture was found at the Forgotten Chicago website and is a location in Schaumburg Township.   Do you recognize it?  The stone “chimney” is the most distinctive part of the building and remains in place today.  The rest of the building has been modified over the years.

In case you’re still wondering, this was the first multi-room school in Schaumburg Township and is now part of District 54′s Rauch Center for Instruction and Technology.  When it was built it was simply called Schaumburg School.  You can now find it at 520 E. Schaumburg Road in front of the district’s administrative offices.

Schaumburg School 2

In 1952, however, the children of Schaumburg Township did not have such a big building.  They were attending  a one-room schoolhouse in the township or were being bused to schools in Elk Grove or Palatine Townships.  The one-room schools being used were the Schaumburg Center School on Schaumburg Road and the Sunderlage School on Higgins Road.  Given the fact that the population of the township was just starting to build, it was clearly obvious the district needed a new school.

The school board got busy and used their local connections to hire the firm of Schweikher & Elting of Chicago to design a new school.  It just so happened that Paul Schweikher lived in Schaumburg in a house he built on property off of Meacham Road.  No small shakes as an architect, the house he designed is now known as the Schweikher House and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

By December of 1952, his architectural firm had already completed preliminary plans for the new school after working with the board members to create a usable, workable, modern floor plan.  According to a December 12, 1952 issue of the Daily Herald, the plan “is for a four classroom building with an additional multi-purpose room for school and community use.”

The problem was that the building had yet to be approved by the voters.  A referendum was held on December 20, 1952 that would authorize the board of education to purchase a site for the new building, authorize the money for the purchase ($7000), authorize the board to build the school and authorize a  bond issue of $143,000.  The referendum passed and construction began with E.W. Sproul Construction Co. as the general contractors.

The groundbreaking was held June 26, 1953 at the chosen site of Schaumburg Road, ¼ mile east of the intersection with Plum Grove Road.  Building began shortly afterwards.  Unfortunately, the school was not ready in time for the start of the school year so the children still attended the two one-room schoolhouses and were bused to Elk Grove Township.

That lasted until January 10, 1954 when the new Schaumburg School finally opened.  The school covered all eight grades with each of the four rooms sharing two grades.  Three teachers taught all 87 students enrolled.  [School District 54 timeline]

Schaumburg School 4

An article from the October, 1954 issue of Architectural Forum that was passed on to me from Patrick Steffes at Forgotten Chicago, describes the building as “juxtaposed Mies-like steel framing with Viking-like tower and walls… its appeal is coolly intellectual, not sensuous… witty, not playful.”  And, according to the magazine, came in $20,000 under budget.

One year later in 1955 the student enrollment was up to 327.  It didn’t take long for the school district to decide that another school was necessary so in 1956 Twinbrook School opened.  By the 1957-58 school year, Schaumburg School had become the district’s Junior High School.

In the intervening years the building has played many roles.  It’s been remodeled, its purpose revamped and additional spaces have been created within the building.  In fact, it is currently under construction again to add more classroom space.  By September 2014 the building will reopen once again as a school and will house the District 54 Early Learning Center.  As District 54′s website states, “[we] will bring all of our early childhood students and educators together under one roof beginning with the 2014-15 school year.”

Despite the many changes, it is that Viking-like chimney that continues to dominate the building–just as Mr. Schweikher intended.   Take another look when you’re driving down Schaumburg Road and appreciate the legacy he left.

My thanks to Patrick Steffes of Forgotten Chicago for not only posting the initial photos and details but for allowing me to use the photos as well.  He also passed on the article from Architectural Forum that gave me additional details.  Presents like these very much enhance the history of our township. 

The black and white photos as well as the diagram of the building are from Architectural Forum, October, 1954. 

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian


June 8, 2014

Join the Hoffman Estates Historical Sites Commission as they conduct tours of the Sunderlage Farmhouse at their annual open house.  Included in the event is a free petting zoo of farm animals as well as pony rides.   Cookies and refreshments will be served.

In addition, the Schaumburg Township Historical Society is sponsoring an ice cream social.  Come see how ice cream was made before we had Baskin Robbins or Dairy Queen.    If you enjoy socializing, learning about history and eating ice cream then stop by.  This is free but, as always, a donation will be accepted for the ice cream or our Raise the Flag Fund.

Take this opportunity to view this historical farmhouse and its National Register smokehouse,  check out the cute animals and eat some delicious ice cream!

When:  Sunday, June 22, 2014 from 1-3 p.m.
Where:  Sunderlage Farmhouse at 1775 Vista Lane, Hoffman Estates


June 1, 2014

The Schaumburg Township Historical Society will sponsor an open house of the Schaumburg Center School on Sunday, June 8, 2014.  The open house will be held from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m.  The schoolhouse is located on the St. Peter Lutheran Church property.

Constructed in 1872–and first called Sarah’s Grove School, it is believed to have been the first of five public schools in Schaumburg Township. It was later renamed Schween’s Grove School and called Schaumburg Centre Public School until 1954. For 82 years, the building served as a one-room schoolhouse, and was the last active one room schoolhouse in District 54.

With the widening of Schaumburg Road, the building was saved from demolition and temporarily placed on the grounds of the Town Square Shopping Center in 1979. It was permanently relocated to the St. Peter Lutheran Church property in September, 1981. It has been fully restored as a museum and is under the auspices of the Schaumburg Township Historical Society.


May 28, 2014

With spring bursting out all over, take the time to discover the remnants of the JH Redeker Peonies farm located on the grounds of Spring Valley in Schaumburg.   The beautiful, fragrant flowers can be approached from both the Vera Meineke Nature Center and the Volkening Heritage Farm on the Spring Valley property.

Spring Valley will be sponsoring a tour and an overview of the Redeker peony farm on Sunday, June 8.  Drop by anytime between Noon and 4 p.m. and you can view the descendants of the original peonies that grow there today.Peonies

In 1927, John Redeker, son of Friedrich and Wilhelmine (Boeger) Redeker, used some of his mother’s Boeger land to start a wholesale peony flower and root business.  Unfortunately, John died suddenly on December 29, 1930 at the age of 30 and the business survived for only a short time afterwards.  I was told that, not only was it a struggle to keep the business going during the height of the Depression, but peonies grown in the St. Louis area were available one to three weeks earlier and could easily be shipped to the Chicago area by new refrigerated trucks.

By 1932 John’s mother sold the property to Frank Merkle who used it as a getaway for his family.  When staying on the farm, they lived in the Adirondack-style log cabin built by John Redeker that still stands on the Spring Valley property.  Frank Merkle must have attempted to continue the peony operation for a while because one of our oral historians said his brother, George Engelking, worked for him tending the flowers.

You don’t want to miss this special time of the year viewing these nearly 90-year old plants.  They’re gorgeous!


May 25, 2014

How did the farmers come to settle in Schaumburg Township? Our early pioneers had varying reasons for coming to the “New World”. There were so many unsettling events in Europe that many came to find a better life and an opportunity to own land and provide for their families.settlers 2

In Germany, there always seemed to be one kind of conflict after another. The younger generation didn’t want to serve in the military as many of their ancestors had. Having land of their own was also a problem. A father could only leave land to his oldest son, or he could divide his land, giving smaller and smaller parcels to the other sons. There wasn’t much land to divide after several generations had worked it for decades. Brothers would work together or would decide that there was no longer a life for them in their village. For these reasons, many traveled to the United States in the hopes of buying land that was being offered by the government for $1.50 an acre.

After many years of fighting the Indians for control of their land, the federal government decided that the “Indian problem” needed to be solved. Thomas Jefferson had taken part in plans to move the Indians out of territory the U.S. wanted to settle, as early as 1803. It wasn’t until President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act in 1830 that the men and women came to settle the lands vacated by the Indian tribes.

Not only Germans came, but early settlers from the east coast decided to move further west to start farms all across the Midwest and western portions of the U.S. Many came from other countries in Europe. They traveled by ox cart, and by boat. When the great potato famine hit Ireland between 1845 and 1851, people were starving to death and they fled to the U.S. in large numbers looking for a way to work and raise their families.

The land was calling to all of them. The price was affordable and they came to this area of Schaumburg Township to settle with their families on rich farm land with water and scenery that reminded them of square statues

They raised cattle, sheep, hogs, and planted crops to feed them. They had chickens, ducks and geese. Gardens were planted with all the produce they needed for the winter months. Fruit trees were planted and bee hives were set out in the orchards. The smoke house was built and life was good. This was what they had come here for.

They all moved on with the development of Hoffman Estates and other surrounding villages. The rural way of live was over. A new generation was buying homes and raising their families. We still have farms but they’re further west. Everyone seems to continue to move to find a better way of life.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian


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