RIDING THE ROADS OF HOFFMAN ESTATES

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the March 2010 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

“Everyday we spend time on the roads traveling to work or school or running errands on the weekends.  Have you ever thought about the history of the roads you travel?  Some of them have been around for 170 years.  Before that time they were Indian trails such as Irving Park Rd. and Algonquin Rd.  Those roads that go on an angle were common sense roads that the Indians established as the quickest way to get from here to there.

One of the oldest roads in our area is Bode Rd.  It was on the map in 1840 and it was shown as a 4 rod road on the 1857 map.  A rod measures 16.5 feet.  That measurement included the shoulders, not very wide by today’s standards. Bode Rd. was originally known as the Chicago-Elgin Rd.    

Another old road is Meacham Rd.  It can also be seen on the old 1840 map.  It was the narrowest road in the area at 3 rods.  The very early maps give it the name, “old 3 rod road”. 

Algonquin Rd. is only a few years younger than Bode and Meacham.  It opened in 1842 and was called Missionary Rd.   Later on in 1941 the road appears on maps as Algonquin Rd or Route 62.  The older maps showed the road, but without a name.

It wasn’t until 1851 that Higgins Rd opened.  Back then on the 1904 maps it was known as Dundee Rd. early settlers called it Chicago-Dundee Rd.  

Following along by 1 year was the opening of Roselle Rd. on June 7, 1852.

Two years later on Feb. 15, 1854 Barrington Rd opened.  It was also 4 rods wide. It wasn’t until 1947, almost 100 years later, that Barrington Rd road was widened to 100 feet.

Central Rd. was next on the list of roads to be added to the area.  It was opened on Aug. 18, 1858.  Central Rd. was widened from 4 rods (66 feet) to 100 feet in 1947 also. 

In the same area, Jones Rd. opened on June 27, 1863, a short north south road that ran from Higgins Rd to Central Rd.  Later in 1906 this road was vacated and a new parallel road located to the east of it was opened.  That earlier road may have been called Jahn Rd. for the farm family that lived along it.

Golf Rd. is the baby of them all.  It wasn’t opened until Sept. 24, 1929.  Early on it was called the Elgin – Evanston Rd. and is still called that today.

The widening of roads continues along with repairs, wider shoulders, pothole filling and endless roadwork that we’ve come to dread.  The history of our roads tells us the history of our development.  We’ve come a long way since the 1840’s and those horse and buggy days. ” 

Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Village Historian, eagle2064@sbcglobal.net

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10 Responses to “RIDING THE ROADS OF HOFFMAN ESTATES”

  1. debby miller Says:

    Hassell Road is named after the Paul Hassell farm which lied just north of the Johns farm and is now split in half by the tollway. Paul Hassell was a gentleman farmer and his children often came out. It was entered from Central Road.

  2. Larry Rowan Says:

    I remember the old Rt 72 in 1968…it ran a different route than today between Governer lane and where it crosses the NW tollway. It was originally several hundred feet to the south of where it now crosses Barrington Road. The old pavement to the East of Barrington Rd. still exists, although it has a chain and road closed sign. Parts of the original road may still exist under weeds to the West of Shoe Factory Rd. It aligns with a Forest Preserve walking trail.

    When was Schaumburg Road extended West of Barrington Rd? I have old 1942 USGS aerial photos that show Schaumburg Rd. dead ending at Barrington Rd. (where there was an old WW2 practice military airstrip. The first airport in Schaumburg).

    • jrozek Says:

      After a bit of searching, I found a March 22, 1946 article in the DuPage County Register on a road paving program that was passed by the Cook County Board for this area. One of the roads to be paved was “Schaumburg Road from Barrington Road to Irving Park Boulevard.” Also mentioned for Schaumburg Township was Roselle Road from Route 58 to Palatine Road. Roads in the township to be blacktopped were Nerge Road from Roselle Road to Route 53 and Wiese Road from Roselle Road to Irving Park Blvd.

      It was also mentioned that this was “good news for the northwest area. The war put a stop to major road construction…” The article also states that “The township of Schaumburg is in an enviable position so far as roads are concerned. It is the only Cook County township without an incorporated body within its confines yet it is one of the best systems of roads. The first pavement after Milwaukee Ave., constructed in northwest Cook County was in Roselle road, connecting Roselle with Schaumburg Center. The township has gotten its share of roads since then and is particularly fortunate in the 1946 road building. The farmers of Schaumburg Township have a loyal friend in Commissioner Busse who has kept that township on the road map of Cook county forty years.”

      Look for a posting on the military airstrip next week!

  3. debby miller Says:

    As a matter of fact, on old Higgins Road, just east of Barrington is a stone bridge which was constructed by the WPA, and sits on what used to be the old Steinmeyer farm and is now owned by St. Alexius Hospital for future expansion,

  4. Larry Rowan Says:

    I am anxious to see your posting on the military airstrip! I have done considerable searching for information on the military airstrips and missle bases in our area and found 3 other satelite airstrips in the Schaumburg area that were used for practice by the Naval Air Station at Glenview during WW2. (all over the suburban area there were actually 15 satelite strips) There was one in Schaumburg at the SouthEast corner of Barrington and Schaumburg Roads, another near Rt 59 and 72 that was called “Murphy’s Circus” and another South of Central Road, East of Barrington Rd. identified as “Pratts Pit”. Finally, there was one in the South end of Barrington just between the “V” made by the intersection of Rt 59 and Barrington Roads. Most people don’t know the military history of our area. Remember the Nike base at Lake Cook and Quentin Road too!

  5. Pat Barch Says:

    The story of Higgins Rd. has always interested me. The old road can still be seen looking east from Barrington Rd. just south of the present intersection of Higgins and Barrington. According to IDOT, the old road was paved with concrete in 1921 and was resurfaced in 1959. Major changes came about in 1973 with widening and the move to the north.

    Jon Bierman lived on the old intersection of Higgins and Barrington. It was called Buttermilk Corners and there was a creamery and blacksmith shop there. His home was on the northeast corner. His dad had the Quonset hut building next door called Bierman Equipment. Jon used to play under the bridge that crossed Poplar Creek just east of Barrington. He said there was a shelf that the kids could sit on and it was a good place to hide. He recalls that when he was growing up there was always an old Higgins Rd and a new Higgins Rd. so that doesn’t fit in with the 1970’s improvements that IDOT said changed the path of the old Higgins Rd. Jon is in his late 60’s and believes that his grandfathers land was sold for the new Higgins Rd in the 1930s. Old documents will answer our questions once they’re found.

    Time will tell. More later.

  6. Kevin H Says:

    Who is Higgins road named after?

    • jrozek Says:

      Kevin,

      The best I can tell you is it may have been named for F. Higgins who owned land along the road. Higgins Road goes into the city so it’s quite probable it was named for someone closer in. It is listed as early as 1804 on an area map–long before Schaumburg Township’s time!

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian

      • jrozek Says:

        Kevin,

        I looked a bit further in a book called Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names by Don Hayner and Tom McNamee. It says in the entry for Higgins Road: “This former Indian trail may have been named for F. Higgins, who, as early as 1834, owned the land through which this road runs.” It looks like that’s the best we can do.

        Jane Rozek
        Local History Librarian

  7. John Porcellino Says:

    My family moved to Hoffman Estates in 1979, and I spent many days playing in the area around Old Higgins Road north of the hospital, and where it ran west into the forest preserve. My friends and I used to play under the bridge on Old Higgins Road at Poplar Creek as well. We’d walk all the way out west to where the old road ended at the “Countryside School of Early Learning” which was formerly the New Era School as noted on old maps.

    By this time the old school was abandoned and had been severely vandalized. It was a spooky place to us. In fact, we used to call that stretch of Old Higgins Road west of Shoe Factory “Twilight Zone Road,” because as we played on it, cars would pass us going west, towards the dead end at the tollway, but never returned coming east. At least that’s how my memory of it was at the time.

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