April 16, 2017

In the summers of 1977 and 1978 Steven Wilson was a young man working at McDonalds in Woodfield Mall.  It was a seasonal job and, in his spare time, he indulged his appreciation of the architecture of the mall with his recent interest in 35mm photography.

With Mr. Wilson’s permission it is a pleasure to share some of his photos with the blog’s readers.  You can view the photos on his Flickr account and see the grandeur of Woodfield Mall’s Center Court during that time.

Take note of the iconic piece of art that hung from the ceiling over Center Court.  It has been gone for a while but the colors obviously worked with those of the carpeting.  The same colors and elements of the design were also thematically reflected in the Woodfield Water Tower.  It was obviously a planned theme.

Also interesting to note are the geometric themes carried out in the sunken stage, the ceiling and the art work.  And, of course, you get a good view of the fountain, the crosswalks and the double escalators.

As far as stores go, I see Holland Jewelers, Johnson & Murphy shoes and Regal Shoes.  Do you spot any other stores that you recognize?  What, for instance, is the store next to Holland?  Or the store that has rainbow colors to the right of Johnson & Murphy?  If you can help with any names, it would be appreciated.

Many thanks to Mr. Wilson, author of the soon-to-be published Six Flags Great America, for these great photos.  We are fortunate he picked up a photography hobby at the same time he was making Big Macs and french fries!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


April 15, 2017

The Volkening Heritage Farm at the Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg invites you to participate in an introduction to  life  on an 1880s working farm in the springtime.

This family event features such activities as plowing, blacksmithing, laundering, gardening and butter churning.  Family members will be able to participate in many other activities such as handcrafts, games and hayrides.  Refreshments will be available.  Admission is $4 per person and $16 per family.  Children 3 and under are free.

April 23, 2017   12:00 – 4:00
Spring Valley Nature Center
1111 E. Schaumburg Road
Schaumburg, IL


April 15, 2017

On Sunday, April 30, 2017 the Hoffman Estates Historical Sites Commission will conduct guided group tours of the Greve Cemetery on Abbey Wood Drive in Hoffman Estates.

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.

The event is free but reservations are required.  Tours will start at 1:00, weather permitting.  Call 847-781-2606  for reservations after Monday, April 14.

Tours are also available for small groups by appointment at other times.


April 9, 2017

The year 1968 was a big one for Hanover Park.  Anne Fox School opened.  A new fire station on Maple Street opened.  And, commercially speaking, the village’s largest business venture opened as the Tradewinds Shopping Center.

In 1967 3H Building Corporation purchased the Melvin Lichthardt farm that stood at the northeast corner of Irving Park and Barrington Roads.  [From Camelot to Metropolis, Ralph Feeley, 1976]  Development began shortly thereafter, and in 1968 the $3.5 million,  200,000 square foot shopping center opened.  [Chain Store Age]

It wasn’t until 1969 that Dominick’s and Zayre, the two large anchors, opened.  Zayre opened October 8 in 80,000 square feet while Dominicks, with Bob Johnson as the manager, opened December 13 in a 30,000 square foot store that eventually expanded to 65,000 square feet.

The ad for Dominicks described it as “a truly modern and beautiful food store that was created and designed to make shopping an adventure, a pleasurable experience, the last word in exceptional convenience.”  Given away that day were 40 bushels of groceries, gifts, balloons, piggy banks, and aprons and nylons for the ladies.

The shopping center really came into its own on July 6, 1973 (per commenter Dan, below) when the Tradewinds Cinema I and II opened as twin theaters. During those intervening years between 1968 and 1973, the shopping center had boomed with the following stores:

  • Walgreens
  • Peter Pan Cleaners
  • Hanover Park Interior Lighting
  • Hanover Fabrics (November 1970)
  • Lincoln Realty
  • Tri-Village Realty

Outbuildings in the shopping center included the First State Bank & Trust Company of Hanover Park and, more popularly, the St. George and The Dragon restaurant.  This was the third restaurant in the old English-themed chain that featured pickles and peanuts at every table.

The shopping center eventually included the Hanover Park branch of the Schaumburg Township District Library, Ames and later Value City Furniture that took over the Zayre space, Rahl Jewelers, Hallmark and Radio Shack.

Unfortunately, during the first decade of the 2000’s the shopping center began to decline.  Dominick’s pulled out sometime between 2002 and 2005.  The theaters also closed during this time period.  Then, in a double whammy in 2006, the library moved to its new branch on Irving Park Road and Menards purchased the entire shopping center property for about $9 million in preparation for their new store that stands there today.

This perpetually busy corner, with the Tradewinds Shopping Center as its anchor, was a go-to spot for anyone living in Hanover Park for many years.  Many stores came and went over the years besides those listed above.  Can you help complete the list?  Send in your comments or email me at the address below and I’ll add them as they come in.  Thanking you in advance for your inclusions!

Other businesses in the Tradewinds Shopping Center:

  • Blockbuster Video in the outlot on the corner
  • B. Dalton bookstore in the Library location before the library
  • Collin’s Fireplace and Patio
  • Corky’s lunch counter in the Walgreens
  • Full House (formerly St. George and The Dragon)
  • Hair Cuttery
  • Hit or Miss
  • Leslie’s Pool Supplies
  • Rent-A-Center
  • Star Cleaners
  • Swanson’s Crafts and Hobbies (Jack Swanson, proprietor)
  • Toni’s Conversation Clothes

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

[The photos were taken by the library prior to the Hanover Park branch moving into the shopping center in 1993.]


April 2, 2017

Schaumburg Center schoolThe Schaumburg Township Historical Society will sponsor an open house of the Schaumburg Center School on Sunday, April 9, 2017.  The open house will be held from 9 a.m. 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.


April 2, 2017

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

The Gieseke/Hammerstein Farmhouse, now the Children’s Advocacy Center on Illinois Blvd., built circa 1860, is perhaps the most historic building in our village.

The 165 acre farm had been purchased from the Giesekes in 1944, by Arthur Hammerstein and wife Dorothy Dolton [in the photos below.]  They chose architect Thomas McCaughey to remodel and add on to the existing farmhouse.  It became a luxurious 11 room country home and several barns and out buildings were added for the Black Angus cattle that Mrs. Hammerstein raised along with pigs and chickens. 

F & S Construction purchased the Hammerstein farm in the mid 50s for development of the village with the promise that the house and barns on the remaining 8 acres would be turned over to the village.  Ownership of the farmhouse began in November of 1959 when F & S Construction Company turned over the keys to the newly formed government of Hoffman Estates.

A fire had burned the north end of the 11 room residence in 1959.  Converting the farmhouse would be a daunting task for the newly formed municipal building and grounds committee.  Mayor Ed Pinger chose trustees Roy Jenkins and Jim Gannon for his newly formed committee.  They would have an insurance settlement of $34,000 to get them started with their work.

The 11 room Hammerstein farmhouse would have to be redesigned to accommodate offices for clerk, police magistrate and council rooms on the first floor. Builiding, zoning and utilities offices would be on the second floor.  There was solid oak flooring throughout the house and two fireplaces in the living area and upstairs bedroom.  The fireplace on the first floor would remain in place. So much needed to be torn out and reconfigured for the newly formed government.

The north end of the farmhouse that had been damaged by fire was remodeled to become the police department.   Lack of a jail required prisoners be taken to other nearby towns and villages which took time and money.  A new lock up facility would be welcome.  It was planned for the basement area under the police department. The basement would also be used for storage

Reglazing windows, replacing a window with a door, tearing down walls, plastering and painting, replacement of much of the electric wiring were on the list of the work to be done.

The farmhouse and barns had been used as sale offices for F & S Construction, Hoffman Estates Homeowners Association’s site for meetings, dances and kindergarten classes and the volunteer fire department headquarters.  After having been remodeled and renovated for the new Village of Hoffman Estates, it continued to serve as our village hall, police department and public works garage.

Everything important to our village began in this now 156 year old farmhouse.

Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Village Historian


March 26, 2017

The District 52 School was located on the west side of Plum Grove  Road and south of the Jane Addams toll road.  This school was referred to as the Maple Hill School or the Kublank School.  It was located on farmland once owned by H. P. Williams and later by Henry Freise.

[In this USGS topographical map from 1935, you can see School No. 52 to the left, in the middle.  It is just north of Golf Road.] 

Since the Kublank farm was nearby, Rose Kublank taught at this school for nine years.  Was she the first person from Schaumburg Township to teach in a Schaumburg school?  [This photo of Rose is courtesy of  the Schaumburg Township Historical Society.]

Norman Freise [who was part of the German farming contingent] recounted his mother’s concern about his weakness in speaking and understanding English.  When he was five years old, she sent him off through the field to the English school (Maple Hill.)  He spent the year learning English with several of his cousins.  Was his mother’s concern influenced by World War I?

The next school year when he was six years old, Norman attended St. Peter East District School where they did their morning lessons in German and afternoon lessons in English.  Norman’s mother was pleased that he had a solid foundation of the English language.

Since this school was surrounded by German Lutheran families, it struggled to keep the attendance numbers high enough to warrant keeping the school open.  When the school was closed around the mid-1930s, the children in the attendance area were sent to the District 54 Schaumburg Center School.  The District 52 school deteriorated from lack of maintenance when the school was closed.

[It was still usable in 1952 though, when a legal notice was published in the May 30 issue of the Daily Herald, notifying the locals that an election would be held “in the Maple Hill School located on old Plum Grove Road, north of its intersection with Golf Road in Schaumburg Township, Cook County, Illinois, for the purpose of electing three school directors for the newly reestablished district known as Common School District Number 52, Cook County, Illinois.”  This was in preparation for the future consolidation that occurred later in the year.]

Given that it was located on Plum Grove Road which ended at Wiley Road, it was vulnerable to vandalism.  In 1962 the school was destroyed by a fire of unknown origin.  This is the only Schaumburg Township one-room school that was razed by fire.  It is unknown if the school equipment burned in the fire or if desks, books and piano were removed after the school closed its doors.

The text for this blog posting is an excerpt from Schaumburg of My Ancestors by LaVonne Thies Presley, published in 2012.  The book is an in-depth look at Schaumburg Township around the turn of the nineteenth century.  

Her particular focus was the farm off of Meacham Road where her father grew up.  However, LaVonne also took the opportunity in the text to create a detailed examination of the formation of the public one-room schools of Schaumburg Township.  In the upcoming months a posting will be shared on each of those five schools.  But, first, an introduction to the formation of Schaumburg Township public schools

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


March 19, 2017

An issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen from March – April 1981 was brought to my attention because of the wonderful write-up on what it was like to live in Hoffman Estates in the very early days.   With permission from the Village of Hoffman Estates, I have reproduced it here in its entirety.

Pioneers Recall Days of No Streets, $750.00 Down Payments

If you think that the pioneers all died out after the West was won, guess again!  It took a band of hearty, pioneering souls to settle the wilderness–and it was a wilderness–that we now know as Hoffman Estates.  Forty-one of the couples who helped transform Hoffman Estates from a cluster of homes in the middle of a cornfield into a thriving, progressive suburb, spent the evening of January 24, 1981, at a Pioneer Party at the Navarone Restaurant, where they celebrated their 25th anniversary of homesteading in Hoffman Estates.  All 41 of these couples are still living in the area.  The party was organized by Bill and Irene Hanson, who found that 65 families are still living in the original homes they bought from developers Sam and Jack Hoffman 25 years ago.

A total of 260 families moved into the Hoffmans’ new subdivision starting in 1955.  The homes were located east of Roselle Road, between Golf and Higgins.  Newspaper ads called it “Hoffman City,” and promised spacious homes on a half acre of land for $14,950–$750.00 down and payments of $99.00 a month that included principal, interest and taxes.

They were nearly all young couples in their early 20’s with their first baby, and perhaps a second on the way, who moved to what seemed like the end of the earth to settle in Hoffman Estates.  They were lured to the area by the same things that have always attracted pioneers–the promise of land and a home at a price they could afford, fresh air and plenty of open space for their children, and the chance to use their youthful energy and zest for life to build a new community that they could be proud to call home.

From the perspective of 25 years, these pioneers found it easy to laugh about the multitude of problems and inconveniences they endured a quarter of a century ago when they settled in Hoffman Estates.  The picturesque street names–Apple, Apricot, Ash, Aspen, Aster, Azalea, Basswood, Bluebonnet, Carnation, Hawthorn–somehow promised an enchanting new life in a pastoral setting, but the harsh realities of the pioneer life quickly became apparent.  [The map below shows Parcel A, B and C.]

When the first young couples drove up with their moving vans the week before Christmas in 1955, they found that there were no streets and no sidewalks leading to their homes.  Some understood the real significance of the lack of streets only after their moving trucks’ tires sank and became hopelessly mired in a foot of mud.  Others parked their trucks on the pavement on Higgins or Roselle and carried every box and every piece of furniture several blocks to their new home.

“It was an area without just about everything,” as Jane Berger recalled.  The closest grocery store was in Roselle, the ladies bowling group had to drive to Franklin Park to bowl, church services were held in the local tavern, the kindergarten classes met in a barn, there were eight families sharing a telephone party line, the closest doctors were many miles away, and the women were virtually marooned at home all day when their husbands drove off to work every morning the family’s only car.

But in spite of it all, the people gathered at the Navarone Restaurant on the night of January 24 clearly remember the good times they had during those early, struggling years.

“We’d try to get one of the husbands to leave the car home one day a week,” Connie Gallo recalled.  “We’d gather up the pre-schoolers, pile into the car, and take off for a day of shopping.  We were lucky if we had a quarter among us, so we sure didn’t buy much, but we had a great time just getting out and being together.  None of us had very much, but somehow we were all happy.”

Their happiness and their strong sense of community spirit is the foundation upon which the Village of Hoffman Estates was built.

The close friendships among the women blossomed into the Women’s Club, which in the late 1950’s was responsible for getting the first grocery store built in the community, and persuading a doctor and dentist to locate in the area.  The men formed the local volunteer fire department, and  in 1956 every family dug deeply into their pockets to donate $25.00 toward the purchase of a fire truck.

Lawn parties were a springtime ritual in the early years–not the formal, dress-up affairs popular with the well-to-do, but the kind where all the men got together and helped each other put in their lawns.  The women fixed a hearty pot-luck breakfast for the group, and transformed the back-breaking work of putting in a lawn into a neighborhood social event.

These pioneers can still remember when Hoffman Estates had a population of 125 people with 74 who were old enough to vote in 1955; when there were a total of five teachers under contract in 1956 in what was destined to become School District 54, the largest elementary school district  in the state; when there were 7,500 residents and $6,204 in the treasury when the Village was incorporated in 1959; when everyone in the community could be listed in a 15 page telephone directory in 1960.

Much has changed in Hoffman Estates in the last 25 years, but the heritage left by these pioneers is still shaping the destiny and future of Hoffman Estates.

“This community sprang up because of your strong volunteer spirit,” Village President Virginia Hayter said when she addressed the couples gathered at the 25th anniversary dinner.  “You built this community, and many of you have stayed involved in one form or another over the years.  You made Hoffman Estates what it is today, and we thank you for all of the years you have put into our Village.  You are truly the salt of the earth.”

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

The photo of Virginia Hayter was used courtesy of the former Profile Publications of Crystal Lake.





March 12, 2017

Many talk about how much Schaumburg Township has changed over the years but until you see the pictures it’s really hard to grasp.

Take a look at these photos from Tom Helsper.  Check out Schaumburg Road looking west from Plum Grove.   Tom’s grandparents, Walter and Maybelle Ellis, bought property in 1954 from Dr. Paul and Sara Meginnis on the southwest corner of Schaumburg and Plum Grove Roads.  Earlier that year, the Meginnis’s had purchased property from Palmer and Marjorie Carlson that straddled Plum Grove Road on the south side of Schaumburg Road.   Having bought their parcel, the Ellis’s shared it with the families of their two daughters.  Their sons-in-law subsequently built homes on the corner for all three families.


In this photo you see a simple, paved Schaumburg Road with no striping or individual lanes.  Notice that the area is still being used for farming and that telephone poles line the road.  The house that is slightly to the left is the Lennart and Ann Johnson house, which was the eventual location of Random Acres and has since been torn down.  The Johnsons also purchased their property from Paul and Sara Meginnis.  Now, take note of how the house is so far set back from the road.  Below, is the same view today.

random-acres-2See the white fence far in the middle background?  The Johnson house was on the other side of it.  Notice how close the fence is to Schaumburg Road.  Schaumburg Road with its four lanes and sidewalks certainly took up a fair amount of the Johnson’s front yard didn’t they?

The scene is also filled with houses and trees that have sprung up in the interim.  Isn’t it interesting to think that the trees are less than 60 years old?


This is the same scene in the winter with a slightly more northern view.  The Johnson house is in plain view.  (Who knew a Commonwealth substation would be added behind the house at some point?)  We can also see the St. Peter Church steeple in the background, as well as Schaumburg School with its stone tower that is still there today.

You can also see the red Landmeier barn behind the house on Schaumburg Road.  The Landmeiers not only owned horses but a carriage as well that they would periodically ride up and down Schaumburg Road.

schaumburg-schoolThis is an interesting photo in that it does NOT show the Johnson house but it does show the St. Peter Church steeple and Schaumburg School.  The School looks as if it might still be in the building process.  This building opened in January 1954 and, I suspect this is the fall of 1953 leading up to the opening.

meginnis-farmThis photo looks in the opposite direction towards the east at the Paul and Sara Meginnis farm that they purchased from Palmer and Marjorie Carlson.  A rather basic Plum Grove Road runs along the fence line in the foreground.  Schaumburg Road is the white “line” that runs to the left of the barn.  Paul Meginnis was a veterinarian at Arlington Park racetrack and Sara Meginnis was Schaumburg’s first village clerk.  You can read more about the couple here.

Dr. Meginnis also later opened a small veterinary building on the property which you can see in the photo below.  It is the white building with the gray roof that is behind Tom’s grandmother.


Isn’t it amazing what Schaumburg Township has seen in these past 60 years?  Thank you to Tom Helsper for taking the time and effort to bring the photos to my attention!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library



March 5, 2017

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.


When developers saw the potential for building their suburban communities, they went about buying up the farms but not every farm fell to the wrecking ball and bulldozer.  The farm fields were laid out with curving streets and newly built homes but some of the old farm houses remained.  After several generations of life on the old homesteads, it was impossible for some of the farm families to see their homes torn down, so they choose to stay, selling their open fields and keeping life going in the family farmhouse.

We can still see the old farmhouses scattered within the village.  Only their unique appearance gives them away.  Few of us know their whereabouts.

One such farmhouse was recently discovered after I received an e-mail asking about its history.  After living in Hoffman Estates for the past 50 years, I’d never seen this old farmhouse yet it was about a half mile from my home.   Of course I had to drive to the address to see for myself.  The farmhouse was located on Lakeview Lane directly west of Lakeview School.  Due to restrictions for right turns onto Lakeview it was clear that I had never gone down this street before.

I learned that it was the Bartels farm house by looking at the old 1942 and 1954 farm plat maps and with help from Jane Rozek, Schaumburg Township Library Historian.  What a wonderful historical discovery.  It was so surprising that both Jane and I had no idea that this farmhouse still existed.  There are other old farmhouses in our village; some have been restored or repurposed.

The ones that come to mind are the Hammerstein Caretaker’s home on Abby Wood Dr. west of Conant High School, the Gieseke/Hammerstein farmhouse on Illinois Blvd., east of St. Hubert’s School (shown above), the Sunderlage farmhouse on Volid Drive (first photo below), the Vogelei farmhouse and barn on the northwest corner of  Higgins and Golf Roads and the Bergman Family’s farmhouse on the northwest corner of Ela and Algonquin Roads (second photo below.)



BergmanFarmhouseman2011 Pic 1

The farmers have moved on. Most have died but a few live on now into their 80s and 90s.   Many of their children remain to tell us the stories of growing up on the farms.  Over the years Jane Rozek and the Schaumburg Township District Library have saved those farmer’s stories for us to listen to long after their passing.

Many early residents, who lived on the edge of the newly developing village, still remember hearing the cows mooing out in the fields or the roasters crowing early in the morning.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian