THE EARLY DAYS OF HOFFMAN ESTATES

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
jrozek@stdl.org

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

 

 

 

SCHAUMBURG ROAD IN THE 1950’S

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.

johnson-house

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?

schaumburg-road

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.

helsper-1

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
jrozek@stdl.org

 

THE OLD FARMHOUSES OF HOFFMAN ESTATES

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.

he-village-hall

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.)

sunderlage-farmhouse

 

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
Eagle2064@comcast.net

SLATTERY’S GARDEN CENTER & NURSERY ON GOLF ROAD

February 26, 2017

Question markIn a conversation with Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian, she brought up a local business I had not heard of.  Her question was about Slattery’s Nursery that was just east of the intersection of Higgins and Golf Roads.  According to her they also had property across Golf Road, behind Ahlgrim & Sons Funeral Home.  She wondered what was that piece of property and what did they use it for?

This business was new to me so I agreed to do some investigating.  After diving into back issues of The Herald, I found that Slate Slattery opened his nursery on Friday, April 21, 1961.  The business offered “complete lawn and garden supplies and equipment” from shrubs and trees to fertilizer and seeds to seedling flats.  They even had a gift department and pet department.

As part of the grand opening celebration they offered a Toro Rotary Mower as 1st prize, a Weber Bar-B-Q kettle as 2nd prize and a Brush-on Agrico Spreader as 3rd prize.  Just for stopping in, each family received a choice of a free geranium, ivy and philodendron.

Given the amount of growth happening in the area in the 1960’s, it seemed like a logical idea to bring a business to town that would provide trees, shrubs and plants to all of the new homeowners.  Since the housing developments did not include exterior plantings as part of the purchase price of a house, it was left to the homeowner to plant his/her own.  As a result, it appears Mr. Slattery saw an obvious need and jumped quickly into the local business fray.

ahlgrims

 

But, what was behind Ahlgrim’s (shown above) and why was that, too, known as Slattery’s?  After placing a call to Ahlgrim’s, I was told that the Ahlgrim family took residence in 1970 in a ranch house on Golf Road in their current location.  They did not begin operating as a funeral home until 1972.   Pat remembered, though, that the open space behind the funeral home was often used by her children as a place to play in the 1970’s.

Digging a bit deeper, I uncovered an article from the February 18, 1974 issue of The Herald about actions taken by the Schaumburg Park District.  Interestingly enough, it mentioned that “the district now is soliciting bids for the digging up of trees on the Village in the Park site that have been donated to the district.  New portions of the site are slated for development.  The entire development parcel was formerly Slate Slattery’s Nursery, and the matured trees are left from the nursery.”

Below is a portion of an aerial photo we have in our collection.  It shows what appears to be the nursery plantings on the north side of Golf Road.  In addition, one of the commenters below mentioned that the nursery plantings extended north to Frederick Lane and west to Jefferson Road in Hoffman Estates.  He also mentioned that there was a fishing pond on the property which, I assume, is the pond that can be found on the Village in the Park property today?

slatterys-nursery

There was the answer!  It was used as a functioning nursery and, when they sold their portion of the property in early 1970 to Zaremba Construction Co., they obviously left assets scattered throughout the parcel.  This begs the question–is that how Village in the Park got its name?

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

The photo of Ahlgrim’s was used courtesy of Yelp.com

 

 

 

SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP PUBLIC SCHOOLS: DISTRICT 51

February 19, 2017

The District 51 school was located on the south side of Higgins Road between Roselle and Barrington Roads.  In 2017 the location is slightly west and south of the intersection of Huntington Boulevard and Higgins Road in Hoffman Estates.  This school was alternately called the Sunderlage School and the Meyer School.  The latter name referred to its location on the Meyer farm.

[The USGS topographical map from 1935 below shows the school listed as Meyers School.]

meyer-school

[The USGS topographical map from 1953 shows it listed as the Sunderlage School.]

sunderlage-school 

Both Ester (Steinmeyer) Bierman and Erna (Lichthart) Hungerberg remembered walking to the Meyer School as students.  Erna arrived at school with potentially frost bitten hands one bitterly cold winter day.  The teacher had Erna put her hands in a wash basin full of snow, and the hands suffered no ill effects.  Miss Laura Williamson was one of the teachers that the ladies recalled.  Miss Williamson did not board with a farm family, but she drove a car (coupe) to school each day, because she lived in Norwood Park with her family.

[The school closed for the first time in 1943.  In a September 5, 1952 article from The Herald, it was mentioned that the school was reopened and used as a location for the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders of Schaumburg Township after being closed for the previous nine years.]

The District 51 School was closed in 1954 after the consolidation of the five township school districts and the opening of the new 4-room Schaumburg School.  Richard Gerschefske purchased the school building for his personal use.  The roof was carefully removed to aid in moving the school down Higgins and Roselle Roads to Schaumburg Center.  Richard placed the school on a portion of his farm southeast of the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads.  The school is shown below during the moving process.

district-51-school

He also purchased the Hartmann School (District 55), which was located at the northeast corner of Wise and Rodenburg Roads.  Because this school was closed for many years, the building was in poor condition.  Richard dismantled it for the lumber that he used to add on a kitchen and dining room to the District 51 School.

[An article in the December 23, 1954 issue of The Herald confirms this:  “Meyer School on Higgins Road was purchased by Richard Gerschefske and will be made into a residence.  Mr. Gerschefske also won the bid on the Hartmann School of Wise Road… All associated buildings on the school property was sold along with the school houses, in all four cases.  The buildings were sold due to the fact that they were no longer being used since the erection of the new consolidated school on Schaumburg Road.”]

The District 51 School on Higgins Road and the District 54 School in Schaumburg Center were the last two one-room schoolhouses used in Schaumburg Township.  Robert Flum was teaching the intermediate students at the Meyer School when it closed in 1954.  He went on to be a teacher/principal of the new 4-room Schaumburg School and, later, Community Consolidated School District 54’s first superintendent of schools.

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
jrozek@stdl.org

 

THE ACE HARDWARE OF SCHAUMBURG

February 12, 2017

ace-hardware-2

The corner of Roselle and Schaumburg Road was home to various general and hardware stores for many years.  At one time or another you could have found Schaumburg House, Fenz & Son and Lake Cook Farm Supply that would have supplied many of your hardware needs.

Then, in 1954, Louis Redeker, the first mayor of Schaumburg, built a small, one-story building on the southwest corner of the intersection where the clock tower stands today.  According to local residents of that time, he used the structure for a variety of purposes and, in fact, a published zoning notice from February 19, 1959 calls it the “Redeker Building.”

Looking for a new location for a branch store, Tri-City Ace Hardware of Roselle opened in the Redeker building in October 1960, creating the first hardware store in the newly-formed village of Schaumburg.  Wilbert Snyder of Roselle was Tri-City’s owner and, according to an October 27, 1960 article from The Herald, James Kali, one of his employees, became the manager.

Early on the building was also home to Citizens Utilities with a separate door leading to that portion of the store.  It served as a local office and a place to pay your electric bill.  There was also a mailbox on the corner of the intersection since the nearest post office was Roselle.

On February 1, 1962, George and Miriam Vogt bought the store from Mr. Snyder and ran it for the next 23 years.  During that time, they added on to the small building around 1974.  They bought the barn to the south and a brown, two-story house to the west, expanding the store in those directions.

Mr. and Mrs. Vogt poured their heart and soul into the store and worked many long hours each week according to a Daily Herald column from January 30, 1986.  In the same piece, Miriam says, “It was real small at first and we knew all our customers and it was like one big happy family in town.  The opportunity came along to buy the store and we decided to take a try at it.  It was hard work but very enjoyable.  We met a lot of people we liked.  That’s the main thing.”

This ad gives you a good idea of the hardware and services they offered.  (Notice they collected S & H Green Stamps too!)

ace-hardware

Jann Jorgensen worked at the store from 1970-1976.  As she tells it, she lived in the same neighborhood as the Vogts and when she reached an employable age her father suggested she ask George if he needed any help.  George was a bit reluctant to hire a girl in a hardware store but gave her a two-week trial period and wound up hiring her for six years.

According to Jann, George was “all about service.”  With many new home owners coming to the area, they would bring George their problem.  He would take the time to lead them through to a solution, sometimes using pencil and paper to draw diagrams to illustrate what they needed to do.  And, as part of Jann’s job, she was required to wait on customers, weigh nails, take inventory, check in orders, cut glass for windows, move and organize the various products and handle the Commonwealth Edison light bulb orders.  Jann also remembered that one of the adjacent buildings where the fertilizer, soil, grass seed, etc. were kept had a dirt floor through the time she worked there.

In 1986, though, the Vogts decided to retire and sold the store to Joseph Bulgarelli who ran it for the next ten years.

When the village of Schaumburg decided to redevelop the Town Square property, they began negotiations to buy the property, eventually coming to terms in 1996.  The Ace Hardware then moved to the Farmgate Shopping Center at 560 S. Roselle Road where it remained well into the 2010’s.

This small, long-lived institution helped keep houses repaired and in good order for so many years–particularly as the area grew and expanded.  Do you remember Mom and Dad making countless trips as they tackled household chores and repairs?  What is your favorite memory of our local Ace Hardware?

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

CHANGE IS COMING TO HOFFMAN PLAZA

February 5, 2017

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

Hoffman Plaza

 

Changes are coming to our first shopping center. Hoffman Plaza, built in 1959, has darkened store front windows and an empty parking lot.

I received an e-mail from a reader of this column, asking what was happening to the Hoffman Plaza. He saw empty stores and knew that something was up. I’ve learned that there will be changes coming to the area, what exactly I can’t say. There’s still a lot not known about what changes will take place.

 

I do know that the Hoffman Plaza was our first shopping center. Parcels A, B & C were being constructed and there was no place to shop. It was with happy hearts that the residents learned that F & S Construction was planning on building the shopping area with an opening date of summer of 1959.

Hoffman Plaza

Shirley Turpin opened Turpin Fabrics & Drapery shop, the first small business in the Plaza. Jewel also opened our first grocery store, not to be confused with the newer store that will remain in the Plaza. The first store openings continued during that year and into 1960; Walgreen Agency Snyder Drugs, Ben Franklin, and Twinbrook Hardware. The first doctor’s offices and the first beauty shop also opened.

That first beauty shop belonged to Frank Vaccaro but his beauty shop would also serve as our first post office. After Roselle’s postmaster requested public bids for a substation in Hoffman Estates, Frank Vaccaro was awarded the contract and opened our first postal substation on Nov. 1, 1962. The east end of the plaza would become our first post office in 1964.

I also remember the first Yu’s Mandarin restaurant tucked into the corner of the north facing portion of the Plaza, the Hot Dog Place (Express) was one of my favorites also. A small ladies dress shop was on the north side too but I can’t remember the shop’s name perhaps it was the Sorority House. I know I loved there dresses.

With the addition of the new McDonalds and the newly built Wendy’s in Golf Center, the downtown area is always improving for the better. Everyone is especially happy with the new stop light that we’ve hoped for for a number of years allowing us a safer and more convenient way of shopping in our original downtown area.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian
eagle2064@comcast.net

MCDONALD’S, HOLLYWOOD AND SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP

January 29, 2017

mcdonalds

In the new biopic The Founder, there is a mention of Ray Kroc opening his first McDonald’s restaurants in the Chicago area.  One of the restaurants is the first one at 400 Lee Street in Des Plaines. This original location opened in April 1955 and the building has since been torn down and rebuilt.  But the movie also mentions other locations in Waukegan–and Schaumburg!

Curious about this connection, a patron emailed me about the beginnings of McDonald’s in Schaumburg Township, wondering if we were, in fact, one of the first locations in the Chicagoland area.

After doing a bit of research, I discovered that there were others in the area that opened earlier–Arlington Heights, Elk Grove Village and Wheeling–to name a few.  The first one in Schaumburg Township was the location on Golf Road, just east of the intersection with Higgins.  This restaurant held its grand opening on Saturday, October 17, 1970 (15 years after the Des Plaines location) when they opened to the public at 10 a.m.

Ronald McDonald was there in person to greet kids from 10 to noon and handed out free gifts.  Their ad from the October 16, 1970 Daily Herald mentions their “piping-hot 100% pure-beef hamburgers, golden brown french fries… and triple-thick chocolate, vanilla and strawberry shakes.”  A photo from the October 22 paper says that the grand opening drew over 4000 people!

Facing Golf Road, the facade and interior of the building were in the latest style of the day which had been developed in 1968 by the corporate office.  Having moved from the outdoor restaurant trend with the golden arches, the Schaumburg location featured a brick building with big windows and a mansard roof.  As noted in the comments below, there was also an interior playground that was used as a space for countless birthday parties.  The McDonald’s sign on Golf Road maintained the golden arches–just as they do today.

As one of the commenters noted, the original building was torn down about around 2002 and the replacement building was not only smaller but was resituated on the lot to accomodate for the heavy drive thru traffic.  The location had a great 46-year run but, unfortunately, closed in 2016 after a new store opened in the Golf Rose Center in Hoffman Estates.

mcdonalds-2

 

Many other locations exist in Schaumburg Township:

  • Barrington Square Mall on Higgins in Hoffman Estates
  • 2580 W. Golf Road near the intersection with Barrington Road in Hoffman Estates
  • 1070 Roselle Road in the Golf Rose Center in Hoffman Estates
  • 550 S. Roselle Road in the Farmgate Shopping Center in Schaumburg
  • 2545 Schaumburg Road in the Scharrington Square Shopping Center in Schaumburg
  • 720 E. Higgins Road at Plum Grove Road in Schaumburg
  • Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg
  • 775 E. Algonquin Road in Schaumburg between Harper College and Motorola
  • 955 E. Golf Road in Schaumburg (This is another brand new store as of 2016.)
  • 633 Meacham Road at Biesterfield in Strawberry Hill Plaza in Elk Grove Village
  • 7455 Barrington Road at Irving Park in Hanover Park

mcdonalds-uniformSo many of us worked for McDonald’s in the 1970’s wearing those polyester uniforms with the perky hats, frying hamburgers for a Big Mac, frying eggs in a six-sectioned egg ring for Egg McMuffins and actually mixing and whipping the shakes in a triple-head milkshake maker.  And let’s not forget making change in our heads at the cash register!  What are your memories of the McDonald’s in Schaumburg Township?  Did you work there?  Do you know when they opened?  What were your uniforms like?  Please feel free to share your thoughts!

Also, enjoy this story by Dann Gire of the Daily Herald as he discusses the appearance of the Schaumburg and other Chicagoland McDonald’s in The Founder. 

 

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

The article, “The Browning of McDonald’s,” was gratefully used in the description of the first McDonald’s in Schaumburg.

 

SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP PUBLIC SCHOOLS: AN INTRODUCTION

January 22, 2017

LaVonne's bookThe 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

“At some point after the establishment of Schaumburg Township in 1850, the township was divided into five local elementary or public school districts.  Each attendance area was assigned a district number.  The exact date of the construction of each one-room school is not known.  There is little reliable written documentation about early public education in Schaumburg Township.  It appears that minutes from the districts have been misplaced, lost or destroyed.  The numbering for these five districts was changed sometime after 1900 by the Office of the Cook County Superintendent of Schools.

In 1829 Illinois established the Office of School Commissioner which was responsible for the sale of public school land.  The money from the sale of section 16 in each township was designated for the public (common) schools.  By 1882 most land assets for school used had been sold.  Though no written documentation has been found, it is assumed that there was enough money to cover some or all of the construction costs of Schaumburg Township’s five schools.  The Schaumburg Township public schools were typically built on an acre of land.

The minutes from School District 53 public school note that it was an active school in 1860, which was ten years after the township system was put in place in Illinois.  No records for the other four districts in Schaumburg Township have been found.

As seen in the Cook County Biennial Report of the County Superintendent of Schools from July 1, 1894 to June 30, 1896, …the one-room schools were listed as “country schools.”  The assumption is made that the country school designations came about because the schools were not located in an incorporated village and were small districts that did not have consolidation with a central school board.

This map from the Biennial Report makes note of the locations of the schools with the abbreviation S.H. that, presumably, refers to “School House.”
schools-of-schaumburg-township

The number of yearly attendance days varied in these districts as children were needed on the farm during the planting and harvesting seasons.  In the report from 1894-1896, the average number of months taught was six.  Each of the one-room schools had its own school directors.  In 1898 the Cook County Superintendent reported that the number of pupils enrolled in Schaumburg Township Public Schools was 86; however, the private school’s enrollment was 150 pupils.  The Illinois School Board of Education reported in their timeline for 1890 that female teachers in Illinois earned an average of $44 per month while the male teachers made about $10 more.  (At the time of the report, the schools in Schaumburg Township were numbered 1-5.  These were later changed to numbers 51-55.)

school-teachers

…At the conclusion of the 1895-96 school year, the five Schaumburg Township public schools had an enrollment of 76 students while the three Lutheran schools in the township had an enrollment of 146 students.  Also, the superintendent’s report noted that the libraries of the five public schools had a combined total of 374 books.  A list of suggested book titles for the school libraries was included with the cost of each book ranging from 18 to 45 cents.  It is not known if the superintendent visited the graded and country school in each township yearly or if they submitted a written accounting to him.

Between the 1890s and 1940s the population of each Schaumburg public school district fluctuated as children stared and completed their schooling.  Moreover, non-German families moved in and out of the township for various reasons.  A few German families sent their children to the English school for their primary education, but the children attended a Lutheran school for middle and upper grades.   At times, when a school’s enrollment was too low to keep it open, the local farmers would send their 4 and 5 year old children to the public school.  This raised the enrollment numbers sufficiently to keep the school open.   Another farmer simply bought the school to insure it was kept open.

In the 1940s and 1950s only two schools were in good repair and remained open–District 51 and District 54.  (District 51 is in Section 9 of the map and District 54 is in Section 22.)  As people from the city moved to Schaumburg Township and built homes, the school enrollment numbers increased.  If the number of children was too high for the two schools, Schaumburg Township had agreements with surrounding school districts to bus children to their schools on a tuition basis.  Some of the districts included:  Elk Grove, Bartlett, Palatine, and Barrington.  This arrangement ended with the consolidation of the schools in Schaumburg Township in 1952 and the erection of a new four-room Schaumburg School on east Schaumburg Road in 1954.”

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

TWO LOCATIONS OF CHICKEN UNLIMITED NOW SERVING UNLIMITED CHICKEN!

January 15, 2017

It seems a bit of a fried chicken craze hit Schaumburg Township in the early 1970’s.  Kentucky Fried Chicken had already paved the way in Hoffman Estates in the late 1960s when they opened a brand new restaurant at Higgins and Roselle Roads.   In 1970 Ray and Geri Herringer opened a Chicken Unlimited franchise at 10 N. Roselle Road.  [Daily Herald, April 26, 1971]  This was followed by another Chicken Unlimited franchise that opened in July 1972 and Brown’s Chicken decided to join the competition with a restaurant at 620 S. Roselle Road in September.

In the July 12, 1972 issue of the Daily Herald, an ad invited the public to the grand opening of Chicken Unlimited’s Schaumburg stores at 805 W. Higgins Road and at 10 N. Roselle Road. The Higgins Road store was at the intersection of Higgins and Golf and the Roselle Road store was in this small strip mall that was on the northwest side of the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads.

Library

When they came to town they brought not only “the world’s best fried chicken” but fish & chips, giant Whamburgers, fried shrimp and hot apple puffs.  Yum!  And, to celebrate the opening of the stores, they offered a “Get Acquainted Coupon” that featured 12 pieces of light, crispy chicken, french fries, cole slaw, hot rolls and honey.  All for the low price of $3.99.  Certainly enough to feed a family of five or six!

The Herringers also offered a package deal for catering purposes.  It was called “Parties Unlimited” and featured a package of chicken, salad, rolls, plates, knives and forks.

Yet another ad from a November 1973 mailer stated that the stores were open 7 days a week, beginning at 11 a.m.  It also featured this coupon for a fast way to save a buck.

chicken-unlimited

Unfortunately, though, Chicken Unlimited did not last long. On March 30, 1976, the franchise filed for bankruptcy and it was around this time that the restaurants shut down in Schaumburg.  The last time there was an appearance in the Daily Herald for one of the Schaumburg locations was in 1976, although ads for the Palatine and Elk Grove locations appeared into the later 70’s.

Maybe one of our readers worked at one of the restaurants or remembers when they closed?  If you can clue us in, it would be most appreciated!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org