DOROTHY DALTON HAMMERSTEIN, THE SILENT FILM ACTRESS WHO CAME TO HOFFMAN ESTATES

June 17, 2018

She was an actress in Chicago stock companies in 1910.  She moved to Hollywood to become a silent film star in 1914 and starred in over 50 silent films and co-starred with greats such as Rudolph Valentino and William S. Hart. She has a star on the Grauman Theater Hollywood Walk of Fame.  She was the Ingrid Bergman of her day.  In 1924, she married Arthur Hammerstein, the uncle of Oscar Hammerstein II and became Dorothy Dalton Hammerstein.  (The Hammersteins are on the left in the photo below.)

Dorothy retired from films when she married Arthur and never returned to her busy life in Hollywood.  She was destined to fulfill her lifelong desire to live on a farm.  That farm would be located in what would be the future Village of Hoffman Estates.

In 1943 she and Arthur purchased the Gieseke Farm, located just south of Bode Rd. and west of Roselle Rd, from John and Edwin Gieseke.  They called the farm Cardoa Farm.

Anton Remenih , reporter for the Chicago Daily Tribune,  interviewed Dorothy and Arthur in their unassumingly  simple yet cozy farm living room.  It was Aug., 11 1946, a busy time on the Hammerstein farm.  Dorothy was raising a herd of prized Holsteins and Duroc Jersey hogs.  “Dorothy was content.”  But Arthur said “It is I who named the place Headacres.  This is “Mrs. Hammerstein’s project” he said. He would have much preferred to be back working on Broadway.  Having been a successful writer of light opera on Broadway, he found it hard to be retired and living a quiet rural life.

Dorothy loved working with her beef and dairy herds.  Remenih reported that “She was also an accomplished equestrian and enjoyed riding her favorite mount Star.”  Dorothy always rode Star as she inspected the 275 acre farm.”

Dorothy enjoyed remodeling their 100 year old farm from a small house to a 5 bedroom, 7 bath home with servant quarters and surprisingly, a kitchen in the basement along with the wine cellar.  She brought along her lifetime collection of antiques as well as autographed pictures of Victor Herbert and others who starred with her during her silent movie career.

In addition to remodeling the farmhouse, Dorothy and Arthur added several barns and new silos to house and feed the cattle, hogs and horses.  Feed for the animals were grown on their 275 acres.  It was a beautiful and well maintained farm that would soon be sold to F & S Construction upon the death of Arthur on October 12, 1955.  It had been just 12 short years that Dorothy had lived her dream of being a farmer.   She moved back to New York to be with family and friends until her death in April of 1972 at the age of 78.

The farm that Dorothy loved so would become our most historic piece of property–our first village hall, police department and public works department.  It is now the Children’s Advocacy Center on Illinois Blvd. in Parcel C.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian
eagle2064@comcast.net

SCHAUMBURG RESTAURANTS PICTURED ON MATCHBOOKS

June 10, 2018

A while back local realtor Bob Dohn passed on a bag of matchbooks that he had collected from various restaurants of Schaumburg.  Matchbooks were a popular advertising gratuity for many businesses and can give us a peak at what the business may have looked like, the color and style scheme of the restaurant and the food they might have been known for.

I’ve featured other local businesses on matchbooks before.  You can read those blog postings here and here.  These restaurants are gone but some of them may trigger some good memories.  Please feel free to share those memories in the comments below.

 

Jonix opened in 1979 and was the first restaurant to be located on the southwest corner of Golf and Plum Grove Road.  They specialized in all of the things noted on the matchbook and, in 1983, segued into the popular Copperfields.  At the time, these types of bars/restaurants were commonly called “fern bars” because of the wealth of ferns and other greenery that were placed throughout the business as well as the wood, brass and fake Tiffany lamps that were also part of the decor.  The outline of the building as seen on the matchbook is still evident in the building today.

Carlos Murphy’s was another hot spot and another “fern bar” on Golf Road.  It opened around 1984 and originally featured a Mexican and Irish menu as can be seen on the top matchbook.  After a number of changes they began offering everything from Mexican to Italian to Asian with American dishes like ribs, chicken and gooey desserts sprinkled in between.  It eventually became a grill and tortilleria which is a tortilla bakery. They closed around 2001 and you can now find Bahama Breeze in the location.

And then there was Studebakers.  It was THE dancing nightspot where you could see and be seen.  The 50’s/60’s bar and restaurant was located in the Woodfield Commons shopping center at the southwest corner of Golf and Meacham Roads.  It opened in September 1983 as a concept restaurant by the Alabama-based Studebaker’s Inc restaurant chain and Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton.  They were in business until 1997 or 1998.

Walter Payton took on another new venture when he opened Thirty-fours in 1988.

It was located near the Hyatt on Golf Road and was also both a restaurant and a nightclub.  According to the 1990-91 phone book, they had a dinner buffet, ladies night and were available for corporate luncheons.  Interestingly enough, the required entry age was 23 and there was a dress code.  The club stayed in business until 1995.

Another long time popular spot along Golf Road, close to Route 53, was the Rusty Scupper.  Amazingly enough, it opened back in 1978!  It also began life as a fern bar–only with a nautical theme–and had a menu that was largely surf and turf.  Their tenure ran out in December of 1989.

Monday’s Restaurant continues the chain of restaurants on Golf Road that we have uncovered.  Located on the site of today’s TGI Friday’s near Woodfield, Monday’s appears to have opened in 1978 and been somewhat of a fern bar too.  To set themselves apart, their decor included “oriental panels, leaded glass, Egyptian tapestry, East Indian statues, round hearths and an original open air fireplace.” (Daily Herald; July 27, 1979) They were known for their famous buffet brunch on Sundays as well as their salad bar and desserts.  Business appears to have ceased around 1982 when their newspaper classified ads ceased.

The Marriott Hotel on Martingale Road featured these two venues, beginning in the late 1980’s.  Gaddis was their AAA Four Diamond restaurant and they featured fine dining with continental dome service followed by dancing in the Bobby London Lounge.  They advertised themselves in the Daily Herald as “one of the Northwest suburb’s most romantic restaurants, where the emphasis is on fine food prepared tableside…”  (Daily Herald; April 21, 1995)  They appeared to have stayed in business into, possibly, the early 2000’s.

If anyone has more details on these restaurants that I can add or change, please don’t hesitate to comment below or send me an email.  I’d like to get the history correct!

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

SPRING VALLEY COUNTRY FAIR

June 9, 2018
  • Dates: Saturday and Sunday, June 23 and 24, 2018 from 12:00 PM-4:00 PM
  • Location: Heritage Farm
  • Address: 201 Plum Grove Road or 1111 E. Schaumburg Road
  • City: Schaumburg, IL
  • Phone: 847/985-2100Spring Valley

Experience the charm of a community farm fair during the late 19th century. Visitors can stop by the livestock and domestic arts tents to find out who has won blue ribbons and watch demonstrations of the latest hay mowers and other farm equipment. Join in the fun by participating in various games and competitions. Don’t forget to buy a delectable treat from the bake sale table. This recreated historic event will include food, music and more!

This event is for all ages. Admission is free.

CAN YOU HELP IDENTIFY THIS TIME PERIOD?

June 3, 2018

One of our librarians found this small sign in an antique store and brought it to my attention.  Now I’m bringing it to yours.

Does anyone know what this might refer to?  Was it before the village of Schaumburg became a member of the Northwest Suburban Municipal Joint Action Water Agency (JAWA) and began receiving water from Lake Michigan in December 1985?  The village was using a number of wells at the time.  Was there a water shortage in Schaumburg before the pipeline became available?  Or was this restaurant just being environmentally aware?

If this rings a bell with you please leave a comment below or send me an email.  The action by this restaurant is a new one on me!

****************After reading some of the comments, talking to a village board member and doing a bit of research, it seems the water situation in the northwest suburbs was becoming tenuous in the late 1970s due to both the explosion of growth and very dry summers in 1976 and 1977.  An article from the Chicago Tribune of March 20, 1977 says, “A long dry spell has left many suburban water wells unusually low, raising the threat of summer water rationing and strict controls… The state is going into spring with a rainfall 12 inches below normal, and suburban water officials already are talking about drastic action if the drought runs into summer.”

One of Schaumburg’s village board members mentioned that there was an ordinance that was passed in the late 1970s or early 1980s regarding water restrictions, and restaurants were included in that ordinance.  To her recollection–and this was before her time on the village board–it was only in existence for five years or so until Lake Michigan water became available. *********************

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

SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP HISTORICAL SOCIETY OPEN HOUSE

June 2, 2018

Schaumburg Center schoolThe Schaumburg Township Historical Society will sponsor an open house of the Schaumburg Center School on Sunday, June 10, 2018.  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.

SAYING GOODBYE TO TWINBROOK SCHOOL

May 27, 2018


Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

In early March I learned that School District 54 had decided to tear down Twinbrook School.  Twinbrook School was the first school built by F & S Construction when they began developing our village.  The school was located on Ash Rd in Parcel A where the first homes began going up in 1955.  Parcel A is situated south of Golf Rd and north of Higgins Rd, directly behind Hoffman Plaza.

The name Twinbrook came from the fact that the village was located between Poplar Creek to the north and Salt Creek to the south.  Early on in our village history many residents wanted to change the name from Hoffman Estates to Twinbrook but the majority won, much influenced by Jack Hoffman who didn’t favor a name change since so much had been invested in the name of Hoffman Estates.

Our first school opened in 1956 and was ready for the children of the new home owners of Parcel A.

Over the years the school was well utilized.  After the school closed to regular classes, it was used for many other children.  Preschoolers and special needs students were enrolled in classes and an addition to the school that would have some open concept classrooms made it easier.  It was lastly put into use as a storage facility.

Time took its toll and any plans to renovate were considered too costly. Sadly, it was decided that the building would come down.

With grateful permission from District 54, I was able to go inside Twinbrook for one last visit.  I had my camera ready to take pictures of whatever I thought would be memorable for the history of our village.

As I started down the first hall, I noticed the cheerful ivy mural that had been painted on the wall of the water fountains.  Had it made the students smile?  Around the corner the hall was cluttered with items that would be cleaned out before the take down.   As I walked down the hall I saw something that tugged at my heart.  It was a small red ball. I wondered how many children had played with that ball.  I took a picture.  Going into the gym I saw an American flag on a small stick that had been tossed up into the netting by, I’m guessing, some mischievous student.  I took a picture.  My last stop was in the school office where the intercom stood silent with wires pulled from the wall. I took a picture.

I knew that the children had been long gone from the building but it seemed as if you could still feel them laughing and running in the halls.

I went back on March 19th to take pictures as the school was being torn down.  It was sad to say goodbye.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian
eagle2064@comcast.net

SCHAUMBURG CENTER SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE

May 21, 2018

The Schaumburg Township Historical Society will sponsor its annual open house of the Schaumburg Center School on Memorial Day weekend.  The open houses will be held May 26, 27 and 28 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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.

THE FIRST VILLAGE FIRE STATIONS IN SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP

May 20, 2018

Before the village of Hoffman Estates was even incorporated, it became obvious that the burgeoning area needed its own fire protection and ambulance service.  Up to this point, the Roselle Fire Protection District out of the village of Roselle had served the homeowners of Schaumburg Township.  Given the distance between Roselle and the future Hoffman Estates, residents of the area voted on April 1, 1958 to form the Hoffman Estates Fire Protection District.

The District was its own governing body with three trustees, a Chief and a Deputy Chief.  They operated out of a barn on the Hammerstein/Village property on Illinois Boulevard.  In 1959–the same year that the village was incorporated–a bond issue was approved that financed a brand new station on Flagstaff Lane.  It opened the following year in November 1960 and is pictured in the photo above.

It was capable of housing six vehicles and had a squad room, radio room, office and maintenance shop.  It was known as Fire Station #1 and its address was 160 Flagstaff Lane.  The first chief was Carl Selke and he oversaw a 30-man volunteer departmen.  The fire station is still in use today, although it is now known as Station 21 and the address has changed to 225 Flagstaff Lane.

The village of Schaumburg continued to use the Roselle Fire Protection District for more than ten years after the village was incorporated.   On February 20, 1966 the village board voted to disannex from the Roselle Fire Protection District and form the Schaumburg Fire Department.  Later that year, Fire Station No. 1, pictured above, was built at 1459 Schaumburg Road.  Campanelli Brothers Construction donated the land and the building.   The official date of separation occurred on July 9, 1967 with the Roselle FPD selling the fire station and the equipment inside to the Village of Schaumburg for the amount of &1.  A month later, Joe Zurick was chosen as the first volunteer Fire Chief of the department.  Some of the other men who served were Assistant Chief Alex Riofrido, Captain Frank Musil, and Lieutenant Keith Paul and a volunteer force of 20 men that included Del Raab and Rolland Fitch.

This fire station served the village well until 2006 when Fire Station One was relocated to a new building at 950 W. Schaumburg Road.  The old building sat vacant until late 2007 when it was demolished.  The site was eventually sold and is currently being redeveloped as a two-business strip mall.

In 1977, Elk Grove Village opened a new fire station at 676 Meacham Road.  The station was known as Fire Station #10 and was the third fire station built for Elk Grove Village.  This one was built, however, to serve the residents in Schaumburg Township on the west side of Route 53.  It was in use for nearly 40 years and was officially closed on February 15, 2018.  The building was razed and a new one is currently being constructed on the same site.  Completion is scheduled for some time in 2019.

Township residents are fortunate to be so well served by these fire stations within our boundaries.  Both Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg have additional stations that have been built in the intervening years but these were all the first for the various villages!

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

Various articles from the Daily Herald; the Hoffman Estates historical publication, Community From Cornfields; and the Schaumburg publication, Schaumburg Fire Department:  A Photographic Tribute were all used to create this blog posting.  

The photo of the first Schaumburg Volunteer Fire Department was graciously contributed by Rolland Fitch II whose father was on that squad.  We thank him for this wonderful addition to the blog posting.  

 

 

 

SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP’S FIRST VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT

May 13, 2018

On Tuesday night, September 15, 1914, “the peaceful slumber of Schaumburg was suddenly awakened at 11:40 p.m… by the clanging of the fire bell.  H.J. Gieseke’s hardware and grocery was burning.  H.H. Torrence, lodging at Krueger’s, first noticed the blaze and seemed to wake from an explosion which occurred within the building. He noticed that the south wall inside was afire and immediately sounded the alarm.  The fire, however, made such rapid headway that when the first men arrived it was already gushing through the windows closest to the south wall.  For a time it seemed Krueger’s barn and shed would surely burn, but the hose brigade finally got things adjusted and kept the roof well soaked.”  [Daily Herald, September 18, 1914]

The Gieseke hardware store that burned–or partially burned–was the building that is today’s Lou Malnatis.  And Mr. Torrence, who first noticed the fire, was staying at Krueger’s, which served as a tavern and hotel that later became known as the Easy Street Pub.  But, where was that fire bell located?  And, was there actually a fire department in rural Schaumburg Township?  The answer is “yes” to both questions.

The fire bell was in the fire barn that stood between Krueger’s and the Gieseke Hardware store.  You can see it in the photo above, hidden behind the tree on the left, with a belfrey on top of the building.

According to an article from the April 7, 1966 issue of the Daily Herald, a Schaumburg Township Fire Department was organized in 1897 by about 20 area farmers and was volunteer in nature.  The article says, “they purchased a second hand pumper from Palatine for $20 and sold shares in it.”

The intent was, that if a fire began and you owned shares, your farm would be served by the pumper as soon as it got there.  If you did not own shares, the pumper would not be available.  Later, local mutual fire companies operated in the same way.  If you didn’t purchase shares in the organization and a fire occurred on your property, the fire department would not respond.  It seems a bit cruel but, it was the only way to operate and stay finanically solvent in rural areas where there was not an organized governmental department.

This volunteer fire department is mentioned off and on throughout the next few decades.  A mention from the November 3, 1905 issue of The Herald states that the department would be holding their annual meeting in Quindel’s Hall to elect officers and enroll new members.  (At the time, Quindel’s Hall was the hardware store.)  In addition to the meetings, they held picnics to raise funds for the department and as a morale boost for the members.

The two gentlemen who seemed to be in charge of the fire department and pushed for new members were H.E. Quindel and John Fenz.  It was definitely in their best interests to have a fire department that could protect their businesses at the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads.  By 1913, this included their homes too which were both at the intersection.  This was the Fenz home.

This was the Quindel home.

By Feburary 20, 1920, the Volunteer Fire Department was “well organized and holding regular meetings the first Tuesday of each month.”  The article in The Herald also mentioned that the engine had been overhauled.  Another article in the same year mentioned that the Fire Department was selling a truck wagon.

However, when two fires happened in 1930 in Schaumburg Center, one was handled with a handheld fire extinguisher and the other, that occurred in the shed behind Lengl’s saloon and restaurant, was handled by the Roselle Fire Department.  This gives us a good indication that the Schaumburg Volunteer Fire Department was gone and local residents were relying on the village of Roselle for support.

According to the 1966 article though, “the pumper remained in the area until the 1940’s when it was purchased for $150 by a private party and subsequently returned to Palatine.  It remains on display in the Palatine fire barn and is used for parades and ceremonial occasions.”

The fire barn remained in place on Roselle Road .  It was subsequently rescued by Richard Gerschefske who lived nearby on Lengl Avenue.  He moved the barn to his property sometime in the 1930’s or 40’s.  We know this because it was in place for his daughter Marion’s wedding in 1947.   There it sat for a number of years until it was ultimately torn down around 1981.  (An article from the Schaumburg Record from March 18, 1981 mentions its imminent demise.)

Fire was always a concern in our rural area.  Thunderstorms and lightning strikes could ignite houses and barns.  Spontaneous combustion in haystacks was always a possibility.  Wearing long dresses and cooking with fire was a danger.  And, the fact that almost every building was wood accelerated every fire that occurred.  Pooling resources–whether it was manpower or equipment or buildings–was a crucial step that the Schaumburg Volunteer Fire Department took to try and fight fires successfully.

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

Next week, look for a blog posting on the first village fire stations in Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, and Schaumburg. 

 

HISTORIC STONE STRUCTURES IN THE FOX VALLEY AREA

May 8, 2018

What:  Conversations in the Studio:  Historic Stone Structures in the Fox Valley Area

Who:  Adam D. Gibbons; Northwestern University (BA History), Wake Forest University (MA History), Genealogist; will discuss historic architecture in the form of stone buildings in the Fox Valley area.  

When:  Saturday, May 12, 1-2 pm.

Where:  Schweikher-Langsdorf Home and Studio, 645 S. Meacham Road, Schaumburg

How:  Tickets are $5 and RSVP is required.  For registration or questions call Todd Wenger at 847-923-3866 or email Kim Bauer at events@schweikherhouse.org