February 11, 2018

The world of Woodfield Mall is of never ending interest to those who lived nearby and grew up here.  For them, it was a place to shop.  It was a place to work.  It was a place to see concerts or get a glimpse of someone famous. It was a place to hang out. And it was a place to see and be seen.  But, it was also a place to eat.

Woodfield was unique in that it never had a food court.   That didn’t mean, though, that they were ever hurting for dining options.  In the beginning, some of the restaurants were chains and some were independently owned.  Some lasted for years and some were gone rather quickly.  They all had their day in the sun and they all had their followers.  Ask anyone who frequented the mall and they’ll tell you right away which one(s) were their favorite(s).

So, please mention your favorites, which ones you worked at and which ones we’re missing.  The list below was compiled from Woodfield’s website, various Woodfield directories, firsthand knowledge and mentions from other blog postings.  With your help we’ll get it as complete as possible.

And, of course, if you would like to share any photos, I’d love to create another blog posting around some of the individual restaurants.  The only one I’ve ever done is on International Park because some of the commenters supplied me with photos.  Jump in if you can and pass them on to me at the email address below.

A & W


Argo Tea

Au Bon Pain

Auntie Anne’s (Pretzels)

Beer & Brats

Black Forest Finer Foods

Boudin Sourdough Bakery

Bressler’s 33 Flavors

Bumbleberry  (Pie store)

Cafe Bistro

California Café

Cheesecake Factory

Chill Bubble Tea



Coldstone Creamery

Coney Dogs

Cookie Factory Bakery

Dunkin Donuts

Dutch Mill Candies

Farrell’s Ice Cream Shoppe

Garrett Popcorn

Gloria Jean’s Coffee

Godiva Chocolatier

Grandma’s Soup Tureen

Granny’s Donuts

Greener Fields  (Marshall Fields restaurant)

Hickory Farms

Hot Sam’s

International Park (This was a miniature food court all in one restaurant with a Coney Island section which was hot dogs and cotton candy, a hamburger section, Chinese Food, American Food and an Italian section in the back.  They were possibly there from the beginning and at least through 1975-76.  It was on the lower level next to the skating rink.)

Jimmy John’s

John’s Garage

Junior Hot Shoppe Snack Bar

Kinfork BBQ & Tap

Kirby’s/Kerby’s Koney Island

Konee’s  (A spelling aberration of “Ice Kream, Karry Out, Korned Beef, Kold Turkey”)

Le Creperie (?)

Leeann Chin’s

Level 257

LifeHouse Health Foods  (Juice bar in the store)

Long Grove Confectionary

Lucky’s Diner

Magic Pan

Mars 2112


Mickey’s Kitchen (One of two test restaurants in the country, it was housed inside the former Disney Store from May 1991 to March/April 1992.)

Mr. Submarine

Mrs. Fields

Nestle Tollhouse Cafe

Nordstrom ebar

Nuts on Clark

O’Connell’s Restaurant (Family dining)

Olga’s Kitchen (Greek restaurant)

Orange Bowl Restaurant

Orange Julius

Panda Express

P. F. Chang’s China Bistro

Rainforest Café

Red Robin

Roy Rogers

Ruby Tuesday

Sam’s Pretzels


Sears (Interior restaurant)

Seven Arches  (Marshall Field’s restaurant)

Skolnik’s (bagels)

Spinnaker’s (California-themed restaurant that served honey bread in a flower pot)


Sweet Factory

The Skewer

The Slicer  (Slicer’s Deli)

The Soup Bar  (At Lord & Taylor’s)

The Submarine


Surf City Squeeze

Taste of Baker’s Square

Texas de Brazil

T.J. Cinnamons (Precursor to Cinnabon)



Tropical Sun Nut and Fruit


Uncle Julio’s

Van’s Belgian Waffles

Vie de France


Wetzel’s Pretzels

Wimpy’s Hamburgers

Yogen Fruz

“There was also a restaurant down by the Penny’s end that was finished and open during construction where all the workers could eat. Fast food during construction and sit down after mall opened.” –From a blog commenter

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

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



February 4, 2018

Farming is a passion. Those who are engaged in it have an incredible bond with their land, their animals, their equipment and their buildings. During the active century of farming in Schaumburg Township (1850-1950), many of the farming families passed the farm down through multiple generations. As a result their bonds with their property ran long and deep.

They were intimately familiar with every square inch of their acreage, having either walked it or driven it countless times over the years. They became attached to many of their animals–particularly their milk cows–who gave true meaning to the term “cash cow.” They spent hours choosing the right equipment and even more hours maintaining it until the last bit of usage had been wrung from it. And, even more so, they took pride in their buildings–whether it was their home, their chicken coop, their equipment shed or their barn.

To commemorate that bond, farmers would often commission an artist to paint a rendition of their farm and then proudly hang it on a wall in their house. Several examples of these paintings of Schaumburg Township farms are found below.

This beauty of a painting was recently brought to my attention by Lu-Ann (Rosenwinkel) Munneke. Her parents were Paul and Paula (Gehrke) Rosenwinkel who purchased the farm in 1950 from the Japp family. Paul grew up in Addison, the son of Albert and Ellen (Backhaus) Rosenwinkel, and Paula grew up in Elk Grove Township. There were two houses on the farm and a massive white  barn that was built in 1917 and was the centerpiece of the farm. The Rosenwinkels lived in one house and rented the other.

The farm’s southern border was along today’s Weathersfield Way. They had a quarter mile driveway off of Roselle Road and mainly raised steers as well as pigs for a time and, of course, chickens. They were also grain farmers.

A good portion of the farm was eventually sold to make way for the Timbercrest subdivision in the early 1970s and, later, the Farmgate townhouse development. If you lived in Schaumburg Township during the latter part of its farming days you might remember the farm as pictured in the photo below. The view is looking north towards the farm from Weathersfield Way. The barn was truly a magnificent structure.

This is an unknown farm.  The painting or, possibly, colorized photo, was passed on to me by LaVonne (Thies) Presley.  She wondered if it might possibly be the “newly discovered” Gieseke/Bartels farm that I wrote about here.

In looking over the painting, we noted that there were no electric poles lining the lane that led up to the house and barn. LaVonne made the supposition that the painting had to have been done before the 1930s as that is when electricity came to Schaumburg Township.

Notice the long rain gutter that cuts across the side of the barn.  Clearly the farmer was trying to catch every drop of rain that ran off that large expanse of roof.  Chances are the water was routed into a cistern or holding tank.  The water would have been used for the animals or, possibly, to keep the milk cool after the cows had been milked.

It is also obvious the farm was bisected by a lane leading from the main road.  This was a common occurrence.  The home would be found on one side, along with the vegetable gardens, the orchard and, possibly, the chicken coop.  The other side was the business end of the farm, complete with the barn, equipment sheds, and various outbuildings.  Typically, in this day and age, the women ran the house side and the men ran the barn side of the farm.

This is yet another unidentified farm.  Clearly this farmer was interested in having the artist capture the buildings used to maintain the farm.  The big, red barn centers the painting with two silos in the background, possibly a pig shed to the right and a couple of other small buildings sprinkled around.  It is also possible that this painting was done by someone who lived on property that bordered the farm since the perspective is from the back of the buildings.  Maybe they were taken by the mystique of the farm and wanted to tie in the red of the barn with the colors of the changing trees.

The following two paintings are part of a series of Schaumburg Township views that were painted by Allan Gray sometime in the 1970s.  (All seven paintings can be found in the Illinois Collection alcove of the library on the second floor.) The first shows the Wilkening farm that was  on the east side of Roselle Road, near the location of today’s Country Inn & Suites.  Notice that the farm is close to Roselle Road (when it was two lanes) and on the same rise where the hotel can be found.

The last owners of the farm were Walter and Sarah Wilkening who were siblings.  If you look closely at the bottom of the painting, Mr. Gray notes that the Wilkening family had owned the property since 1869, although a September 19, 1984 article from the Chicago Tribune mentions that the farm was built in 1866.  Chances are good Mr. Gray spoke to them while doing the painting and picked up that tidbit. The farm was sold in 1978 or 1979 around the time the Wilkenings died. When the property was eventually developed, the village of Schaumburg honored the long time owners by naming two of the streets in the industrial park–Wilkening Road and Wilkening Court–after the family. It really was quite an impressive place with its big white house and red barn surrounded by a wide variety of trees.

Finally, this is probably one of the most famous farms in Schaumburg Township simply because it still exists and, not least of all, because it is the oldest.  It is called the Sunderlage House and can be found at 1775 Vista Lane in Hoffman Estates.  The house was built in 1856 by Johann Sunderlage who had come from Germany on an exploratory trip to the area in 1832.  Once he had found property he thought would be appealing to those back in the Old Country, he went back to Germany and then returned with a group of families in 1838.  They were the Greve, Ottman, Meyer and Schirding families who also made their homes in the area.

Johann, in fact, married Catharine Greve and together they developed the farm that is named for them. After their deaths they passed the farm on to Amanda Meyer Volkening, their widowed great niece, who ran it with her family.  In the 1930’s the Volkenings sold the farm to Lila Harrell, an interior decorator, from Chicago who later sold it to Peter Volid, a manufacturer and CEO.  He eventually deeded the property to the Village of Hoffman Estates in 1978.

Since that time, the Hoffman Estates Historic Sites Commission has absorbed oversight of both the home and the brick smokehouse that is visible in the back right of the painting.  The smokehouse is now on the National Register of Historic Places.  The home was not submitted for inclusion due to the additions that were put in place, but the original structure is still evident in both the painting and in the photograph below.

These paintings represent a bygone era of a township that was resplendent with active, impressive farms, houses, barns and acreage.  It is a unique way to truly appreciate the history that was here before and see it from an artist’s perspective.  The variety of the paintings give you an idea of, not only the styles that the artist used, but also a land that cannot be forgotten.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

Images of the Winkelhake house and the Sunderlage house are by permission of Gray’s Watercolors,  We thank them for their generosity.







January 28, 2018

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

When Hoffman Estates was developed, it sprang up from corn and wheat fields.  Driving home from the city, back in 1965, it seemed as if you could smell the corn growing.  It was so different from the bright lights and busy traffic of the city.  It was very quiet and dark, something we had to get used to.

On summer nights we loved to look for the Big and Little Dippers. (See photo above.)  The Big Dipper seemed to hang over our house.  You’d see an occasional shooting star if you really took the time to stare up at the night sky for a good part of the night.  When the Perseids Meteor showers came in August, we’d have to lie on a blanket and try to count how many meteors we’d see.  It was wonderful.

Viewing the night sky was easier then since we had no street lights in Hoffman Estates.  We still don’t have them.  Not in the parts of town that F & S Construction, and later, Hoffman Homes built.

Up and down our streets you’d see everyone with a porch light on.  Many home owners installed gas lights at the end of their driveways.  Many porch lights were turned off when they went to bed.  It saved on the electric bill.

The highways were only two lane roads and the street lights were only at major intersections.  It was dark at night with light only where necessary.

Times have changed so much since then.  As years have gone by and the town has developed into a busy and active community, we find lights everywhere.  (Barrington Square below.)

The addition of businesses, restaurants, car dealerships, and new highways added lights and more lights.  Lights were needed for security and to light up every shopping area in town.  It is so bright that you may not see the stars anymore.  I miss that and the darkness that was a part of the early years of the village.  Only us old timers remember the star filled skies.  Even the fireflys were easier to see and catch.

As new neighbors moved from the city to the suburbs, they missed the lights of the city.  It’s very popular to have solar lights in the garden and across the front of the house.  I love the look of them and recall the gas lanterns that many had in their front yards.

Over the past 50 years we have grown from a sleepy suburb to a busy well lit Hoffman Estates.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian

The photo of the Big Dipper and Little Dipper at the top of the blog posting is used, courtesy of Jerry Lodriguss, a professional astrophotographer.


January 21, 2018

This picture was recently sent to me via the descendants of Florence Catherine “Kate” Bell, who grew up in Schaumburg Township in the 1920’s and 30’s.  Her father, James Austin Bell, was, for the times, a voluminous photographer and took many photos of Stratford Farms, a Schaumburg Township farm he managed on Roselle Road that supplied poultry, produce and dairy to the Stratford Hotel in Chicago.   This was a prime example of the photos he took.

His children often appear in his photos and this one is no exception.  A young Kate is sitting on a pumpkin next to a Malt Maid Co. truck that is being loaded.  It struck me that it is rather odd that a truck advertising “Made of Malt and Hops” is picking up pumpkins.  Malt is made from cereal grains and hops come from the hop plant.  Pumpkins don’t fall into either one of those categories. Who was Malt Maid and why was a Chicago company driving all the way to rural Schaumburg Township to pick up a truck load of good-sized pumpkins?

It seems that Malt Maid was connected to the Manhattan Brewing Company, a city block sized brewery at 3901 South Emerald Avenue and Pershing Road in Chicago, that was purchased by the infamous mob boss Johnny Torrio.  According to an April 24, 1977 article written by reporter Richard J. La Susa of the Chicago Tribune, Johnny Torrio bought Manhattan Brewing, “a brewery of minor importance” in 1919.  In The Legacy of Al Capone, author George Murray states that Torrio purchased the brewery in the spring of 1919.  This was but a few short months before the Volstead Act was passed in October that gave us prohibition.

After Torrio bought the brewery, La Susa states he “changed the name of the business to Malt Maid and controlled it until 1924, when he was forced to ‘retire’ from the Chicago scene by a faction of his mob led by Al Capone.”  The timing of the name change differs in various articles and books used as research for this posting, but it is universally agreed that Malt Maid was also co-owned at various times by other mob bosses Dion O’Bannion and Hymie Weiss.  It would have obviously been a good move to change the name from Manhattan Brewing to Malt Maid with prohibition in full effect.

We know that Florence Catherine, the young girl in the photo, was born in 1917.  She looks to be about 4 or 5 years old.  This would mean the year would be either 1921 or 1922.  And clearly it’s the fall, judging by the size of those pumpkins.  Having found no mention of local breweries using pumpkins in the beer making process, I contacted John J. Binder, a University of Illinois at Chicago professor, who wrote Al Capone’s Beer Wars in 2017.

He told me that in “that era I have no information that pumpkins were ever used in the process of brewing beer.  If pumpkins were part of a Halloween tradition for children or were used to make pie more generally in autumn in the early 1920s, there are simple answers to this question. This would then probably be…O’Bannion helping Torrio (or vice versa) to deliver pumpkins to the part of the city where he controlled the bootlegging to give/sell [to] the kiddies… Again, if they were working together in bootlegging they would have helped each other out with resources such as trucking…”

It is interesting that they would have found their way to Schaumburg Township to purchase pumpkins from Stratford Farms.  Given the Farm’s connection to the Stratford Hotel in Chicago, word must have somehow gotten around that the farm provided much of the produce for the hotel–and that it was plentiful.

Hence the Malt Maid truck.  And the result?  A chance for James Austin Bell to take the photo.  Given the fact that, per La Susa, “the company’s name was changed to Fort Dearborn Products Co. in 1925,” Malt Maid was indeed a short lived name.  Which makes it fairly incredible we have this amazing photo of their appearance in Schaumburg Township!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library





January 14, 2018

The southeast corner of Schaumburg and Springinsguth roads, sight of the first Schaumburg Jewel, seemed the perfect spot for the small festival that was planned for Sunday, September 10, 1961.  It was a flat parcel in the center of the new Weathersfield subdivision and within easy walking distance for many of the attendees.  You can see it as the large, graded spot in the upper left portion of this photo.

The newly formed Schaumburg Lions Club named it the Chuck Wagon Jamboree and designed it for all residents of Schaumburg Township.  Tickets were available from all Lions Club members, at the Golden Acres Country Club and Roy’s Standard Station on Schaumburg Road near Roselle.

Mayor Bob Atcher was, of course, the featured entertainer as well as the Art Van Damme Quintet, a jazz group, The Four Horsemen, a barbershop quartet and the Lions’ own German band.  The mayor appeared dressed in his full two-gun cowboy dress riding Chief of Police, Martin Conroy’s horse around the area.  A beef barbecue dinner for the cost of $1.50 was also held.  Amazingly enough, the event was held from noon until midnight.

Expecting the event to be an annual affair, the Lions planned another Jamboree the following year in 1962.  The second year was quite a major affair, expanding to the three days of the August 24-26 weekend.  It included a western style dinner, a liquor booth with nickel beers, a full carnival and a Saturday night dance for the Schaumburg Teen Club featuring “The Vistas.”  Mayor Atcher was, again, one of the star performers.

Unfortunately, a rain storm on Friday night turned the area into a “sea of mud” as reported by the Hoffman Herald, forcing the Lions’ members to create wooden walkways to keep everyone from sinking.  This may have been enough to convince the Lions that they’d rather not take on such a big project because there is no further mention of the Chuck Wagon Jamboree.

Three years later, in 1965, the Weathersfield Homeowners Association sponsored their own festival called The Shindig with proceeds going towards the Schaumburg Volunteer Fire Department.  The Lions, Moose, Jaycees and Junior Women’s Club all participated.  It began as a square dance in the Weathersfield Commons shopping center and drew 2000 people.  Sandwiches, beer and soft drinks were sold.  The square dance was the big draw for 1966 and 1967 as well.  (The photo below that shows a fire engine in the parade is a donation from Richard “Bud” Napier.)

By 1968 the Shindig was sponsored by the Fire Department itself.  This year, though, the event included a parade that wove its way through the Weathersfield subdivision, east of Springinsguth.  The parade included a kids’ bike parade, ten clowns courtesy of the Jaycees, the 4-H club’s six horses and the Schaumburg VFW drum and bugle corps.

In 1969 there was a “Miss Shindig” contest.  The queen was determined by penny votes cast in stores throughout the Weathersfield Commons Shopping Center.  Kathy Rabe, who was declared the queen at a special dance at the Schaumburg Great Hall (The Barn), rode in the parade with all of her attendants.

1970 saw floats added to the parade, courtesy of the Schaumburg Park District and the Schaumburg Woman’s Club.  Water fights were also held, courtesy of the Fire Department.  A dance, featuring music by The Sound System, a local band from Hanover Park, was the culminating event on Saturday night.

The following years saw an all-star baseball game featuring players from the teams of the Schaumburg Athletic Association (1971), marching units in the parade from the Army and Marines (1972), and the parade route changing from Braintree to Springinsguth (1973).  The big change in 1974 moved the Shindig from July to the month of October.  The number of musical groups also grew to four with the Jimmy James Banjo Band, Skadarlife Yugoslavian Band, Weaver Hammond Organ and Segments of Sound.

This was the final year that the Shindig was held.  By that time, the village’s Septemberfest was well under way, having begun at Campanelli Park in 1971.  (The photo above, from Mary Ann McArthur Russell, shows one of their parades moving down Auburn Lane.)

In the growing village of Schaumburg, the need for entertainment and the growing number of service organizations worked hand in hand to produce wonderful days to look forward to.  After all, who here doesn’t remember being a kid and biding your time for that big picnic, carnival or festival that promised so much fun?  The carnival and the rides?  The eating?  The drinking?  The parade?  Attending was great and participating in some way was even better.  Thank goodness for those entrepreneurial spirits who organized these days of fun!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

My thanks to Diana Dobrovolny for being the inspiration for this posting.  I knew about the Shindig but had never heard about the Chuck Wagon Jamboree.  Your pieces of history count!



January 7, 2018

This is the corner of Golf and Meacham Road.  It is one of the busiest spots in Schaumburg Township.  But, when Ebenezer Colby paid cash on September 1, 1845 for the land patent on this property at the United States Land Office in Chicago, it was nothing but open grassland as far as the eye could see.

Ebenezer Colby was born October 16, 1788 in New Hampshire.  His wife, Abigail Hurd Willey, was born on January 19, 1791 in the same state. They married March 3, 1811 and had their children in Manchester, Vermont.  The children were born between 1812 and 1831 and included Abigail, Ebenezer Franklin, Lucy Philenda, Rachel Horatia, Marietta Belinda and Almira “Myra”.

The family, including Abigail’s husband, James Taylor, lived for a time in western New York and moved to Illinois in 1843.  Ebenezer or, Eben, as he was often called, soon became active in politics when he joined Thomas Bradwell as delegate from the Salt Creek Precinct to the Chicago Democratic Convention in 1844. (The Salt Creek Precinct was a large regional designation that was so named in the 1830s and 40s because of Salt Creek that runs through the northwest suburban townships of Palatine, Schaumburg and Elk Grove.)

By 1845 the Colbys had purchased their Schaumburg Township patent and were farming their land in Section 12, which is in the upper right portion of this 1842 map.  They bought the parcel that is the left half of the lower quarter and is a total of 80 acres.

In 1847 Eben continued his political prominence when he was elected one of five delegates to the Illinois Constitutional Convention in Springfield.  Interestingly, according to Marilyn Lind, in her book Genesis of a Township, Mr. Colby promoted a resolution that eventually passed and allowed for 5000 of the 50,000 copies of the Constitution to be printed in German.  Could this have been a reflection of the high percentage of German settlers in the Schaumburg Township area? Additionally, he also was one of seven “nays” in the final vote on the constitution. This begs the question, why would he have opposed it?

Mr. Colby also began to immerse himself in various posts in local government as township supervisor, assessor and chairman.  This was no strange consequence as his neighbor, Daniel H. Johnson, had served in the post of township supervisor before him.

Prior to his tenure that ran from 1851 to 1855, the township originally went by the name of Township 41N/ Range 10E–as is noted on the map above.  It’s not exactly a catchy name.  At some point, in the years he was in office, a lively, charged meeting occurred that seemed to have pitted the German contingent of the township against the “Yankee” contingent.  The intent was to choose a new name for the township.  The Germans were passionate about the name “Schaumburg” which was the area in Germany they hailed from.  The Yankees opted for Lutherville or Lutherburg, which may have been a nod to Martin Luther.  After much discussion, Fredrick Nerge of the German contingent–and for whom District 54’s Nerge School is named– “hit the table with the firmness of an old German soldier and shouted: “Schaumburg schall et heiten” or “Schaumburg it shall be.”   (History of Schaumburg, 1850-1900)

We don’t know how long the Colbys remained in Schaumburg Township but, at some point they moved to Elgin, most likely maintaining their property here for a few years.  It had to have been sometime in 1855 after he’d finished his service as a Schaumburg Township government official or in the following year of 1856.  We know the latter date because, in the book, Death Records in Elgin, it states that Abigail Colby died in Elgin on November 11, 1856. She was subsequently buried in the Channing Street Cemetery in Elgin.

We also know that sometime in 1851 or 1852, the Colby’s daughter, Myra, pictured above, began attending the Elgin Seminary.  E.C. Alft’s Elgin:  An American History states that “the Elgin Seminary was established in the spring of 1851 by the Misses Emily and Ellen Lord.”  On May 18, 1852 she married James Bradwell and, according to E.C. Alft’s Elgin:  Days Gone By, she “created an Elgin sensation in 1852 when she eloped, her father and brother giving chase with firearms.”

Ultimately, the marriage proved to be successful and, in fact, Myra completed legal training with the hopes of serving as a practicing attorney.  It took until 1892 for her to become one of the first–if not the first–woman in the state of Illinois to be admitted to the Bar.  Various sources differ on who attained this dramatic achievement but it is a definite possibility that it was Myra.

Meanwhile, Eben Colby continued his residence in Elgin after his wife’s death and was listed there in the 1860 census.  He was 73 years old and his profession was listed as “carpenter.”  He was living with Emily Burlington, “a female black laborer” (who was mentioned as such in the 1850 census) and a 65 year-old widow named Malinda Hall.  It is also worthy to note that on the 1861 Van Vechten plat map for Cook County, the Colby property in Schaumburg Township had been sold and was now in the hands of J.T. Thomas.

Eben then, at some point, made his way to Fort Dodge in Webster County, Iowa where his daughter, Marietta “Mary” (Colby) Haviland lived.  We then meet up with him again in the same book where we last saw his wife, Abigail.  It is there, in Death Records in Elgin, that he is listed as having died on September 4, 1869 in Fort Dodge, Iowa.  He was 80 years old, 10 months and 12 days.

The family obviously regarded him highly enough to have his remains sent back to Illinois to be buried in the same block of the Channing Street Cemetery as his wife, Abigail.  It could have been their daughter, Myra Colby Bradwell, who was living in Chicago with her husband, who was also an attorney, and probably able to afford the cost.

Unfortunately, the Channing Street Cemetery no longer exists so we cannot capture a photo of the Colby’s gravestones.  In 1889, twenty years after Eben Colby’s death, when most remains from Channing Street were reinterred in the new Bluff City Cemetery, it is noted in the records that the Colbys did not make the move.  It is quite possible there was no gravestone for the couple and their grave site could not be determined or, very little remained if there was.

Suffice to say, the Colbys definitely made their mark on Schaumburg Township–from purchasing the available land patent, being actively involved in state and local government, to parenting children who were notable in their own right.  It was an active time in the early, formative years of Illinois and, even though the Colbys were not young people when they arrived, they made the most of the time they had.  Without Mr. Colby and his participation, Schaumburg Township might, in fact, be Lutherburg Township.  And try to imagine that on the Schaumburg Township sign on Illinois Boulevard!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library






December 31, 2017

Talking local history with the locals is always a learning experience.  I discovered that once again when I was recently speaking to Schaumburg Village trustee Jack Sullivan.  In the course of our discussion, he talked about attending Frost Junior High School in the 1960s and how the students could buy their lunches from a series of vending machines.  With what I’m sure was a puzzled expression on my face, I said, “Do you mean like an automat?”  Turns out, that’s exactly what he was talking about.

Having never heard that story before, I did some research and found a great article in the Hoffman Herald on August 6, 1964.  Interestingly, Robert Frost Junior High was actually the testing ground in the Chicago area for this style of lunch.

When it opened for the school year in 1964, Robert Frost Junior High on Wise Road was the first school built specifically as a junior high for the fast-growing, burgeoning District 54.  One of the challenges for the new school was serving several hundred students during relatively short lunch periods.

Of course, many students inevitably brown bagged their lunches, but the school district was looking for other options as well, and that’s when Barrington Vending Machine Co. stepped in to offer them an interesting solution.

The company agreed to install machines that would include “coffee (!), hot chocolate, tea and soup, a cold drink machine, an ice cream unit, a candy and pastry unit, a hot canned foods unit, a cold sandwich and salad unit, a hot sandwich unit and serving units with spoons, napkins and condiments.”  Milk would be provided by a dairy that supplied the other schools.  Frankly, for young students in 1964, this had to have seemed pretty cool.

The article noted–and remember, this was August before school started–that they were still considering the rationale of making coffee and candy available for the students.  This would have been especially pertinent given the fact that the purpose was to make a balanced meal available to the students for less than .50 a day.

Frost Junior High was expecting 800 students in the new school and they were planning to incorporate four lunch periods into the day.  The food would be fresh every day according to the contract with Barrington Vending, and a part time staffer would make sure that all of the machines were kept stocked during those lunch periods and make change for the students.

During the writeup of this blog posting, it was not possible to determine how long this vending machine food service ran but in a January 27, 1966 article it was mentioned that milk, candy and soft drinks were being dispensed through vending machines.  Further, it says, “…vending machines were placed in Schaumburg and Robert Frost Junior High Schools as a service since students remain in both schools during the lunch period.”

According to Ray Hallett however, who was a long time teacher at Frost Junior High, the school was doing split shifts of 6 a.m.-noon and noon-6 p.m. in the 1969-70 school year so there would have been no reason for a lunch period.  He and another commenter, Diana Dobrovolny, also thought they did split shifts a year or two prior so it seems that the vending machine lunches lasted only a couple of years.  This was confirmed by commenter, Marty Oliff, who said that the Frost/Keller split shift happened in the 1966/67 school year so lunch would not have been necessary for that school year either.

Thus, it appears that the Automat-style vending machine experiment lasted from the time Frost opened for the 1964/65 school year until the end of the 1965/66 term.  Because of the massive influx of students, lunch was essentially unnecessary in the junior highs until the split shift years were over.

In yet another Hoffman Herald article from September 16, 1969, it appears a company called Mass Feeding Corp. had taken over the contract and was supplying “the pre-packaged, pre-frozen hot lunch program” at District 54 and other school districts.  So, some type of vending machine service was still being used in some of the schools.  One has to suppose this was the junior highs but maybe other readers might be able to confirm this for sure.

If you’re one of those who attended Frost Junior High and took advantage of the vending machines that supplied your lunch, we would love to hear the types of food they had, how much you paid for various items and how long the program lasted.  District 54 was not only on the cutting edge in education but in lunch services too!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


December 24, 2017

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

Winters seem a little tamer recently.  Snow doesn’t begin in earnest until late December or early January.  Each fall we wonder what the winter will be like.  We all hope for a season that doesn’t call out the plows or our snow shovels too often.

That wasn’t the case for those of us who love snow.  When the first flakes begin to fall the sleds come out as well as the skies.  But back in the 70s there was another way to enjoy the snow and that was by flying down the hills of Fleetwing Farm on huge semi truck inner tubes.  It was a thrilling way to spend an evening with family or a bunch of your pals.

Fleetwing Farm was located at 2700 W. Central Rd. just a short distance west of Ela Rd. and east of where the  AT&T campus was located.  During the summer, horseback riding lessons, day camps, hay rides and nursery school were offered and barns for boarding horses were available.  The farm incorporated in 1959 but didn’t offer tubing in the winter until the owner Bud Bright saw tubing when he visited Winter Park in Frazer, Colorado.  Tubing would work well at Fleetwing Farm as it had the perfect hill for some winter fun.

There would eventually be three different runs.  The set up was from easy for beginners to a run for those who were a little more skilled to the killer hill. That run had snow hills placed along it that sent you  flying high and screaming down the remainder of the run trying not to run over those at the bottom who hadn’t gotten out of your way.  There was a tow rope with wooden handles that slowly took you back to the top.  There was always plenty of snow as the farm had its own snow making machine.

It cost $2 an hour including the use of the tube.  There was a warming house at the bottom of the hill were you could buy a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.  Hot dogs were also sold there.

Fleetwing Farm was very popular and could be very crowded on weekends.  There were a limited number of tubes and the crowd would wait in line for the next tube hoping that someone would be heading home.  You would find the same lines at the bottom of the hill waiting to grab onto the tow rope to head up for another thrilling ride down.  Maybe this time you’d get up the courage to try the killer run.

Fleetwing Farm is gone.  It’s not known when the tubing hills closed.  It sure was a fun while it lasted.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian


December 17, 2017

The District 54 School was [built sometime between 1870 and 1872] and located in Schaumburg Center on the north side of Schaumburg Road just west of Roselle Road.  [The address was 8 W. Schaumburg Road.]  Today a small shopping center named Schoolhouse Square is located on the original site.  The school was build on land that had belonged to Ernest Schween.

[Over the years, the school was called Sarah’s Grove School, Schween’s Grove School and, lastly, Schaumburg Center School.]

For the reason that many of the teachers in the one-room schools were young women with little experience, the challenges of teaching farm boys in the upper grades was daunting.  If parents deemed the learning environment in a township school was not in the best interest of their child or children, they could appeal to the Schaumburg Township Board.  The board had the authority to allow the children to attend a different township school.  If the board did not approve the transfer, the parents were responsible for tuition to a school outside of Schaumburg Township.


…Miss Anne Fox was a long time teacher at the District 54 School.  In 1953 she was teaching the primary grades at the school while Robert Flum was teaching the intermediate students at the District 51 School on Higgins Road.  Miss Fox continued to teach in Community Consolidated 54 Schools for many years.  In recognition of her dedication to District 54, a school in Hanover Park was named Anne Fox School.

[The school stayed in operation–probably because of its centralized location–for many years.]  After the township consolidated the public schools in 1954, the school building was used by private businesses for several years.  The interior of the building was remodeled and adapted for use as a retail store.   Five of the businesses that used the building were the R.I.C. Delicatessen (until 1971), a wrought iron store (1971-73,) Kole Real Estate, followed by FBK Realty that was owned by Jack Keller and, lastly, Koenig and Strey who were the final owners before the building was moved in 1979.]


[This is the school’s temporary location on the Town Square property across Schaumburg Road.  It can be seen in the middle foreground of this 1970 photo above.] It was later moved in September 1981 and restored at its current site on the St. Peter Lutheran Church property on East Schaumburg Road.  [The rededication ceremony was held as part of the Memorial Day service in 1985.]


Although the school was painted red for a few years, in 2010 it was restored to the original color of white.  In 2013 the school building is owned by the Village of Schaumburg, but is is leased to the Schaumburg Township Historical Society.

The text for most of 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


December 10, 2017

We are all familiar with long running, local commercials that have been on Chicagoland television stations for years.  Victory Auto Wreckers. Empire Carpet.  Long Chevrolet.  Eddie Z’s Blinds & Drapery.  Century Tile. Bob Rohrrrrrman dealerships.  Howard Pontiac on Graaaand Avenue.  Peter Francis Geraci, Attorney.  Moo & Oink.  Eagle (Man) Insurance.  United Auto Insurance. Celozzi-Ettleson Chevrolet. Harry Schmerler, Your Singing Ford Dealer.  (I’m sure you have more but these are just a few we came up with.)

Let’s get even more local and take a look at these Woodfield and Schaumburg commercials on Fuzzy Memories TV.  They’re brought to you by The Museum of Classic Chicago Television.  If you go to the website and put “Woodfield” in the Keyword Search box at the top of the page, you’ll find commercials for Woodfield Mall itself, the Pepsi challenge at Woodfield Mall, Hollands Jewelers, and Pet World.  And don’t miss the Homemakers commercial done by actress Shelley Long before her Cheers career began!

If you change your search to “Schaumburg” you can see some of the same spots mentioned, but there’s also an ad for La Margarita that was on Algonquin Road and Schaumburg Datsun that was, of course, on Golf Road.  Other commercials for companies like Sportmart and Steven’s Bedding are unique to their brand but mention their locations in Schaumburg at the end.

It’s a pretty neat walk back in time to the 1970s.  Does anyone know or remember the people on the Pepsi Challenge?

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library