WHAT WAS SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP LIKE IN 1952?

May 17, 2015

In 1952, the Cook County Highway Department issued a book of maps of the various townships.   Schaumburg Township was included.  This was a few years before our township’s suburban development began and that’s reflective in the maps below.  The first map is the left side of the township and the second map is the right side.  Fairly evident are the main roads that were in place at that time:

  • Roselle
  • Schaumburg
  • Higgins
  • Old Higgins
  • Evanston-Elgin (Golf)
  • Bode
  • Jones
  • Springinsguth
  • Wise
  • Chicago Elgin (Irving Park)
  • Barrington
  •  Nerge
  • Meacham
  • Plum Grove
  • Algonquin
  • Rohlwing

Also evident are the many branches of Poplar Creek, Salt Creek and the DuPage River.  In addition, you can see the small subdivision layout at the very southern part of the township that is today at Pratt and Roselle Roads.  It straddles both maps and, according to local realtor, Larry Rowan, it is officially called the N.O. Shively and Company subdivision.  Let’s take a closer look at the left half of the township…

Schaumburg Township map 1

 

Starting at the northern, upper part of the map, we can see that Old Higgins Road was in use.  This is where the Steinmeyer farm and the Bierman welding and implement dealership were.  This area was stilled called Buttermilk Corners at the time.  In the middle of the map is Sunderlage School which was also called Meyer School and was officially the District 51 school.  It was a one-room schoolhouse and closed in 1954 when the five township school districts were consolidated and students began attending the new four-room Schaumburg School on Schaumburg Road.

Further south you’ll notice that, even in 1952, Bode Road had its funny little jogs.  Taking Springinsguth down and then making a left on Wise Road, you’ll run into Hartman School.  This was the District 55 School and was also referred to as the Straub School.  According to LaVonne Presley’s Schaumburg Of My Ancestors, this school “closed its doors in the late 1930s or early 1940s.  It fell into disrepair with vandalism and an unkempt school yard”–which would have been very evident in 1952.

Directly down Rodenburg Road is the St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church, school and cemetery.  At this time all of their buildings were on the east side of Rodenburg.  Today they are all on the west side.  It is also possible to see Long Avenue and Fenz Road which are still there, although unattached today.  Then, at the very southern edge of the township ran the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad which is now the Milwaukee Road West line of the Metra system.

Schaumburg Township map 2

 

Moving to the right side of the township and starting at the northern part, we first run into Maple Hill School or District 52 School.  This school also had an alternative name–the Kublank School–so given because it sat close to the Kublank property.  Of the five one-room public schoolhouses in Schaumburg Township, this one closed first, around the mid-1930s.  It also “deteriorated from lack of maintence” and eventually burned down in 1962.  (LaVonne Presly, Schaumburg Of My Ancestors)

We next run into the Roselle Golf Club which opened in 1927 and managed to stay in business through the Depression.  Across Roselle Road is the beginnings of the layout for Pleasant Acres, a subdivision designed by Robert Bartlett.  Because this was before the library was built, Library Lane was then called Walnut Avenue.  Lincoln Street never came to fruition but persistently stayed on future maps for years to come.

The one-room Schaumburg Centre School is nestled in on the NW corner of Schaumburg and Roselle.  This was the District 54 school or Schween’s School.  Fortunately, this school still exists and has been moved to the grounds at St. Peter Lutheran Church and Schools.  Their church, school and cemetery are also noted on the map, as is the Christian Day school on the far eastern side of the map.  This school was St. Peter’s East District School which opened in 1886 and closed in 1949.  You’ll also notice the Evangelical Church to the south, just north of Nerge Road.  This church was erected in 1906/1907 as the congregation’s second Zion Evangelical Church.  It was later moved to Itasca in 1924 but managed to stay on this map until 1952!

Just south of the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads are Quindel Avenue, Nerge Street and Illinois Avenue.  A number of the houses on these streets are, today, significant parts of the Olde Schaumburg Centre District.  Moving a bit east you can also see how Plum Grove Road was broken up and took a slight jog at Schaumburg Road.  The same thing is evident a bit north at the intersection of Plum Grove and Higgins.  It would be interesting to know why Plum Grove wasn’t laid out in a straight line to begin with.  Maybe it was because of the farms that lay in its path?

The development of Hoffman Estates began in 1954, two years after this map was produced.  The farms, small one-room schools and gently flowing streams were about to give way to massive changes that continue to this day.  Maybe you were here early enough to recall this bucolic township before the development began?

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

My thanks go out to Linn Beyer, who graciously contributed the atlas that holds this map.  It is the Township Maps of Cook County and City of Chicago that was published by the Cook County Highway Department.  My thanks also to the Cook County Highway Department for allowing use of the maps on this blog.   

 

 

SCHAUMBURG CENTER SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE

May 10, 2015

The Schaumburg Township Historical Society will sponsor its annual open house of the Schaumburg Center School after the Memorial Day celebration at St. Peter Lutheran Church on Monday, May 25, 2015.  The open house will be held from 12:00 to 3 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.

SPRING HAS SPRUNG ON PLEASANT DRIVE

May 3, 2015

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From the library it is hard not to notice this beautiful tunnel of blooming Bradford pear trees that stretches down Pleasant Drive in Schaumburg.  The shot above is looking south from Thacker Street towards Schaumburg Road.  Below, it is the opposite view looking north.  What a gorgeous sight.

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This beautiful street is the heart of the Pleasant Acres subdivision.  Many think that Parcel A in Hoffman Estates or Weathersfield in Schaumburg were the first subdivisions in Schaumburg Township.  In fact, the Pleasant Acres subdivision was begun around 1952.  The developer was realtor Robert Bartlett, who interestingly, was also involved in developing Parcel A, B and C with Dorothy Dalton Hammerstein and Werner and Irene Kastning–the owners of the farmland that became Hoffman Estates.

In a May 7, 1953 article from the Daily Herald, there is a mention in the Schaumburg News section that states, “Three new homes are under construction in the new development located near the center of town.  The new location is called Pleasant Acres.  Many other homes will be begun before summer.”  The first homeowners were Mr. and Mrs. Amos Crooks, according to a March 29, 1956 mention in the Daily Herald.

This Cook County Highway map from 1952 shows the original layout of Pleasant Acres.  Note that Lincoln Street parallels Pleasant.  Apparently this street continued to exist on maps for years to come but it was never developed.  Notice, too, that Walnut Avenue bisects the two streets.  Walnut was later renamed Library Lane when the new home of the Schaumburg Township Public Library was built there in 1965.  When the library moved to its present location in Town Square, and Bethel Baptist Church purchased the building, the street name was changed once again.  It is now known as Bethel Lane.

Pleasant Lane map

By 1956 however, Pleasant Acres was so established that they had their own Neighborhood column in the Daily Herald.  They also had their own Pleasant Acres Community Committee that held their meetings in the one-room schoolhouse that bordered their development on Schaumburg Road.  One of these same columns also stated:  “For the benefit of the subdivision, Romanno’s have eggs to sell occasionally.”  (Who knows what Romanno’s was and where it was?)

According to the Village of Schaumburg’s 1998 Community Profile, Pleasant Acres gained final plat approval in 1985.  It continues to reinvent itself, though, with Friendship Village having absorbed several properties on the west side of Pleasant and M/I Homes currently redeveloping the east side of the street as Pleasant Square, a mixed community of homes.  Additional building is happening on Thacker Street at the north end of Pleasant Acres.  For many years there were only two houses on the south side of Thacker between Pleasant and Roselle Roads.  Recently, those two ranches were torn down and that block is now being redeveloped into seven new homes that will be named Shannon Estates.

Change is inevitable but, for now, we sure hope that tunnel of trees is here to stay for a while.  They’re a wonderful sight to see after a long winter!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

Permission to use the 1952 Cook County Highway map was graciously granted by the Cook County Highway Department.   

 

 

THE DEVELOPER OF WOODFIELD MALL

April 26, 2015

Of all the postings on this local history blog, it is Woodfield Mall that has generated the most comments.  It is a shopping center that was ahead of its time and, certainly, of its place.  And it is obviously much loved by those who grew up or lived in Schaumburg Township.  Woodfield

It is sad to report, therefore, that Alfred Taubman, president of the Taubman Company that drove the actual development of the building, died on Friday, April 17, 2015 at his home in Bloomfield Hills, MI.

From all accounts, Mr. Taubman was very engaged in the development of his company’s malls.  After serving in World War II, he returned to his home state and the University of Michigan to study architecture, and later transferred to Lawrence Institute of Technology.  Leaving that institution, he went to work as a draftsman for noted Detroit architect, Charles N. Agree.  In 1950 he started a real estate development firm that began specializing in the building of strip malls and, later, enclosed malls.  [“A. Alfred Taubman’s Life Through The Years.” Detroit Free PressApril 18, 2015.]

It was his architecture background that influenced the malls he built.  According to an article from the April 18, 2015 edition of Women’s Wear Daily, he “pioneered regional, upscale centers with skylights, terrazzo floors, brass railings, landscaping and split-level parking as well as food courts and movie theaters.”  Sound familiar?

The article also says, “He could be daring.  In 1971, Taubman, anticipating the great growth that would come to the northwest suburbs of Chicago, opened the mega two-million-square-foot Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Ill., which at the time had a population of only 18,000.” He was clearly progressive and bold, seeing that people were ready for one-stop shopping.  It was also apparent to him that shoppers were eager to make purchases in their own backyard instead of making a trip to a downtown location that required planning and much walking outside.

Woodfield Mall began its own journey in the early 1960s as Schaumburg Mayor Robert Atcher, the Village Board and Zoning Board began designating the area near the Northwest Tollway and Route 53 as a locale for commercial development.  The Homart Division of Sears Roebuck gradually became interested in the property and the village encouraged that interest by annexing the land in 1964.  Taubman Company became part of the mix when they entered a joint venture in 1967 with Sears’ Homart, calling themselves Woodfield Associates.  Construction began in 1969 and on September 9, 1971, the multi-level, largest-of-its-kind mall opened.  It continued to hold that distinction of biggest mall in America for a number of years to come.

Mr. Taubman, himself, was engaged in many ventures and was quite a diverse investor.  He was the lead owner of the former USFL Michigan Panthers football team.  He also bought the Woodward & Lathrop and Wanamaker’s Department Stores.  In 1982 he bought the A&W Restaurants chain and, a year later, Sotheby’s auction house.  His philanthropic generosity was sizable and included, but is not limited to:  Brown University, Harvard University and the schools he attended–Lawrence Institute and the University of Michigan where he still holds the distinction of being their largest donor in history.

We are fortunate that Mr. Taubman was part of the vision that is Woodfield Mall today.  In September 2015 it will be 44 years since the debut of a shopping center that was, at the time, largely surrounded by farm land and a few connecting roads.  Today it is a hub in the northwest suburbs, if not all of Chicagoland.  It is quite a long-standing testament to such a unique individual.  Thank you Mr. Taubman.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

An undated article entitled “1971:  Dream, Plan Take Shape in Concrete”  by Drew Davis from the Schaumburg Voice assisted me in the writing of the paragraph on the history of Woodfield Mall.

 

TAKE A TOUR OF GREVE CEMETERY

April 19, 2015

On Sunday, April 26, 2015 the Hoffman Estates Historical Sites Commission will conduct small group-guided tours of the Greve Cemetery on Abbey Wood Drive.

Groups will be shown the  the interrelated Greve, Meyer, Ottman and Sunderlage pioneer families buried at the cemetery which is also known as Wildcat Grove Cemetery or Evangelical and Reformed Cemetery.

The event is free.  Tours will start at 1:00, weather permitting.  Call 847-781-2600  for reservations after April 20.

A CONCERT AT JANE ADDAMS JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL

April 12, 2015

As so often happens in the writing of this blog, one thing leads to another.  In the past week a commenter very graciously added another band to the list of famous individuals or groups who have appeared at Woodfield.  He commented on an earlier posting that was titled Appearing Then at Woodfield Mall.  After a bit of research I discovered the band dropped in at the House of Lewis clothing store.  It wasn’t too surprising.  They were, after all, a Chicago area band who had produced a couple of albums in the early 1970s and were clearly searching for venues to promote their music. What was surprising was when I discovered that they played a concert at Jane Addams Junior High School on August 1, 1973.  The name of the band?  Styx.

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The five-member band had begun playing together in 1970 and officially became Styx when they signed with Wooden Nickel Records in 1972.  Their album, Styx I, came out the same year and Styx II was released the following year in July 1973.  This album launched “Lady,” one of their biggest hits.  Less than a month later, the Schaumburg Park District had hired Styx and Leviathan, another local band, to perform at a 3-hour concert beginning at 7:30 p.m.  It was time for Styx to highlight the new songs from the new album.Styx

Leviathan was scheduled to begin at 7:45 and play until 8:45.  After a short intermission, Styx would take over and play until 10:30.  All participants were encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets for seating.  Some bleachers were available but, for the most part, it was more of a fireworks setting.  Best part of it all?  It was free!

Jane Addams opened in 1969 and was the sight of a number of events early in the growth of Schaumburg.  The Park District held their annual Christmas Show, the Hoffman Hallmark Chorus performed concerts, free films were shown and a host of other activities.  Maybe you remember some of them or maybe you were there for the Styx/Leviathan concert?  If so, I encourage you to add a comment.  You never know where those comments might go…

Details on the concert were obtained from an article in the August 1, 1973 issue of The Herald.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

 

NIGHTCLUBS OF SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP

April 5, 2015

Just as the band Cheap Trick was getting its start in nearby Rockford in 1973, the B. Ginnings nightclub of Schaumburg came along to give them a stage.  Opening in 1974, B. Ginnings was begun by Danny Seraphine, the drummer for the band Chicago.  This wonderful photo, passed on to me by blog reader, Larry Rowan, shows the sign for Woodfield Commons.  If you’re wondering where the nightclub was, just put yourself in the Secretary of State’s Drivers License facility on Golf Road.  You’d be standing in the middle of it.B ginnings

Other nightclubs have also had their heyday in Schaumburg Township.  Some had dancing, some had live music and some were just a great place to spend a weekend night to see and be seen. Confetti could be found at 1850 E. Golf Road, adjacent to the Hyatt Hotel.They offered a complimentary dinner buffet, Ladies Night, had a dress code and stipulated that you had to be 21 with proper ID.

There was Studebaker’s which could also be found in Woodfield Commons.   It had a good-sized dance floor with music that leaned towards classic rock and roll.  It was opened by Walter Payton and a group of investors who followed on the heals of that success with another venture–Thirty Fours.  This bar opened in 1988 and closed in 1995 at the same location as Confetti.  It was very popular and had a great dance floor too.  After the closure in 1995 it reopened as Phroggs and had the same amenities as Confetti except that it was necessary to be 23 to enter.  A later incarnation was called the Living Room.  Hot location, wouldn’t you say?

Of course, there was also the Snuggery on Algonquin Road which was a huge hit during the 1980s and into the 1990s.  Further east on Algonquin, near Rte. 53 was La Margarita.  They were known for their Mexican food but became a nightclub in the evening and were open until 4 a.m.   There was also the Bamboo Room on Golf Road between Roselle and Plum Grove.  It closed in 2007 and became Heat.

Maybe you can remember others that were your hot spots?  Or that came earlier in the 1970s?  Please share any I’ve missed.  And, if you’re interested in a nice history of B. Ginnings, check it out here.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

 

A QUICK QUESTION ABOUT WOODFIELD MALL

March 29, 2015

Woodfield

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the renovation of Woodfield Mall starting soon, an interesting thought occurred to some of us.

To all of the readers of this blog and/or former shoppers and employees of Woodfield, my question is:  Outside of the three anchors of J C Penney, Sears and Marshall Fields/Macy, what is the oldest store/restaurant/business in Woodfield Mall today?

I have some guesses about these long-lived establishments but it would be nice to see what you think.  And know.  Maybe you worked as a teenager in a business that’s still going strong?  Or have been eating there for a long time?  Or stop in every time you go to Woodfield?

Leave a comment and let’s see if we can come to a consensus…

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

WHO LOVES YA SCHAUMBURG? A BOWLING ALLEY COMES TO TOWN…

March 22, 2015

It was a big day in Schaumburg on Sunday, September 7, 1975 when Telly Savalas came to town for the grand opening of Schaumburg Lanes, the first bowling alley built in Schaumburg.  He arrived at the invitation of Tony Ceresa, the owner and operator of Frontier Lanes, Inc. of Elgin.  The 40-lane building at 117 N. Roselle Road was Mr. Ceresa’s second project and was just south of–what was then–the Golden Acres Country Club.  It was also state of the art with its Brunswick Astroline gear of automatic pinspotters and “revolutionary two lane Automatic Scorer–the first in the midwest and only the second in the country.”  [Daily Herald; 9/3/1975]

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The photos above are of the site before construction began.  It is obvious that St. Peter Lutheran Church is in the background as well as the low tan brick building that is their elementary school.  Also evident to the right is the Sloan/Kotel house that is now called the Blue House and is on Schaumburg Road.  The groundbreaking for the new bowling alley on the 3.16 acre site was held October 18, 1974 with Mr. Ceresa in attendance as well as Russ Larson, president of the Schaumburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bob Baldwin, president of the Elgin Bowling Association which was a governing body of men’s bowling in the northwest suburbs and Ray LeBeau, a village of Schaumburg trustee.  The building took nearly a year to complete and outfit but when it finally opened, not only was Telly Savalas in attendance but a whole other host of luminaries were there as well.

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The list included bowling champions Dave Soutar and his wife, Judy, Fred “Skee” Foremsky and Vesma Grinfelds who all participated in demonstration bowling for the audience of potential local customers.  These bowling pros were joined by Chicago Bulls’ basketball star Bob Love and a host of Playboy Bunnies who helped introduce the new bowling equipment.  [The photos above show both the building almost fully constructed with its distinctive, arched roof and also, shortly before the grand opening.]

Schaumburg Lanes was on Roselle Road for 20 years and was a popular spot with local bowling leagues.  They offered a snack shop and a nursery for parents who enjoyed a night out. Different events were sponsored including a New Year’s Eve Candlelite Bowling Party in 1979 that offered food, prizes, favors, bowling, open bar and hats.  The cost was $35 a couple and ran from 10:00 until the partying stopped.  [Daily Herald; 12/12/1979]  They also expanded their activities to include junior league bowling teams for children.  In an April 26, 1992 article from the Chicago Tribune, it mentions that Schaumburg Lanes manager, “Rich Klasa has seen an influx of bowling teams made up of kids and their parents in the last few years.”  All in all, it was a busy site, considering their neighbor, the Schaumburg Transportation Company, generously offering their parking lot as a space for the Schaumburg Farmers’ Market for a period of time.Schaumburg Lanes 1

Schaumburg Lanes 2By 1995 though, the developers were knocking and business had tailed off so the bowling alley closed.  “The lanes [were] sold from the bowling alley and [went] to California and North Carolina… [with] the machinery [heading] to Japan.  [Daily Herald; 3/29/1995]   The site, along with Schaumburg Transportation Company’s 15-acres, was purchased and eventually, in 1997, the Olde Schaumburg townhome community was begun by Hoffman Homes.  It’s hard to believe the townhomes have been there now almost as long as the bowling alley was.

Bowling  is a sport almost anyone can do and, in 1975, it had to have been a nice addition to the area.   If you were a regular or played your first game there, please share your memories.  From the interior, to the Automatic Scorers or to the good times you had, it’s always nice to discuss what you remember.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

The photos above were graciously donated to the library by Jay Campbell who had the foresight 40 years ago to take the pictures and preserve them so that we could all share in the memories.  Thank you Jay.

The black matchbook cover, with its ads for both Schaumburg Lanes and Frontier Lanes, was passed on by Johnny Kunzer, an interested reader of the blog.  It’s always nice when one of the blog postings strikes a chord.  Thank you Johnny.

 

 

A PLANE CRASH IN HOFFMAN ESTATES

March 15, 2015

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the January 2015 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

plane crash

It’s been more than 50 years since that terrible plane crash occurred on March 8, 1964.  The plane crashed into the Golubski home, 112 Arlington St., just before midnight.  The chartered DC-3 two engine plane was returning from a skiing trip to the Boyne mountain area, Pellston, Michigan when the plane came down in the residential area of Hoffman Estates.  It was trying to land at O’Hare airport.

There were 28 skiers, members of the Snow Drifters Club of Aurora, and a crew of two on the plane when it crashed into the Golubski house.  It took two hours before the fire department could reach the pilot and co-pilot and free them from the cockpit that was buried in the garage of the home. Unfortunately, the co-pilot died in the crash.   The passengers were able to quickly leave the plane with just cuts and bruises. Ambulances were sent from Chicago to help take the injured passengers to Northwest Community Hospital for treatment.

Fire Chief Carl Selke said that pilot, Virgil Provonost, told him during the rescue that they “hit some turbulence and we were unable to lift up.  We were able to turn off the engines before hitting.” As the plane came down, it clipped a pole bringing down the wires and setting off the fire alarm at the nearby school.  Fire trucks arrived quickly.  They were concerned that the fuel in the plane would be ignited.  Several of the men disconnected the wiring to the batteries to prevent a spark that could set everything ablaze.  Firemen from Elk Grove, Bloomingdale and Hoffman Estates took part in the rescue.   (The photo below is Parcel A in mid-construction.  Arlington Street is in Parcel B.) 1871

There have been many stories about how the plane crashed.  One story tells of how the pilot mistook the lights on the street as the O’Hara runway.  I’ve heard this story many times.  But the pilot is never quoted as saying this.  Since there were no lights along the highways or on the streets of Hoffman Estates at that time, I never understood how street lights could confuse the pilot.

Ken Rogner, who had the Shell gas station on the corner of Roselle and Higgins told me he was one of the first to arrive at the crash scene.  Because he had a thin build, he was asked to try and work his way into the cockpit to rescue the crew.  Many of the neighbors also came to offer help but where warned to stay back because of the threat of fire.

Miraculously the five members of the Golubski family were unharmed but in shock at how close they came to serious injury or even death due to the plane crash that seriously damaged their home.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian
Eagle2064@comcast.net

Airplane photo compliments of the Village of Hoffman Estates’ website.


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