September 25, 2016

While in Minneapolis recently, we turned the corner and this building sprang into view–and it really looked familiar.


In doing a bit of research, I discovered that it was designed by Minoru Yamasaki for Northwestern National Life.  It opened in 1965 and was later known as the ReliaStar Building, followed by the ING 20 Washington and is now the Voya Financial 20 Washington building.  Mr. Yamasaki is well known for designing the World Trade Center.

But, what struck me most is that it immediately reminded me of this building with its tall white arching colonnades on each side…


This building is at 1400 N. Gannon Drive in Hoffman Estates and is across from Hoffman Estates High School along Higgins Road.  It was originally built for Lincoln Federal Savings & Loan and designed by Godfrey L. Duke, a Wheeling architect.

Lincoln Federal was based in Berwyn in 1973 when they announced that they would be building a new branch on five acres of land, just north of the Hoffman Estates Village Hall.  It was originally a two building design, with the bank connecting to a six story commercial building via a one-story cultural mall.  Because the area was not zoned for such high buildings, it was necessary to pursue a variance.  However, for whatever reason, the six story structure nor the cultural mall was ever completed.



The bank, though, opened in June 1975 and is postmodern in style like the Northwestern National Life building.   It came complete with “a pre-cast concrete colonnade of white quartz aggregate supporting a wide roof overhang.”  [The Herald, May 23, 1974, Section 3]  There were also eight drive in lanes covered by illuminated glass dome canopies, community meeting rooms and beautiful round fountains gracing the exterior at the Higgins/Gannon corner of the building.  A berm was also created on the west side of the property to provide some separation with the adjacent housing.

In a nod to the ongoing struggle by Hoffman Estates officials to convince the U.S. Postal Service of the need for a post office, an automated, 24-hour self-service postal facility was opened in the building.  Vending machines for stamps, post cards, stamped envelopes, etc. were available as well as a coin change machine and scales for weighing packages.  (The village had another facility of this sort at 1001 N. Roselle Road in Hoffman Plaza.)  [The Herald, June 27, 1975, Section 1]

A few years later in 1980, Lincoln Federal changed from a federally chartered bank to a state chartered bank and took on the name of Land of Lincoln Savings and Loan Association.  They subsequently merged with Household Bank in 1989.  Household then merged with Harris Bank in the late 1990s.  The bank is currently part of the BMO Harris Bank operation.

The neat thing is that when District 211 redesigned the facades of their high schools a few years back, they took their cue for Hoffman Estates High School from the iconic structure across the street and created this:



Take a drive down Higgins and recognize the similarities.  It’s nice to honor the architects who designed these spaces–whether they’re in Minneapolis or Hoffman Estates!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

Thank you to Ginny Roncoli, Branch Manager of BMO Harris Bank, for assisting me in some of the details for this blog posting.  It is much appreciated.



September 18, 2016

During Schaumburg’s 60th anniversary year of 2016, we will take a look back at the Schaumburg  you’ve known for the last six decades.  Every month there will be a posting on 3 village happenings for each decade the village has been in existence.  Maybe you remember some of the events and have something more to add to a few of the items?  Send in your comments!

60 Years Ago in 1956

  • In its first year, the village operated for a time without any type of tax revenue.  They depended on tavern licenses and building permits to fill their coffers.
  • Four families held a large white elephant sale at the home of one of the families–the Breyers.  Their farm was on the south side of the road, 1 1/2 miles west of Roselle Road, across from today’s Schaumburg High School.  Other families involved were the Meginnises, the Schuberts and the Mathews.  Items for sale were:  horse sleigh, feather comforters, cedar fence post, size 42 short tuxedo, and an apartment size electric washer to name a few.
  • Pure Oil secured options on property in Schaumburg Township, south of the proposed North Illinois toll road as a future office site.  The building was expected to be completed in 1959 and would have air conditioning, a modern lounge and cafeteria area, as well as plentiful parking.  (A photo of Pure Oil is shown below.)Pure Oil 1

50 Years Ago in 1966

  • According to Bell Savings and Loan Association who tracked building permits, Schaumburg led all northwest suburbs in home building in August with a total of 87 permits being issued.  The dollar value of those permits was $1,795,816.
  • At a recent Schaumburg Village Board meeting, recognition was given to Richard Napier who raised and lowered the American flag each day at the corner of Schaumburg and Roselle Road.  Someone was also being sought to repaint the 50-foot flag pole.  The pole was on the northwest corner of the intersection, near the Marathon Station and is the large pole in the picture down below.  (This photo was donated by Richard Napier and he pointed out the flagpole at that time.)Library
  • Trustees approved a tree-replacement program at a cost of $1850.  After losing many Dutch elm trees due to the fungus that attacked the trees nationwide, it was decided to contract with Klehm Nurseries to supply up to 74 new hardwood trees.

40 Years Ago in 1976

  • It was announced on the last day of the month that the starting time for the Secretary of State driver testing station was being postponed due to a delay in the furniture.  This long-awaited facility was scheduled to open in the Woodfield Commons Shopping Center–where it still is today.  It was chosen for its central location and its proximity to various roadways.
  • After multiple accidents at Springinsguth Road and Weathersfield Way, the Cook County Highway Department reversed its decision and agreed to install stop signs at the busy intersection.
  • With the gubernatorial election approaching, both candidates took part in Septemberfest festivities.  Governor Dan Walker walked with Village President Ray Kessell at the front of the parade while Republican candidate, James R. Thompson, rode with Kessell to Robert O. Atcher Park where the festival took place.

30 Years Ago in 1986

  • It was announced that Minneapolis-based chain restaurant Leann Chin’s would be opening a venue in Woodfield Mall in the upcoming months.  Carryout operations only were scheduled to open in Chicago and Oak Brook but Woodfield would have the first sit-down restaurant.Zurich Towers
  • The twin Plaza Towers were scheduled to open in October.  The buildings are 20 stories and were designed by Otis Development.  W.E. O’Neil was the general construction contractor.  (The complex currently serves as the headquarters of insurance company Zurich North America, and is known as Zurich Towers–until their move to their new headquarters at Meacham and Algonquin Road in September 2016.)
  • Dr. Paul Meginnis, a veterinarian at Arlington Racetrack and 32-year Schaumburg resident died on September 7, 1986.  His family purchased the farm at the jog in the road at Plum Grove and Schaumburg Road in 1954 and lived there until 1979.  He served on the village’s first Planning Commission and on the board of District 54.  His wife, Sara, was elected as the first Village Clerk.  (Read more about them and their farm here.  The photo below shows their barn and the jog in the road.)2863

20 Years Ago in 1996

  • PACE’s Northwest Transportation Center near One Schaumburg Place found its parking lot filled to overflowing for the first time on Sunday, September 15.  The Super Bear Shuttle had proved to be a convenient way for fans to get to Soldier Field without the hassle of driving and parking near the stadium.
  • The Public Safety Committee made the recommendation that the village’s police headquarters on Schaumburg Road be renamed the Martin J. Conroy Center in honor of Schaumburg’s first police chief who died earlier in the summer.
  • The Woodfield Athletic Club at 1416 N. Payne Road was home to one of the area’s longest-running Mixed Doubles Tennis Leagues.  In September 2016 this facility is Schaumburg Tennis Plus, owned by the Schaumburg Park District.

10 Years Ago in 2006

  • Services were held for Elmer Rohlwing, grandson of John Rohlwing, who Rohlwing Road is named for.  Elmer was born on the Rohlwing farm that was on the east side of Route 53, across from Woodfield Mall.  Their family’s large, white barn (shown to the right) remained on the property for many years and served as a maintenance location for the Cook County Forest Preserve District.Rohlwing barn
  • Macy’s opened their store at Woodfield on Saturday, September 6, after their parent, Federated Department Stores, chose to abandon the Marshall Field name in order to create a coast-to-coast name for the stores.
  • Ted’s Montana Grill opened at 930 Meacham Road.  It was their second restaurant in the area and is where White Chocolate is today.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

The factual items for this blog posting were taken from stories that appeared in the Daily Herald and the Chicago Tribune.


September 11, 2016

lenglsFor years Frank Lengl owned and operated Lengl’s Schaumburg Inn on Roselle Road.  This is the building that is now known as the Easy Street Pub.  Lengl purchased the business and surrounding property in the late 1910’s and owned it until his death in 1965.

Born in Germany, Mr. Lengl immigrated to the United States in 1914 according to the 1930 census.  He never forgot his homeland and it was evident in the menu and the atmosphere of Lengl’s Schaumburg Inn.

In a 1959 issue of the now defunct, The Higgins Herald, an article was written about a trip Mr. Lengl, who was in his 70’s at the time, took to Germany to visit his birthplace and his relatives.  It is reprinted here in its entirety as it was written and is an interesting perspective of post World War II Germany and Europe.  For instance, rather than renting a vehicle while he was there, he bought one instead and resold it when he left!  Enjoy his take on the parts of Europe he visited.


Frank Lengl of Quindell rd. in Schaumburg Center recently returned from a trip with his niece, Hanna Heinle, to Europe.

They left Schaumburg March 12 for New York where they sailed on the S.S. America for Bremerhaven, Germany.  In route they stopped ove[r] in Ireland, Le Havre, South Hampton, and finally in Bremerhaven.

The two took a train to Augsburg where Mr. Lengl bought an Opel automobile.  This transaction took one day.  They arrived in Augsburg on Monday and owned an Opel on Tuesday, with license plates and full insurance.Opel

Mr. Lengl was born near this Bavarian city 73 years ago.  He lived and grew up there to become a butcher.  He continued this trade as a sausage maker when he came to America in 1912.  In 1922 he move to Schaumburg Center and has lived in his large brick house on Quindell rd. since then.

Lots has happened to his home town since he left it many years ago, Mr. Lengl said.  “It looks just like it does around here,” he said.  “There is a lot of new industry, a new depot, a new subdivision like Hoffman Estates, and even a 30-story building.”

He calls the change the “difference between night and day.”  The big industry going on is the textile industry.  Other industry in the city that is new since he left is a Messerchmidt airplane factory and the Maschineenfabrik Augsburg-Nurnberg factory which built the engine that powers the Hanseatic, the ship which brought them home again.  This factory makes the Deisel engines, and was started by the man who invented the Deisel engine that bears his name.

Mr. Lengl was especially pleased with the new highways.  He said that he considered the Autobahn as fine as our turnpikes.  As he drove all over Europe he was glad to have such fine roads.

They also travelled in Austria, Switzerland, and France in their car.

He said that there were many soldiers stationed in Augsburg but that they were nice to the people and brought in a lot of money with them, so were well accepted.  Apparently, he said, the military police are quite strict.

The Lengl home is still standing but quite different from the building that Mr. Lengl knew as a young man.

The war hit all of the neighborhood but it is still built up again now and town is in fine shape.  He said that many of the people were prosperous and unemployment is nil.  Property is very expensive for this reason.  Everyone has money and some hold land as well.  The land is valuable with the post-war growth and the land owners can ask a very high price.

Mr. Lengl commented on the large number of displaced persons in Germany.  He said the persons from Checoslovakia [sic] who owned a business in their home land valued at 200,000 marks would be set up in business by the German government at the same cost.

Both Mr. Lengl and his niece were amazed to see snow on the ground in the Bavarian mountains on May 1.  The valley was all green and warm and the mountains [sic] top were white with snow above 1200 meters.

Prices compared quite favorably with Americans [sic] prices.  A dinner, for example, that would cost $3.00 here would run $1.00 there.  A good men’s shirt there would be about $3.00, and a pair of Italian impored [sic] woman’s shoes was only $15.00.  His niece bought a Dendel for about $15 and a camera priced at $300 here for $150.

They visited with relatives on the trip who are still in Augsburg.

After completing their round trip tour of Europe they came back to Augsburg and resold the Opel.  Then they took a train to Hamburg and sailed for home on the “Hanseatic.”


Other articles on the Easy Street Pub may be found here and here.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

Gratefully reprinted from The Higgins Herald.  Higgins Publishing Corp., Hoffman Estates.  P.O. Box 295, Roselle, Illinois.  July 16, 1959.  Vol. 1, No. 24.

The Opel photo is gratefully used from Wikipedia’s page on the Opel Olympia Rekord P1.


September 4, 2016

When Poplar Creek’s sixth season opened in 1985, it was apparent right off the bat that the booking agents were going to move in some new directions.  Iron Maiden, a heavy metal band, was on the schedule in June and, conversely, Amy Grant, a Contemporary Christian artist, was scheduled for August.  Somewhere in the middle were other newcomers:  UB40, a reggae band; New Edition, a teenage soul group; Illinois boy, Dan Fogelberg; Canadian rocker, Bryan Adams and British pop band Style Council.Dan Fogelberg

Of course, there were big favorites scheduled like the Beach Boys, Barry Manilow, Phil Collins and Huey Lewis and the News–a band that set the attendance record the prior year.

Coming back to Poplar Creek after not touring for more than five years were Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Dire Straits.  This was also the first year for Phil Collins to break from Genesis and for Don Henley to break from the Eagles.  Alabama was also appearing on their own and not as the opening act for Mac Davis.

The list of bands who had performed at all six years of Poplar Creek’s existence was now down to two–Jimmy Buffett and Willie Nelson, performing machines!Willie Nelson

Tickets for most shows were $15 for pavilion seats and $10 for lawn seats with Barry Manilow, Liza Minnelli, Phil Collins and Alabama commanding slightly higher prices.  You have to give it to Barry, Liza and Phil though.  They were willing to book two shows and, obviously, brought in the crowds to justify the prices.Cheap-Trick-1

And, to top off the season, Cheap Trick gave a free concert on Friday, September 20, the final day of the season.  There were three ways to get tickets.  (1.) Go to any Just Pants store and buy a top, pair of pants or any Levis product and a ticket was yours.  (2.) Visit any of the locations announced on WLS-FM during a certain few days and obtain one of the 1200 tickets to be handed out.  (3.) Or, go to any of the following records stores and say, “WLS is my favorite radio station”:  Hegewisch Records, Rolling Stone Records, JR’s Music Shop, Flip Side and Orange Records and Tapes.  A limited number of tickets would be available.  How many local people do you suppose went to the Flip Side in Barrington Square and asked that question?

Enjoy the list!

May 31  Santana

June 13  Bryan Adams and Survivor

June 14  Dan Fogelberg

June 16  Iron Maiden

June 17 & 18  Phil Collins and his Hot Tub Club

June 19  Hank Williams Jr. with Lacy J. Dalton

June 20  Kenny Loggins

June 22  Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with “Til Tuesday

June 23  Jimmy Buffett

June 28 & 29   Barry Manilow

June 30  New Edition

July 3  Don Henley with Katrina and The Waves

July 4  Harper College Choirs and Elgin Symphony Orchestra

July 5  Eric Clapton with Graham Parker & the Shot

July 8  REO Speedwagon

July 11  Melissa Manchester

July 12 & 13  Liza Minelli

July 14  REO Speedwagon with Cheap Trick

July 17  Jeffrey Osborne

July 19  Pat Metheny Group

July 20  Alabama

July 21  Air Supply

July 25  Jeffrey Osborne

July 26  Style Council

July 27  Kool & the Gang

July 28  Manhattan Transfer

July 29  Rick Springfield

July 30  Crosby, Stills & Nash

July 31  UB40

August 1  Chaka Khan

August 2  Adam Ant

August 3  Dire Straits

August 4  Beach Boys

August 5  Huey Lewis & the News

August 6  John Waite

August 8   George Thorogood & the Destroyers, plus Johnny Winter

August 9  Amy Grant plus Russ Taff

August 10  Oak Ridge Boys plus Exile

August 11  Loverboy

August 12  Power Station

August 14  Temptations and the Four Tops

August 16  Lee Greenwood and Gary Morris

August 17  George Benson

August 23 & 25  Wham!

August 27  DIO

August 28  Paul Young

August 31  The Kinks

September 1  Commodores

September 2  Willie Nelson

September 6  Squeeze

September 7  Sting

September 14  Melissa Manchester

September 15  Heart

September 20  Cheap Trick  (free concert)




August 28, 2016

Last fall the Schaumburg Township Historical Society received a phone call from the Arnold family about a collection of photos they took in the early 1970s.  The pictures of early Schaumburg had sat in a drawer for the past forty years and they were hoping to pass them on to someone who might be interested.  The Historical Society gladly accepted the photos and then kindly donated them to the library to add to our Local History Collection.

The story of these photos begins in 1971 when the Arnold family moved to Schaumburg from southern California.  They were surprised at the amount of open space in Schaumburg Township still occupied by farm fields and undeveloped acreage.  Mrs. Arnold said, “We were amazed at all the open field but knew that wouldn’t last long.  I decided to take pictures of the ‘before’ of Schaumburg.”  She then began to drive the roads of Schaumburg, taking photos of various buildings and intersections.

One of the areas that Mrs. Arnold photographed was of Meacham, Golf and Higgins Road.  Below are a few of those photos.


Meacham Road between Golf and Higgins—looking east towards the Woodfield area.

The year is 1973.  Woodfield Mall, in the background, opened two years ago in 1971 along with the water tower that was necessary for the mall’s development.  The distinctive orange and yellow globe is sitting by itself with the skeleton of one of the first multi-story office buildings near it.  Two cranes loom over the structure and appear to dwarf the trees to their left.  Notice that the road is two lanes and has suffered through the winter.


Looking southwest on Meacham with the Bar Harbor Condominiums in the background.

The first condos of the area were begun in 1971 and were originally designed as four ten-story buildings, later scaled down to five seven and eight-story buildings and eventually opened in 1972 as two five-story buildings.  They were developed by Elmer Gleich.


Looking northeast at the corner of Meacham and Higgins.

The photographer is on Meacham Road, looking through the crossing at Higgins Road.  The intersection has clearly been widened in anticipation of both Woodfield Mall and the development that is to come.  There is traffic but it is certainly not overwhelming the intersection.  Also, note the overhead power lines that are no longer in existence.  Another skeletal office building is under development in the background and is the first of three office buildings that will be Woodfield Park Office Plaza.


Looking south at Meacham Road between Golf & Higgins Road.

This a rather bleak photo that exemplifies how much Schaumburg grew in the future.  The roads are empty and in need of repair.  Utility poles line the road.  A few trees dot the horizon and the area seems to already have been set aside for commercial and business development.


Meacham Road between Golf and Higgins Road.

Woodfield Mall can be seen in the distance–with nothing around it.  The brown brick of the J C Penney wing is to the left with the white brick of center court and the rest of the mall to the right.


Meacham Road looking north between Golf and Higgins.

The American Savings Association building shown above opened on September 29, 1972 on the west side of Meacham Road.  According to local architect Jeff Whyte, it is a nice example of the 1970s modernism style.   It remained American Savings until Weber Grill bought the property.  The building was demolished to make way for the restaurant that opened in 2005.   The tan buildings in the background are that of the Woodfield Commons shopping center.  Turn Style was one of their first anchors.


Meacham Road looking northeast between Golf and Higgins.

This is the first of the three Woodfield Park Office Plaza buildings.  The owner and developer of the 385,000 square-foot complex was J. Emil Anderson & Son, Inc. of Des Plaines, IL.  The three identical buildings that make up the plaza are “pre-cast concrete structures sheathed in dark reflective glass.”   [Commercial Renovation: How to Acquire, Renovate, and Remarket Existing Properties by Matthew Kiell and John Casazza]  The buildings were later renamed National Plaza at Woodfield.  Below is a later photo of one of the completed buildings.

Plaza Drive

Take a look at this photo from the collection of the University of Illinois at Chicago.  It is a view of the first Plaza/Zurich Tower going up in 1985.  You can see one of the completed Woodfield Park Office Plaza buildings as well as the American Savings Association edifice in the background.


Looking north on Meacham Road between Willow and Schaumburg Roads.

Again, the emptiness of the surroundings is very evident.  It certainly clarifies why the Arnolds were so intrigued with the huge swaths of vacant fields separating Woodfield Mall and the residential areas of Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg to the west.

We know what the “after” of the greater Woodfield area looks like but, thanks to the Arnolds, we now have a good idea of what the “before” looks like too!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District








August 21, 2016

During Schaumburg’s 60th anniversary year of 2016, we will take a look back at the Schaumburg  you’ve known for the last six decades.  Every month there will be a posting on 3 village happenings for each decade the village has been in existence.  Maybe you remember some of the events and have something more to add to a few of the items?  Send in your comments!

60 Years Ago In 1956

  • A notice in the Daily Herald announced that there would be a German service held at 9 a.m. and an English service at 10:15 a.m. at St. Peter Lutheran Church.  The English service could be heard on WRMN, Elgin and on The Lutheran Hour at 12:30 on WMAQ.
  • An article on Ellsworth Meineke detailed his love for bees and the honey they produce.  His shop and house had only been on Golf Road for a couple of years at this point, having moved from an earlier location on Higgins Road in the Busse Woods Forest Preserve in Elk Grove Village.  Mr. Meineke was known locally for his honey candy.Meineke Honey Farm
  • In the “Down On the Farm” column by Carl F. Mees in the Daily Herald, he mentions that he talked with a number of local farmers, including Emil Freise, Faustin Zeller, Wilmer Rohlwing, Emil Pfingsten and Xavier Schmid, who had all reported excellent wheat yields for the summer.  He had also talked to Herman Volkening who was experimenting with growing maize in addition to corn.  It was his second year and the yield was very high.

50 Years Ago in 1966

  • An article discussing The Barn property noted that court is held in the former hay loft, the police department is on the ground floor and other municipal offices are in various buildings on the former Jennings farm.  Mayor Atcher mentioned that he hoped to move village offices closer to Schaumburg and Roselle Roads in about three years.The Barn 3
  • Motorola Inc. launched its first phase of a new office, engineering and manufacturing plant.  The building on the 326 acre site was scheduled for occupancy in January 1967.
  • Permission was received from the Village Board for the Schaumburg Jaycees to begin painting house numbers on the curbs for each home in the village.  Work would be done on the weekends until the job was finished.

40 Years Ago in 1976

  • Eugene Matanky, a local developer, hoped to reach a compromise with the village on his proposal to develop the Sarah’s Grove property into 64 six-flat apartment buildings.  The property was on Schaumburg Road, approximately 1/4 west of Roselle Road.
  • A program on Citizens’ Band radio was being held at the Schaumburg Township District Library.
  • The 55-acre Paul Rosenwinkel farm on the northwest corner of Roselle Road and Weathersfield Way was sold to the First State Bank and Trust Company of Franklin Park  and developer R. L. Roth of Elmhurst.  Roth had obtained the appropriate zoning in 1975 for the future Farmgate subdivision, which would include townhouses, condominiums and a shopping center.  Dennis K. Connelly of Connelly and King Inc. of Schaumburg, represented Mr. Rosenwinkel.Rosenwinkel farm

30 Years Ago in 1986

  • The United Way of Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates celebrated its 20th anniversary.  Originally founded on August 2, 1966 as Schaumburg Township Community Fund, Inc., the group distributed over $2 million in the 20-year span to local organizations that provided human care services to those in need.
  • Consideration was being given to hiring a consultant to give direction on redeveloping portions of Schaumburg’s Town Square.  A plan was also being put together to redevelop the Quindel/Lengel area southeast of the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Road into a pedestrian mall.  Lengel Drive at the time was an unpaved road.
  • Random Acres Farm Stand, on Schaumburg Road west of Plum Grove Road, was selling Super sweet corn, cucumbers, peppers, cantaloupe, zucchini and more.  Their home grown tomatoes were .79 a pound.  They were open seven days a week from 10-7.Random Acres

20 Years Ago in 1996

  • Miss Molly’s of Schaumburg, a Danish bakery at 1407 W. Schaumburg Road, had been open for six years.  The specialty was the kringle, a flaky coffeecake pastry with layers of butter rolled into it.  They also sold bakery items such as breads, cookies, doughnuts and eclairs but their other specialty was cakes designed and made in house.
  • A fundraiser at the soon-to-open Roosevelt University successfully raised more than $300,000, allowing the school to meet its $5 million building-fund goal a few months early.  The first classes at the Albert A. Robin campus were scheduled to open August 26.
  • Drivers who park at the Schaumburg train station incurred their first increase in fees since the station opened in 1981.  Daily fees went from .75 to 1.00.  The increase was necessary to fund new parking lot improvements, creating more reserved parking spaces and adding additional landscaping.

10 Years Ago in 2006

  • Medieval Times was the location for a twenty-first century event when they sponsored an area audition for the popular game show, “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”  Nearly 2500 people showed up to try out.
  • The village announced that, as part of their 50th anniversary celebration, they would be erecting a new public safety memorial to honor the men and women who work to keep the village safe from crime and disaster.  The memorial was to be built on the site of the village’s police station and newest fire station.Public Safety memorial
  • The Schaumburg Park District announced they would now be including a 2 1/2 hour preschool class on Tuesdays and Thursdays that would incorporate the Polish language and culture into the curriculum.  This followed on the successful model of a Japanese class that had been offered the prior year.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

The factual items for this blog posting were taken from stories that appeared in the Daily Herald and the Chicago Tribune.


August 14, 2016

“Is Volkening Lake a natural lake or is it man-made?”

This question was recently asked at the Reference Desk.  In checking the aerial photographs that were covered on a blog posting a few weeks ago, you can see it on this circa 1967 image.  Double click on the photo and locate the large black blob of Sarah’s Grove in the back, center of the photo.  Follow that a little to the left and down and you can see the Florida-like shape of Volkening Lake.


The lake is in the middle of what was formerly the Volkening farm property.  You can make out the long lane that leads off of Schaumburg Road to the farmhouse and buildings.  This was the home of Fred and Carrie Volkening. They were brother and sister who were born in Kansas but, in 1903, moved with their parents and other siblings to Schaumburg Township.  Their parents, Henry and Emma, eventually purchased this farm near what is today the northwest corner of Schaumburg Road and Salem Drive.

After their parents’ death, Fred and Carrie continued living there until, “[Fred Volkening] in 1971 sold 159 acres of his farm to Campanelli Builders, leaving himself one acre at the corner of Schaumburg and Salem roads.”  (Daily Herald, undated)  They then built and lived in the custom ranch that is still on the northwest corner of Salem Drive and Schaumburg Road.  ‘The police station was (the location of) our home and barn,’ he said, as he pointed out the kitchen window.”  (Daily Herald, undated) 

Given the fact that the 1967 photo above shows not only the lake, but also the farm before development encroached on the north side of Schaumburg Road, it seemed safe to assume that the lake was always there.  To try and confirm this, I pulled out the topographical map from 1935.

Topographical map 1935You can see the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads, Sarah’s Grove to the west of it and, then, just where the “H” of “Schaumberg” is, a blue portion that indicates a low-lying, marshy area that looks to be the early formation of Volkening Lake.   But, it’s not a lake according to the map legend of topographical maps.  It’s simply a low area that is not easily drained.

I then turned to a series of aerial photos that belong to the library and started with 1949.  There was no lake.  Through the following years, in each of the photos, there was a big dark spot in the area that looked like the Volkenings were trying their best to grow crops despite the wetness of the soil.

I moved through to the 1960’s and, in 1963, could definitely make out low ground in that area in the shape of the state of Florida–just like Volkening Lake.  The photos then jump to 1970 and the lake is suddenly there.  The farm is still there too.  So, somewhere in the late 60’s-and towards the end of their farming days–the Volkenings stopped fighting Mother Nature and allowed water to fill in the area.

In addition, I found the following information in the Illinois Fishing and Floating Guide Book for Chicago Cook County in Northeastern Illinois:  “Volkening Lake is a large Schaumburg lake located off of Schaumburg Road next to the police station and it is the premier place to fish in Schaumburg.  This lake is between 10 and 12 acres in size and formed by damming up an unnamed tributary of the West Bank of the DuPage River…”

It is probable that the Volkenings used drain tile in this low area for years to maximize their farm land to the greatest extent possible.  By the time the Campanellis purchased the property it was probably fairly clear to them and village engineers that it wasn’t worth fighting drainage problems so they allowed the low area to be.

The area around the lake was eventually developed by Campanelli into Weathersfield Commons quad homes and the lake was named Weathersfield Lake.  You can see that name on this Village of Schaumburg map from 1979.

Village of Schaumburg map 1979

In 1980, Schaumburg Park District obtained $190,225 from the federally funded Land & Water Conservation Fund to help with the development of the lake.  The work was completed in 1985 and, somewhere along the line, the lake was renamed Volkening Lake.  It is used in a multitude of ways but the surrounding path has to be the most popular.  It’s almost impossible to drive by in any type of weather and not see someone walking or running around the lake!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

The aerial photo was used with the permission of  UTC Aerospace Systems.  


August 7, 2016

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the June 2009 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

The early years for Hoffman Estates homeowners were filled with volunteer work at school, membership in the Women’s Club and work with the Hoffman Estates Homeowners Association.

A lot more happened on back yard patios than just having something cool to drink and watching the kids. On a summer afternoon in 1958 Jean Davenport and Edna Shore were sitting in Edna’s back yard when Jean suggested that Hoffman Estates needed a library. Since Edna was the Culture Chairman for the Lakeview P.T.A. Jean suggested that she could get things started.

The ladies talked with friends and neighbors and many agreed to help with establishing a Hoffinan Estates Library. Diane Woodhouse served as the first chairman of the library planning committee. Reverend Albert Harkins, Leonard Pecilunas, Bonnie Samuels and Bernice Suttle also served on that first committee.

The women began going door to door asking for book and monetary donations for the new library. They set a goal of $550 as the amount needed to start the new library.

Jean Davenport took over as committee chairman in January, 1959 and succeeded in raising $233 that month alone. The Hoffman Estates residents donated 4,000 books for the first library. There were many neighbors and friends who worked hard to raise the money and find a home for the new library. he-village-hallJack Hoffman of F. & S, Construction offered the basement of the Hammerstein Farm Community Center for the library. The volunteer group named the library the Arthur Hammerstein Library of Hoffman Estates. The plan was to ask each family to pay $2 to use the library.

Hammerstein library

More space was needed for the library materials and Mary Zimmerman, principal of Hoffman School, offered an empty classroom space for the growing library, but it was only a temporary home as the school enrollment was growing as well. When space and time ran out, Jack Hoffman came to the rescue and offered the library the use of an empty house on Roselle and Schaumburg Rd.

It was obvious that a larger public library was needed. The Hoffman Estates committee and the library committee from Schaumburg felt that neither Hoffman Estates nor Schaumburg was large enough to support a public library. Together they decided that a township wide library would best serve the residents of the area.

On September 8,1962 Schaumburg Township residents approved the referendum for the new Schaumburg Township Library by a vote of 430 to 69.

That first volunteer committee was responsible for encouraging their neighbors and friends to support a library for Hoffrnan Estates families. Fifty years ago Jean, Edna and Hoffman Estates volunteers planted the seeds and they grew to become not only our library but a library for all the Schaumburg Township residents.

Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Village Historian


July 31, 2016

To Tell The Truth is a television game show that began in 1956.  It featured a panel of four celebrities who, through the questions they asked, tried to determine the correct identification of one of the three guests who was appearing because of their unusual occupation or because of an interesting experience they had had.  The two impostors could lie if they wanted but the real celebrity was required “to tell the truth.”

The show aired in the evening on prime time television and, two years into their run on Tuesday, January 14, 1958, Wayne King, “The Waltz King” appeared.

Wayne King was a nationally known orchestra leader who was renowned for his saxophone playing and the waltzes his orchestra performed.  The orchestra had a Chicago-based radio show and television show at various times after World War II but was most renowned for their performances at the famous Aragon Ballroom in Chicago.  In fact, his orchestra performed “The Last Waltz You Save For Me” on the final day of the Aragon’s long run.  In addition, he put out a number of LPs highlighting his waltzing, orchestral sound.Wayne King 2

But, in Schaumburg Township, Mr. King was known personally.  He purchased a weekend, get-away farm along Roselle Road in August, 1951 where the Mennonite Church is today.  In fact, their barn-like church was the barn that housed his animal stock back in the day.

During his years here, Mr. King endeared himself to the people of Schaumburg Township with his quiet, unassuming ways.  A number of the oral historians on the library’s Local History Digital Archive speak fondly of him and remember him going to Lengl’s (now the Easy Street Pub) for a bite to eat and even serving as Master of Ceremonies at the Fall Dance Frolic at the Roselle Country Club (now the Schaumburg Golf Club.)

Mr. King sold the farm in 1957 and the following year appeared on “To Tell The Truth” to try and fool the panel made up of Polly Bergen, John Cameron Swayze, Kitty Carlisle and Hy Gardner.  You can watch it here on YouTube at 15:56.  See if you can tell who the real Wayne King is before the panel casts their vote!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


July 24, 2016

When the Hoffman Estates Police Department was doing its patrols in the 1960’s, the village was divided into four area zones.

Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Historian, graciously passed on a list of the businesses that were located in each zone.

Based on the businesses I am familiar with and where they were/are located, I have come up with a rudimentary description of each Area.  I have also placed an asterisk (*) next to the businesses I am unfamiliar with.

If any of these businesses ring a bell, I would be happy to update the list.  Please leave a comment or contact me by the email listed below.  I appreciate any assistance you can provide!


Southwest corner of Higgins and Roselle Roads.  Hoffman Plaza.  East side of Roselle Road between Higgins and Golf.

Abco Job Center*
Barton Stull*
Burger King–on north side of Higgins Road, just east of Roselle Road.Burger King
Car Wash–on south side of Golf Road, just east of Roselle Road.
Clothes Basket*
Colonel Sanders–(KFC?) on south side of Higgins Road, just west of Roselle Road.  Correct?
Currency Exchange–in Hoffman Plaza.
Dog ‘N Suds–on west side of Roselle Road, just north of Bode Road.
Duco Engineering*
Guido’s–on west side of Roselle Road, between Bode and Higgins Road.
Hoffman Plaza–on east side of  Roselle Road, between Golf and Higgins Road.
Hunt Construction*
Irene’s Rainbow Inn–on west side of Higgins Road at Roselle Road.
Jerome Fabrics*
Jewel-Osco–in Hoffman Plaza.  See above.Hoffman Plaza
Jupiter Cleaners*
Kinney Shoes–on south side of Golf Road, just east of Roselle Road.
Neff T.V.–on west side of Roselle Road, just south of Higgins Road.
Pete’s Barber Shop–on west side of Roselle Road, just south of Higgins Road.
Plaza Shell–on the northeast corner of Higgins and Roselle Road.
Post Office–in Hoffman Plaza.  See above.
Ralston T.V.*
Ray’s Heating*
Rice Heating*
Robert Hall–on the southeast corner of Higgins and Roselle Road.
Russell’s Barber Shop*
Texaco–on the northwest corner of the Bode and Roselle Road intersection.
United Rent-All*
V & S Hardware*
Value Land*
Dr. Waxler*


West side of Roselle Road, north of Higgins Road.  Golf Rose Shopping Center.  [Are there other locations?]

American Loans*
B & K Realty*
B.P.A.A. (Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America)
Bakery*–I think this is the Golf Rose Bakery in the Golf Rose Shopping Center.  See below.
Baskin Robbins–in the Golf Rose Shopping Center.  See below.
Dr. Bennett–Dentist*
Brass & Glass*
Budget Rent A Car*
Century Towers*
Cherry’s Shoes*
Citgo–on the southwest corner of Roselle and Golf Road.
Deanna’s School of Dance*
Diamond Cue*
Drake’s Male Fashion*
Firestone Tire–on the west side of Roselle Road, between Higgins and Golf.
Golf Paint, Glass & Wallpaper*
Golf Rose Barber Shop–in the Golf Rose Shopping Center.  See below.
Golf Rose Plaza–on the west side of Roselle Road, between Higgins and Golf.
Grants–in the Golf Rose Shopping Center.  See above.
Heritage Trace Apts.–on the south side of Higgins Road between Roselle and Golf.  (Now known as Steeple Hill Condominiums)
Heathron Beauty Salon*
Ho Luck Chop Suey*
Hoffman Lanes–on the north side of Higgins Road just west of Roselle Road.Hoffman Lanes
Hoffman Rosner Corp.–on the west side of Roselle Road, between Golf and Higgins.  Across from Firestone.
Law Offices*
McMahon Real Estate*
National Foods–in the Golf Rose Shopping Center.  See above.
Omega Sports*
Orchid Cleaners*
Prairie Ridge Apts.*
Record Newspaper*
Sentiment & Sweets*
Shakey’s Pizza*
Snyders Drugs–in the Golf Rose Shopping Center.  See above.
Sorority House*
State Farm Insurance*
Suburban Bank–on the west side of Roselle Road, just south of Golf Road.
Thunderbird Theatre–in the Golf Rose Shopping Center.  See above.
Dr. Udesky–Optometrist*
Union 76 Gas Station–on the northwest corner of Higgins and Roselle Road.


Higgins Road on the north side, west of the intersection with Golf.

Dale House*
Enco Station*
Hilldale Village*–apartment complex on the north side of Higgins Road at Huntington Boulevard.


Higgins Road on the south side, west of the intersection with Golf.  Higgins Road on the north side, west of the intersection with Huntington Boulevard.  Central Road.  Algonquin Road.

Barrington Square–on the north side of Higgins Road between Governor’s Lane and Barrington Road.Barrington Square
Clayton Corp.*
Mobil Station*
Moon Lake Village–apartment complex on the south side of Higgins Road at Moon Lake Blvd.
Standard Station*
Thomas Engineering–at Central Road and Ela Road.
Winston Knolls–on the north side of Algonquin Road between Ela Road and Windemere Lane.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library