THE WEDDING OF THE CENTURY: PART 3

Standing outside of St. Peter Lutheran Church after the wedding ceremony.
Photo courtesy of the Pfingsten family

It seems that the wedding of the century is the gift that keeps on giving. Over 10 years ago I wrote about the September 3, 1903 wedding of Emma Rohlwing and Fred Pfingsten that took place at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Schaumburg Township. It was a huge wedding that took over a year of preparation with the celebration lasting for three days!

A detailed account of the wedding was published in The Inter Ocean newspaper in Chicago a few days after the wedding on September 6, 1903. Until a month ago, I’d never seen the actual newspaper but, here, thanks to Gary Biesterfeld, is the full issue itself! Because the details are so fascinating, I will be reprinting the entire article. All spellings and lower case/upper case elements have been left intact.

The article gives you a good idea of how intense the preparations were for such an event. It was not today’s “rent a hall and call a good caterer” sort of thing. This wedding was a year in the making and had to have taken countless hours, lists and conversations. Today we can only imagine…

This is the second portion of the article.

It was early Thursday when the band arrived from Elgin. In reality there were two bands, the Burlington Cornet band of Elgin and the Blue Ribbon band of Bartlett. Every player is a pupil of Professor Pfingsten, or has been and the bands came over as a compliment to him.

The wedding procession on their way to the church or the Pfingsten farm
Photo courtesy of the Pfingsten family

Leaving Elgin in decorated wagons, the horses bearing plumes and the drivers in uniform, the bands reached the Rohlwing home about 9 o’clock. The prospective bride was absent at this time, being with the Rev. Mr. Mueller, the pastor of the Lutheran church of Schaumberg.

When the “mornheister” was over, however, Miss Rohlwing returned to her home to meet her attendants. Later her party started in the “bride’s carriage” toward Pfingsten farm. It is part of the old German custom that the bride must go to meet her husband.

With Miss Rohlwing at this time were Miss Emma and Miss Alvina Pfingsten, sisters of the bridegroom; Miss Martha Rohlwing, the bride’s sister, and Miss Annie Kruse, as well as the two flower girls, Hermina Rohlwing and Aggie Thies.

When the bridegroom was met he was accompanied by Hermann L. Wilkening, Hermann Fenz, Henry Lichthardt and William Lenschow.

The bride’s party turned and went back to the Rohlwing home, where Supervisor Rohlwing smashed a bottle of red wine brought from Hessen. Then, with the bands ahead, the bridal party set out for the church, two miles away, with about 2000 people following on foot and in carriages.

At the church Dr. Mueller met them at the door and gave them the blessing, according to the custom of the church. In the meantime the bands had gone up into the gallery, had tuned their keys to the pitch the organist was compelled to follow, and joined with him when he began the wedding march.

“When President Roosevelt said that we must prevent race suicide he was not referring to us,” said Dr. Mueller. “He knows that Germans love better than any other people–he’s a Teuton himself, and he has shown that. And so it is that when I am asked to preside over a marriage I feel that I am honored.”

After the sermon Dr. Mueller read the marriage ceremony, and then hurried into his home in the rear of the church to change his robe for more convenient garments. Hurrying out he jumped into the bride’s carriage and went to the scene of the merrymaking.

When the Pfingsten home was reached Dr. Mueller came forward again and pronounced a blessing upon the festivities. While he was speaking the guests held their glasses aloft and as he said the equivalent of “amen” they emptied these glasses just as though a toast was being drunk.

“Gesunheit,” they shouted.

“May the good Lord be over us always,” said the preacher.

The bride and groom and many guests stand in front of one of the tents that was erected on the Pfingsten farm
Photo courtesy of the Pfingsten family

And then the band which was “on duty” played “The Good Old Summertime.”

Of all people in the world none love music more than the Germans do. Every community like Schaumberg has its brass band and its singing societies. At every festival music plays its part.

It did at the Schaumberg wedding. The two bands were playing most of the time, but even the blare of the brass and the thump of the drums could not drown the strains of the German folk songs. Above the umpah, umpah, umpah of the tuba arose the voices of young and old singing:

Vergangene Zeiten kommen niemals wieder
Schoen ist die Jugend kommt nicht mehr
Sie kommt nicht mehr
Sie kommt nicht mehr
Kommt auch nie wier; schoen is die Jugend
Sie kommt nicht mehr

At the end of each stanze the singers stop for a banter and a laugh. Maybe one song will not be finished before some tall-voiced singer swings into the measures of “Die Lorelei” or some good old verses that smack of Frankfort-on-the-Main and the wein stube.

“I am come to this country forty-eight years ago,” said John Fasse, supervisor of Schaumberg township, “and never do I see a wedding like this which we hold in the old country before yet. It was fine, no? To us old Deutschers when we see it is good.”

Then Mr. Fasse picked up a pack of playing cards and said: “I bet you, anybody, two beers maybe I can beat you on penuchle.”

Mr. John Hone, who lives at Dundee, thought over the proposition to wager the free beer and finally consented.

Mr. Rohlwing was asked by a fellow who didn’t understand German customs why the marriage of his daughter was made so much of.

[There follows of a string of undetermined words due to the worn newspaper.]

“I got a big surprise when I came over here in America. I saw a beautiful parade coming down a street soon after I got over and I asked who was being married.

“Why that’s a funeral, not a wedding’ said somebody.”

” ‘Why do they make so much over somebody who is dead?’ I asked him. The man couldn’t give me an answer and I decided right there that our plan was the best.”

“Do all German weddings have big displays like this wedding of your daughter?”

“This is nothing. When we have marriages over there the whole town celebrates. Somebody gets married about four times a year in the little villages and every house is trimmed up with flags and every taxpayer comes out when the procession comes by.”

“Did you have a marriage of this kind?”

“Did I? Well I should say I did. My wife Emma and me was married in 1873 under a tent in front of the town hall. My mother was married the same way, and so I wanted to have this ceremony in the same way.”

“Did they make as much fuss over your wedding as they are making over this?”

“Why this isn’t any fuss at all. You ought to come over to Hanover and see how we fix up things there. Our houses are so small that we have our weddings and dances outside. This is a fine country but it doesn’t look like Deutschland.”

“Then you are homesick for that?”

“No, not exactly; but it would be a good thing to those towns und die Madchen again.

“I like America all right. I was telling a fellow how good the old country was, and I said to him that over there we could get two pounds of cocoa for 7 cents. He got mad when I said that.”

“Well, why didn’t you stay over there, then” says he.

” ‘It was too hards to get the 7 cents,’ said I.”

This is the end of Part 3 that concerns the wedding day festivities. Below are some items that struck me as I typed the article.

  • One has to wonder what time the Rohlwing and Pfingsten households rose in the morning to start what must have been a very long day.
  • It seemed like there was a lot of back and forthing for the bride, didn’t it?
  • What a sight that must have been with all of those people in carriages and on foot going to the Rohlwing home and then the church and then to the Pfingsten home. Who took care of the horses during the day?
  • With both bands joining the organist in a church that held about 250 people, it must have been quite a concert for both, those in the church, and the many people standing outside. Maybe it was planned that way.
  • If you’d like to listen to a version of “Vergangene Zeiten”, you can hear it online here.
  • The reporter has the information about Mr. Rohlwing’s wife and his marriage incorrect. John Henry Rohlwing, the father of Emma Rohlwing, was born in Schaumburg in 1860 and married his wife, Louise Lichthardt, in 1881 at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church. Even if we consider that they might have been talking to Mr. Rohlwing’s father, that would be incorrect too as he died in 1870 in Schaumburg. It is difficult to believe that the reporter would have the bride’s father wrong but, with so many people there, he may have heard a good story from another guest.
    If we also take into consideration that it might have been William Pfingsten, the father of the groom, that is incorrect as well. William was also born in Schaumburg, only a year later than Mr. Pfingsten, in 1861. He and his wife, Sophia Thies, married in 1880, at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church. Mr. Pfingsten’s father married Sophia Schuette and died in 1894. So we have struck out in all ways.

Part 4 will appear next week and will give a description of what it was to be a German resident of Schaumburg Township in 1903.

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

THE WEDDING OF THE CENTURY: PART 2

Standing outside of St. Peter Lutheran Church after the wedding ceremony.
Photo courtesy of the Pfingsten family.

It seems that the wedding of the century is the gift that keeps on giving. Over 10 years ago I wrote about the September 3, 1903 wedding of Emma Rohlwing and Fred Pfingsten that took place at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Schaumburg Township. It was a huge wedding that took over a year of preparation with the celebration lasting for three days!

A detailed account of the wedding was published in The Inter Ocean newspaper in Chicago a few days after the wedding on September 6, 1903. Until a month ago, I’d never seen the actual newspaper but, here, thanks to Gary Biesterfeld, is the issue itself! Because the details are so fascinating, I will be reprinting the entire article. All spellings and lower case/upper case elements have been left intact.

The article gives you a good idea of how intense the preparations were for such an event. It was not today’s “rent a hall and call a good caterer” sort of thing. This wedding was a year in the making and had to have taken countless hours, lists and conversations. Today we can only imagine…

THE MOST UNIQUE WEDDING EVER HELD IN COOK COUNTY
“THREE THOUSAND GERMANS IN A ROLLICKING THREE-DAY FESTIVAL”

Married–Rohlwing-Pfingsten–At the German Evangelical Lutheran church, Schaumberg, Cook county, by the Rev. G.A. Mueller, Miss Emma Rohlwing and F.W. Pfingsten, Thursday, September 3, 1903

THE MENU

1800 pounds of meat
4 hogsheads of pickles
8 barrels of sauerkraut
150 gallons of gooseberry shrub
5 10-gallon kettles of soup
3 big tubs of potato salad
200 pounds of headcheese
2 milkcans of ausereihuf
200 gooseberry pies
60 nienleier cakes
Cigars
Beer

Of course you know where Schaumberg is. Therefore it’s not necessary to say that, in order to get there, you take a train to Elgin and then walk or ride fourteen miles east, or got to Palatine and drive nearly as far west, or get off at Ontarioville and go “cross-lots,” or get to Dundee in some way and then over in one of the farmers’ rigs. Really, it is very simple when you know how.

IDEAL GERMAN

The little town nestles down between the hills which crown the Fox river valley. Really, there isn’t much of a town, for the people have small need of shops and stores, for they make or raise nearly every thing they need. The village church, a blacksmith shop over which a hardy citizen presides, a department store where one can get almost anything from needles to pitchforks–this constitutes the town.

There is neither railroad, telegraph, nor express office in Schaumberg, nor is there a bank, but there are good, strong, and industrious people thereabouts, and the little town is the center of one of the most interesting communities in Cook county. For here the people gather for church services on Sunday, and that it is an educational center is shown in the two schoolhouses. Strictly speaking, there are two towns–Elk Grove and Schaumberg–and the country there was settled over fifty years ago by the Germans. Today the population remains almost entirely German-American; the farmers own their own property, and their prosperity is at once apparent to the visitor who comes into this quaint settlement for the first time.

It was at Schaumberg that the marriage took place, in the presence of a crowd which filled the Evangelical Lutheran church to overflowing, with bands playing and hundreds who could not get in the church cheering outside. In all there were 3,000 people present. But the wedding ceremony was an incident.

Prepared for Wedding a Year Ago

Almost a year ago preparations for the wedding were begun. Mrs. John Rohlwing, mother of the bride, and her daughters gathered bushels of gooseberries which were crushed in their cider mill, and then put into stone jars, which were buried in the ground. More gooseberries were preserved whole with a thick sirup. Supervisor Rohlwing picked out his best cattle and turned them into a lot which never before had been used for pasturage. He selected his finest hogs and piled the sty he put up especially for them with the biggest red ears of corn. Back of one of his barns an enclosure was made for the chickens, and these were fed about five times a day and not allowed to run about.

In January, with a full moon in the right place, the pigs were slaughtered and the feet put in brine, the hams and shoulders taken to the smoke-house–where green hickory was made to smolder by heaping embers over it–headcheese was made and carefully put away in the cellar.

Not One Thing Was Left Undone

Later the calves were fattened, the sauerkraut weighted with stones and put away, and then the cucumbers were pickled, pears bottled with old burgundy, and neighbors consulted about giving their help.

In the meantime the father and mother of the prospective groom were none the less active. Professor Pfingsten had been making preparations for the happy event for months, and the neighborhood was sympathetically interested in all that was going on.

On last Monday all these neighbors went to the Pfingsten farm. There were about twenty of them, and some came many miles, but out in that part of Cook county ten or twelve miles do not prevent people from being neighbors.

Mr. Pfingsten had built a “Dutch” oven against the stone wall of his barn foundation, and there the ausereihuf was browned and the cakes baked. A number of brand-new wash tubs, from which the potato salad was served Thursday, were used as mixing bowls, and when the cooks were through the dough was spread out on soap-stone bricks, which were shoved into the oven.

Everything Done On A Generous Scale

While the stuff was baking, chocolate and cocoa were heated in a big kettle, and when the cake was done this rich mixture was spread on a half-inch thick. The cakes were piled up then until they were nine high, and little red seeds, which none of the people knew the name of Thursday, were sprinkled over the top layer.

Raising a toast after the wedding. Photo courtesy of the Pfingsten family.

While the women folk were doing this the husbands of the women were helping Mr. Pfingsten unload the two big wagons of beer that had come over from Elgin.

Ice, which the farmers had gathered from Fox river, fourteen miles away, last winter was piled over the kegs, which were placed under a tent. Six men, all bachelors, following the old German custom, served this, and, according to the legend which the Germans have, they climbed one step of the ladder toward matrimony every time the health of the bride was drunk.

Preparing for the Visitors

Wednesday Mr. Rohlwing and his nearest neighbors began to put up the tents which were to shelter the bridal party. One canvas was spread over the beer, two over sixty-foot tables on which the feast was spread, one above the small tables put out in front of the farmhouse for penuchle players and the largest one of the lot over a platform on which the guests danced from Thursday afternoon until the following morning.

On the porch of the Pfingsten home was a pile of blankets, and when it came dark and the dew began to fall, the neighbors wrapped themselves in these. Lanterns, candles, and kerosene lamps threw flickering light on the scene, as a campfire might.

This is the end of Part 2 that concerns all of the wedding preparations. Below are some items that struck me as I typed the article.

  • Nienleier cakes are “nine-layer cakes.”
  • Ausereihuf continues to be a mystery. What is puzzling is that it was “browned” but also stored in two milk cans. According to this link, “Older milk cans from the 19th century tend to be larger, often holding up to 25 gallons. If a milk can is this size, it likely dates to before 1920.” One has to think it was a liquid substance but what would have been browned? In researching this word, I have turned to a contact in Germany and it’s also been sent to the Berlin Public Library and a Napoleon listserv to see if anyone can discern the meaning and/or root of the word. No luck. Each one of those locations evaluated the derivatives of the word.
    Suggestions on the listserv were: (1) erei is most like “egg” and it was suggested that huf might be “oeuf” or egg, which means it could be something like eggnog (2) maybe the words are “eau cerise d’oeuf” which would be some type of egg cherry dish (3) A Sauferei is a drinking binge.
    If you can help us out, please put your idea in a Comment or send me an email.
  • The fact that they mention that Schaumburg Township is fairly self-sustaining confirms what has always been thought. The farmers required the bare necessities–a church, a blacksmith and a general store.
  • Obviously, with 3000 people as guests, there was no way they were all going to fit in the church that maybe holds 200 people. It makes sense, then, that most people stood outside during the wedding. And that the ceremony was largely incidental to the party afterwards!
  • Most of us have heard of planting crops by the phase of the moon but have you heard of slaughtering by a phase of the moon? After a quick Google search, it appears there is a saying called the “butcher’s moon.”
  • It is interesting that pinochle, the card game is referred to here as “penuchle.”

Part 3 will appear next week and will give details on the wedding and the celebration.

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

CHRISTMAS TREES OVER THE YEARS

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian. This column originally appeared in the December 2021 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter. The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

December, 1956 was very cold and snowy for the Christmas holiday. The early pioneer families were moving in to their homes in Parcel A. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to be moving and unpacking around Christmas. 

I began thinking of the changes that have happened over the years to the celebration of this holiday. For many of the families, getting a Christmas tree up would have been a number one priority. 

Photo credit to the Vermont Country Store on You Tube

Back in the 1950’s many families had purchased the very popular aluminum trees. No lights to string, just the color wheel rotating on the floor at the base of the tree. The idea of this artificial tree set me off on the history of the artificial tree and where and who made them.

I was surprised to discover that the first artificial tree came from Germany circa 1880. It was an effort to prevent deforestation. Of all things, it was made of feathers. Yes, feathers. The feathers came from ducks, geese or any other kind of bird that was available. The feathers were split, dyed green and wired to tree branches and inserted into a wooden dowel. The popularity of this tree spread across Europe and early settlers to the United States would make a homemade one for their home.

Natural peacock feather trees available on Amazon

The first artificial trees to be sold in the U.S. were in 1883 and sold by Sears, Roebuck & Co. They advertised the sale of 33 limbs for .50 cents or 55 limbs for $1.00. 

Did you have a bottle brush tree? That’s what most people called them, but they were not made by a bottle brush company but by a toilet bowl brush manufacturer. The Addis Brush Company created the first artificial brush tree in the 1930s, using the same equipment that produced their toilet bowl brush.  These trees became very popular. The Addis Bruch Company also produced these trees at their London location. 

The best artificial tree that really looks like a real tree didn’t arrive until the 1980s. These are the trees made of PVC (poly vinyl chloride) plastic. My first plastic tree came with the branches that you had to insert into the center pole of the tree in a certain order. Sometimes when I’d finish putting it together it didn’t look like a Christmas tree at all. Keeping the lettered branches in order was the trick but not always done when taking it down and storing it in the box for the next season. Patience was needed. 

Now we have trees that come in a very slim box, pre-lit and in three sections that open like an umbrella. Stack them together and you’re ready for the holiday. No more pine needles in the carpet, no more worry about keeping it watered and it can be up until Valentine Day if you wish. The only problem is getting it into the box again.

If you’d like to see a picture of a goose feather tree, go online and look up goose feather tree.  They’re still made and you may want to purchase one. 

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanza,

Pat Barch, Village of Hoffman Estates’ Historian
eagle2064@comcast.net 

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MEDIEVAL TIMES!

Photo credit to Medieval Times

Over thirty years ago, on Saturday, June 15, 1991, Medieval Times opened to the public. It was the first venue of its kind in the Midwest and was truly a sight to behold at the juncture of Roselle Road and the Northwest Tollway. There were five other large white castles in Medieval Dinner and Tournament Inc. of Buena Park, CA’s cavalcade.

According to a featured ad in a 1991 issue of the Daily Herald, the company actually got its start in Spain more than 20 years before. Spanish locations in 1991 were in Majorca and Barcelona. The other attractions were operating in Kissimmee, Florida; Buena Park, California and Lyndhurst, New Jersey.

Planning for Schaumburg’s large structure began, locally, in 1990 when plans went before the Schaumburg village board regarding zoning and building approval. McLennan and Thebault, Inc. of Elk Grove Village was brought on board by the company to build the 84,000 square foot restaurant on its 19.5 acre site.

The plan was to model it after a Spanish-style castle and feature seating for 1488 attendees. The feast for each guest, according to the featured ad, would include a light appetizer, followed by vegetable soup, a whole roasted chicken, spare ribs, herb-basted potatoes and pastries of the castle. All food was eaten with your hands since forks and spoons had not yet been invented in the 11th century. Two rounds of beer, fruity wine cocktail, cola or coffee are included. Cash bar service would be available through the show.

Photo credit to Medieval Times

The special part of the evening featured “elegant displays of dressage and horsemanship [being] performed, followed by jousting and battles to the death.” A review of the venue from the August 3, 1991 issue of the Daily Herald even mentions that there was “a show of falconry featuring a live trained falcom who swoops over the heads of diners…” These performances were to be approximately two hours in length with showtimes scheduled Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 4:00 p.m.

On opening day admission was a single charge that included dinner, show, beverages and tax. Prices ranged between $28-34 for adults and $20-24 for children, 12 and under. Upon entrance, guests received colored crowns corresponding to their seating area and the knight who would fight for their honor. In this way, guests had a vested interest in the show.

Interestingly, the entire castle was designed by David Jordan, who haled from the northwest suburbs and worked for Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament. According to one of their ads that appeared in the June 21, 1991 issue of the Daily Herald, he had been working for them since 1983.

He says in the ad, “Medieval Times is based on the true story of a noble Spanish family dating back to the year 1093. The castle’s decor features the actual crest of many prestigious European families, artwork, weaponry and ornate murals and paintings from that period, which depict everything from knights in battle to farmers in the fields.”

His masterpiece is still enticing lords and ladies to join in the festivities at 2001 North Roselle Road after thirty years of entertainment. Today it is a popular location for group events. Many people come from far and wide to watch the knights joust and the masterful horse riding. Happy Birthday Medieval Times of Schaumburg!

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

THE ART, WIT AND PASSION OF ADOLPH LINK #28

Almost 75 years ago this card arrived in the mailboxes of Adolph Link’s family and friends. In a nod to their home in Schaumburg Township, he kindly drew a basic map, highlighting all of the major roads in the area that “linked” their house on Plum Grove Road to the larger group who received the card. Season’s Greetings coming their way!

All of the main roads on his card are still there today. Though it is interesting that he appeared to write in “Roselle Rd” as an afterthought. It is also curious that he labeled it as such south of Bloomingdale where, today, it is known as Bloomingdale Road. In fact, today, the name changes from Roselle to Bloomingdale Road, in the Meacham Grove Forest Preserve between the two towns. So, either this is a slight miscalculation or that name change had not yet happened in 1947. Curious.

The interior of the card also sent the Links’ “Merry Christmas” wishes of “Happiness and Prosperity” in the coming year of 1948. Did you catch “Merry Christmas” written in the snow? And the small sign that says “Route 1947?”

This is an “over hill, over dale” sort of drawing and a nice message with which to end this lovely series of cards by Adolph Link of Plum Grove Road. Hopefully, you felt as if you, too, received 28 cards from the gifted Mr. Link.

It is clear his family and his world meant a great deal to him and, that, once he found his roots in Schaumburg Township, he never left. And still hasn’t. See for yourself at Adolph Link Elementary School at 900 W. Glenn Trail in Elk Grove Village.

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

THE ART, WIT AND PASSION OF ADOLPH LINK #27

Judging by the cover, this is a very simple card for Mr. Link. With a very elegant wreath on gray stock paper, it is also one of the three oldest cards in our collection.

It is not until we open the card that we see, once again, the skill of Mr. Link’s sketching and the wit of his nature. The gentleman he has drawn is happily imbibing some of the Happy New Year Blend of Christmas Spirit that was distilled by the Link family. Such an ingenious message.

What makes it more fitting for the time is that 1925-26 put the country deep into Prohibition. Liquor had not been available for sale since 1920 and after five years of the country being “dry”, Mr. Link was, obviously, gently making a play on the whole practice.

While the Links were more likely to drink lemonade, how could he not help distill some good Christmas spirit for his card recipients in the December 1925 holiday season?

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

THE ART, WIT AND PASSION OF ADOLPH LINK #26

In a nod to his own profession, this card and its gentle humor just oozes whimsy. We see Adolph Link, the artist, seated atop a tall stool, dispensing multiple Christmas cards to Linnea’s cats, her boyfriend and to Linnea Ann herself. And, who is Linnea Ann?

Adolph’s granddaughter, Kathy, said: “Linnea and my mom were friends. I think the connection went back to their time in Maywood, IL, which was their last place before Schaumburg. The families remained friends, and most likely they visited with Grampa and Gramma in Schaumburg.  Mom evidently kept in touch well enough to know about boyfriends and cats.”

The neatest thing is that the whimsy continued on the inside of this personal Christmas card. That is where Adolph penned a message to Linnea Ann that circles the card, moving from the outside to the center. It is here that we discover that this card is from the 1940-41 holiday season. This would, in fact, put this card only eight years out from their 1932 departure from Maywood.

Here is what he had to say in the card, “Dear Linnea Ann, Well Christmas is here again. Here is hoping it will be your merriest. 1940, we know, brought you good cheer and joy throughout the year. How you rode horse back and gathered eggs while the mosquitoes chewed at your legs. And how at night you were not afraid to sit on a stool and play milkmaid. Here is hoping 1941 will bring you much more good cheer and also a long stay on the farm during the year, with tractor rides galore and occasional trips to the Schaumburg store. You perhaps have seen a dog chasing its tail. He chases and chases but never catches it. We may think the dog very foolish to waste his time that way. But then if the dog enjoys it he is probably acting wisely. You know sometimes our minds run around in circles. In fact I was just a little dizzy when starting this card as you may have noticed. Anyway when you wish to read this card just tack it on the wall—then stand on your head or turn over and over while reading. The Links wish you a very merry Christmas.”

Given the details in the card, Mr. Link lets Linnea Ann know she is welcome to come out to Schaumburg for a long stay on the farm, rides on the tractors and trips to a certain Schaumburg store. We have to think that store was Hattendorf’s Grocery whose history was discussed here.

This also led Mr. Link’s granddaughter, Kathy, to mention that, “Sunday afternoon was a frequent time for friends and family to visit the Links in Schaumburg. I think that was the precursor to our longtime tradition of “coffee” on Sunday afternoons. Since we lived so close together, we made it a point to get together every Sunday afternoon. Outside at the picnic table when weather allowed. Probably on Grampa’s enclosed porch or inside during cold or rainy weather. Coffee was always on the menu, plus other drinks for the kids. Probably lemonade in the summer. We often had Gramma’s homemade biscuits—dinner rolls and/or cinnamon rolls, but we had other goodies, too. Watermelon was a favorite over the summer.”

And, Pat, another granddaughter, said, “Don’t forget Grandma’s coffee bell.  It was a hand held “school bell” that she rang when it was time to gather for coffee.”

What a wonderful tradition to establish on their corner of Schaumburg and Plum Grove Roads. Whether friends or extended family paid a visit or it was just the local Links, everyone was welcome. Including Linnea Ann.

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

THE ART, WIT AND PASSION OF ADOLPH LINK #25

Adolph Link’s autographed drawing of an unidentified flying object zooming around earth, leaving a message in its wake, once again, denotes his fascination with space.

Surrounded by Saturn and other heavenly bodies, earth is the center of this card’s solar system. There is, however, one red planet that spells out the fact that he is celebrating the 1957-58 holiday season. And that flying object? It appears to be saying “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

And, when we open the card, what do we see?

That “unidentified flying object” is, in fact, Sputnik, the very first satellite to be launched into space by the USSR. The date was October 4, 1957 and was probably just a few weeks before Mr. Link drew this card and penned this clever, little verse that plays off of the family’s last name.

The ingenuity of this wonderful rhyme, topped by a small Sputnik hovering over the verse and a penned “Estelle and Adolph” in green ink, once again captures the art and wit of Mr. Link.

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

THE ART, WIT AND PASSION OF ADOLPH LINK #24

This card from 1930 is the funniest one we have in our collection. It is just a delight.

In another allusion to the golf theme of their last name, Adolph drew himself swinging and missing at a golf ball. Standing behind him are his wife Estelle, his son Robert and his young daughter Mary Lou.

They are all laughing at his efforts but, truly, Robert’s face is the most comical. He is getting such a kick out of his father’s misfortune. And, the funniest part? Adolph drew himself that way.

In addition, they are all standing outside in the snow. He didn’t draw them golfing in the summer when most do are enjoying the golf course. He drew them outside on the “links” in the winter.

Mr. Link has also, kindly, given us the year for the card. At that time, the Link family was living at 1816 Sherman Avenue in Maywood. The Depression had yet to hit them hard, resulting in the family move to Schaumburg Township. It was certainly Maywood’s loss and our gain.

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

THE ART, WIT AND PASSION OF ADOLPH LINK #23

It is 1949 and Mr. Link is passing on his seasonal cheer on the front of his annual card. Even though we see the main thought of “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” he cleverly weaves in another message of making others happy.

The font distinctively leaps off the page and he backdrops the message with a couple of splashes of color. He topped the card with the Christmas star. And, if we turn the page, we note that he also included a delightfully drawn Christmas tree.

This message, too, is a suggestion, telling the readers of the card to “be good” and “do good.” But, we are led to the opposite side of the page where the note is a bit more grim. Father Time is holding an hourglass in his hand, looking over a man standing in a cemetery, telling us “It is later than you think.”

Something may have happened that year that led Mr. Link to write a somewhat dim message. His mother had died early in 1949 so that event may have weighed on his mind or there was possibly something in the news that struck him as dispiriting.

In any case, we are lucky enough to get another chance to view his artistic skills–both graphic design and sketching. Which is your favorite?

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