March 18, 2018

For years it was called Maggy Magoo’s.  And before that it was known as The Homestead House.  It’s the house on the right and it was a home shoppe that offered a wide variety of home accessories, decorations, gifts and floral arrangements for a variety of occasions.  You can still find the building at 105 E. Schaumburg Road even though the business is gone.

The craftsman style bungalow was built in the late 1920’s by Louis and Hannah Schoenbeck who had farmed in Schaumburg Township after they married in 1897. Louis was born on a farm north of Arlington Heights and Hannah Freiberg was born in Germany and settled in Schaumburg with her parents.

After their marriage, as stated in Louis’ obituary, they lived on their farm for 31 years.  That farm was on the east side of Roselle Road, between Schaumburg and Wise Roads.  They must have rented for a time from the owners, H.C. and Wilhelmine Thies.  A record from the April 2, 1910 issue of The Economist:  A Weekly Financial, Commercial and Real Estate Newspaper states that Louis Schoenbeck purchased the 260 acres from Wilhelmine on March 21, 1910 for for $22,ooo.

While on the farm they raised their four children:  Henry, Minnie, Edward and Clara.  When they retired from farming in 1928, they bought some property in “downtown Schaumburg” and built the home you see here.  In addition they built the small barn that still exists, a chicken house and a smokehouse.  Their property line abutted the Panzer house which was due east and has since been updated and realigned to face west.

When Louis died a few years later in 1932, Hannah remained in the house with her son, Henry, until her death in 1951.  Henry then married Katie Wachman in 1954 and they resided in the house until his death in 1966.

At some point, between their marriage and Henry’s death, the couple either sold or gave a 1/2 acre parcel to the west of their house to Minnie and Arthur Flentge, his sister and brother-in-law.  They built a ranch home of their own on the property and lived there with their daughter Lorraine.  The Village of Schaumburg eventually purchased the property after the deaths of the elder Flentges, giving Lorraine joint tenancy until she no longer needed the home.  The home was subsequently torn down around 2015 and remains an open parcel.

Meanwhile, the Schoenbeck house and property to the east were sold around 1973 to Albert and Eleonore Manzardo.  They had begun a specialty carpet business in 1970 in Weathersfield Plaza called Homestead Carpet.  It eventually expanded to include interior design and other decorating services.  After purchasing the house, they moved their business there and operated as the Homestead House for a number of years, expanding to include an offshoot business called Country Oak.

The house/business space was later leased to Alan and Margy Bedyk in 1992 who changed the name to Maggy Magoo’s Country Accents and Gifts.  It operated as such until 2016 and is now empty.

From the Schoenbecks to The Homestead House to Maggy Magoo’s, this house has stood for 90 years with its unique-for-the-area, craftsman style.  Looking forward to seeing what’s in its future!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

Articles from the Chicago Tribune; March 26, 1995 and the Daily Herald; November 13, 1992 were used in the creation of this blog posting.  The obituaries of Louis, Hannah and Henry Schoenbeck were also very helpful.





March 11, 2018

The fifth public [one room] school in Schaumburg Township was located at the northeast corner of the intersection of Rodenburg Road with Wiese (Wise) Road [as seen on the topographical map above.]  The approximate one acre of land was taken from the southeast corner of the Hartmann farm, which was previously a Kruse farm.  This school was also referred to as the Straub School, but the reason is unknown.  The school closed its doors in [1940.]  It fell into disrepair with vandalism and an unkempt school yard.

An article, Only Two Public Schools Remain in Schaumburg, from the May 17, 1940 issue of the Cook County Herald states “…According to G.C. Butler, assistant county superintendent of schools, in charge of division one, school district 55, known as the Hartmann School, will not open next year.  There is one family in the district which will have children of school age, who would attend the school.  Other children of school age attend an adjoining Christian day school.  District 52 has been closed several years.  The two remaining schools in the township are district 51 with ten pupils and district 54 located in Schaumburg center…”

[The photo above shows the teacher and her students outside of the school around 1922 or 1923.   In the back row the two boys are Erwin Stump and Henry Busche; the second row middle boy is William Busche and the boy on the right is Emil or Art Hartmann.  The bottom left girl is Florence Catherine “Kate” Bell who lived on Stratford Farms at Wiese (Wise) and Roselle Roads.]

Richard Gerschefske purchased the school building after 1954.  He dismantled the structure and recycled the useable wood to build an addition on the District 51 School that he purchased and moved to Schaumburg Center.  This extension to the Meyer/Sunderlage School became the kitchen and dining room for the house.  The combined salvaged schools became a comfortable private residence that is still located in Schaumburg Center…

The text for most of this blog posting is an excerpt from Schaumburg of My Ancestors by LaVonne Thies Presley, published in 2012.  The book is an in-depth look at Schaumburg Township around the turn of the nineteenth century.  

Her particular focus was the farm off of Meacham Road where her father grew up.  However, LaVonne also took the opportunity in the text to create a detailed examination of the formation of the public one-room schools of Schaumburg Township.  In the upcoming months a posting will be shared on each of those five schools.  But, first, an introduction to the formation of Schaumburg Township public schools

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library



March 4, 2018

When you are Gene Krupa and you’re the drummer for Benny Goodman’s band in 1936, it’s important that your drum kit is the best.  And if you’re Gene Krupa and you’re from Chicago, who do you turn to for a well made set of drums?  That would be the Slingerland Banjo & Drum Company.  But, you ask, what does that have to do with Schaumburg?

It begins with Walter Robert Slingerland who was born in Manistee, Michigan on March 30, 1889 to Samuel and Amalia Slingerland. One of eleven children, he left the farm and his family and moved to Chicago where he went to work for Armour & Co., the big meatpacking firm.  Eventually, he was transferred to South Bend, IN and later, Detroit.  On June 5, 1917 he registered for the World War I draft and was called for enlistment almost a year later on April 26, 1918.  He served with the 85th division U.S. Army and was released the same year on November 27.

He went back to work for Armour and, while working there, his oldest brother Henry convinced him to move back to Chicago.  Once there, he joined him at the Slingerland Correspondence School of Music, where they offered a free, Slingerland-manufactured ukelele and twelve lessons.  As stated in The Slingerland Book by Rob Cook, “H.H. was considered the money man while W.R. was in production and day-to-day operations.”  They eventually moved into producing banjos and guitars and were well on their way with drums in 1929 by the time their second drum catalog came out.

On January 12, 1924 Walter married Helen Rittenhouse of Hillsboro, Ohio in Chicago.  They had their first child, Robert, in 1925 followed by Walter Jr. in 1927.  The family lived on Belden Avenue on Chicago’s northwest side but, like his older brother, Henry, Walter was eager to get back to his farming roots. According to a 1959 article in the Daily Herald, “in 1941 they [Walter and Helen] purchased the 160 acres on Schaumburg Road where they still make their home.”  This land (where the Schaumburg village offices are today) was originally purchased from the government by Conrad Salge in 1847 and eventually sold to a group of investors in the 1920s who created a golf course on the property. According to Wayne Nebel, one of our oral historians, the Slinglerlands converted the property back to its farming roots and paid tenant farmers to work the land.

In 1945, during the final war year, their son Walter Jr. joined the Navy. According to the same Daily Herald article mentioned above,  the Slingerlands moved their household to Schaumburg Township the following year and lived in “the house which was built over 100 years ago [and] was remodeled by Walter and Helen soon after they bought the property.”  It was a pivotal year for Walter Slingerland because, not only did he move his family but his brother Henry died on March 13. Walter subsequently became president of the company that was now simply called the Slingerland Drum Company and commuted into the city for work.

In 1951 Walter Jr. married his own Helen who was part of the Siems family of Roselle.  The elder Slingerlands gave a parcel of land to the young couple on the edge of Schaumburg Road.  This is the building permit from Cook County that was signed on December 11, 1950 by Walter Slingerland Sr. who owned the property.  It appears Walter split his 160 acres and denoted this as an 80 acre farm/tenant parcel.  Note that a fair amount of the fees were for the septic field that would be added to the property.

Walter and Helen then built and moved into this ranch house in the same year they married.  The ranch was designed by Elmer Gylleck, Architect of Elgin, Illinois.

You’ll notice that the breezeway was closed in at some point and a second garage was added.  A third bedroom was also added on in the back of the house in the 1970s.

Three years later, in 1954, Walter Sr retired from the Slingerland Drum Company. Having lived in rural Schaumburg Township for eight years, it must have been apparent to Walter that change was coming. Given the small population, his business background and his farm’s prominent location on Schaumburg Road, he was familiar with others who were just as concerned about the coming growth.  As a result, Mr. Slingerland was placed on the ballot for village trustee in 1956.  He was successfully elected as one of the village’s first six trustees and served in that position for twelve years until 1969.

During those years he served primarily as Building Commissioner.  This was a position that oversaw the entire building process from permit to construction to signing off on the completed structure.  The village now has multiple people to handle this process so we can imagine how, in the early years, Mr. Slingerland’s personal involvement was so crucial.  Below is a sample building permit that Mr. Slingerland signed with a stamp of his signature.

He also served on the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Plan Commission, in the Public Works Department, twice on the Township’s Quadrennial Land Assessment Committee which evaluated land values, and was the trustee who pushed to change the village’s name from Schaumburg Center to Schaumburg.  In addition, his wife Helen served as the village’s first treasurer and was a charter member of the Schaumburg Historical Society.  Their involvement was key at such a dynamic period in village history.

Prior to his retirement, the Slingerlands sold their property in 1962 and built a new ranch home at 400 Columbine Drive in Lexington Fields.  They sold their portion of the farm to William Lambert who intended to develop a large scale, high density apartment complex in the area.  He also planned to donate 40 acres of the property to the Village of Schaumburg with the intent that it would be the site of a civic/culture center.  The Heritage Center complex never did get built but the village opened their Municipal Center in 1974 on the lovely spot we find it today.

Amazingly enough, the old home that the Slingerlands bought in 1941 survived the development.  During construction of the Municipal Center in 1973 or 1974, the home was moved across the street to the St. Peter Lutheran Church property and can still be found there.

If the dates are correct, this makes that home one of the oldest structures in the village. As you can see in the 1978 photo above, the home was a bit worse for wear but new siding was added around 1982.   Thirty years later in 2012, the house was resided once again and remains in good condition.

When the elder Slingerlands sold their property, the younger Slingerlands opted not to sell and remained in their ranch home.  They were very active at St. Peter Lutheran Church and Walter served as one of the first presidents of Schaumburg High School’s parent group, the VIP’s.  As the village property grew to include the Prairie Arts Center for the Arts, the Slingerlands sold their house to the Village in 1989.  They worked out an agreement that allowed them to stay in their home until a time when they were ready to move.  The home would then revert to the village. This happened in 1994 when the Slingerlands moved from the area.

The house was remodeled and the Nursing and Senior Services Division of the village opened in 1995.  This past summer, in 2017, the village board voted to move the Division out of the house and into the Market Square shopping center at Plum Grove and Schaumburg Road.  This paved the way for future destruction of the house which will occur sometime after the move in July or August of 2018.

We are fortunate that we still have the original house on the St. Peter property, close to the final resting place of Walter and Helen Slingerland Jr. at St. Peter Lutheran Cemetery. Both generations of Slingerlands definitely left their mark on the area, whether it was their houses or their time. In commemoration of all they gave, Slingerland Park in the Pheasant Walk subdivision and Slingerland Drive off of Weathersfield are named for the family.  Do take a moment and think of them the next time you are there.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

Many thanks to Mary Helen Slingerland Owens, daughter of Walter and Helen Slingerland, for discussing details in this blog posting.  She was most gracious with her quick responses and also passed on the building permit and architectural sketch of her parents’ home.  

Details for this blog posting were derived from the obituaries of the Slingerlands, war records on, various articles from the Herald and The Slingerland Book which the library owns.

The photo of the Slingerland Drum Company comes from  We thank them for the photo.




February 25, 2018

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

There’s a saying that what happens today is tomorrow’s history. But we always think of history as things that happened a long time ago. That’s the history we find so interesting. We have questions about things that happened in the past and the detective work that’s involved in finding those answers is what makes some of us history junkies.

This past summer I received an e-mail from a Hoffman Estates resident about a very old tombstone she found amongst many things in her mother’s home. She was trying to take care of her mothers’ estate and didn’t have any idea as to what should be done with the headstone. It was a very unusual item to uncover amongst her antiquing mom’s collection. She wanted to know how she could find information about a tombstone that simply said “Wilson, December 20, 1856, 7 Yrs. 8 Mos.” This was a tombstone of a young child and she needed to find where this child was buried so the stone could be returned to the child’s grave.

The first person I turned to for help was Jane Rozek, local history librarian at the Schaumburg Township District Library. She is a wonderful research librarian and I knew she’d be interested in helping solve the mystery of our resident’s tombstone.

With the research tools available to her at the library, she began searching through census records for Schaumburg Township and finding nothing for a young Wilson, she went farther afield to seek help from Marilyn Pedersen, historian with the Palatine Historical Society. Marilyn said that the Wilsons were a prominent Palatine family. She suggested two books that might help in her search. The library has a great local history collection and the two books Pioneer Cemeteries of Palatine Township and Hillside Cemetery were on the shelf. Jane discovered that the tombstone belonged on the grave of Mary Emily Wilson who was buried in the Cady Cemetery of Palatine Township.

Our Hoffman Estates resident was amazed that the young child’s resting place was found. She never knew how her mother acquired the stone she just knew she had to get it back to little Mary Emily’s grave. She called Terry Kelly, chairman of the Cemetery Committee in Palatine and they came out and picked it up with a promise that the Stonehuggers, a group that volunteers their services to repair and replace headstones in the old cemeteries of our area, would get it back to the child’s grave.

It wasn’t until November 27th that she got word that Mary Emily’s headstone was put back in place. She went out to the cemetery. It was a very emotional visit for her. The peace and quiet of the old Cady Cemetery has inspired her to perhaps volunteer to plant some flowers or help in some way to maintain the cemetery. Her only sadness was that Mary Emily Wilson does not have her first name on the 1856 stone.

This amazing story and the happy ending are due to good records kept by the Wilson family and the preservation of these records of the cemetery by the Palatine Historical Society. A missing piece of history was put back in place. It’s incredible that an 1856 headstone can be replaced in 2017. Mary Emily will have a few more visitors to her grave. She now rests in peace.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian


February 18, 2018

It was a hot, miserable job done at the steamiest time of the year.  It required multiple men, multiple teams of horses, a steam engine and a loud, noisy thresher.  It was a multi-step process that involved removing the seed heads of ripened oats from the stems of the plants.  It was called threshing.

In the early years, before mechanization, threshing was accomplished by cutting down the stalks of grain, gathering it into bundles, allowing it to dry for a bit in the field and then either dragging a roller over it or hitting it with a mallet of some type to separate the grain from the stem.  The point was to have the oats available for the horses and poultry.  The stems–or straw–was used for bedding in the barn.

Once a more easy, mechanized way of accomplishing the job became available, the farmers of Schaumburg Township took to it as quickly as they could afford it.  Because it required both a steam engine to provide the power, and a threshing machine to separate the grain from the straw, this was no small feat. These were both expensive pieces of equipment and required a fair amount of outlay for farmers who were used to getting their work done with horse power.

As a result, a group of farmers who lived near each other, banded together and formed a threshing circle or team to pay for the equipment and do the work.  In most instances the equipment was probably paid for by one farmer who had more funds and was moving beyond subsistence farming.  The others in the circle may or may not have reimbursed him for the cost of the job.

Threshing was done at the farms over the course of a week to a week and a half when the grain was ripe in July or August.  Despite the fact that the hot, muggy conditions were unpleasant, it was still a time that was looked forward to simply because the neighborly camaraderie was something to be enjoyed and appreciated.

During threshing time each farmer began the day at their own farm doing the milking.  Depending on the herd, this took a fair amount of time.  After things were in order on their own farms, they made their way to the farm where the threshing would take place.  Usually, by the time they got there around 7:30, the steam engine’s boiler would have been stoked with wood or coal and would be fired up and ready to go.  Both pieces of equipment were placed close to the barn so that the grain and the straw were in close proximity to the animals who used it.  When they were set to begin, the farmer would blow the whistle of the steam engine as a friendly “All set!” to the surrounding countryside and the other threshing teams that would be working that day.  There was no ambient sound in those days so the toot of the whistle carried well.

The process was begun when one man threw bundles of grain into the threshing machine.  It was powered by the steam engine via a long belt that connected the two pieces of equipment.  As the thresher began the separation process, the grain was routed into bags that were placed in a wagon.  When the wagon was full, it was pulled by a team of horses into the barn.  The heavy bags were then lifted out, carried to the granary and emptied.  This allowed the farmers to reuse the bags and also gave the grain a chance to dry more fully.

Meanwhile, another man would get ready to “shape” the straw pile as the straw was separated from the grain and blown out of the thresher.  There was an art to swinging the blower about as the straw had to be arranged properly to keep rain and snow rolling off of the pile instead of infiltrating it.  If this happened, the straw would dampen, causing mold to form.  Moldy straw wasn’t good for the farmer or the animals so it was crucial that this once-a-year crop was managed perfectly.

Yet another man or two would take a wagon and team of horses out to the fields to pick up a load of grain bundles that had been drying for a few days.  There was yet another method to stacking these bundles.  They would be placed grain side forward in the wagon with the straw end hanging off.  The intent was to not lose any grain if at all possible.  Any grain that fell off was swept up and added to the granary.

While the men were busy working outside, the lady of the house was busy inside preparing the food that was necessary to keep the men going throughout the day.  She usually had assistance from her daughters, a sister, a neighbor or a friend.  Around 9:30 the men would take a break and have a brief “lunch.”  Someone from the house would bring out sandwiches  that were made with summer sausage, lunch meat or some other type of meat.  Donuts, coffee cake, coffee and water would also be part of the meal.  The coffee was brought out in a Karo syrup pail and then served in coffee cups since this was a time before paper cups.

“Dinner” was served at noon and was a chance to briefly clean up and come inside for a full, sit-down meal, although the Stratford Farms threshing crew, pictured above, ate outside under the trees.  The men would wash up at the pump, in buckets or in basins of water before they entered the house to have a seat at the stretched out dining table.  There they were often served a special beef roast, boiled potatoes, gravy, vegetables, homemade bread, canned pickles and, of course, plenty of pies.

Some of the ladies were known for a special item or two.  Oral historian Ramona (Lichthardt) Meyer said their family made their own root beer for the group.  She also mentioned that the table was laid with ironed, white damask tablecloths.  Brother and sister, Donald and Marian Thiemann, mentioned that their mother made her own homemade lemonade, complete with ice, which was a treat. In the words of Elmer Moeller, another oral historian, “The best part of threshing was the eating.  It was out of this world.”

Around 3:30 another “lunch” was served which was a repeat of the morning lunch.  Finally, at 6:00 when they had wrapped up for the day, sometimes a supper consisting of leftovers, fried potatoes, meatloaf, hotdogs, etc. was put out–along with some cold beer that had been cooling all day in the cold water tank used by the cows.  This was probably consumed fairly quickly as the men needed to get back to their farms for another round of milking.   Needless to say, it would have been an exhausting day.

Once the work was done at one farm, the operation was moved to another.  Because the steam engine was so heavy, it had to be driven on the shoulder or across the fields.  If they had to cross the paved roads, they put planks down so the treads of the steam engine wouldn’t dig into the pavement.  It moved very slowly so it took time to drive from farm to farm.  The thresher wasn’t as cumbersome as it could be pulled with a tractor or a team of horses.  Once situated, the process started all over again.

Threshing eventually became obsolete with the advent of the combine which did all of the work for the farmers.  There was no need to bind the bundles of grain or send it through a thresher.  The combine did all of that and even held the grain as it separated from the straw.  It was definitely a more cost effective process but it eliminated the good times, the good eating and the good work.  As Don Thiemann said, “You worked your butt off but you had good fellowship too.”

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

My thanks to LaVonne (Thies) Presley for her comprehensive write up on her family’s threshing methods that she wrote about in her book Schaumburg Of My Ancestors.  She covered every detail of the process and answered any questions I had along the way.  I would also like to thank the oral historians and their family memories of threshing.  Many of them have passed away but listening to their interviews on our library’s Local History Digital Archive is always a chance to walk back in time with them.  You, too, can check out their videos here.

The top photo was taken on the Fred Pfingsten farm on Plum Grove Road and was contributed by the Pfingsten family.

The second photo was donated by the Pastor John Sternberg family and is of an unknown Schaumburg Township farm.

The third and fourth photos were donated by the family of Florence Katherine (Bell) Randall and are of Stratford Farm that was on South Roselle Road.  

We thank them all for their generosity.


February 11, 2018

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

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

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

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

A & W


Argo Tea

Au Bon Pain

Auntie Anne’s (Pretzels)

Beer & Brats

Black Forest Finer Foods

Boudin Sourdough Bakery

Bressler’s 33 Flavors

Bumbleberry  (Pie store)

Cafe Bistro

California Café

Cheesecake Factory

Chill Bubble Tea



Coldstone Creamery

Coney Dogs

Cookie Factory Bakery

Dunkin Donuts

Dutch Mill Candies

Farrell’s Ice Cream Shoppe

Garrett Popcorn

Gloria Jean’s Coffee

Godiva Chocolatier

Grandma’s Soup Tureen

Granny’s Donuts

Greener Fields  (Marshall Fields restaurant)

Hickory Farms

Hot Sam’s

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

Jimmy John’s

John’s Garage

Junior Hot Shoppe Snack Bar

Kinfork BBQ & Tap

Kirby’s/Kerby’s Koney Island

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

Le Creperie (?)

Leeann Chin’s

Level 257

LifeHouse Health Foods  (Juice bar in the store)

Long Grove Confectionary

Lucky’s Diner

Magic Pan

Mars 2112


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

Mr. Submarine

Mrs. Fields

Nestle Tollhouse Cafe

Nordstrom ebar

Nuts on Clark

O’Connell’s Restaurant (Family dining)

Olga’s Kitchen (Greek restaurant)

Orange Bowl Restaurant

Orange Julius

Panda Express

P. F. Chang’s China Bistro

Rainforest Café

Red Robin

Roy Rogers

Ruby Tuesday

Sam’s Pretzels


Sears (Interior restaurant)

Seven Arches  (Marshall Field’s restaurant)

Skolnik’s (bagels)

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


Sweet Factory

The Skewer

The Slicer  (Slicer’s Deli)

The Soup Bar  (At Lord & Taylor’s)

The Submarine


Surf City Squeeze

Taste of Baker’s Square

Texas de Brazil

T.J. Cinnamons (Precursor to Cinnabon)



Tropical Sun Nut and Fruit


Uncle Julio’s

Van’s Belgian Waffles

Vie de France


Wetzel’s Pretzels

Wimpy’s Hamburgers

Yogen Fruz

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

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

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


February 4, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

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







January 28, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian

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


January 21, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library





January 14, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

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