AN AUCTION AT THE BERGMAN FARM

August 30, 2015

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

Farm-Auction

The day was warm and sunny.  Perfect weather for a farm auction, I arrived at Harold Bergman’s farm, on the northwest corner of Ela and Algonquin Rds about 9:15 in the morning.  The open fields behind the steel barn and old chicken house were already filled with cars.  People were milling about, looking in old cardboard boxes that’d been loaded on about a dozen flatbed wagons.  I can only assume that they must have been the hay wagons that Harold filled each time he harvested a new crop of hay from his 36 acre farm.  They were so old and weathered that I thought that I’d get slivers in by backside for sure when I hoisted myself up onto the wagon.

The auctioneer had set up the area in row upon row of farm tools, boxes of household articles, and furniture.  The style of furniture told you much about the many years that it had served the generations of Bergmans, some dating back to the turn of the century and other pieces taking the family into more modern times.

From my perch on the wagon, I had a good view of the auctioneer’s progress. As piece by piece and box after box made its way to the parked cars, it was sad to see the end of another farm especially a farm that had been in existence since the 1860s.

Like most of the farms in the area, the Bergman farm was a dairy farm.  With a herd of approximately 30 cows, the crops to maintain the herd were planted and harvested year after year.  In 1971, after the Cook County Forest Preserve condemned the land, the bulldozers came to tear down the barn that had been erected in 1903, the milk house and the windmill.  The Bergman family sold the dairy herd in the late 60s upon learning of the Forest Preserve’s plans to condemn their land on the south side of Algonquin Rd.  What remained of the farm was the acreage on the north side of Algonquin Rd., the farm house and chicken house.  Only 36 acres of land remained.

Originally, Harold had decided to sew grass to prevent erosion, but then he realized that he could produce a hay crop to sell to local horse owners as well as the race horse owners who raced at Arlington Park Race Track.  Eventually he became the oldest living farmer to be actively farming in Cook County. Last fall he harvested his last crop.  The tractors were parked in the large storage building west of the house. The bales of hay were piled high to the ceiling.  Winter would bring customers who’d load their hay and eventually empty the building of that last spring planting.

As the auctioneer worked his way through the equipment and tractors, I watched Harold, sitting in a lawn chair outside the house he was born in, graciously accept the extended handshakes of well-wishers who stopped by to greet him.

This June Harold will celebrate his 99th birthday. Happy Birthday to an amazing farmer and dear friend.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian
Eagle2064@comcast.net

(The photo is from Saturday Evening Post.)

OTHER GAS STATIONS IN EARLY SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP

August 23, 2015

In researching the last two blog postings on the Kosnik and Sunderlage gas stations, it was impossible not to notice the other stations that were in the area.  Like the homes that seemingly sprang up out of the ground, gas stations did the same.  It makes sense, though, when you consider that all of these homes were developed in an area that was fairly remote and distant–in a suburban sense–from other town centers.  Thus the need for a gas station nearby.

While perusing a 1959 phone book that we own, I looked under the category “Automobile Service Stations” in the yellow pages.  Amazingly enough there were six located in Schaumburg Township.  As you can imagine, most were clustered in the Higgins/Golf/Roselle Road triangle.Sunderlage

They were:

  • Bud & Bob’s Pure Service Station, according to reader Jon Guiney, was on the northwest corner at Higgins and Roselle in Hoffman Estates.  Their ad said they were open every day of the week and offered the following services:  road service, towing, mechanical repairs, free pick up and delivery, brake service and generator and starter service.
  • Kosnik’s Service Station on Higgins Road at Golf.  You can read their story here.
  • Luck’s Cities Service at Golf and Roselle Road on the SE side of the intersection in the Hoffman Estates Plaza.  Myron Luck and his brother built the station around 1957 according to Myron’s daughter Cynthia.  They offered road service, tune ups, ignition, clutch and brake repair.
  • R & W Sinclair Service at Roselle and Golf Roads in Hoffman Estates.  They offered free pickup and delivery, road service, washing, minor repairs, tune ups and brake service.  According to their ad, R & W stood for Ron and Wayne.
  • Edward Sunderlage [station] at Higgins and Golf Roads.  They were an authorized Sinclair dealer and were opened every day of the year.  They did lube jobs and sold accessories and honored credit cards.  You can read their story here.
  • Tony’s Sinclair Service at Higgins and Golf Roads. that was a full service station.  They offered road service and towing, motor tune up, major auto repairs, lube jobs, accessories, batteries, pick up and delivery, and automatic transmission service.  They also had 3 service trucks that did the towing and pick up and delivery.

After looking this list over, I have a few questions and comments for the readers:

  • I find it remarkable that there were three stations at the intersection of Higgins and Golf:  Kosnik’s, Sunderlage and Tony’s.   Each station clearly had their own specialties and a loyal clientele.
  • Which brings us to another point…  Tony’s and Sunderlage’s were directly across the street from one another and they were both Sinclair stations!  Plus, there was another one at Roselle and Golf.  Clearly, this was a popular brand of the time.
  • Being unfamiliar with Cities Service, I quickly discovered that this was the precursor to Citgo.  Do you remember other Cities Service stations in the area?
  • Does anyone recall which corner Bud & Bob’s, Luck’s and R&W’s were on?

Feel free to add any other early gas stations of Schaumburg Township.  There were some in the Golf/Roselle/Higgins triangle that came later.  I’m also fairly certain there were others around Meacham Road.  Your clues will help!

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

 

 

A TALE OF TWO GAS STATIONS (Part 2)

August 16, 2015

Last week it was stated:  It was the best of times for two small gas stations that sat at the crossroads of Higgins and Golf Road in Schaumburg Township.  And the worst of times never happened because both owners did not leave until they retired.  Their stations survived at the junction of these two major roads in Schaumburg Township for over 30 years.  They were Kosnik’s Service Station and the Sunderlage Service Station.   And because of their close proximity, the two station owners were obviously competitors but they were also good friends.  

This week we are telling the tale of the Sunderlage Service Station which was located on the north side of Evanston-Elgin (Golf) Road, just east of the intersection of Higgins and Evanston-Elgin Roads.  It is denoted as the red square on this map.  (The Kosnik Service Station is denoted by the blue box on the map below.)

Service Stations

 

The Sunderlage Service Station was begun in 1932, four years after the Kosnik Service Station.  It was located on the north side of the intersection of Evanston-Elgin and Higgins Roads.  The owners were Edward and Amanda (Gieseke) Sunderlage who married in 1903.

Seven years later, in 1910, the Sunderlages purchased what is today the Vogelei property from Amanda’s father, Friedrick Gieseke Jr.  They took up residence in the small frame home that was on the property and, in 1916, they built the large two-story house that still resides at this location.

Searching for a way to gain some income during the Depression, Edward decided to start a service station on a corner of his property in 1932.  He and his sons, Edmund, Erwin and Marvin moved an old kitchen to the site.  It had been part of the original house that Edward and Amanda lived in and were now using as a tool shed.

They then proceeded to construct a house adjacent to the gas station.  It was built mostly from the lumber of an old barbershop in Palatine and had no indoor plumbing.  Edward’s son and daughter-in-law, Erwin and Ella Sunderlage, along with their children, then moved into the house. Ella managed the service station while Erwin worked as part of a PWA construction crew building local highways. Their third child was born in the house.

Ella added to her income by making and selling slices of pie and coffee to the Depression PWA workers working on the highway. The pie operation was so profitable that it was moved to the basement of her in-law’s home.

In September 1936, her father-in-law, Edward, suffered a back injury and was unable to continue farming.  It was decided that the two families would switch places.  Erwin, Ella and their three children moved to the farm and Edward and Amanda moved to the gas station.  (The farm was later sold in 1941 to Chester and Esther Christiansen who sold it to Ida Vogelei in 1952.)

Edward and Amanda Sunderlage operated the gas station for the next 27 years, eventually becoming Sinclair dealers.  According to the 1959 telephone directory, the station offered Sinclair products, lubrications and accessories.  They honored credit cards and were open daily, including Sundays and holidays, until 10:00 p.m.

1659a

 

During these years indoor plumbing and a porch were added. A separate two-car garage was built near the back, trees were planted and large stones were placed to delineate the grass areas from the gravel driveways.  It was also during this time, that the service station served as a pickup spot for milk for the local farmers. They would gather at the station while waiting for the milk truck to arrive and share the latest gossip and news.

Edward and Amanda retired in 1965 and sold the service station to developers. The two-car garage was dismantled by Edmund and his sons and rebuilt on their farm near Hampshire, IL. The remaining buildings were torn down.  Only the Vogelei House and Barn remain on the original Gieseke/Sunderlage property.

Thus ends the Tale of the Two Gas Stations.  If you have any memories of the Sunderlage Service Station, please do share them with us.  We’d be happy to hear your stories!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

Many of the details written here and the photo of the gas station were graciously provided by the Sunderlage family.  My thanks to them for sharing their family’s history.  

A TALE OF TWO GAS STATIONS (Part 1)

August 9, 2015

It was the best of times for two small gas stations that sat at the crossroads of Higgins and Evanston-Elgin (Golf) Roads in Schaumburg Township.  And, fortunately, the worst of times never happened because both owners did not leave until they retired.  Their stations survived at the junction of these two major roads in Schaumburg Township for over 30 years.  They were Kosnik’s Service Station and the Sunderlage Service Station.   Because of their close proximity, the two station owners were obviously competitors but they were also good friends.

[The location of the Kosnik station is denoted by the blue box on the map.  The Sunderlage station is denoted by the red box.]

Service Stations 2

The first station to open was Kosnik’s.  According to a Daily Herald article from July 14, 1960, Anton Kosnik opened his station in 1928.  It was located on the west side of the point of the intersection.  The building faced east towards the point and was accessible from either Higgins or Evanston-Elgin roads.  It was closest to Evanston-Elgin; thus, the largest entrance was off of that road with a U-shaped entrance giving access to Higgins.

Mr. Kosnik began selling gas shortly after he married his wife Hermina around 1927.  Making it easy on themselves, the Kosniks built a house to the west of the station, directly across Higgins from the Vogelei House.  There they raised their three children and ran the station into the 1960s.  (It may have BEEN 1960 because the Daily Herald article recognized Mr. Kosnik’s 25 years of service and there is no further mention of him after this date.)

By 1935 Mr. Kosnik was a Standard Oil dealer. Not only did he sell gas and provide basic automotive services but he also shared his home and business with travellers during a blizzard in December 1950.

Snow began falling early on Thursday, December 14, 1950 and by 4:30 the roads began drifting shut due to high winds.  The Kosniks began taking in people who had abandoned their cars on the roadside and were still doing it at 2:00 in the morning.

According to a Daily Herald article from December 15, 1950, “the Kosnik’s home and station overflowed with 45 people.  The Kosniks gave up their beds and distributed blankets and pillows as far as they would go.  Hot soup and coffee were served all night [with] the Kosniks staying up and checking to see that everyone was comfortable.  In the morning they prepared breakfast for everyone, the last of the refugees leaving for their respective homes Friday afternoon.”  Such was the nature of life in rural Schaumburg Township.  Neighbors helping neighbors.

Maybe you remember the Kosnik Service Station and Mr. Kosnik?  Or your parents might have bought gas or had their car serviced there?  Maybe you have a good recollection of when his station closed?  If so, please feel free to leave a comment.  

Next week, it’s the tale of the other gas station!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

Use of the map was graciously granted by the Cook County Highway Department.  Recollections of the Kosnik Service Station, house and family were graciously shared by the Sunderlage family and Larry Nerge.

 

 

SCHAUMBURG CENTER SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE

August 2, 2015

The Schaumburg Township Historical Society will sponsor an open house of the Schaumburg Center School on Sunday, August 09, 2015.  The open house will be held from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m.  The schoolhouse is located on the St. Peter Lutheran Church property.

Constructed in 1872–and first called Sarah’s Grove School, it is believed to have been the first of five public schools in Schaumburg Township. It was later renamed Schween’s Grove School and called Schaumburg Centre Public School until 1954. For 82 years, the building served as a one-room schoolhouse, and was the last active one room schoolhouse in District 54.

With the widening of Schaumburg Road, the building was saved from demolition and temporarily placed on the grounds of the Town Square Shopping Center in 1979. It was permanently relocated to the St. Peter Lutheran Church property in September, 1981. It has been fully restored as a museum and is under the auspices of the Schaumburg Township Historical Society.

A LOOK AT TWO CIVIL WAR SOLDIERS FROM SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP

July 26, 2015

Civil War

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

During the Civil War while many of the men who enlisted to fulfill the Schaumburg Township quota were paid replacements, some local men did serve.  Two local men were members of the 8th Illinois Cavalry:  George Sager, Co. E, 8th IL Cavalry (1843-1879) and John P. Sharp, Co. D, 8th IL Cavalry (1838/9-1862).

John P. Sharp was born in NY and farmed with his father in Schaumburg Township in section 34, in the far southeastern part of the township, according to the 1860 Census and 1861 plat map. He enlisted at Bloomingdale, IL for 3 years in September 1861.  His regiment went by train to Washington City (D. C.).  He was admitted to the hospital in January and died of disease in February 1862.  According to National Park Service information, the 8th IL Cavalry lost 7 officers and 68 enlisted men, killed and mortally wounded and 1 officer and 174 enlisted men by disease.

sager 1George S. Sager was also born in NY and in the 1860 Census he was farming with his father in section 9, in an area north of present day Hoffman Estates High School.  His father and younger siblings are buried at Greve Cemetery in Hoffman Estates.  During his military service he was wounded by a ball in the left thigh at the charge of Barbees Cross Roads, VA. and captured July 3, 1864 at Monocacy, MD, and was prisoner of war in Richmond, VA.  He survived the war but died at 35 leaving a widow and four children.  Her petitions for widow’s benefits attributed his early death to his military service.

Sunday, July 26 from Noon to 4 pm the Historical Sites Commission and the Hoffman Estates Museum will host an Open House at Sunderlage farmhouse, 1775 Vista Lane, Hoffman Estates.  Featured at this event will be the 8th Illinois Volunteer Cavalry who will show equipment and camp life of the Civil War cavalry men.

The Kishwaukee Ramblers will provide musical entertainment beginning at 1:30 pm and the Schaumburg Township Historical Society will have an ice cream social with free ice cream with your choice of toppings.

Many thanks to Nancy Lyons who provided the historic details of the Schaumburg Township men who served in the Civil War.

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

The Sager tombstone was gratefully added from findagrave.com

SUNDERLAGE FARMHOUSE OPEN HOUSE & ICE CREAM SOCIAL

July 19, 2015

Join the Hoffman Estates Historical Sites Commission as they conduct tours of the Sunderlage Farmhouse at their annual open house.  The 8th IL Cavalry Civil War volunteers will also be holding an encampment on the grounds.  Also included in the event is a free petting zoo of farm animals as well as pony rides.   Cookies and refreshments will be served.

In addition, the Schaumburg Township Historical Society is sponsoring an ice cream social.  Come see how ice cream was made before we had Baskin Robbins or Dairy Queen.    If you enjoy socializing, learning about history and eating ice cream then stop by.  This is free but, as always, a donation will be accepted for the ice cream or our Raise the Flag Fund.

Take this opportunity to view this historical farmhouse and its National Register smokehouse, talk to the Civil War reenactors,  check out the cute animals and eat some delicious ice cream!

When:  Sunday, July 26, 2015 from 1-3 p.m.
Where:  Sunderlage Farmhouse at 1775 Vista Lane, Hoffman Estates

LOOKING FOR COLOR PHOTOS OF SCHAUMBURG FROM THE ’60s AND ’70s

July 12, 2015

 

Arcadia

In 2004, this wonderful book, written by Betsy Armistead and the Village of Schaumburg, appeared on the scene.  It was put out by Arcadia Publishing and is similar in nature to many of the books they publish, with its many photos and captions.

It was an immediate local hit because it was only the second pictorial history of the area in existence.  An easy book to peruse and immerse yourself in, you can quickly bring yourself up to speed on the history of this village.

In wonderful news, another book is now being considered by the Village, with a focus on the modern, suburban era of Schaumburg.

As a result, they are looking for good quality, color photos from the 1960s and 1970s for inclusion.  

In the case of the first book, about half of the photos were gracious donations from the private collections of local residents who grew up and/or lived in the area.  They are hoping that there is more to be found.

So, the question is…

  • Were you and your family living in Schaumburg in the 1960s or 1970s?
  • Maybe your family owned a local business?
  • Were you at a local event like Septemberfest?
  • Did you participate in happenings that organizations like the Jaycees had to offer?
  • Did you go to a Schaumburg public or private school?
  • Did you build a house in Schaumburg or work at a local business?
  • Were you lucky enough to  see someone famous at Woodfield or one of the other businesses?
  • Were you part of the beginning of one of the community’s churches?

If you can answer yes to any of these questions–and you have a photo you would be willing to share for possible inclusion in the book–we would love to hear from you!

The 60’s and 70’s were a time of big growth for this area.  People were proud of their newly built homes, schools and businesses and HAD to have taken photos.  We know they’re out there, it’s just a matter of finding them.   If you have one–or many– to share, please contact me at jrozek@stdl.org and we can get the ball rolling!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

 

 

SCHAUMBURG CENTER SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE

July 5, 2015

The Schaumburg Township Historical Society will sponsor an open house of the Schaumburg Center School on Sunday, July 12, 2015.  The open house will be held from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m.  The schoolhouse is located on the St. Peter Lutheran Church property.

Constructed in 1872–and first called Sarah’s Grove School, it is believed to have been the first of five public schools in Schaumburg Township. It was later renamed Schween’s Grove School and called Schaumburg Centre Public School until 1954. For 82 years, the building served as a one-room schoolhouse, and was the last active one room schoolhouse in District 54.

With the widening of Schaumburg Road, the building was saved from demolition and temporarily placed on the grounds of the Town Square Shopping Center in 1979. It was permanently relocated to the St. Peter Lutheran Church property in September, 1981. It has been fully restored as a museum and is under the auspices of the Schaumburg Township Historical Society.

OLD SETTLER’S PICNIC AT VOLKENING HERITAGE FARM

July 1, 2015

Volkening home

Travel back in time and experience the rural community of Schaumburg’s youth.  First generation German immigrants brought their culture and traditions to Schaumburg, including a strong sense of community and fellowship.

Bring a family picnic and partake in the merriment as historical intrepretive staff re-enact a summer day in the 1880’s.

SATURDAY, JULY 11, 2015
Noon – 3 p.m.

Volkening Heritage Farm at Spring Valley
201 S. Plum Grove Road, Schaumburg

Free Admission
*Adult beverages, soft drinks and food will be available for purchase.

For more information, call the Heritage Farm at 847-985-2102 or visit http://www.parkfun.com

 


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