Zipping along on a monorail system in Schaumburg actually began as a possibility in the early 1990s. The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) formally began discussions in 1990, seeking proposals from various suburbs to serve as a test site. The village of Schaumburg leapt at the idea and submitted a Personal Rapid Transit application, hoping to run a Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system within the village.

Credit to the Village of Schaumburg. Source: Schaumburg PRT Application. 1991

Their plan was a 2.5-mile route that ran from the Schaumburg Corporate Center at the southern limit to Unocal and Century Centre I, north of Golf Road, at the northern limit.

Stops along the way would include: Woodfield Mall, Woodfield Park Plaza I, II and III, Century Centre II and Hyatt Hotel, a proposed Pace transit center and Zurich Towers which, at the time were the two big towers along Meacham Road. Unfortunately, after submitting their proposal and waiting for another three years, they eventually lost out to Rosemont in April of 1993. [Chicago Tribune, April 16, 1993]

The plan did not officially die because, in 1994, PRT Systems, Inc. of Chicago Heights took the village’s proposal a step further and submitted their own plan to the Schaumburg village board. Their idea was similar in that the monorail system would be built in the Woodfield Shopping Center business district. Their plan was 2.15 miles long and included 70 coaches that held four people. [Daily Herald; December 7, 1994]

The village did not agree to the proposal but, two years later, in April 1996, PRT Systems came back with another plan. This project was to build a more expanded “Personal Rapid Transit” (PRT) system, similar to the monorail at O’Hare Airport. [Chicago Tribune; June 12, 1996] It would be a 4.5 mile circuit, connecting businesses, office buildings, the proposed Roosevelt University and shopping in the Woodfield area.

Credit to the Daily Herald for this April 10, 1996 map.

An earlier Chicago Tribune article from April 24 stated that Schaumburg officials passed a resolution supporting the proposal but did not intend for any tax dollars to be used in building it. The developers, PRT Systems Inc. of Chicago Heights and San Diego-based Land Eagle Development, hoped to raise $38 million in private funding and finance the system through a private association of Woodfield area businesses.

The June 12 Tribune article stated that the system would carry up to 15,000 riders a day. Fares, projected at 50 cents a ride from the projected ridership, and advertising revenues would help to maintain the monorail.

The proposed system would have a 4.5-mile circuit with to up to 10 stations connected to the second stories of buildings in the area. As can be seen in this map from the April 10 Daily Herald, the proposed system would have the Hyatt Hotel and Woodfield Green Shopping Center as the northern terminals and the Schaumburg Corporate Center and One Schaumburg Place shopping center as the southern terminals.

This was the sort of monorail car that PRT Systems had proposed in 1976 to the city of Fort Lauderdale. Source: James M. Cannon files at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library.

The Chicago Tribune article from June 12 further states, “Supporters of the 4.5-mile PRT system say it would ease traffic congestion by keeping more cars parked and letting shuttle riders zip back and forth among office buildings, shopping centers and hotels in four- to six-passenger vehicles that hang from a rail guideway like ski gondolas.”

The cars would also have monitors broadcasting ads for Woodfield businesses to riders and be programmed to deliver riders to their destinations without making intervening stops.

By the end of 1996 Woodfield Mall backed out of support for the PRT system, with the Mall’s general manager saying, “It’s not a proven entity” as stated in the September 5 issue of the Daily Herald.

Though the developers were still interested in the project, the loss of Woodfield Mall effectively killed it. Schaumburg’s monorail wound up unbuilt, like the equally futuristic 2,000 ft. Schaumburg Space Needle once planned for the intersection of I-290 and I-90 in 1969.

If the monorail system proposal sounds hauntingly familiar, you may be recalling the 1993 “The Simpsons” episode when Springfield got its own futuristic monorail system.

Tom Holmberg
Reference Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


While stopped at the intersection of Irving Park and Barrington Road in Hanover Park in 1970, you might have seen the green dragon waving at you.

He was standing on the northeast corner of the intersection, outside of the newly opened St. George and the Dragon restaurant, in front of the Tradewinds Shopping Center.

If you waved back, it was most likely Steve Struckman you were waving to.

“I was the first one wearing that costume,” Steve said. “I would stand outside the restaurant at the corner of Route 19 and Barrington Roads and wave to people in cars, especially if there were kids inside. If someone had a birthday inside the restaurant, a waitress would come get me and I would help sing Happy Birthday to them at their table. I also held the entrance door open for guests coming in to dine.”

He continued, “As the evenings wore on and the “kid crowd” wound down, the costume came off and I picked up busboy and end-of-night cleanup tasks. The costume stayed at the restaurant. I was a sophomore at Schaumburg High School at the time, and some of the teachers would stop in for dinner, and I would greet them by name and they couldn’t tell who it was in the costume. Funny times, and all for $1.75/hour.” 

The popular restaurant opened sometime in 1970. An article in the April 22, 1970 Daily Herald said that the Angel Food Corp., which incorporated in 1968 and developed St. George and the Dragon restaurants, would receive a beer and liquor license for its Hanover Park establishment.

Later, in July, another article appeared on the 9th saying that ground had been broken for the establishment. Those present were: Elaine Mars, Hanover Park village clerk; Angeli Angelos, president of Angel Food Systems; Jerry Wilke, vice president of Contracting and Consulting Corporation; Ralph Kanehl, Hanover Park building inspector; Anthony Iuro, architect; and attorney Bernard Davis who represented Angel Food Systems.

By December 23, an ad announcing the grand opening celebration was in the paper. They were offering informal family dining and a coupon good for a free pitcher of soft drink and a free basket of onion rings. In addition, you could “Come meet our Happy Green Dragon” and get “balloons for all the kiddies.”

The restaurant style was an old English motif with a basic pub menu, featuring pickles and peanuts on the tables. A New Year’s Eve ad from December 6, 1972 offered skirt steak, golden fried chicken or old English fish and chips with a salad and dessert.

By this time, other restaurants in the chain were located in Palatine and Matteson. The Niles location had already come and gone.

Steve had also moved on. He said, “Woodfield Mall opened in 1971 and I moved to being a busboy at the Woodfield Inn, upstairs, directly across from Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor. I traded in my dragon costume for an apron, white shirt, and dark pants. I also got a $0.25 raise to $2.00/hour.”

The Hanover Park restaurant maintained its identity for a few more years. By 1977 or, possibly, a bit earlier, St. George and the Dragon had become the Full House restaurant. And, much later, a Blockbuster Video.

Photo credit to Wikimapia.

As part of my email interview with Steve, I asked him if he had any photos of him in his green dragon suit. His response was, “The only pictures out there with me in them would have been with the customers that celebrated birthdays.”

So, my question to you is, are you one of those kids? Because it would be a truly wonderful addition to this blog post. If so, send it my way to the email address below. I think we can safely say, it would be great fun to see that green dragon again.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


This is an update of a blog post that ran in the summer of 2020. After garnering a number of responses, the dates and info for each park have been added thanks to the Park District’s website and articles and press releases in the Daily Herald. If there are additional details that you can contribute, please add a comment or send me an email to jrozek@stdl.org.

There are innumerable parks in Schaumburg Township. Some large, some small. Many were given to the villages when property was being developed. Some serve as community centers, some as neighborhood parks and some as water retention basins too.

While I recognize the names of some of the parks listed below, I thought it might be interesting to throw this out to the readership and see what you can tell me.

If you know who or what the parks are named for, it would be most helpful. Giving a time period when the park opened would be an added bonus.

Any memories you would like to share would be great too!

We’ll start with the parks in Schaumburg and move on to the other villages in the township.

If you’d like to leave a comment, please do so. If you’d rather email me at jrozek@stdl.org, that would be fine too. I will update the list as the comments come in.

In any case, thank you for your local history contribution!

Abrahamsen Park. Named for Schaumburg’s first fire chief, Lloyd Abrahamsen who retired in 1980. The park was dedicated on April 30, 1982.

Atcher Island.  Named for Mayor Robert O. Atcher, the second mayor of Schaumburg. 2005. The water park replaced Atcher Pool.

Atcher Park.  Named for Mayor Robert O. Atcher, the second mayor of Schaumburg. (ca. 1969) Atcher Pool opened in the summer of 1971.

Belle Park. Named for its location on Belle Lane.

Bock Neighborhood Center. Named for Robert Bock, one of the presidents of the Schaumburg Park District board. He served from 1971-1980. The new pool and recreation center opened in June 1980.

Bock Park. Named for Robert Bock, one of the first founders and board members of the Park District. He also served the first president of the Schaumburg Park District board. It was formerly called Civic Park which opened in 1963. Dedicated as Bock Park in 1979.

Bond Park. Named for Elaine Bond, one of the first founders of the Schaumburg Park District, the first secretary of the Schaumburg Park District Board from 1963-1978 and the first secretary of the Schaumburg Park District office. The park was previously named Webster-Warwick Park for the two streets that intersected at the park. Ca. 1977-1979.

Brandenburg Park. Named for longtime Schaumburg Park District board member, John Brandenburg who served from 1968 to 2000. Dedicated in 1982.

Briar Pointe Park. Named for the Briar Pointe Condominiums development where it is located. Dedicated ca. 2000.

Bunker Hill Park. Named for the Battle of Bunker Hill. It is also just down the street from Paul Revere Park so, possibly, the Revolutionary theme was intentional?

Campanelli Park.  Named for Alfred Campanelli who developed the Weathersfield subdivision. Date unknown.

Colony Lake Park. Named for the Colony Lake Condominiums development where it is located. Dedicated ca. late 1970s.

Community Recreation Center. Facility opens in 1980.

Connelly Park. Named for Margaret A. Connelly, who served as a board member  of the Schaumburg Park District from 1979-1997. She also served as president of the board during this time. Park dedicated in 1996.

Copley Park. Named for the Shops at Copley Center on Golf Road that were completed in 1989. The Park District took over the park in 1997 after the industrial park officials who ran the park made improvements and ceded it to the park district. On October 1, 2014 the park’s name and purpose was changed to the K-9 Dog Park.

Cove Park. Named for the Spring Cove subdivision where it is located.

Derda Park. Named for Paul Derda, who served as the first administrator of the Schaumburg Park District from 1968-1978. Ca. 1980

Doherty Park. Named for Mike Doherty, a longtime board member of the Schaumburg Park District. Dedicated in 1993.

Dooley Park.  Named for Thomas Dooley, the humanitarian. Adjacent to Dooley School which opened in 1966.

Duxbury Park.  Named for Duxbury Lane where it is located in the Weathersfield subdivision. Date unknown.

Eagle Park.  Likely named for the Lunar Excursion Module or LEM that Buzz Aldrin piloted during the landing on the moon. Buzz Aldrin Elementary School is part of Eagle Park. Ca. 1971 when the school opened.

Einstein Park.  Named for Albert Einstein, the theoretical physicist. Adjacent to Einstein School which opened in 1974.

Falk Park. Named for James Falk, former commissioner and president of the Schaumburg Park District board. Served from 1967-71. Adjacent to Nathan Hale School. Announced June 10, 1971.

Freedom Park.  Dedicated to the Iran hostages, the freedom this country represents and to those throughout the world pursuing freedom. Dedicated on April 30, 1982.

Golf & Knollwood Park. Named for its location at Golf Road and Knollwood Drive. Dedicated ca. 1995-1996.

Gray Farm Park & Conservation Area. Named for Dr. Herbert Gray who was the long time owner of the farm where the conservation area is. Dedicated ca. 1978.

Hilltop Park. Named for the Hilltop Manor subdivision where it is located. Dedicated in 1984.

Hoover Park. Initially named for J. Edgar Hoover, as was the school that surrounds the park. The name was later changed to honor Herbert Hoover. Dedicated ca. 1974-75 after the school opened.

Jaycee Park. Named for and funded by the Schaumburg Jaycees. The park was turned over to the park district on June 1, 1974.

Jerry Handlon Administration Building. Named for Jerry Handlon who served as the longtime administrator of the Park District from 1978-2004. Dedicated in 2004.

K-9 Dog Park. Formerly, Copley Park, the name and purpose was changed on October 1, 2014.

Kay Wojcik Conservation Area at Oak Hollow. Named for Kathleen “Kay” Wojcik who served as Schaumburg Township Clerk and in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1983-2003 and in the Illinois Senate from 2003-2005. Dedicated May 23, 2009.

Ken Alley Safety Park.  Named for Ken Alley, who served as Schaumburg Chief of Police from 1987 to 1994. Park opened in September 1997.

Kessell Park. Named for Ray Kessell, the third mayor of Schaumburg who served on the village board from 1963-1975 and then as mayor from 1975-1979. Dedicated on August 11, 1979.

Kingsport East Park. Named for the Kingsport Village East subdivision where it is located. Dedicated ca. 1983.

Kingsport Lake Park. Named for the Kingsport Village subdivision where it is located. Dedicated in 1985.

Knollwood Park. Named for its location on Knollwood Drive.

Lancer Creek/Twin Ponds Park. Named for its location in the Lancer Park subdivision and the two ponds that are part of the park.

Levitt Detentions. Named for its location in a subdivision developed by Levitt & Sons.

Liberty Park. It is possible it is named for its proximity to Paul Revere Park and  Bunker Hill Park.

Linden Park. The naming information is unknown. The park was dedicated ca. 1994.

McLemore Park. Named for Douglas O. McLemore who served on the park district board as a trustee and as president from 1974-1983. Dedicated in 1993.

Meineke Park. Named for Ellsworth Meineke, who was one of the first Schaumburg village trustees and served as chairman of the first Schaumburg Plan Commission. He was also one of the founders of the Spring Valley Nature Center. Dedicated ca. 1971.

Meineke Recreation Center. Named for Ellsworth Meineke, who was one of the first Schaumburg village trustees and served as chairman of the first Schaumburg Plan Commission. He was also one of the founders of the Spring Valley Nature Center. Originally opened as the Meineke Community Center and dedicated February 27, 1972.

Merkle Cabin at Spring Valley. Named for Frank Merkle who owned much of the land where Spring Valley is today. The Merkle family purchased the property in 1942 and the Park District acquired it after Frank Merkle’s death in 1979. Dedicated November 21, 1981.

Mraz Park. Named for Edward Smith Mraz, the first attorney for the Schaumburg Park District. Dedicated in 1991.

Nantucket Park. Naming is unknown. Dedication ca. 1986.

Olde Nantucket Park. Named for the Nantucket Cove subdivision where it is located. Dedicated ca. 1975.

Olde Salem Park. This park’s name continued the New England theme of the Weathersfield subdivision. Dedicated in 1984.

Olympic Park. Dedicated June 1, 1996.

Park St. Claire Conservation Area. Named for the Park St. Claire subdivision where it is located. Dedicated ca. 1991.

Pat Shepard Center. Named for Patricia Shepard, the park district’s long-time early childhood supervisor, who began in this position in 1986. The center was dedicated in her name in May 1994.

Paul Revere Park. Named for the US patriot during the American Revolution. Dedication date is unknown

Pembroke Park. Named for nearby streets Pembroke Drive and Pembroke Court. Dedicated ca. 1990.

Pochet Park. Named for Pochet Lane where it is located. Both are likely named for Pochet Island off the coast of Cape Cod. Dedication date is unknown

Polk Brach Park. Named for Polk, and Frank and Helen Brach who had farms bordered by Higgins, Meacham, Schaumburg and Plum Grove Roads. Dedicated ca. 1992-1993.

Prairie Park. Named for the prairie land in the area. Dedicated ca. 1986.

Roberts Park. Named for Joseph F. Roberts who served on the park district board from 1973 to 1981. Dedicated 1982.

Russ Parker Park. Named for Schaumburg’s longtime chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals who served from 1967 to 1986. He then went on to serve the Schaumburg Park District’s long-range planning committee from 1987 to 1993 and then its joint advisory committee until 2005. The park was dedicated in his name in 2006.

Ruth MacIntyre Conservation Area. Named for the longtime 8th grade science teacher at Frost Junior High who was active in environmental and conservation concerns and created a 13-acre sanctuary adjacent to the school that ballooned to the 36-acre conservation area. She taught in District 54 schools from 1956-1979. Rededicated on September 24, 1994 from Munao Park to the above named conservation area.

Salk Parks.  Named for Jonas Salk, the doctor who used the in-vitro culture to develop the polio vaccine that is still given to children today. The parks also surround Enders-Salk School that opened in 1976. Dedication date is unknown.

Savannah Trace Park. Named for the Savannah Trace Apartments development where it is located. Dedicated ca. 1985.

Schaumburg Baseball Stadium. The Schaumburg Flyers began their inaugural season in 1999. It was subsequently renamed Alexian Field and Boomers Stadium. It is now known as Wintrust Field and is wholly owned by the Village of Schaumburg.

Schaumburg Golf Club. Purchased and opened in September 1989. Grand opening is in 1993.

Schaumburg Regional Airport.  The Village of Schaumburg purchased the airport in 1994 and gave it this name.

Schaumburg Tennis Plus. Purchased and opened in 1998.

Sheffield Ridge Park. Named for the Sheffield Towne subdivision where it is located. Dedicated ca. 1969-1971.

Slingerland Park. Named for Walter Slingerland who served as one of the village of Schaumburg’s first village trustees from 1956-1969. 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. Dedicated ca. 1981.

Sport Center. Grand opening October 18, 2003.

Spring Valley Nature Sanctuary. Named for the artesian springs that could be found in the area. Opened in 1983.

Sunset Park. Named for its location on Sunset Drive. Dedication date unknown.

Terada Park.  Named for Henry Terada, the Schaumburg Park District treasurer from 1964 to 1971. The park was named in 1971.

The Water Works. Opened in 1995.

Timbercrest Park. Named for the Timbercrest subdivision where it is located. Dedicated ca. 1970-71.

Vera Meineke Nature Center at Spring Valley. Named for Vera Meineke, wife of Ellsworth Meineke, who served as a trustee on the early village boards. Ellsworth and Vera were very active in the formation of Spring Valley. Vera gave $50,000 to be used for construction of a natural interpretation building that became this nature center. It opened in 1985.

Veterans Park. Named for the military veterans who have served our country. Dedicated July 12, 1997.

Village in the Park. Named for the Village in the Park Apartments where it is located. Dedicated ca. 1970.

Volkening Heritage Farm at Spring Valley. Named for longtime, local resident  Fred Volkening who left money in his will for the park district. The farm opened in 1995 and the grand opening was in 1997.

Volkening Lake. Named for the family of Fred and Carrie Volkening whose farm was on the northwest corner of Salem and Schaumburg Roads. The park district began leasing the lake from the village of Schaumburg in the late 1970s.

Walnut Greens Golf Course. Grand opening was May 14, 1988.

Woodstock Park. It is presumably named for the site of the famous music festival in Woodstock, NY. Dedication date is unknown.

Zocher Park. Named for Andrew Zocher who served on the park district board from 1980 until his sudden death in 1984. Keller Park was renamed in his honor in August 1985.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

*The top photo is of Atcher Pool with credit to the former Profile Publications, Inc. of Crystal Lake, IL. The photo was used in the 1978 Northwest Suburban Association of Commerce and Industry (NSACI) annual yearbook.

*Credit for the photos of Connelly and Slingerland Parks is to Homes By Marco.


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

As promised, this is part 2 of the opening of our first Suburban Bank of Hoffman Estates. In doing further research into the startup of our first bank, I’ve talked to several important resources. 

I spoke to Senator Peter Fitzgerald, son of Gerald F. Fitzgerald one of  the founders of our bank. He was kind enough to send a book on the history of the bank titled Suburban Bank Corp., Inc. 1961-1994. I also spoke with the widow of architect John A. Mayes who designed our unique 6-sided Suburban Bank of Hoffman Estates. 

The bank’s history book told of the unique design by Mayes as having striated, hand-hammered concrete walls.  I learned that Pepper Construction, a 90-year-old, family-owned company in Barrington, had built our bank. I’ve reached out to them to see if they also created  those concrete walls. I learned that concrete construction is a large part of their construction history.  Hopefully I’ll learn if they hand hammered those walls. Their records may not go back 50 years but I’m told that some of the oldest senior staff may remember. 

Mrs. John (Jack) A. Mayes told of her husband’s work with Suburban Bank Corp. She said that they had him design all of their 20 banks and 36 branches in the northwest and western suburbs. Mr. Mayes was licensed to build in 17 states and designed 1400 banks in his career. 

She said that his designs always gave a bank the option to expand if need be.  Our bank did just that when it added the drive-up banking area to one of the six sides on the north east section. 

I asked if he had received an award for our bank’s design but she said he had received so many awards during his architectural career she couldn’t answer that for me. Since then I’ve searched for an award for the bank. In the history book it stated that the bank was ”an award-winning landmark hexagon structure” but I’ve not found any information about any award for Suburban Bank of Hoffman Estates, architect John A. Mayes, or Pepper Construction.  

The new bank building opened in April of 1970 and a 10 day celebration included prizes such as a Motorola Quasar TV, clock radios and a phonograph (remember those).  One of the grand prizes was a “Swinger.” I don’t recall what this was.  Do you?

One of the most exciting days at the bank was on December 8, 1972.  Zsa Zsa Gabor visited the bank to promote a new line of synthetic diamonds. There was quite a crowd and perhaps her perfume lingers in the lobby to this day.    

Suburban Bank of Hoffman Estates did so well that it was able to pay a dividend in just its second year in business. Mr. Gerald F. Fitzgerald, president of our bank in 1970, was quoted in the June, 20, 1969 Arlington Heights Daily Herald saying “Hoffman Estates was the second largest city in the United States without a bank”.  Well we’ve had our own bank on Roselle Road in the Golf Center for 50 years now and how nice that it’s doing well.

Our first bank had Jack Hoffman, builder of Hoffman Estates, on the bank board and I also learned that Senator Peter Fitzgerald worked at our bank in 1978 when he was a young man. Suburban Bank Corp. merged with Harris Bankmont, Inc. in 1994. Now we’re BMO Harris Bank.

I’ll always remember the large maple leaf that was the bank’s logo.

 Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Village Historian


Irving Park Road

This wonderful photo of Irving Park Road in Hanover Park found its way to my Inbox and it’s irresistible to examine.

The photo was taken sometime in the early 1980s after this stretch of Irving Park was widened to four lanes in 1980. It appears that the photo was taken in the median, near the intersection of Cumberland Drive and Irving Park, where the Hanover Park Branch of the Schaumburg Township District Library is today.

There are three stop lights in the photo. The closest one to the photographer is at Kingsbury Drive which runs along the back of the Tradewinds Shopping Center. The next one is at the shopping center itself and the one in the far background is at the intersection with Barrington Road.

If we take a look at the businesses on the south side of Irving Park Road, the first one, with a wonderfully iconic Grecian sign, is the Corfu Restaurant. It was located at 1311 Irving Park Road and owned by George Kamvisas for 12 years, possibly from 1977 to 1991. The first time it was advertised in the Daily Herald was in 1977. A corporation search of the Illinois Secretary of State finds that they were incorporated in January 1977 and dissolved in June 1997.

A November 26, 1978 issue of the Daily Herald mentions that the Corfu was open from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. on weekdays and 24 hours on the weekends. So, it was very much a typical Greek restaurant that you find in the Chicago suburbs, with a family dinner menu but, also, a salad bar and cocktails. The 20-year run must have yielded a lot of faithful customers. Maybe you know what business took its place because, unfortunately, the building is no longer there.

The next business is Taco Bell with their iconic sign of the 1970s and beyond. They were at 1321 Irving Park Road. Judging by a December 27, 1978 block ad in the Daily Herald advertising all positions, with all of the benefits listed, one has to assume two things. This restaurant was brand new at the time. And we are narrowing the date of the photo down to somewhere between 1978 and early 1980.

Adjacent to Taco Bell is MacCleen’s Auto Wash at 1325 W. Irving Park Road. They are advertising $2 washes–and that they’re open. According to commenter, Bill Shelly, the car wash had two lanes.

Kentucky Fried Chicken is next, with their even more iconic sign. Colonel Sanders’ face graces the round bucket that sat atop the pole. We can all picture the red and white of the lower KFC sign and of the building itself. Their address was 1501 Irving Park Road.

Midas is next at 1505 Irving Park Road, with its distinctive font on both the sign along the road, and the name on the side of the building. It appears that this was the point in time where the business had begun to go by the simple name of Midas rather than Midas Muffler. They are still in business, at the same location, over 40 years later!

The building next door houses the Pic-Way Shoe Mart at 1509 Irving Park Road.
In a March 1, 1979 ad it states there “is a shoe for every job at Pic-Way.” It was a self-serve shoe store, similar to DSW or Famous Footwear. The store advertised for help in the Daily Herald for a few years but then the ads died off after 1980. It has to be assumed that is probably when the business closed at this location. It is possible road construction affected their foot traffic.

Dunkin Donuts was just to the west at 1511 Irving Park Road. The first time the store appeared in an April 28, 1978 Daily Herald ad was in conjunction with other northwest suburb Dunkin Donut locations. The address is now home to Country Style Donuts so the location hasn’t strayed too far from its earlier roots.

McDonalds was next to the Dunkin Donuts and opened in late 1970 at 1519 Irving Park Road. Kenneth Chase, Sr., one of the commenters pointed out that, if you zoom in, you can actually see one of the golden arches.

Goodyear is adjacent to Dunkin Donuts at 1539 Irving Park Road. They appeared to go back as far as 1976 in the Daily Herald and, in ads from that time period, it appears they sold not only tires but appliances like TVs, microwaves, washers, dryers, etc. Who remembers that part of their repertoire?

The next sign we can make out appears to be Kane and the only reference I could find to that name is Kane Beverage Mart which was at 1555 W. Irving Park Road. It was, according to an ad, “just east of Barrington Road.” It is the only business that had a cardinal direction in its address. It is even more curious that a West Irving Park Road address is on the east side of Barrington Road. One would assume that Barrington Road is the dividing line between east and west in Hanover Park.

[To address this curiosity, I contacted the Village of Hanover Park and spoke to Alex Schwartz, an associate planner. It appears there is no definitive dividing line for east/west in Hanover Park and, in fact, most businesses on Irving Park do not have an east/west cardinal direction in their address. They start at around 800 at Wise Road and build sequentially as they move west through the village. Some of this has to do with the fact that Irving Park Road is also a state route and the state may have had some say in the numbering system before the village was even incorporated. It is also true that when one business takes the place of another, the address remains the same.]

Nevertheless, Kane Beverage Mart opened for business in 1970 according to a snippet in the November 4, 1970 Carpentersville Cardunal Free Press. The last ad for it was in a 1981 issue of the Daily Herald. They sold beer, liquor, soda and all that went with an adult beverage store. Later, they also served as a location for renting a Rug Doctor, as seen in an ad in the May 11, 1980 paper.

Eagle Discount Supermarkets, according to commenter, Tracy Connole, was in the same building as Goodyear and Kane Beverage Mart. It was on the west end of the building and as commenter Dan Biver says, “You can barely see the sign to the right of the Kane sign.” The store was at 1559 Irving Park Road. Its first appearance was in the Daily Herald in a June 26, 1975 ad. By 1983, the location had changed to a True Value.

Lastly, is the Shell gas station on the corner–which is still there. It is now a Circle K Shell. Their address is 1597 Irving Park Road. It was not possible to track down the longevity of this station. Can you tell us how long there has been a Shell gas station in this location?

The opening time period of the Taco Bell definitely narrows down the time frame of this photo. We have to assume it had to be sometime between late 1978 when the restaurant opened, and 1980 when the Irving Park Road widening was completed. There are no trees in the photo so we can’t tell the time of year either, though it seems to be summer. The car models might help reduce it even further if any of the readers can help with that.

If you can help with any of the questions that are posed in this blog post, fire away in the Comments or send me an email. It would be nice to flush out some of the details!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

I had no idea this blog post would be so popular! Thank you to all of the commenters for setting me straight and filling in some of the details. I have updated the blog post to reflect their comments.


In 1918, Prairie Farmer Publishing Company in Chicago put out a book called Prairie Farmer’s Directory of DuPage and Northern Cook Counties, Illinois. Woodrow Wilson was president, Frank Lowden was governor of Illinois and this was before World War I.

The book had sections on the farmers, the breeders of various chickens, hogs and cows, and businesses that served the farmers of the area. It even has small sections on those who owned silos, tractors and automobiles.

Below is a list of the farmers, from I-R, of Schaumburg Township. While making the list, a few things mentioned below jumped out as interesting and/or unusual.

  • Ode D. Jennings was a gentleman farmer of the township. He was also a slot machine magnet who worked his way up from a poor childhood in Kentucky. He purchased his 250 acre farm in 1918–the same year this book was published. This made him one of the largest landowners in the township. After he died in 1953, his wife sold the farm to Alfred Campanelli who developed it into the Weathersfield subdivsion. The house, barn and other buildings are still being used today on Civic Drive in Schaumburg.
  • It is also interesting to note that Mr. Jennings stated that he had been a resident of Cook County since 1900. The 1900 census contradicts this statement and states that he was living in Pigeon, IN in 1900. This was about 30 miles from the Kentucky state line. He did not appear in the census in Chicago until 1910.
  • Those who were tenants in the list had seldom been in the county more than a few years–unless it was a father/son tenancy. It seems to have been a fluid housing/farming situation at the time.
  • The oldest resident–by a long shot–in this list is Maria Kublank. She had been a resident and early citizen of Cook County since 1843. She was born on September 30, 1843, the daughter of Johann and Catherine (Greve) Sunderlage, in Plum Grove, Illinois, according to the Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947. This was before the townships were even named and before the government land was even sold to the early settlers. The Sunderlage family purchased an original land patent and, even though the Kublank family did not, they were still very early residents. You can read more about William and Mary Kublank here.
  • Herman and Emil Lichthardt are clearly father and son. It appears that Herman either sold or ceded the 180 acre farm in Section 27 to his son Emil, but kept 8 acres for himself. Did Herman build a second house on the property for himself?
  • Two gentlemen in this listing appear to have been wealthy landowners who could afford to lease out portions of their property: Walter Swain and Herman Boeger. Swain leased 174 acres to Henry Krumwiede in Section 21, and 90 acres that he co-owned with John Fenz to Alfred Nebel in Section 22. Walter was the grandson of Ernst and Catherine Schween who were original land patent purchasers in Schaumburg Township. They bought property on both sides of Schaumburg Road, just west of Roselle Road. Consequently, when Walter–who had changed his last name to Swain–was leasing it out in 1918, it had been in the family for over 70 years.
  • Herman Boeger owned 203 acres in Section 23 that he leased to Herman Moeller, and 160 acres in Section 34 that he leased to Emil and Walter Haberstick. At the time, Mr. Boeger lived in Section 23, where Spring Valley is today. His property that was leased to Mr. Haberstick, at the very south end of the township, must have been purchased at a later time for investment purposes. His father, Johann Boeger, was an original land patent purchaser of the Section 23 property, thus keeping it in the family for over 70 years.
  • The Postal Addresses in these lists are in Palatine, Roselle, Itasca, Ontarioville or Elgin–all established towns at the time. It appears that Sections 1-16, 20-24 and 27 were assigned to the Palatine post office. Sections 17, 18, 19 and part of 20 and 30 were assigned to the Elgin post office. Those in Sections 22, 23, 26-29 and 31-35 were assigned to the Roselle post office. Part of 24 and all of 25 and 36 used Itasca. Some of those in Sections 30 and 31 used the Ontariorville postal address. It is most interesting that the far southeastern portion of the township used Itasca when one would think that they would also be part of the Roselle boundaries. You can see the various sections on the map below, taking in how the post office divisions would have been made.

Jahn, Frederich (Wife Caroline Eades) (Children Tillie, William, Arthur at home; Esther and Edwin not at home.) Postal address is Route 3, Palatine. Owns 150 acres in Section 9. Resident of the county since 1888.

Japp, John (Children Henry and William) Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 80 acres in Section 35. Resident of the county since 1866.

Japp, William A. (Wife Freda Langer) (Children Edna and Leona) “Maplewood Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 112 acres in Section 27. Resident of the county since 1886.

Jennings, Ode D. (Wife Jenett H. Isle) “Jennings Stock Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 250 acres in Section 20. Resident of the county since 1900.

Jorns, Henry (Wife Louise Biesterfild/Biesterfeld) (Children Lydia, Louis, Edwin, Elnora) “Spring Hill Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 80 acres in Section 33. Resident of the county since 1886.

Kastning, Herman F. (Wife Ardna Springinsguth) (Children Harvey) “Square Deal Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 160 acres in Section 34. Resident of the county since 1892.

Kastning, John (Wife Minnie Thies) (Children Herman, Martha, Alwena, Louis, Hermena) “Silver Leaf Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 200 acres in Section 24. Resident of the county since 1863.

Kastning, Louis F. (Wife Emma Behrens) (Children Paul, Lidia, George, Alfreda, Marie) Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 95 acres in Section 14. Resident of the county since 1879.

Kastning, William H. (Wife Emma Hattendorf) (Children Albert, Hellen, Warner, Margaret. Lorena is written in pencil next to the others.) “Kastning Homestead”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 154 acres in Section 14 & 15. Resident of the county since 1882.

Klink, William (Wife Anna Krenz) (Children Gertrude G.) Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Tenant of 169 acres in Section 11 that is owned by William Freise. Resident of the county since 1914.

Knake, Carl (Wife Annie Plote) (Children Jennie, Edward, Charlie H., Annie, Herman, Henry, Alma, Amanda) “Elder Dell Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 2, Palatine. Owns 40 acres in Section 9. Resident of the county since 1869.

Krumwiede, Henry F. (Wife Elizabeth M. Haberstich) (Children William and Clara) Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Tenant of 174 acres in Section 21 that is owned by Walter Swain. Resident of the county since 1915.

Kruse, Henry J. (Wife Elise Sercander) (Children Ernest, Anna, Martin) “Sunnyside Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Itasca. Owns 40 acres in Section 24. Resident of the township since 1882.

Kruse, Louis F. (Wife Emma Beisner) (Children Edwin and Louis Jr.) Postal address is Route 1, Itasca. Tenant of 140 acres in Section 25 that is owned by Henry Fasse. Resident of the township since 1886.

Kublank, Mrs Maria (Children Mathilda, Rosa, William F. and Edward at home; Herman and Emma not at home.) Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 114 1/2 acres in Section 11. Resident of the county since 1843.

Lange, Edward “Poplar Grove Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Itasca. Owns 75 acres in Section 36. Resident of the county since 1866.

Lemke, Fred A. (Wife Mary Bartells) (Children Waldo and Victor) “Pleasant Knoll Farm”. Postal address is Route 2, Palatine. Owns 147 acres in Section 9. Resident of the county since 1915.

Lichthardt, August (Wife Clara Fasse) (Children Erna, August Jr., Beata, Adelia, Malinda, Henrietta) “Maple Bud Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 5, Elgin. Owns 160 acres in Section 18. Resident of the county since 1882.

Lichthardt, Edward (Wife Elnora Hitzmann) (Children Elmer and Clarence) “Elder Knoll Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 5, Elgin. Owns 180 acres in Section 19. Resident of the county since 1888.

Lichthardt, Emil F. (Wife Hermine Freise) “Pleasant Hill Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 180 acres in Section 27. Resident of the county since 1894.

Lichthardt, Herman (Wife Anna Becker) (Children Alma and Emil not at home.) Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 8 acres in Section 27. Resident of the county since 1870.

Lichthardt, William (Wife Martha Kruse) (Children Wilbur and Harvey) “Woodlawn Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 6, Elgin. Owns 151 acres in Section 30. Resident of the county since 1888.

Linnenkohl, Fredrick (Wife Alrena Weise) (Children Ella, Irma, Priscilla and Milda at home; Fredrick Jr. and Harvey not at home.) “Poplar View Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 2, Palatine. Owns 100 acres in Section 15. Resident of the county since 1908.

Lohse, William (Wife Louisa Baumgarten) (Children William H., Herman, Henry, Edward) “Valley View Farm”. Postal address is Route 5, Elgin. Tenant of 160 acres in Section 17 owned by Fred Volkening. Resident of the county since 1884.

Luerssen, Henry F. (Wife Alma K. Wente) (Children Leonard C.) “Linden Grove Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Tenant of 100 acres in Section 24 owned by Louis Wilkening. Resident of the county since 1887.

Mess, Otto (Wife Amelia Quindel) (Children Wilmer, Elsie, Harold) “Meadow Dale Stock Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 128 acres in Section 13. Resident of the county since 1886

Meyer, Ben (Wife Marie Quindel) “Walnut Grove Farm”. Postal address is Route 2, Palatine. Owns 180 acres in Sections 8 & 9. Resident of the county since 1890.

Moeller, Herman (Wife Hullena Hamann) (Brother Fred Moeller) Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Tenant of 203 acres in Section 23 owned by Herman Boeger. Resident of the county since 1892.

Moeller, William (Wife Alwena Kasting/Kastning) (Children Minnie) Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Tenant of 100 acres in Section 23 owned by Henry Moeller. Resident of the county since 1893.

Nebel, Albert W. (Wife of Martha Popp) (Children Ralph) Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Tenant of 90 acres in Section 22 owned by John Fenz and W. Swain. Resident of the county since 1890.

Nebel, Fred (Wife Mary Scherringhausen/Scharringhausen) (Children Albert, Alma, George, Fred, Edwin, Leonard, Raymond, Alwin) “Four Corner D Farm”. Route 2, Palatine. Owns 55 1/2 acres in Section 15. Tenant of 15 acres in Section 15 owned by W.H. Kastning. Resident of the county since 1867.

Nerge, Henry F. (Wife Engel Lichthardt) (Children Louis, Martin, Clara, Walter J.) “Meadow View Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Tenant of 170 acres in Section 35 owned by Walter J. Resident of the county since 1862.

Nerge, Louis F. (Wife Ida Idecker) Postal address is Route 1, Itasca. Owns 170 acres in Section 36. Resident of the county since 1885.

Nerge, Walter J. “The Meadow View Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 170 acres in Section 35. Resident of the county since 1894.

Panzer, Ferdinand (Sophia Fasse) (Children Alma, Emma) Postal address is Route 1, Itasca. Owns 82 acres in Section 25. Resident of the county since 1888.

Petersohn, Albert (Children Alvina Pauling) Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Tenant of 140 acres in Section 26 owned by Henry Lichthardt. Resident of the county since 1917.

Petersohn Brothers Charles and Albert. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Tenant of 140 acres in Section 26 owned by Henry Lichthardt. Resident of the county since 1917.

Pfingsten, Fred W. (Wife Emma Rohlwing) (Children Elmer, Esther, Edwin, Emil) “Pfingsten Homestead”. Postal address is Route 1, Itasca. Owns 160 acres in Section 25. Resident of the county since 1880.

Quindel, Charles (Children Sophia, Millie, Mary, Henry C., Alwena) “Quindel Stock Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 200 acres in Section 11. Resident of the county since 1868.

Quindel, Henry C. (Children Martha) “Prairie View Stock Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 160 acres in Section 13. Resident of the county since 1886.

Rodewald, Henry G. (Wife Emma Mueller) (Children Alma) Postal address is Route 1, Itasca. Tenant of 80 acres in Section 25 owned by Herman H. Fasse. Resident of the county since 1890.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

Additional lists will follow in the upcoming weeks.


B’Ginnings, the restaurant and club opened in the Woodfield Commons shopping center on Thursday, August 1, 1974. The club was owned by Chicago drummer Danny Seraphine, John Bracamonies and Larry Balsamo.

According to a Genie Campbell column in the August 30, 1974 issue of the Daily Herald, the group “chose Schaumburg because they felt there were many people out here interested in hearing music that they formerly always went into the city to hear. And the Schaumburg location, right off the expressway, is not too far for Chicagoans to drive out.”

Not even a month after they opened, it was announced that, to honor the opening, Chicago, in all of its orchestral glory, would do a special performance at the club on Friday, September 6. For a charge of $9 a ticket, they would do two shows–at 8:00 and 11:00.

And Udo Freund, one of our blog commenters was there! He was kind enough to share these wonderful photos from 1974.

Thanks to Mr. Freund, we get a better idea of what the small stage looked like, how close the audience actually was to the performers and how the band set up for the concert. And, of course, we get a chance to see the B.Ginnings emblem on the back curtain.

Mr. Freund said he managed a Lafayette Radio Electronics store in the same shopping center and was interested in associating his business with the new B.Ginnings nightclub. He got to know Mr. Bracamonies and Mr. Balsamo and was able to get into the club the night Chicago was set to play.

His girlfriend worked there too and he said, “[She] set me up with several drinks before the doors opened. I sat at the bar overlooking the east side of the dance floor for the show. I knew that once everyone was in that there’d be no room to move and getting anything more would be impossible…” He also said the club appeared to be packed way above capacity and was standing room only.

“Another perk – I brought in my camera gear for the show. [Here] are 2 pics that I took of their 1st performance, scanned prints from my original slides.”

How lucky are we that Mr. Freund was there AND aware of what a special night this would be for those who attended? And he thought to bring his camera? And then share the photos 46 years later? What a fortuitous move in 1974 and what a nice gesture in 2021.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


In their first classified ads that appeared in the Daily Herald in late 1971, Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour said it was “a great opportunity to join the nationwide expansion of Farrell’s.” Located on the upper level of Woodfield Mall, a couple of doors down from Sears, it was a popular spot for mall goers to eat and for locals to work.

The ice cream parlour was part of a chain begun by Bob Farrell and Ken McCarthy in 1963 in Portland, Oregon, and was rapidly expanding by the time Woodfield Mall opened in September, 1971.

Not surprisingly, the mall’s opening coincided with Farrell’s expansion into nationwide malls. The Schaumburg location was one of four in Illinois. Other stores were in Chicago, North Riverside and Peoria.

This example of their restaurants typified the “Gay 90’s atmosphere” and featured red-flocked wallpaper and Tiffany style lamps that were noted in a Daily Herald article from March 1, 1975. Other features that set a fun tone were a player piano, straw brimmer hats that the staff wore along with period costumes, bentwood chairs and an old fashioned soda fountain.

Tableside service for meals and ice cream, complete with china dishes, was provided. No paper cups or plates in this restaurant! They served everything from steak to hamburgers to sandwiches and, of course, all kinds of ice cream treats that included sundaes, floats and sodas.

In 1975 a coupon appeared in the Daily Herald, offering a free kiddieburger and fries. The kiddieburger was also referred to as “our hangerburger” and the fries were called “Farrell’s Famous French Fries.”

In addition, a free ice cream sundae was given to every child who came in on their birthday. It was a Farrell’s standard.

Aaaaand, if you were exceptionally good and could recite the following phrase from memory, as Peggy, one of our earlier commenters said, you were entitled to a free black or red licorice rope. “Farrell’s features fabulous foods and fantastic fountain fantasies for frolicking, fun-filled, festive families!”

Farrell’s also teamed up with the Woodfield Ice Arena in 1975 and built the “world’s largest banana split.” The special ice cream creation was 150 feet long and on display at the ice rink in the mall. For $1, customers were allowed to skate AND eat the banana split. Guest hosts were Forrest Tucker from “F Troop” and  The Banana Splits of Hanna-Barbera fame.
[Daily Herald ; September 11, 1975]

The restaurant was a long time fixture in the early days of Woodfield. Shortly after Farrell’s opened, the chain was sold to the Marriott Corporation in 1972. Marriott ran the business under their corporate umbrella, eventually selling it to private investors in 1982.

Farrell’s remained in Woodfield until 1984, offering ice cream, food and candy. Do you remember your visits to Farrell’s? Or did you work there for a while? If so, leave a memory in the comments or send me an email.

If you still haven’t had enough of Farrell’s, take a trip back in time by viewing this commercial that might have played on a television near you.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

The photos are compliments of Dr. Neil Gale who wrote an earlier blog post on Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour restaurants that you can find here. The photos do not depict the Woodfield store but, rather, give you an idea of what the interiors looked like. If you do have photos and would like to pass them on to me, please do so at the above email address. They would be a welcome addition!

The Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour Wikipedia page was also used as a source for this blog post.


Suburban Bank of Hoffman Estates, now BMO Harris Bank.

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

Dealing with our everyday business with our bank is quite easy today. With online banking many of us haven’t walked into our banks in awhile. I still like to visit with the people at my bank face to face and have formed friendships this way. They’re always there when I need them for any special business I need to take care of. 

In the early years of the village, we had no bank of our own. It wasn’t until December 11, 1968 that the State Banking Authority granted a permit to organize the Suburban Bank of Hoffman Estates in the Golf Rose Shopping Center, now Golf Center.

The organizers were: Benjamin C. Getzelman, Elgin; Charles E. Brown, Algonquin; Gerald F. Fitzgerald, Palatine; John R. Hughes, Palatine and Raymond A Fleming of Hoffman Estates.

The bank moved into a temporary location in a store front located in the then Golf Rose Shopping Center on the northwest corner of Golf and Roselle Roads. It opened its doors  at 9 a.m. Monday, June 23, 1969.

Hours were typical for banks back then, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays and Thursday, closed on Wednesday, with longer hours on Thursday nights when it stayed open till 8 p.m. Thursday night was the usual day that most stores stayed open into the evening.  On other nights businesses closed by 6 p.m. Bank hours on Saturday were from 9 a.m. till noon.  

The Suburban Bank of Hoffman Estates only did business in the store front for 10 months. 

The new bank building was ready for its grand opening.  Its design was unique in many ways. The bank was designed by Mayes, Williams and Partners architects. 

The six sided building made it one of a kind in the village. The front doors of this hexagonal shaped building didn’t face Roselle Road but towards the shopping center, welcoming everyone in and making it convenient to exit into the shopping area.  

One of the six sides of Suburban Bank of Hoffman Estates.

The plan was to have a building easily added onto as Hoffman Estates grew.  Three of the six sides had drive up windows. This allowed you the convenience of drive up banking with a personal touch. You drove right up to the drawer and window with a helpful bank teller there to talk to if need be, not to a far window where you couldn’t talk confidentially about your business transaction. Within its design was a small canopy over each drive up window.  As you drive past or visit the bank you can still see this design.

I’ll be writing more about our first bank that is now 50 years old in my February column.

Happy New Year with hopes that it will be better than 2020.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian 


The Doomsday Clock appeared on the cover of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists for the first time in June 1947. Launched as a newsletter in December 1945 by former Manhattan Project physicists who were concerned about the spread of nuclear weapons, the publication switched to a journal with the appearance of this issue.

The iconic clock on the cover was created by Martyl Langsdorf who, along with her husband Alexander, became the future owners of the Schweikher House in Schaumburg.

The Langsdorfs came to Chicago in 1943 when Alexander, a physicist, began work on the Manhattan Project under Enrico Fermi at the University of Chicago. Martyl, a renowned landscape artist, became familiar with the scientists who worked at the university. As a result, H.H. Goldsmith, one of the founding members of the Bulletin, approached her about the possibility of designing the cover of the journal.

According to Martyl’s own account, there was no money in the budget for different monthly covers so it became necessary for her to create a unique cover that could be used issue to issue. Her decision to use a clock to signify the potential immediacy of nuclear warfare came as a result of many conversations with concerned scientists.

She also decided to “repeat the clock every month on a different color background… the first color being orange to catch the eye.”

Additionally, a discussion with Egbert Jacobson, art director at Chicago’s Container Corporation of America, gave her a good idea of how to superimpose “a clock, table of contents and other pertinent information on the cover with style and clarity.”

Martyl initially set the clock at seven minutes to midnight. This was considered “good design” at the time, according to a 2002 issue of the Bulletin. It wasn’t until the Soviet Union conducted its first nuclear tests in 1949, that the Bulletin began setting the clock based on world events.

Until 1974 changes to the setting of the clock were made by the editor-in-chief of the publication. Eugene Rabinowitch had been editor of the publication since its inception, and after his death in 1973 it was decided that the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board would meet twice a year to discuss world events and change the clock as necessary.

It wasn’t until 2007 that the Bulletin commissioned graphic designer Michael Bierut to reimagine the famous clock. He called it “the most powerful piece of information design of the twentieth century.”

Photo credit to Joel DeGrand Photography

Martyl spent the rest of her career doing abstract landscapes for which she became known world wide. Her pieces are in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Museum of American Art and the Schaumburg Township District Library. But her most famous work, as she herself said, remains the Doomsday Clock.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

This blog post was inspired by an article in the February 2021 issue of Architecture Digest.