SPOTTING THE SPARROW HAWKS OF SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP

When our librarians discover a new online source I immediately put in the word “Schaumburg” and see what pops up. Recently, I tried the beta version of the Internet Archive Scholar and found this delightful mention in a 1919 issue of The AUK: A Quarterly Journal of Ornithology by The American Ornithologists’ Union.

“Falco spaxverius sparverius. SPARROW HAWK.- This handsome
little falcon is by no means common here, either as migrant or summer
resident. In the territory that I visit I know of only three or four breeding
pairs, one in some big elms on the banks of the Des Plaines River, and two
pair at Schaumburg, Cook County, where the parent pair nests year after
year in a small wooden pinnacle or turret over a buttress in the Lutheran
church, and the other in a chimney near by. March 25, 1911, I saw one
dart around among the flocks of Calcarius lapponicus, then in the fields at
Addison, causing a great panic among them, but as long as I watched he
did not catch any.”

Sparrow Hawk. Photo credit to Wikipedia

The siting was noted in an article by C.W.G. Eifrig in his Notes on Birds of the Chicago Area and Its Immediate Vicinity.

Mr. Eifrig came with his family from Germany in 1878. He eventually became a German Lutheran pastor and then, teacher, at the Addison Teacher’s Seminary in Addison, Illinois in 1909. He taught biology and nature studies, writing numerous articles for publications and was an active member of various ornithological and mammal societies. His contributions were so noteworthy that his papers were donated to the Chicago Academy of Sciences and are housed at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago.

Photo used courtesy of the Addison Historical Society.

Seeking all types of birds and mammals obviously took him all over the Chicago area including Schaumburg Township. It is here that, thanks to his Lutheran background and our proximity to Addison, he most likely became familiar with the Lutheran churches in our township. In 1919, as today, they were St. Peter Lutheran Church and St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church.

St. Peter Lutheran Church built in 1863.

Because he discussed the pairs of sparrow hawks nesting in a buttress of the church, we have to suspect that he was referring to St. Peter’s. Buttresses are, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, an “exterior support, usually of masonry… [that] allowed for the creation in masonry of the high-ceilinged, heavy-walled churches typical of the Gothic style.” The 1863 St. Peter Lutheran Church is known as a Gothic style church.

The two pair of sparrow hawks at St. Peter Lutheran Church was obviously unusual for Pastor Eifrig in 1919 but, sightings of them today are not. Falco spaxverius sparverius is the formal term for sparrow hawk but these colorful birds are more commonly called the American kestrel. In the Birds of Illinois Field Guide by Stan Tekiela, he not only notes that these birds can be found year round in Illinois but, also, it was “formerly called ‘Sparrow Hawk’ due to its small size.”

He also notes that these birds find a “cavity” to raise their young, without building a nest within the cavity. Obviously, the “small wooden pinnacle or turret” was the perfect spot for these kestrels. The surrounding open farmland was also the perfect spot for the “insects, small mammals and birds” that kestrels like to eat.

It is certainly not impossible to imagine Teacher Eifrig paying a visit to Pastor Gottlob Theiss at St. Peter’s in the 1910s and spotting the kestrels flying in and out of their nest tucked into the church.

Pastor Gottlob Theiss of St. Peter Lutheran Church

You can almost hear their conversation now, in German, of course:
Teacher Eifrig, looking up: “My God, there’s a sparrow hawk flying into your church!”
Pastor Theiss, also looking up: “Ah, yes, we see them every year. There are two pair.”
Teacher Eifrig: “Two pair! I’ve only seen one other pair and that was along the Des Plaines River!”
Pastor Theiss: “Yes, they like to build their nest in the church.”
Teacher Eifrig: “You must tell me if you see any young. And if they come back next year. This is such an exciting find!”

Even though Teacher Eifrig moved to River Forest in 1913 with the Addison Teachers Seminary when it became the Concordia Teachers College, he clearly took notes on the sparrow hawks of Schaumburg Township and felt it was necessary to include them in his article of 1919.

The birds may be common in Illinois but not in my backyard. I’m wondering if any of you have seen an American kestrel flying or nesting in Schaumburg Township? Report back if you have…

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

ICONIC SPOTS IN SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP

Photo credit to Schaumburg Public Storage. 1200 W. Irving Park Road, Schaumburg.

A while back one of my fellow librarians asked me if I knew where I could find a lighthouse in Schaumburg Township. I had no idea until he pointed out to me that the Schaumburg Public Storage at 1200 W. Irving Park Road has a lighthouse as part of its facade. The location is in the triangle of Irving Park, Rodenburg and the Illinois Route 390 tollway.

So many times we drive by various businesses without taking a moment to notice the icons that have been in the landscape for years. The following icons are some of those that came to mind when I considered the parameters of the township boundaries.

These HOT and COLD water tanks on Wise Road are just west of the Roselle Road intersection, on the south side of the road. They have been there for years and the humor in the “hot” and “cold” labels is unparalleled in this list of images.

Schaumburg Boomers water tower.

This local water tower is also near the Illinois Route 390 tollway on Rodenburg Road. Originally painted with the Schaumburg Flyers logo on it in 2000, a column by Diana Wallace in the March 1, 2000 Daily Herald notes that the tower was erected in 1978. Ms. Wallace also wrote, “The bulbous top section will also be painted to resemble a baseball–red stitches and all…”

When the Flyers ceased operations in 2010, the logo was repainted in 2012 after the team became the Schaumburg Boomers. According to a photo in the July 30, 2012 issue of the Daily Herald, the logo measures 27 feet by 25 feet. During the course of the repainting, the “stitches” were also painted over.

Hoffman Estates water tower

The Hoffman Estates water tower that sits adjacent to Hoffman Plaza is the oldest of the icons. It was erected in 1955, four years before Hoffman Estates was incorporated. It is one of the few in the area on “four feet” as Haileng Xiao told Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian, for her August 2010 column.

Built by the Chicago Bridge and Iron Company for Citizens Utility, it was the tallest structure in Schaumburg Township for a number of years–and it still stands tall over its immediate area.

Woodfield water tower

The Woodfield Mall water tower has been in the area since 1971 and is in its third paint scheme. Erected as a necessary prelude to the mall itself and the coming development, this tower was long known for its very 70s vibe of alternating orange and yellow colors. Even though this theme has been on the tower for 15 years, it is the first style that remains so beloved–especially since it lasted 24 years.

Clock tower at Schaumburg and Roselle Roads. Credit to Schaumburg Township District Library

This recent iconic structure can’t be missed in the heart of Schaumburg Township. Built as one of the cornerstones of the redeveloped Town Square in 1997, the 66-foot clock tower not only is a practical timepiece but the area around it also serves as home to the village’s Veterans Gateway Park. Per the village website “The gardens, flag poles and seating areas encircling the clock tower create a unique space devoted to our war veterans.”

WGN tower. 720 Rohlwing Road, Elk Grove Village.

The WGN tower along Rohlwing Road is behind a gated fence and west of the art deco style building that WGN built in 1938. The whole setup was originally designed to keep a broadcast on the air in the event of electrical, mechanical or human failure. If the power supply failed, a selector switch in the building would be flipped to trigger an auxiliary or emergency line. So, there was a backup to the backup.

You have to look closely to see that the mailbox has the address 720 on it. That is probably not a coincidence.

WGN transmitter sign. 720 Rohlwing Road, Elk Grove Village.

And, these days you have to watch closely as you drive by to catch the retro WGN sign. It was once easily visible along the road but is now hidden by the stand of shrubbery along the fence.

Wise Road sign, Schaumburg.

This is one of two signs of this style in the Wise Road commercial corridor. They have been there for many years and are indicative of another time period in signage in that they are not back lit. Their charm is the roof that covers and protects the signs. Again, you might not notice them as you drive by but their uniqueness stands out.

Hoffman Lanes. 80 West Higgins Road, Hoffman Estates

This is the most visible iconic sign in Schaumburg Township. Hoffman Lanes opened as the first bowling alley in 1961 and was a very popular spot for the bowlers in the area. It was a big era for the sport and, as the sign says, it began as an enduring venue for the Petersen Classic in 1994. The bowling alley closed in 2015, just shy of its 55th birthday.

When this blog began, I wrote a post in 2013 while the bowling alley was still open. You can see it here in this photo.

Hoffman Lanes

Are there other iconic spots in Schaumburg Township that have been missed? If you have any suggestions, please submit them in the Comments or in an email.

And, if you could send in your suggestions for the iconic buildings of Schaumburg Township, that would be appreciated too. Of course, the bonus would be if you have photos of some of these icons. I have my list of potential structures but I’m wondering what your ideas might be…

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

THE STORY OF WISE ROAD

Going back as far as 1861, today’s Wise Road can be found on the Schaumburg Township plat maps.

Wiese Road, as it was originally named, extended west from Roselle Road to Irving Park Road. It was surveyed on June 5 and June 9, 1857 by R.G. Clough, a DuPage County Surveyor, per Edgar A. Rossiter in his 1947 Schaumburg Atlas, Cook County, Illinois.

The road was named for the Wiese family [pronounced “wheezy”] who lived on the north side of the road. Wilhelm and Marie Elisabeth (Bahe) Wiese came to the area from Germany with their children, Henry and Wilhelmine Charlotte Karoline.

Wilhelm’s farm first appeared on the 1870 plat map, midway between Roselle and the Irving Park Road intersection. They were obviously here sooner than this because their daughter died at the age of 17 on January 31, 1867 and is buried in the St. Peter Lutheran Church cemetery.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is henry-and-caroline-wiese.jpg
Henry and Caroline (Gieseke) Wiese. Photo donated by Donald Fraas.

Wilhelm’s son Henry and his wife Caroline, pictured above, inherited the property and worked the farm. Thereafter, a Wiese continued to be on the local plat maps through 1926.

During the 1940s, according to both Edgar Rossiter and local historian LaVonne (Thies) Presley, Wiese Road was widened. LaVonne related the story in her book, Schaumburg of My Ancestors.

“The use of asphalt to pave roads came to the south side of the township in 1946. In a March 22, 1946 article from the DuPage County Register, the blacktop contracts being let for Nerge and Wiese Roads were mentioned. They were two of the first roads to be surfaced with this material. Like the roads paved with concrete, it was necessary to rebuild the original dirt roadbed with crushed rock and gravel. During the final stages of laying the asphalt, the roads were closed to all traffic. The farmers went through their fields and those of their neighbors to get to town. While the road construction was taking place, all of the road signs that gave the name Wiese Road were taken away. When the construction was completed, new signs were installed. Whoops! The new signs had “WISE ROAD.” The farmers living on Wiese Road never learned who had made the mistake. Township? County? State? Since 1946 when Wiese Road was paved in asphalt, the name of the road has been Wise Road.”

Wise Road ca. 1956

Wise Road remained the same until the Meadow Knolls subdivision came into existence around 1961, as can be seen on the 1956 era map above.

With that subdivision’s beginnings to the south of Wise, a basic eastern extension of Wise Road occurred at some point. A Village of Schaumburg Transportation Study prepared by H.W. Lochner, Inc. in 1969 stated that “the reconstruction of the existing portion of Wise Road to the east of Roselle Road and the extension of this facility to the presently planned Biesterfield Road extension, to the west of Rohlwing Road in Elk Grove Village, should also be undertaken as a Priority II project.”

Wise Road was extended to the east to allow the Meadow Knolls feeder streets to flow onto the more major street.

Wise Road. Village of Schaumburg street map. 1967

The Transportation Study also noted that “Wise Road exists as a two-lane roadway between Irving Park Road and Roselle Road and serves as a collector type facility for Schaumburg residents, particularly those living to the north of Wise Road and west of Braintree Drive.”

This Village of Schaumburg street map from 1974 shows a more formal delineation of Wise Road and its extension to Mohawk Court at that time. More development to the south and a bit to the north has already occurred by this time.

Wise Road. Village of Schaumburg street map. 1974

When the Kingsport Village East subdivision went in, another leg of the road was added east of the dead end at Mohawk Court. The construction process began in May 1979 and, not only was Wise extended to Plum Grove Road, but it was also widened to four lanes. [Daily Herald, March 1, 1979]

Per the article, the village took advantage of this extension to make it a major east-west thoroughfare for village traffic. The plan was for the road to be completed by October 1979. It was financed by the village, Miller Builders and developers of the subdivision. Miller Builders constructed Nantucket Cove which was being developed at the time. Meister-Neiburg, developers of the Kingsport Village East subdivision, actually did the construction of the road.

The final extension of Wise Road that connected the Schaumburg street to Biesterfield Road in Elk Grove Village was not completed until 1988/89. According to a January 8, 1988 article in the Daily Herald, construction was scheduled to begin in the spring on the stretch from Plum Grove to Michigan Lane in Elk Grove Village. By the time the Village of Schaumburg’s street map came out in 1989, the extension of Wise Road had been done.

Wise road. Village of Schaumburg street map. 1989

It seems that a number of the residents near the extension were not happy but they understood the project and the need to create an east-west connection for one of the main roads in the village. Thanks to that last bit of construction, Wise Road was complete and exists as it does today.

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

POPLAR CREEK MUSIC THEATRE OF HOFFMAN ESTATES

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

With the arrival of spring, I began thinking about the beginning of outdoor fun and activities. A lot of the entertainment that our village has had has disappeared over the years. 

As I was filing away some of my folders  and looking for ideas for May, I came across the Production Kit for Poplar Creek Music Theatre. It contained Technical Information, Musical Rental/Repair, a Travel Guide for Car/Truck/Plane and other helpful information if you were planning on performing or being part of the audience. What I found interesting were the behind the scenes information about the music theater.  In the Production Kit was a detailed floor plan for the stage. 

The stage was 60 feet wide with a depth of 28’ 3”. It had a proscenium stage that was in front of the curtain that measured 20’ 4’’ deep by 56’ 6” wide. 

Lighting was listed as follows:

3 strong  “Super Troupers” follow spotlights

18  10” x 15” 2000w Leko ellipsoidal reflector spotlights

12  6” x 16” 1000w Leko ellipsoidal reflector spotlights

107  Par  64 (6 very narrow, 80 narrow, 18 medium, 18 wide lamps available.  Roscolene gels)

10  6’ R-40, 3 color strip lights

The sound systems, contracted to Stanal Sound, consisted of a permanently hung ring of three-way, tri-amplified sound speakers and sub-woofers around the stage designed for very even coverage. There’s more about the sound but this is getting too techie for me.

Poplar Creek Music Theatre

The large berms and walls that surrounded the music theater were to keep unwanted noise from disturbing our Barrington neighbors who sued to stop the construction of Poplar Creek with worries about sound, traffic, trash and disruption of their rural way of life.  We know it was built in 1980 and ended its concerts in 1994, but why? 

The owners of Poplar Creek Music Theater, Nederlander, felt there was too much competition and they invested in the World Music Theater that opened in 1990 in Tinley Park with slightly more seating, and they also owned Alpine Valley in East Troy Wisconsin. 

So the Poplar Creek Music Theater, so loved by so many, closed and was torn down to make way for the Prairie Stone Business area.  The land was purchased by Sears, Roebuck & Co. and now is the home to many manufacturers and corporate centers.  Two of my favorite retailers in Prairie Stone are Cabela’s and Duluth Trading. 

Remember some of the greats that performed at Poplar Creek Music Theater like Johnny Cash in 1981, Neal Diamond in 1986 or the Beach Boys in 1989?  Many of us still talk about our favorite performers.

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

AC/DC APPEARS AT B.GINNINGS IN SCHAUMBURG

B.Ginnings matchbook

“I had just started my junior year at Glenbard East High School and turned 16 two weeks before. A friend of mine was a year older and worked at a record store back then. He had thousands of albums and introduced me and my buddies to AC/DC just that summer. He told us they were playing at B’Ginnings and got the ticket through the store he worked at. A whole $4.00 for the show. And a band, Off Broadway, was the opening act. Another friend of mine’s uncle played in that band so we knew them well also.”

These are the words of William Perry, who found the original blog post on B.Ginnings, the nightclub that was on Golf Road in Schaumburg from 1974 to 1981. He sent me an email and said he attended the AC/DC show at B.Ginnings in 1978. I asked him if he still had the ticket stub and, incredibly, he did. You can see the stub below. The details it provides of the local music scene in the 1970s are fascinating.

If we move from the top of the ticket to the bottom, we see the address of the club at 1227 E. Golf Road in “Schaumberg.” This has always been a problem for Schaumburg. Spellings for the township and the village have always been an issue.

The next line states that you had to be “19yrs of age or older” to attend. This was a nightclub and they obviously served alcoholic beverages. The year before, in 1973, Illinois lowered the drinking age from 21 to 19 for the consumption of beer and wine. (See this Wikipedia article on the US History of alcohol minimum wage purchase.)

As a result, young people statewide took full advantage of the relaxation of the drinking age. It also meant, however, that it was necessary to add legal clarifications on things like ticket stubs to acknowledge the age limit of those who could attend a show. Of course, that didn’t stop determined teens from attending events like a concert if they could find a way in. Altering the paper driver’s licenses was a common practice in those days.

The next line states that Jam/The Fox 94.3 FM was presenting the show. Jam Productions, a large, independent producer of live entertainment was new to the Chicago area. They had just begun business in 1972 and were spreading their name in the local music world.

The Fox 94.3 FM had the call letters WJKL and, in 1974, the same year that B.Ginnings opened, they changed their format to progressive rock and branded themselves as “The Fox.” This concert was a perfect choice for them.

Lastly, it is interesting to note that the concert started at 9:00–a somewhat late start. The hours, however, for B.Ginnings, literally identified the venue as a nightclub. They opened at 8:00 and shows typically began one hour later. There was often more than one show in an evening or, as William notes, there was more than one band that performed.

For this particular night, William says, “The show was absolutely incredible.  Bon Scott was at the height of his career and I think Angus Young was only 23 years old. It was the first time I had heard of a wireless guitar, let alone actually seen one. At one point Angus got on Bon’s shoulders and he came out into the crowd. The highlight was when he got off his shoulders and onto a large circular bar in the middle of the place and jammed while he ran around the entire bar knocking down glasses and sending beer flying in the air.  It was a night I will not forget!”

The band was touring as part of their Powerage 1978 US Tour and William even purchased this shirt at the concert. He says, ” My teenage daughter wore it to the show I took my family to at Wrigley Field in 2016 and I actually got a $100 offer for it which I declined.”

The B.Ginnings stories simply don’t stop!

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

OUR OLD HOUSE: A VISIT TO THE SUNDERLAGE FARMHOUSE

Stop by for an open house of the Sunderlage Farmhouse in Hoffman Estates! Visitors will have an opportunity to see the house’s interior and learn about its history.

When:  Saturday, July 18, 2021. 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Where: 1775 Vista Lane, Hoffman Estates

Who:  Hoffman Estates Historic Sites Commission

What: This free event will examine the history of the 1856 farmhouse, including the layout of its rooms, floors, staircase and basement. The smokehouse, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its mid-19th century Greek Revival style, will also be open.

Don’t forget to bring your lawn chairs to enjoy an outdoor performance by the Kishwaukee Ramblers!

For more information, call 847-781-2606.

RAISING HORSES IN SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP

Horses were always a vital part of life in Schaumburg Township. For years, they were the machines that made the farms go. Even when rudimentary tractors began showing up on the farms, the draft horses, much loved by the farmers for their slow but steady, reliable work, remained on the farms well into the 1930s.

But, it was also at that time that gentleman farmers began scooping up ancestral farms when family members were no longer interested in the day to day rigors of farming. A number of the new farmers had a different kind of interest in horses. They wanted to raise them for racing.

The fascination with racing may have first popped up in the late 1920s on Stratford Farm on the northwest corner of Wise and Roselle Roads. The library was recently given these two photos by the family of Catherine Bell Randall that seem to indicate harness racing was an activity the Bell family was involved in. It is quite probable that Catherine’s father, James Austin Bell, an amateur photographer, took the photos.

Catherine Bell Randall on a sulky

Catherine, with her twins siblings Edwina and James behind her, is seated on a sulky used in harness racing. Judging by their ages and when they were born, this photo was taken sometime around 1928. Catherine told her family that she loved horses and was often seen on a horse, riding up and down Roselle Road. It’s not difficult to imagine that this large farm, with its financial wherewithal from Edwin F. Meyer, the owner, raised horses. This was in addition to the produce, dairy and meat products they raised for the Stratford Hotel in Chicago.

One has to imagine that someone on the farm was riding in races given the fact that there was a sulky on the farm. Possibly, it was at the track seen in this photo.

Hawthorne Racetrack

It took some time to determine which racetrack we are viewing but Tony Somone of the Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association finally helped me nail it down. The photo was taken looking down the home stretch. Judging by the sulky in their front yard and this photo of Hawthorne, the family obviously had a keen interest in horse racing. They could very well have been entering in races at various county fairgrounds and local racetracks.

The next family that came along with an interest in racing was the Kern brothers. The families of M.A. Kern and L.D. Kern specifically bought property in Schaumburg Township to raise thoroughbreds. They purchased the farms on the southeast corner of the intersection of Higgins and Meacham Road around 1928 and 1936 successively. The connecting farms along Meacham Road were grand spreads of houses, working barns, grain fields and of course, racetracks–both inside the barn and outside on the property.

Track on the Kern farm, along Meacham Road

 By the late 1930s the Kern brothers had branched out into thoroughbred racing and were entering their horses at racing venues around the country such as Hialeaha and Arlington. As a result, M.A. had both a racehorse stable and a saddle horse barn on the property. The stable was original to the farm and was vastly enlarged and renovated by M.A. according to his nephew, Jerry.

Different accounts in the Cook County Herald, track some of the success the Kern brothers had at racing. A July 21, 1939 article mentions that several of their more recent winners at Arlington Park were Bucket Head, Mars Man, Silver Kiev and Imperial Scout.

An even more exciting article from March 15, 1940 mentions that the Lexbrook Stable of L.D. Kern, whose farm was directly adjacent to the south, would be entering two horses, Designer and Potranco, in the Kentucky Derby. They weren’t winners but it was quite a local achievement.

This topographical map from 1953 clearly shows the layout of the racing oval, with a driveway leading off of Meacham Road.

1953 Palatine quadrangle

This USGS aerial view from 1946, found by blog follower John Kunzer, shows almost the exact same view.

Sometime in the mid 1940s, Daisy Mayer purchased 80 acres on the west side of Roselle Road, north of Stratford Farm. She called it May Day Farm. According to her obituary in the July 9, 1964 Daily Herald, her late husband, Karl, who preceded her in death in 1945, was founder and president of the Illinois Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.

It is probable she purchased the farm around the time of Karl’s death. The first farm, according to a classified ad in the May 30, 1947 Daily Herald, was also on Roselle Road in Palatine, across from the Inverness Country Club.

According to Karl’s obituary in the June 1, 1945 Daily Herald, he was born in Germany, the son of a horse breeder. He made his way to Louisville, KY with his brother in 1893. He later came to Chicago and purchased the Palatine farm in 1930, becoming a gentleman farmer of Palatine Township.

Daisy’s obituary in 1964 says that they “operated a breeding farm for race horses for the past 20 years. Among the thoroughbred stock were horses such as Whose, Million Bucks and High Mayer.” Though the time frame is a bit muddled, it is clear the two of them carried on their love of horses in Schaumburg Township. Their racing oval and farm are pictured on the west side of Roselle Road in the 1953 topographical map below.

1953 Palatine topographical map with three racing ovals shown

Across Roselle Road was another horse farm, as is noted by the two racing ovals on the topographical map. This farm was owned by James and Virginia Mansfield.

In the 1954 Farm Plat Book of Cook County by Paul Baldwin & Son, the farm is listed as the Mansfield Day Farm. But, in a memoriam to her husband in the Daily Herald in 1964, Virginia referred to it as the Brookdale Stock Farm. In her own obituary in the August 27, 1985 paper, it is also listed as the Brookdale Stock Farm.

She and her husband owned the Mansfield Funeral Home in Brookfield, Il. One has to assume that this is possibly where they got the name “Brookdale” for the farm. His obituary in the March 14, 1963 issue of the Chicago Tribune also states that he was the mayor of Brookfield from 1927 to 1931.

This entry from the June 1958 Maps and Property Information of the Subscribers of the Roselle Fire Protection District shows the layout of their farm. These sheets were necessary for the firemen to know where the farms were and what buildings they would encounter should they ever need to answer a call. Note that there were three stables on the farm and that they had also had a tenant named E. McClendon.

This 1946 USGS photo, compliments of the searching by John Kunzer, shows May Day Farm on the west side of Roselle Road but does not yet show the Mansfield Farm racing oval.

In the northern part of the township, along the Jane Addams Tollway, off of Plum Grove Road, Frank and Loie Wiley bought a farm around 1943. Frank was the owner of the Frank Wiley Co. that operated in the paper supply industry.

He and his wife purchased 80 acres and raised Yorkshire hogs for breeding, planted fruit trees, grew corn and beans and also put in a horse track for their sons. They called their acreage Spring Creek Farm.

You can see the track on the farm in this photo. We are looking east down the driveway where it dead ends at a very narrow Plum Grove Road. When the family moved to the farm, they planted a row of magnificent Dutch elms along the driveway that were taken by Dutch elm disease around 1960. The family then replaced them with these fir trees that still stand along Wiley Farm Court.

Mr. Wiley later became one of the first members of the Village of Schaumburg board of trustees while Mrs. Wiley was one of the founding members of the Schaumburg Township Historical Society. They lived on their farm until 1978 or 1979 when they sold it and retired to Florida.

Whether raised for work or recreation, the horses of Schaumburg Township were much beloved and highly regarded by their owners. The farmers were not only good caretakers, but they also provided a stable setting for these prized animals.

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

THE GOVERNORS CLUB AND BARRINGTON SQUARE

Credit to bsainfo.com

When Kaufman & Broad submitted their proposal to the Village of Hoffman Estates in late 1969 for a development to be named Barrington Square, they had a unique design in mind.

The fact that it was planned as a townhouse community wasn’t that out of the ordinary. The fact that the development was going to to have a Williamsburg, Virginia flair very definitely was.

And nowhere is this reflected more than in the clubhouse that they called the Governor’s Club.

Initially conceived as a 289 townhome development, the site is just north of Higgins Road and a bit east of Barrington Road. It is encompassed by a U-shaped street called, unsurprisingly, Governors Lane. Although, it was originally called Governors Way, according to a Daily Herald article from October 8, 1969.

Governor’s Mansion. Williamsburg, Virginia. Credit to Wikipedia.org

The names of both the street and the club are a nod to the Governor’s Mansion in Williamsburg which, as you can see, was the model for the Hoffman Estates clubhouse. In its beginning years, the mansion above was the center of entertainment and social gatherings for Williamsburg residents. This was also the plan for the Governor’s Club of Barrington Square. [Chicago Tribune, September 5, 1970]

Governor’s Club. Barrington Square. Hoffman Estates.

The Tribune ad further states that the Hoffman Estates clubhouse was set on the shores of Lake George. This lake is in the center of the development, surrounded by the houses that form the U of Governors Lane.

Governors Lane. Credit to Google.

The clubhouse included facilities for parties, informal social gatherings, a billiard room and lounges for teens and adults. The club also had tennis courts and swimming pools. Another Tribune article from May 1, 1971 mentioned the fully equipped health clubs and an equally equipped kitchen for entertaining.

J. Clark , who was 8 or 9 years old at the time, stated recently in one of the comments on the blog, “The free jukebox in the “Teen Room” sounded great and had all the cool 45’s. There was a sauna that was new to me, and a huge heated indoor swimming pool! There was even a grand ballroom at the top of a very elegant twin staircase.”

The Williamsburg theme was carried out in the houses of the development with their English names: Gloucester House, Dunmore House, Raleigh House, and Blair House, to name a few. It was also reflected in the street names: Grantham Place, Sutherland Place, Wellington Place and Cheltenham Place.

The prices originally ranged from $21,990 to $30,990. The style of units included two and three bedroom homes, most of which had a basement, and all of which had a patio kitchen or walkout.

A grand opening was held on Monday, August 10, 1970 according to the Steve Novick column in the August 13, 1970 issue of the Daily Herald. He counted nearly 550 people who gathered in the Governor’s Club. Guests included Mayor Fred Downey, some village trustees, the fire and police chiefs, building commissioner, zoning board chairman and members of the zoning board and plan commission.

Barrington Square went on to include nearly 1700 units on the 150 acre site but that clubhouse, off of Governors Lane, is truly the unusual piece of the development. Can we almost picture a young Thomas Jefferson walking in its doors?

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

If you lived in the development and have any memories of The Governors Club, please leave a comment below!

THE THUNDERBIRD THEATER OF HOFFMAN ESTATES

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

As part of their plan to build not just homes but a community, F&S Construction broke ground on November, 11, 1965 for a movie theater that would be named Thunderbird. What a cool name for a movie theater. I don’t know who chose the name but it was a memorable one.

 I received a photo and caption for the groundbreaking from Schaumburg Township District Library’s historian Jane Rozek. Those in the photo were F & S Construction’s V. P. Robert Haag and Chairman Jack Hoffman, as well as Mayor Roy Jenkins and Duncan Kennedy, president of Kennedy Theaters Inc. 

Credit to the Daily Herald

I noted that you could see the National grocery store in the background of the photo at the northwest corner of the Golf Rose Shopping Center. The Thunderbird was at the south end of the shopping center, facing north.

It was going to be ready by the fall of 1966 with seating for 1,400 movie goers. When it did open on October, 21, 1966 it didn’t have the 1,400 promised seats but 1,200. 

I recall how large and beautiful the lobby was. It had only one 60 foot screen with the 6-track sound that was available back then. It wasn’t until 1977 when the original theater was split in half after its name change to Century. As time went on, the screens were split again and Century had a 4 screen theater. 

Two of my sons and a neighbor worked at the theater when they were in high school. It was the perfect job for young people. They talked about how small the projector’s room was but how the projectionist had his cozy chair and whatever he needed to keep him comfortable for a long day’s work.  With film on large reels, if the film snapped, he had to be available to fix it. He also had to change reels when the time came to smoothly continue the movie without interruption.

Those “kids”–now getting to be old adults–told me stories about the barter system they had with Naugles, a Mexican restaurant on Roselle Road where the new McDonalds is.  They’d get a free meal and give the Naugles staff passes to see the late show. 

Another perk of the barter system was that the managers of the Century and Woodfield theaters always offered free passes to one another’s movie theater staff. 

Popcorn was the other story from the “kids”. The smell of popcorn was so enticing when you got into the lobby, that the smell drove you to the concession stand and you’d buy a large popcorn with extra butter and maybe a small one for each of the kids. That was the sale that brought in the most profit to the movie theater. The huge bag of popcorn seed was cheap to buy but, what it produced, was the big money maker for the theater.  

With Snyder Drug store right next door, we’d buy our candy there to take into the movie. It was a better buy. I loved my Chuckles and chocolate nonpareils. What were your favorites?  Many of our favorite candies are no longer available.

Sadly, Century movie theater closed in November of 1986 amidst many competing movie theaters in the suburban area.  The building is still there. It was once a Harlem Furniture store and is now the Royal Buffet. Take a look at the east side of the building and you can see that it was once a movie theater.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian   
eagle2064@comcast.net

DEIKEVILLE: THE GENERAL STORE THAT CREATED A COMMUNITY

Nebel’s Corners. Buttermilk Corners. These are names of small communities that grew up at intersections in Schaumburg Township. Yet, there was another one at the intersection of Rohlwing and Biesterfield Road, directly on the Schaumburg and Elk Grove Township lines, that isn’t explored as often. It was called Deikeville.

Deikeville was named for Ernest H. Deike and his wife, Louise who, according to a July 25, 1947 issue of the Daily Herald, purchased a creamery from Fred Nebel in 1897 on the southeast corner of the intersection. This is just across the Schaumburg Township line in Elk Grove Township.

Ernest was born in Elk Grove Township to Friedrich and Elise (Gathmann) Deike on June 25, 1873 on the Deike farm north of the intersection. He was one of seven siblings. His wife, Louise, was born on April 5, 1878 to Henry and Marie (Lange) Winkelhake in Schaumburg Township. Ernest and Louise married on July 21, 1897 at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Schaumburg and began their business that year. Later, they welcomed their daughter, Louise, into their family.

Ernest, Marie and Louise Deike. Photo contributed by Dennis Deike

According to a March 8, 1940 article in the Daily Herald, Mr. Deike began work as a farmer, just like his father. After purchasing the creamery in 1897, he later added a blacksmith shop and hired a blacksmith to shoe the horses of local farmers. In fact, in the 1900 and 1910 census, a blacksmith is listed as living with the small family.

The 1900 census lists Ernest’s occupation as manufacturer, which we have to presume involved the creamery business. The 1910 census lists his occupation as general merchandise and creamery. His World War 1 Draft Registration card of 1917 interestingly notes that he was a truck gardner [sic] so he must have still been involved in farming to some degree.

After 14 years of the creamery business, it became obvious that the demand for locally processed milk was declining so he focused on the country store that was attached to his creamery. As the story says, “And Deikeville came into being.”

The 1920 census reflects this change in occupation as Ernest is now listed as a merchant in general merchandise. Albert Lahne, the blacksmith who was living with the family in 1910, continues to be in residence. Clearly, the area farmers still needed the services a blacksmith could provide.

Over the years of operation, according to the article and other numerous mentions in the Cook County Herald, the Deikes sold, among a great many other things, oil lamps, coffee ground by hand on their hand-operated coffee mill, garden seeds and seed potatoes. They also kept an open cracker box as well as an open tobacco box where the farmers could fill the free clay pipes that were available near the old coal stove.

They eventually branched out into seasonal items like nuts, candy, toys, oranges and apples in the barrel, as well as Christmas trees. And there were also the Studebaker wagons, sleighs and buggies as mentioned in the December 24, 1909 issue of the Cook County Herald.

Additionally, as can be seen in this flyer provided by LaVonne (Thies) Presley, the store also served as a site for contractors such as Frank Martin of Milwaukee who tanned the hides of cows and horses for coats and blankets. On the farm, nothing went to waste.

In the March 1940 article Mr. Deike claimed “to be the first subscriber to the Cook County Herald in his section of Elk Grove, he installed the first telephone and was the first customer of the Public Service Co., even if he had to fight two years to get electric service in his district.” The store also served as a mail drop-off center.

The Deikes made the corner their home, in the house and the store they built. And, despite the fact that the creamery closed, it never lost its spot as a drop-off location for milk. Farmers simply brought their full milk cans to be poured into the waiting milk truck as is pictured here.

Photo courtesy of the Daily Herald and provided by Delores (Pfingsten) Pederson

These photos are from the June 21, 1940 issue of the Daily Herald. The photo below is a view of some of the local farmers who brought their milk to the corner. Standing (and sitting) from left to right are: Otto Goeddeke, Henry Schuette, Henry Boergener, Erwin Wede, Clarence Biesterfeldt, Irwin Kastning, Ed. Wilke of Arlington Heights who was the milk truck driver, R. Rosenwinkel, Fred W. Pfingsten, Henry Gathman, Raymond Thies, Fred Tegtmeier, Henry Panzer. On the platform are: George Behrens, Mr. Fransen, Leonard Gathman and Herman Kruse.

Photo courtesy of the Daily Herald and provided by Delores (Pfingsten) Pederson

This intersection, though, was not just the home of the Deike creamery and country store. The Zion Evangelical Church laid its cornerstone in 1906 on the southwest corner of the intersection. The church served the nearby farming community for nearly 20 years until it was moved to the village of Itasca where it found new life for a wider array of congregants.

(Photo courtesy of the website of Bethany United Methodist Church of Itasca, IL)

In later years, during the 1940s, the Deikes continued to operate their store and a roadside stand, selling fruits and vegetables in season as well as poultry and eggs. [Roselle Register, June 29, 1951]

Mrs. Deike died on February 1, 1952 and Mr. Deike passed away, almost exactly, two years later on February 3, 1954. Both are buried in the St. Peter Lutheran Church Cemetery.

Photo is courtesy of Sam on findagrave.com

When the Deikes died, Deikeville died with them. As Mary McCarthy said in the 1981 publication, Elk Grove: The Peony Village, “The modern day supermart will never capture the friendly feeling of the Deike’s country store.”

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