THE FIRST WATER RESERVOIR IN WEATHERSFIELD’S “W” SECTION

November 19, 2017

This is an aerial photo of the “W” Section of the Weathersfield development in 1959.  It is at the corner of Schaumburg and Springinsguth roads.  Some things stand out.  The grading of Weathersfield Plaza has already begun–or maybe that’s where equipment and trailers were kept during the construction process? There is a farm to the west–or left–of the development.  And, then, there’s a small, white, circular disk in the lower portion that appears to be almost as big as a couple of the nearby houses combined.

That disk is one of the first two community water reservoirs that were built in the newly incorporated town of Schaumburg.  This reservoir is on property that is adjacent to Campanelli School.

When Campanelli Brothers began construction of Weathersfield, the first order of business had to be a water supply for the multitude of houses they had planned.  Weathersfield Utilities, which was owned by Campanelli, built the concrete reservoir.  After a battle for control between Weathersfield Utilities and Citizens Utilities that handled water for nearby Hoffman Estates, the Village of Schaumburg opted for a municipally-owned utility such as they have today. [Hoffman Herald, August 13, 1959]

In this 1972 aerial photo contributed by John Kunzer who instigated this blog posting, you can see the round reservoir as well as the small building that housed the pump station directly below it.

This is what is left today of that reservoir.

 

When the village moved from a system of wells, storage tanks and pump stations in the 1980s to Lake Michigan water, the old water supply system was largely let go.  This reservoir was filled in and torn down somewhere between 1997 and 2000.

As John Kunzer said, “I grew-up in the W section about a block west of Campanelli. As a child in the 70s I never thought much about the big cement dome, but knew it had something to do with water. It was many years later that I realized it had been our fresh water source. I recall the well water was pretty hard, and we had a water softener under the counter in our kitchen.”

This Google image from Mr. Kunzer shows what remains today from an aerial view.

Do you have memories of any of the other obsolete water tanks in Schaumburg?  Where were they located?  Of course some tanks are still standing that are there in case of emergency.  How about the big tanks off of Wise that say “HOT” and “COLD?”  Can’t beat the village’s sense of humor on that one!

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

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FIRST THE ROSELLE AIRPORT, THEN THE SCHAUMBURG AIRPORT

November 12, 2017

The portions of this article that are in italics  first appeared in the Roselle History Museum Newsletter in Spring 2012.  They are reprinted today, courtesy of the Museum.  

Roselle residents have had aircraft in their skies for some time, even before an airport was established.  During World War II, an area around what is currently Schaumburg and Barrington Roads was used as an Optional Landing Field (OLF) for pilots training at the Glenview Naval Air Station.  [It is outlined below.]

The airport as we know it today had its beginnings in 1959 in an unincorporated area of Cook and DuPage counties, between the villages of Roselle and Schaumburg.  [Leonard Boeske, owner of Boeske Real Estate of Villa Park, developed the field.]  Although the airport was not (and never has been) officially part of the village of Roselle, it was originally called Roselle Airport, probably because it was closer to Roselle than Schaumburg.  [During its early days it was referred to as Roselle Field and Roselle Air Park.]  In June of 1961, the owner of the airport approached the Roselle Village Board about the possibility of annexing the airport into the Village.  Talks continued for eighteen months, and in January of 1963, the Roselle Planning Commission recommended to the Village Board that the airport be annexed into the Village.  

For reasons that are not documented, the proposal of airport annexation was never voted on by the Village Board.  In 1963, [after an October 19 referendum for Schaumburg residents] the airport was annexed to the Village of Schaumburg.  In the early 1970s, the airport’s name was changed from Roselle Airport to Schaumburg Airpark, which fueled speculation by some Roselle residents that Roselle “gave away” the airport.  Today, the airport’s official name is Schaumburg Regional Airport.  

[On February 6, 1970, President and Mrs. Nixon landed in the Marine 1 helicopter at the Schaumburg Airpark.]  The purpose of President Nixon’s visit to our area was to dedicate a water treatment plant at the corner of Barrington Road and Irving Park Road.  The President viewed a sewage treatment operation that was considered necessary for his Administration to meet antipollution goals and federal water quality standards that were in place at the time… 

The airport continued to be privately operated until 1994, when the Village of Schaumburg purchased it in order to prevent it from being sold to developers.  The Schaumburg Village Board and Schaumburg Park District purchased the airport for $14 million and paid for $8 million of improvements.  The biggest improvement was replacing the 30-year-old 3,000 foot by 40 foot asphalt runway with a 3,800 foot by 100 foot concrete runway.  The new runway also had a parallel taxiway and concrete tie-down areas for parking.

Kathy Schabelski
Roselle History Museum

*********************************************************

The following are additional facts about the airport found in the Daily Herald and the Village of Schaumburg’s website.

  • The first plane, piloted by Dan Smith, an Illinois aviation safety inspector, landed at the airport on May 25, 1961 while the field was still being developed.
  • To honor its original name of Roselle Field, 400 yellow rose bushes with flowering crab bushes in between, were planted in 1961 on both sides of the drive leading into the airport.
  • The original airport had an administration building and two hangars that could each accomodate 10 planes.
  • Skyview Chicken House was an early restaurant at the airport.
  • In the late 1970s, the airport was owned by Chicago hotelier Jack Pritzker, developer William Lambert and the Bennett and Kahnweiler real estate firm.  The group also owned the nearby Centex Industrial Park.
  • Gene Bouska was a long time manager of the airport in the 1980s and 1990s.  He had both a watch horse named Amy to patrol the grounds and a mascot dog named Runway who was found half frozen to death on the runway.  Mr. Bouska died in a plane crash at the airport on April 16, 1995, the day the airport closed for renovation after the village’s purchase.  He was commemorated at the reopening ceremonies later that year.
  • Before the village purchased the airport, the grounds of the airport were labeled the Schaumburg Air Park.  It was one of three privately-owned, public airstrips in Cook, Lake and DuPage counties.
  • In 1998, after purchase by the village, a 26,000 square foot terminal building was completed, including space for a restaurant, public meeting rooms and units for individual businesses to operate.
  • Pilot Pete’s also opened in 1998 and continues operations today.

  • A new fuel farm for jet fuel and aviation gasoline was added in 1999.  New hangars that could accomodate 32 planes were completed between 2000 and 2001.  This same time period saw the installation of the PAPI (Precision Approach Path Indicator) which “is a system of lights that provide pilots vertical guidance to the runway.  This assists the pilot in determining whether they are too high, too low or right on the glide path.”
  • The year 2016 saw the installation of an AWOS (Automated Weather Observation Station) “which provides pilots flying in and out of [the airport] with accurate and up-to-date weather information which is essential to safe operation of the airfield.”

More details about the airport can be found on the village’s website and on the Wikipedia article on the airport.

If you have more to contribute or have taken a ride out of the airport, please chime in.  It would be great to have your impressions!

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

 

 

MEACHAM ROAD CHANGES

November 5, 2017

When 999 Plaza Drive was built in Schaumburg in 1977–following its sister buildings that were built in 1974–the entire development was known as Woodfield Office Plaza.  The buildings were part of the 325-acre Woodfield Park which was a commercial project being developed by J. Emil Anderson & Son, Inc. of Des Plaines.

Today it is National Plaza and some changes have been made to the 1111 Plaza Drive tower which is the building closest to Golf Road.  According to the Village of Schaumburg’s October 9, 2017 e-newsletter, “several upgrades were made to modernize the exterior including an all-new custom truss “super structure” and a new “floating cornice’ which raised the overall building height and changed its proportions.”

In the following photos you can see parts of all of the buildings.  999 is at the back of the photo and 1000 is to the right.

This building at 830 N. Meacham Road was in the process of being torn down when I took this photo.  The south façade was all that remained.  Finished in 1981, this 2 story office building was nestled in a slight valley and surrounded by mature trees.  Some of the tenants who were in the building over the years were Gooitech, Associated Milk Producers and Healthcare Financial Resources, Inc.

This photo from Google street view shows the building when it was most recently the International Training/Skin Beauty Academy.  The site is currently empty.

A Modernist style building was built in 1972 on Meacham Road and housed the American Savings Association.  They opened for business on September 29 on the west side of Meacham Road and remained the sole owner until Weber Grill bought the property.

The building was demolished to make way for the restaurant that opened in 2005.  

And then there’s Zurich-American Insurance Group who hit town in 1980 and took up residence in this building which is at 231 N. Martingale Road.   This was their first of three locations in Schaumburg.  You can even see their name and logo on the sign out front.  (The photo is from the 1984 NSACI Community Profile and is used courtesy of Profile Publications, Inc. of Crystal Lake.)

They then purchased Plaza Towers I in 1988 that is located on Plaza Drive and borders Meacham Road.  The building is 20 stories and was completed in 1987.  In addition to the purchase, Zurich then commissioned the building’s developer, Otis Co., of Northbrook to build a second, identical tower that would also include a second 5-level, 960-car parking deck and a 3-story atrium connecting the two buildings.

And here they remained until 2016 when they moved into this incredible building that was constructed on a portion of the Motorola campus.  The property borders the Jane Addams Tollway and is truly a spectacular sight–particularly at night.  This photo, courtesy of Goettsch Partners who designed the award winning building, shows the three offset bars that make up the sustainable building which earned a LEED Platinum certification.

Change will continue in Schaumburg as building and business styles continue to evolve.  Some buildings we will miss and others may be an improvement.  Getting a visual glimpse of where we began and where we’ve gone over the years is always a nice reminder of how important our local history is.

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

SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP HISTORICAL SOCIETY OPEN HOUSE

November 4, 2017

Schaumburg Center schoolThe Schaumburg Township Historical Society will sponsor an open house of the Schaumburg Center School on Sunday, November 12, 2017.  The open house will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  The schoolhouse is located on the St. Peter Lutheran Church property.

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

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

THE ARTESIAN SPRINGS OF SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP

October 29, 2017

The water in the shallow spring was so good and so fresh that they drove from Chicago to fill their jars and bottles.  The drivers pulled over on the north side of Golf Road between Plum Grove and Meacham–closer to Meacham–and took advantage of the water that was bubbling up out of the ground.  Once out of the car, it was just a jump across the ditch that bordered the road.  In early years the drivers had to place their container close to the spring in order to fill it.  Later, someone placed a pipe in the spring to channel the flow into the containers.

This small artesian spring bordered a farm that Paul Engler and his wife, Nellie, managed for Frank Rathje, a well-known attorney.  Paul and Nellie’s son, Bill, remembers the spring and how crystal clear and cold the water was.  It was in a low area and, even if the summer was a dry one, the spring continued to flow.  It only stopped for good when the Hoffman Estates water tower was built. The tower and subsequent demand lowered the water table that fed the spring.

I would imagine it looked something like this:

The geography of our township was impacted thousands of years ago by extensive glacier activity that distributed a great amount of rocky till (sand and debris) and left us a high water table. The artesian springs littered throughout Schaumburg Township were a direct result of water finding its way above ground because the pressure underground was greater than the pressure at the surface.  These springs had a bubble or flow that was visible to the naked eye.  There were also low areas where water continually seeped to the surface, forcing farmers to either get creative trying to contain the water or to tile their fields with drainage tile.

Below are some of the mentions of artesian springs in Schaumburg Township:

The area with the greatest number of artesian springs was appropriately named Spring Valley by Eleonore Redeker Ackerman and her Grandpa Boeger in the 1920s.   Their Boeger ancestors were original land grant purchasers in the 1840s.  The first mention we see in print of this grouping of springs  is on the cover of this 1900 farm ledger donated to us by LaVonne Thies Presley.


The Wilkening Creamery was built around 1898 on the small branch of Salt Creek that flows under Schaumburg Road through Spring Valley and is seen below.  It was located on the north side of Schaumburg Road and one of the draws had to be the springs that were nearby.  The springs provided unlimited cool water for this bustling creamery.

In a 1974 account of his time on the property, Eleonore’s brother, Herman Redeker, makes mention of the springs:  “…in 1881, the barn and wind mill…were built, also the grain and tool sheds adjoining. Smaller buildings were built, including one which housed a water wheel for power, used to run the butter churn.  The water wheel was fed by water from an adjoining pond fed by 3 or 4 running springs…There was never a well or water pump on the homestead until 1904, when my grandfather, Herman Boeger, built his retirement home on the place… The well was a shallow spring well, 24 feet deep.  It supplied all the home needs plus running over and feeding a rock garden and the overflow running to water livestock (sheep.)  There were also 5 other running springs on the old Boeger homestead, therefore the area was named Spring Valley.”

Later, a portion of the Redeker property, which included the log cabin and the peony fields, was sold to Frank and Leona Merkle of Kenilworth.  They used the property as a retreat.  Their son William Merkle wrote about the farm in his book, Frank and Leona.  The springs on the property clearly made an impact on him because he devoted a fair amount of space to them.

“The artesian well flowed constantly and was full of iron and sulphur.  It smelled and tasted strongly, and there was always a rust colored scum developing in the bucket.  The well was made from a six inch pipe [that] Dad estimated was probably one hundred feet deep and which rose six feet above the surface.  It had a horizontal half inch pipe connected about two feet up from the ground and that is where the ice cold water poured constantly.  Dad placed a large wooden bucket under the spout and kept bottles of beer ice cold in there, along with jars of butter and things for the kitchen.  The runoff came down the side of the bucket and into a little rivulet which ran into the pond immediately to the west.  I was faced with the choice between that water and a beer and it wasn’t an easy decision:  stinky versus bitter.  I was ambivalent, taking beer about half the time.  This well and the artesian springs supplying the lakes functioned beautifully for years, and then suddenly stopped flowing.  Dad felt it was the result of a huge gravel pit that was dug a mile or so south of the property, and which somehow [affected] the dynamics of the aquifer.  It was a great loss, not only because of the absence of fresh water for drinking, cooking and washing, but because then the ponds pretty well dried up.”

In an article called “The Gravelmeisters of Schaumburg” that ran in Spring Valley’s Natural Enquirer in the July/August 2012 issue, Walter Plinske confirms Mr. Merkle’s supposition about the gravel quarries.  He makes reference to the pit that was actively quarried in the 1950s and is the pond that today borders Martingale Road on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District property.  “It was at this stage [during the gravel mining process] that the impermeable shale layer was removed that had prevented further downward flow of the groundwater.  It has since been asserted that this was the cause of the extinction of the artesian waters of Spring Valley.”

A picture of the log cabin and the pond during Mr. Merkle’s time that is part of the Spring Valley collection can be seen below. 

Another account of an open flowing spring was on Jones Road at its intersection with Highland Blvd in Schaumburg.  Not only did the Jahn family who lived on the east side of Jones Road mention it, but the Hassels, who bought the property on the west side in the 1930s, also made reference to the spring.  A 1953 topographical map shows this area with an active stream flowing through it and lowlands nearby.  Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Historian, recalls both family members telling her that the spring was very close to the northern most pond in Ray Kessell Park.

Even today, in October 2017, that pond is full…

While the south pond is not…

Curious, isn’t it?

In LaVonne Thies Presley’s book Schaumburg Of My Ancestors, she discusses the low areas and natural springs that occurred on the Thies family’s farm on Meacham Road.  (Their farm was south of the Fasse farm which is where the gravel quarry was located that inevitably altered the flow of the springs of Spring Valley.)   The springs on the Thies farm became “more of a nuisance than a source of good water” because they kept the fields so wet.

She said, “As the Thies brothers depended on the crops more and more [as both] a source of revenue and for feeding the animals, they decided on a plan of action.  William went into town to one of the taverns.  He arranged to buy several ‘oak whiskey barrels’ which had been emptied of their contents by customers at the tavern.  Henry and William went out to the fields where the springs were located.  The water at these springs was emerging slowly to form a large wet area in the field.  At each spring the brothers dug down six or seven feet.  After removing one end of the oak barrel, it was turned upside-down over the spring.  the dirt was carefully shoveled around and on top of the barrel.  The area was allowed to settle and dry out.  by the next growing season, William and Henry were able to plant over the area where the spring had once surfaced.  During a wet season this area would take a little longer to dry out so that the land could be prepared for planting, but the oak whiskey barrels did the job of keeping the water from the springs far below the surface.”

In his oral history, Norman Freise was asked if he had any springs on their family property. Norm said, “Oh yeah, we had one on the 40 acres on the north side.  (This property is where the Jane Addams Tollway and Meacham Road intersect today.)   That’s why we could keep the cows there.  See, my dad was drilling a well and we went down 100 feet and all of a sudden it’s just like an oil well.  It just gushed out and we finally capped it and put a pipe out and it kept running all the time.  We had a big tank there for the cows.”

Coincidentally–and maybe not–this is not too far from the Schaumburg water tower that is on the portion of Wiley Road that parallels Meacham.

In addition, a book called The Stolen Years by Roger Touhy, who was a bootlegger during Prohibition, recently came to my attention through Tom Holmberg, one of our reference librarians.  When Touhy got his start in the practice of bootlegging beer he sought out a chemist who worked for the City of Chicago.  “I asked him how to make good beer and, after giving me a lot of long words about enzymes and such, he said: “Good water, you want first of all.  Fine pure water.  Water is the big thing in all good beverages, from soda pop on up.’ I told him to go find the right kind of water, and he did.  He tested water all over northern Illinois.  Samples from my home town of Des Plaines were pretty good.  There was better stuff in a creek out at St. Charles.  But the elixir of all beer-base water was from an artesian well near Roselle, he said.  I built a wort [the liquid portion of mashed or malted grain used in the production of beer] plant out there…”  Was this wort plant in Schaumburg Township?  Were the Touhy brothers taking advantage of the artesian wells in the area or was there a wealth of them in Bloomingdale Township, closer to Roselle?  You have to wonder.

Water, water was everywhere in Schaumburg Township in the early days.  Whether it bubbled, flowed or seeped, the farmers could count on fairly shallow wells that provided good, clear, water for them, their livestock and their fields.  If you make a visit to Spring Valley you get a fairly good idea of how bountiful the water was before the building boom.  It would be a pleasure to actually see those springs flowing at Spring Valley today, wouldn’t it?

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

The photo of the spring is used courtesy of the American Sojourn blog.
The photo of the water tower is used courtesy of Google Maps.

 

THE HISTORY OF BARRINGTON SQUARE MALL

October 22, 2017

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

Barrington Square Mall, located on the north side of Higgins Road east of Barrington Road, was so different when it was first built in the early 70s.  The main store was Robert Hall Village which was originally located on the southeast corner of Roselle & Golf Roads.  That location has also seen many changes.  The Robert Hall Village store in Barrington Square became K-Mart and later the Menard’s store that was torn down and that we all miss.

Shopping at Barrington Square Mall back in the 70s gave the flavor of town and country.  Across Higgins Road, you could clearly see the beautiful large Steinmeyer farmhouse.  George Steinmeyer still kept a herd of Black Angus steers out in the fields as well as hay and oats that you could see being harvested each fall.

There was a Dominick’s store with Garibaldi’s Pizza on the corner and Flip Side Record store in between.  GiGi’s Playhouse is where Dominick’s used to be and the Poplar Creek Bowl is still there.

An AMC sixplex movie theater was so popular with my family.  Set to the rear of the mall, it only cost $3 for adults and 1.50 for children’s tickets.  First run movies were shown then, but AMC sold the theater to Classic Cinema who showed second run movies for only $1.00.  One of the favorite afternoons for my kids was to take in a movie and still have money enough to buy a slice of pizza and a cold drink at Garibaldis.  The hobby shop was also a favorite with remote control race cars, trains and rockets.  A stop in Baskin Robbins was also a frequent activity.

Of all the merchants that called the Barrington Square Mall home, the most noteworthy was the Flip Side record shop.  In 1978, the Village of Hoffman Estates passed an ordinance that banned the sale of drug paraphernalia and required the merchant to apply for a license to sell such goods at a cost of $150. They would have to keep a record of the customer’s names who bought his merchandise.  Flip Side was a very popular record store and the place where the kids lined up to get their concert tickets but were also able to buy drug paraphernalia from a very prominent display of all of these items.  Not wanting to obey the ordinance, Flip Side, Inc. sued Hoffman Estates.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Flip Side but the Village took the fight to the highest court, the United States Supreme Court.  Our lawyer, Richard Williams, argued the case before them on Dec. 9, 1981 and on March 3, 1982 Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall read the unanimous decision stating that Hoffman Estates did have a valid & constitutional ordinance.  We had won the case that made a difference all around the country.  Small shops and stores could see that other villages were writing their own ordinances.  Many closed knowing that they had been legislated out of business.

Flip Side closed long ago.  We also lost Burger King to a larger one at the southeast corner of Barrington & Higgins.  The old McDonald’s closed also with a bigger and better restaurant just west of the old one.  Stop by Barrington Square Mall and see what’s new.

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

*The photo of the mall at the top of the blog is used courtesy of of the former Profile Publications, Inc. of Crystal Lake, IL.

**This column gives us a wonderful opportunity to start a list of all of the businesses located in the shopping center.  We’ll begin with those that Pat mentioned:

  • America’s Bar
  • Barrington Square Barber Shop (Jim Gerz, owner)
  • Barrington Square Cards, Coins & Comics
  • Barrington Square Theaters  (1979-2000)
  • Baskin Robbins
  • Burger King  (outlot)
  • Buona Beef (outlot)
  • Dominick’s  (Closed in 1988)
  • Flip Side Records
  • Garibaldi’s Pizza & Pasta House
  • Gigi’s Playhouse
  • Golden Bear (outlot)
  • Hair Pros
  • Hallmark
  • K-Mart  (1978-1992)
  • McDonald’s  (outlot)
  • Menard’s
  • Official’s Time Out (restaurant)
  • Peter Pan Cleaners
  • Pizza Hut  (outlot)
  • Poplar Creek Bowl
  • Robert Hall Village
  • Shanghai Restaurant
  • Sportsplex (After Dominick’s and before Poplar Creek Bowl)

If you have any to add, send a comment to the blog or an email to me.  Thank you!

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

A QUESTION ABOUT THE TRADEWINDS SHOPPING CENTER

October 15, 2017

 

Back in April, a blog posting ran on the Tradewinds Shopping Center in Hanover Park that was at the intersection of Barrington and Irving Park Roads.   It was a popular posting judging by the number of hits it received.  There is a lot of love for this place and clearly many have good memories of shopping, going to the theater and hanging out in the stores and restaurants.

There has also been a steady stream of comments trickling in regarding the shops that were there at one time or another.  This is the list that we currently have:

  • Allied Electronics (later became Radio Shack)
  • Ames
  • Blockbuster Video in the outlot on the corner
  • B. Dalton bookstore in the Library location before the library
  • Collin’s Fireplace and Patio
  • Corky’s lunch counter in the Walgreens
  • Dominick’s
  • First State Bank & Trust Company of Hanover Park
  • Full House (formerly St. George and The Dragon)
  • Hair Cuttery
  • Hallmark
  • Hanover Fabrics
  • Hanover Park Interior Lighting
  • Hit or Miss
  • Jack Robbins
  • Just Jeans
  • Kinney Shoes
  • Leslie’s Pool Supplies
  • Lincoln Realty
  • Peter Pan Cleaners
  • Radio Shack
  • Rahl Jewelers
  • Rent-A-Center
  • Ron’s Hobby Center
  • St. George and The Dragon
  • Saxon Paint
  • Star Cleaners
  • Swanson’s Crafts and Hobbies (Jack Swanson, proprietor)
  • Three Flags Restaurant
  • Toni’s Conversation Clothes
  • Tradewinds Pets & Supplies
  • Tri-Village Realty
  • Value City Furniture
  • Walgreens
  • Zayre

One person remembered a pet store that sold fish and I was able to track down Tradewinds Pets & Supplies.

He also remembered a coin shop but I’ve had no luck with that.  Another remembered a record store which I’ve also not been able to track down.  Someone else remembered a shoe repair shop as well.

If any of you can come up with any of these three businesses–or any more to add to the list–I’d be happy to oblige.  Thank you in advance for wracking your brains!

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

LIFE AT SCHAUMBURG AND ROSELLE ROAD IN THE 1920s AND 30s

October 8, 2017

Last week Florence Catherine Bell shared her stories about what it was like to attend the one-room Schaumburg Center School.  We received interesting and detailed information about the school that we hadn’t known before.

Because she was game for a few more questions, I decided to take a different tact and ask her about some of the businesses that were in place at the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads in the 1920s and 30s.  We have that wonderful set of postcards of this intersection from 1913 and it seemed like a good idea to tie the questions to those photos.  Let’s take a look at what she had to say…

 

In 1913 when this photo was taken this building was Farmer’s Bank of Schaumburg.  It was on the northeast corner of the intersection and was moved in 1980 when the intersection was widened.

During Florence Catherine’s time in Schaumburg Township, her parents, James Austin and Florence Bell, did not use the bank but they did go in periodically.  Florence Catherine remembers that it was small inside–even to a young girl’s eyes.  She does not recall bars on the windows that a number of banks had during that time.  She had no memory of a safe or vault or of any robberies that occurred.

She did say that, as far as she knew, there were only the teller and his wife who worked there and they lived in the apartment above the bank.  She remembered the banker as Mr. Kraft.  In doing a bit of research, I discovered in a January 16, 1925 article in the Herald that this 100 year old lady wasn’t far off in the memories of  her 7-year-old self!  His name was William C. Kreft and he was listed as the cashier.

In 1913 this building was a hardware store that was on the southeast corner of the intersection.  It is currently Lou Malnatis.

Florence Catherine remembers this as Schnute’s Tavern.  It was owned by Herman Schnute and was, again, visited by Florence Catherine only a few times.  She noted that this was a saloon even though Prohibition was in effect.

She had a cute story about how her horse ended up having a beer at Schnute’s.  “I was riding my horse, and there were all these guys standing outside of Schnute’s, shooting the bull.  I stopped to talk to them and they got the idea to take the horse inside the bar to get it a beer.  [They guided the horse into the bar], the horse smelled the beer and it backed out of the bar.”  The horse obviously knew better.

As far as the buildings to the right of Schnute’s, she did not recall what their purpose was.

This was the Fenz store that was on the southwest corner of the intersection.  It was a general store and farm implement dealer and, unfortunately, burned down in 1924.

Even though Florence Catherine would have only been 7 at the time of the fire, it’s such an unusual building that I couldn’t resist asking her what she knew about it.  She did not remember the building but she did recall that the bottom part was still there.  She said, “We would cut across the area where it was burnt” as they walked to and from the Schaumburg Center School that she attended on Schaumburg Road.

This parcel remained empty until Schaumburg’s first mayor, Louis Redeker, built a small, one-story building on the corner that later became the Tri Village/Ace Hardware.

Originally a hotel and saloon that was owned by Charles Krueger, the business was purchased in the 1910’s by Frank Lengl.  He eventually renamed it Lengl’s Schaumburg Inn.

Florence Catherine’s father was a friend of Frank Lengl so she knew this building well.  She said Mr. Lengl went to Germany and brought back two nieces and two nephews.  (They attended the Schaumburg Center School to learn to speak English.)  One of the boys helped in the bar and the other acted as a stable boy, taking care of the barn and animals.  According to Florence,  Mr. Lengl had a “trotting horse” that he would ride to the Bell’s house.  She also said, “When Daddy wouldn’t let me have the bridle to my horse, I would go over to Mr. Lengl’s and borrow one from him.”

The nieces helped Mrs. Lengl in the kitchen since Lengl’s offered both food and drink.  Florence specifically mentioned that steaks were served in the good sized dining room.  As far as drinks went, the bar had a “doors wide open” policy during Prohibition.  People would come from Chicago to go to Lengl’s.  It was “like a nightclub and had rooms upstairs.”

Mr. Lengl also built a big stage at one end.  The public schools would use that area for their graduations.

This is a drawing that her granddaughter drew of the layout of Lengl’s during the years Florence Catherine was familiar with the business.  Orient yourself by where the door is at the corner.  Behind the bar area was a partition that separated the restaurant from the bar.

This is a view of the intersection looking south down Roselle Road.

By the time Florence Catherine lived at Stratford Farms, Roselle Road was paved while Schaumburg Road was still dirt/gravel.  According to her, the view looking south didn’t really look that different during her day–except for the fact that the Fenz store to the right was gone.

She did note that, during the time her family lived here, the Latner family moved to the small town center and opened a small store on the east side of Roselle Road.  The lady of the family and her son ran the store.  According to Florence Catherine, it was located between Lengl’s and the dairy (Buttery.)

Roselle Road itself was wide enough to allow automobiles to maneuver the pavement.  The ditches were VERY deep and when they filled with snow and ice, “they would be level with the road and we would walk on the ditches on the way to school.”

Between the narrow road and the steep ditches, visitors to Schnute’s and Lengl’s would not always be able to stick to the road due to the drinks they had enjoyed.  After winding up in the deep ditches, people would knock on the door of the Bell home at 2:00 or 3:00 and her father would get “a team of horses out and hooked up early in the morning to pull those cars out of the ditches.”

I’ve heard stories about how narrow this road was in the 1950s and 60s so it sounds like the situation really didn’t get much better over time.  Things finally changed after the road was graded and widened.

It’s nice to have these small details added to our local history.  Kate, thank you once again for your sharp memory and good observation skills.  I still can’t believe that you remembered Mr. Kreft’s name!

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

 

 

ATTENDING SCHOOL IN THE DISTRICT 54 ONE ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE

October 1, 2017

Do you recognize this school?  If you’re familiar with historic buildings in Schaumburg Township or you grew up here before 1980, you probably know about this one room school house that was near the northwest corner of the Schaumburg and Roselle Roads.  It sat essentially where El Meson is today and it is why that small shopping center is called Schoolhouse Square.

The school was built in 1872 on property that belonged to Ernest Schween.  As one of five public schools in Schaumburg Township, it went under a number of different names over the years: Sarah’s Grove School, Schween’s Grove School, Schaumburg Center School and District 54 School.

When Florence Catherine Bell attended the school in the 1920s and 30s she lived on Stratford Farms on Roselle Road, close to today’s intersection with Wise Road. (Her first year was spent at the District 55 School or the Hartmann School on Wiese (Wise) Road with her friend Mildred.)

At the time the District 54 school was a vibrant, busy place as we can tell by the number of students in this photo.  The first row from the right is:  Unidentified, unidentified Botterman girl, unidentified, possibly Johnnie Bell.  The second row from the right is:  Bethella Haffner (Florence Catherine’s cousin), unidentified, Florence Catherine, unidentified Botterman girl, unidentified.  Florence Catherine’s younger sister, Edwina, is standing at the back with the bow tie on her blouse.  The tall girl behind her is one of  the daughters of Gottlob Theiss, pastor of St. Peter Lutheran Church.  To her left is Esta Haffner (Florence Catherine’s cousin), unidentified male Haffner cousin, unidentified Botterman girl, unidentified male Haffner cousin.  The boy in the second seat of the far left row was a boy with handicaps.

I recently had the opportunity to pose the following questions to Florence Catherine through her granddaughter.  It was a great opportunity to hear what it was like to attend this school during its busy days.

  • Do you remember the names of any of your teachers?
    1st grade:  Miss Mary Hammond
    2nd grade:  Miss Robinson
    3rd-5th grade:  Miss Dewey, Miss Marie Fox*
    6th-8th grade:  Miss Hamill
  •  What subjects were taught?
    “Reading, writing, arithmetic and spelling.”  Spelling was her favorite.
  • What were the hours of your school day?
    “9:00 to 3:00, five days a week”
  • When did school start for the year and when did it end?
    “It started the Monday after Labor Day and ended a few days after Memorial Day.”
  • How did you get to school?
    “We walked to school even in the winter.  Once we got to school on the cold days, we huddled around the coal burning furnace.”
  • What did you eat for lunch?
    “We took our lunch.  We didn’t have a soft drink dispenser or anything like lunch meat.  A typical lunch was peanut butter and jelly with bread home baked by Mom.  Sometimes lunch was leftovers from supper.”
  • Did they bring their own drinks?
    “No, they had a well at the school with a pump.  It was located right outside the door of the school house.”
  • Were the kids well behaved?
    “Yes, there were no problems.”
  • Were she and her siblings ever picked on?
    “No, we didn’t have any of that.  If so, it was minor and didn’t amount to anything.”
  • Did the teachers have good control of the classroom?
    “Right.  They didn’t have any problems.”
  • Who cleaned the school and the outhouses?
    The teacher assigned students to sweep the floors.
  • Did you have a best friend at school?
    “Her best buddy was Sadie Botterman who was in the same grade.”
  • Did you get a good education at the school?
    “I can read, write and do arithmetic now and I don’t have a computer.  My dad wouldn’t let us have an eraser on our pencils.  He would say, ‘Don’t make mistakes.”  Her granddaughter asked if he was joking with them and, with a little laughter in her voice she said, “Both.”
  • Where did you attend school after 8th grade?
    She went to Austin High School in Chicago.
  • She also mentioned that there was a County Life Director (employed by the Cook County Superintendent) who would travel around checking on the schools and visit with the teachers to see how things were going.  Florence Catherine remembered Homer J. Byrd and Noble J. Puffer coming to visit their school.
  • Other items mentioned were that they said the pledge of allegiance every morning and that if someone had a good report or did good work, the teacher would post special posters on the wall.
  • Toward the end of the school year, the 8th grade students who attended and went through confirmation at the St. Peter Lutheran Schools transferred to the one-room schools to finish their year.  This allowed them to graduate from a Cook County public school.
  • In another conversation, Florence Catherine also stated that, the Schaumburg Center School and other one-room schoolhouses in the area would hold an end of the school year “festival” at Beverly Lake near West Dundee.  This is now part of the Cook County Forest Preserve and is about 10 miles from the center of Schaumburg Township.   They got there by horse and wagon so it would have taken some time!
  • Graduations from the school were held at Lengl’s Schaumburg Inn (the Easy Street).  Mr. Lengl was kind enough to lend his dining room space for commencement exercises.
  • The local school board members at the time who oversaw the maintenance and running of the school were Mr. Botterman, Mr. Sporleder and Herman Hartmann.  These gentlemen all lived near the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads.

 

  • This is a photo of the west side of the school.  Edwina, the sister of Florence Catherine is the second little girl to the left.

The Schaumburg Center School was one of the last two one-room schools that operated in Schaumburg Township.  In 1981 the school was moved east down Schaumburg Road to the St. Peter Lutheran Church property where you can find it today.

Not only are we fortunate the school still exists but we are doubly so because of all of the nice details Florence Catherine Bell was able to contribute to the conversation of our local history.  Thank you Kate!

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

* Marie Fox was a sister to Anne Fox who also taught in this school, and for whom the District 54 school in Hanover Park is named.

SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP HISTORICAL SOCIETY OPEN HOUSE

September 30, 2017

Schaumburg Center schoolThe Schaumburg Township Historical Society will sponsor an open house of the Schaumburg Center School on Sunday, October 8, 2017.  The open house will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  The schoolhouse is located on the St. Peter Lutheran Church property.

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

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