October 8, 2015

On Sunday, October 18 the Hoffman Estates Historical Sites Commission will conduct small group-guided tours of the Greve Cemetery on Abbey Wood Drive.

Groups will be shown the interrelated Greve, Meyer, Ottman and Sunderlage pioneer families buried at the cemetery which is also known as Wildcat Grove Cemetery or Evangelical and Reformed Cemetery.

The event is free.  Tours will start at 1:00, weather permitting.  Call 847-781-2600  for reservations before Oct. 16.


October 4, 2015


Champps 1


What happens when a Green Bay Packer starts a Mexican restaurant chain and it eventually grows to 210 locations?  The answer:  one of those locations finds its way to Schaumburg.

In 1975 former Packers great, Max McGee, started the restaurant chain, Chi Chi’s, in Richfield, Minnesota with restaurateur, Marno McDermott.  The popularity of the eatery grew to the point that the chain decided to open a spot at 955 E. Golf Road in Schaumburg in 1984.  [Classified ads began appearing in the Daily Herald in the summer of 1984 advertising for help wanted.  This is also the first year Chi-Chi’s is listed in the local phone book.]

The building, as I recall, was a light tan stucco and served up standard Mexican fare of enchiladas, tacos and chimichangas.  They had banquet facilities and offered carry-out service.  Unfortunately, the restaurant that advertised itself in the 1986 phone book as “When You Feel A Little Mexican,” closed three years later in 1987.

The building and the spot did not languish for long.  By November of the same year, an Italian chain by the name of Grisanti’s had remodeled and opened in the same building.  According to a review in the December 18, 1987 issue of the Daily Herald, “the exterior has been totally redone with a Mediterranean accent.”  The interior had a “an airy main room” that was terraced “with canopies and plants in large terra-cotta pots.”

It was a popular spot for many years with the highlights being the salad that was tossed tableside with fresh ground Romano cheese and the “warm, soft loaf of Tuscan bread brushed with garlic butter.”  They served lunch and dinner every day as well as a brunch on Sunday.  It was reasonably priced and endured a nine year run, closing in late 1996.

The following year, on November 17, 1997, Champps’ Restaurant & Bar opened in the newly renovated building that featured additional outdoor seating.  [Daily Herald; November 5, 1997]  They were part of the Champps Entertainment chain based in Minneapolis that caught the early curve of sports-themed restaurants and bars.  Champps 2

This restaurant too proved to be a hit, serving up a varied American-style menu and providing plenty of large screen TVs for lots of sports viewing.  They lasted for nearly 18 years and recently closed their doors.

The building was scheduled to be demolished in August 2015 to prepare the site for another restaurant.  This time it’s a brand new McDonalds.  So, get ready for a new place to stop in or drive thru for your Big Mac and fries because this spot was obviously destined for restaurants!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library



September 27, 2015

In the village of Schaumburg there, is only one building on the National Register of Historic Places.  It is a hidden gem that, for many years was a private residence.  Known as the Paul Schweikher House, this home was built in 1938 by Mr. Schweikher, a renowned architect who lived on the 7 acre site until 1953 when he moved to Connecticut to head Yale University’s architecture school.

You now have an opportunity to view this local architectural wonder.  The Schweikher House Preservation Trust, in conjunction with Docomomo Tour Day 2015, is pleased to offer tours of this Prairie-styled home.

The house will be open to the public for pre-scheduled, 40-minute tours on Saturday, October 10 2015 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The cost of the tours is $25 per person, paid in advance of the event with a maximum of 12 persons per tour. For registration, visit http://schweikherhouse.org/tours/, call Executive Director Todd Wenger at (847) 923-3866 or email info@schweikherhouse.org.

Tours of the house will feature Schweikher’s masterful integration of brick, glass, and wood, including an iconic brick fireplace, passive solar room, cantilevered construction, exposed wood beams, built-in furniture, a Japanese soaking tub, raked gravel courtyard, and gardens designed by the noted Midwestern landscape architect Franz Lipp.

This event is being sponsored by the Schweikher House Preservation Trust   For information about the house, please visit www.schweikherhouse.org.


September 20, 2015

Fred Pfingsten photo

This photo was recently donated to the library and appears to be a group of young men on a field trip with their teachers and/or chaperones.  They seem to be of high school age and two of them appear to be wearing 4-H shirts.  Because one boy in the group has been identified, and we know the years he was in high school, it is possible to put the date of the photo between the years of 1949 and 1953.

Given the fact that the identified young man grew up on a farm in Schaumburg Township, it was not a stretch to wonder if this is a group was associated with the Cook County Farm Bureau, a 4-H club, a high school agriculture class or a group of Future Farmers of America.  After a bit of newspaper research, I did in fact discover that he was involved in a Schaumburg Township 4-H club.  He won prizes at the 4-H fair for raising cattle and swine and served as recreation leader for the group.

Which brings us to the location of the photo…  I’m curious about the building behind them.  It looks to be a Chicago area high school or an office building.  Can anyone help place this structure?  Here’s hoping the collective brain can figure it out!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


September 20, 2015

What:  The Volkening Heritage Farm at Spring Valley Nature Sanctuary is sponsoring their annual Autumn Heritage Festival.  Step back in time and watch history come to life at Spring Valley’s most popular event! Experience life on an 1880s farm by helping with the harvest, cooking over the woodstove or squeezing fresh apple cider. Relive the adventure of the Illinois frontier at an authentic pioneer encampment near the log cabin. The day will include historical demonstrations, children’s crafts, haywagon shuttle, live music and a variety of tasty fall foods.
When:  Sunday, October 4, 2015 Noon to 5 p.m.
Where:  Volkening Heritage Farm.  Parking is available at the Nature Center on Schaumburg Road and off Plum Grove Road across from Heritage Farm.
Charge:  Cost is $5 per person and $20 per family. Children 3 and under are free.
Info:  Call (847) 985-2100 for more information.


September 13, 2015

Poplar Creek 1

Around this time in 1984 Poplar Creek Music Theater’s season closed after it’s fifth straight year of outdoor music in the northwest suburbs.

PavarottiThe big name for Poplar Creek that year was the famed tenor, Luciano Pavarotti, who appeared on a memorable Monday night in August.  Multi-city touring was something new for Mr. Pavarotti and Hoffman Estates was chosen as the starting point for the tour.  The performance was conducted with the orchestra of the Chicago Lyric Opera providing the background accompaniment.  Other locations where he performed were New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles but Poplar Creek had him first!  You can read more about that concert here.

There were other large, multi-piece bands who performed.  Linda Ronstadt with Nelson Riddle’s orchestra, Chicago and Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass provided a big sound on their respective nights.

John DenverJohn Denver came back after a couple of years off and did himself proud with two concerts on back to back nights.  The only others who performed two nights in a row were James Taylor and Neil Diamond.  Not too hard to believe, is it?

Disco was definitely gone but there were still country acts who gave big concerts.  The Oak Ridge Boys, Willie Nelson, and Waylon Jennings with Neil Young filled that part of the bill.  And then there was the 1980s pop sound with Billy Idol, Go-Go’s, Cyndi Lauper and Sheena Easton.

In 1983 there were six acts who had performed every year that the theater was open.  In 1984 that number was down to three.  Those who were back for yet another encore performance were Jimmy Buffett (does he ever quit?), James Taylor and Willie Nelson.  And all of them are still popular today!

Unfortunately, the closing act of the season was cancelled.  Barbara Mandrell was set to perform on September 22 but was forced to stop her tour because of serious injuries suffered in a car accident on September 11.

How many of these concerts did you attend?  What were the highlights?  Were you part of the traffic jam on I-90 for Pavarotti’s concert?  Fill us in on the details!

June 1                  Billy Idol

June 5 & 6         John Denver

June 10              Joe Jackson

June 13              Ted Nugent

June 22              King Crimson

June 23              Jimmy Buffett

June 24             Go-Go’s

July 2                 Moody Blues

July 3                 Linda Rondstadt with Nelson Riddle and his orchestra

July 5                 Pointer Sisters with Lee Ritenour

July 6                 Everly Brothers

July 7                 Huey Lewis and the News

July 12              Aerosmith

July 14               .38 Special

July 21               Kool & The Gang with special guest, KC and the Sunshine Band

July 27              The Greg Kihn Band with Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul

August 1            Chicago

August 3 & 4    James Taylor and Randy Newman

August 5           Air Supply

August 6           The Cars with Wang Chung

August 7           Johnny Mathis

August 8          Ronnie James Dio with Twisted Sister

August 9           Steve Lawrence and Edyie Gorme

August 10         Oak Ridge Boys

August 11          Eurythmics with Howard Jones

August 12          Yes

August 13          Luciano Pavarotti

August 16          Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass

August 17          Pretenders with Simple Minds

August 18         Paul Simon

August 20         Willie Nelson

August 21          Thompson Twins

August 22          Sheena Easton

August 24 & 25  Neil Diamond

August 28         Elvis Costello and The Attractions with Nick Lowe and his Cowboy Outfit

August 31          Rick Springfield

September 2     Billy Squier with Ratt

September 3     Waylon Jennings and Neil Young

September 14   George Benson

September 15   Herbie Handcock and Steel Pulse

September 16   Cyndi Lauper


Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library



September 6, 2015

Schaumburg Center schoolThe Schaumburg Township Historical Society will have an open house of the Schaumburg Center School on September 13, 2015.  The open house will be held from 12:00 to 4 p.m.  This is the final tour of the year.

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.


August 30, 2015

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian

(The photo is from Saturday Evening Post.)


August 23, 2015

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

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

They were:

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

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

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

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

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library




August 16, 2015

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

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

Service Stations


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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

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


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