SPRING HAS SPRUNG ON PLEASANT DRIVE

May 3, 2015

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From the library it is hard not to notice this beautiful tunnel of blooming Bradford pear trees that stretches down Pleasant Drive in Schaumburg.  The shot above is looking south from Thacker Street towards Schaumburg Road.  Below, it is the opposite view looking north.  What a gorgeous sight.

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This beautiful street is the heart of the Pleasant Acres subdivision.  Many think that Parcel A in Hoffman Estates or Weathersfield in Schaumburg were the first subdivisions in Schaumburg Township.  In fact, the Pleasant Acres subdivision was begun around 1952.  The developer was realtor Robert Bartlett, who interestingly, was also involved in developing Parcel A, B and C with Dorothy Dalton Hammerstein and Werner and Irene Kastning–the owners of the farmland that became Hoffman Estates.

In a May 7, 1953 article from the Daily Herald, there is a mention in the Schaumburg News section that states, “Three new homes are under construction in the new development located near the center of town.  The new location is called Pleasant Acres.  Many other homes will be begun before summer.”  The first homeowners were Mr. and Mrs. Amos Crooks, according to a March 29, 1956 mention in the Daily Herald.

This Cook County Highway map from 1952 shows the original layout of Pleasant Acres.  Note that Lincoln Street parallels Pleasant.  Apparently this street continued to exist on maps for years to come but it was never developed.  Notice, too, that Walnut Avenue bisects the two streets.  Walnut was later renamed Library Lane when the new home of the Schaumburg Township Public Library was built there in 1965.  When the library moved to its present location in Town Square, and Bethel Baptist Church purchased the building, the street name was changed once again.  It is now known as Bethel Lane.

Pleasant Lane map

By 1956 however, Pleasant Acres was so established that they had their own Neighborhood column in the Daily Herald.  They also had their own Pleasant Acres Community Committee that held their meetings in the one-room schoolhouse that bordered their development on Schaumburg Road.  One of these same columns also stated:  “For the benefit of the subdivision, Romanno’s have eggs to sell occasionally.”  (Who knows what Romanno’s was and where it was?)

According to the Village of Schaumburg’s 1998 Community Profile, Pleasant Acres gained final plat approval in 1985.  It continues to reinvent itself, though, with Friendship Village having absorbed several properties on the west side of Pleasant and M/I Homes currently redeveloping the east side of the street as Pleasant Square, a mixed community of homes.  Additional building is happening on Thacker Street at the north end of Pleasant Acres.  For many years there were only two houses on the south side of Thacker between Pleasant and Roselle Roads.  Recently, those two ranches were torn down and that block is now being redeveloped into seven new homes that will be named Shannon Estates.

Change is inevitable but, for now, we sure hope that tunnel of trees is here to stay for a while.  They’re a wonderful sight to see after a long winter!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

Permission to use the 1952 Cook County Highway map was graciously granted by the Cook County Highway Department.   

 

 

THE DEVELOPER OF WOODFIELD MALL

April 26, 2015

Of all the postings on this local history blog, it is Woodfield Mall that has generated the most comments.  It is a shopping center that was ahead of its time and, certainly, of its place.  And it is obviously much loved by those who grew up or lived in Schaumburg Township.  Woodfield

It is sad to report, therefore, that Alfred Taubman, president of the Taubman Company that drove the actual development of the building, died on Friday, April 17, 2015 at his home in Bloomfield Hills, MI.

From all accounts, Mr. Taubman was very engaged in the development of his company’s malls.  After serving in World War II, he returned to his home state and the University of Michigan to study architecture, and later transferred to Lawrence Institute of Technology.  Leaving that institution, he went to work as a draftsman for noted Detroit architect, Charles N. Agree.  In 1950 he started a real estate development firm that began specializing in the building of strip malls and, later, enclosed malls.  [“A. Alfred Taubman’s Life Through The Years.” Detroit Free PressApril 18, 2015.]

It was his architecture background that influenced the malls he built.  According to an article from the April 18, 2015 edition of Women’s Wear Daily, he “pioneered regional, upscale centers with skylights, terrazzo floors, brass railings, landscaping and split-level parking as well as food courts and movie theaters.”  Sound familiar?

The article also says, “He could be daring.  In 1971, Taubman, anticipating the great growth that would come to the northwest suburbs of Chicago, opened the mega two-million-square-foot Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Ill., which at the time had a population of only 18,000.” He was clearly progressive and bold, seeing that people were ready for one-stop shopping.  It was also apparent to him that shoppers were eager to make purchases in their own backyard instead of making a trip to a downtown location that required planning and much walking outside.

Woodfield Mall began its own journey in the early 1960s as Schaumburg Mayor Robert Atcher, the Village Board and Zoning Board began designating the area near the Northwest Tollway and Route 53 as a locale for commercial development.  The Homart Division of Sears Roebuck gradually became interested in the property and the village encouraged that interest by annexing the land in 1964.  Taubman Company became part of the mix when they entered a joint venture in 1967 with Sears’ Homart, calling themselves Woodfield Associates.  Construction began in 1969 and on September 9, 1971, the multi-level, largest-of-its-kind mall opened.  It continued to hold that distinction of biggest mall in America for a number of years to come.

Mr. Taubman, himself, was engaged in many ventures and was quite a diverse investor.  He was the lead owner of the former USFL Michigan Panthers football team.  He also bought the Woodward & Lathrop and Wanamaker’s Department Stores.  In 1982 he bought the A&W Restaurants chain and, a year later, Sotheby’s auction house.  His philanthropic generosity was sizable and included, but is not limited to:  Brown University, Harvard University and the schools he attended–Lawrence Institute and the University of Michigan where he still holds the distinction of being their largest donor in history.

We are fortunate that Mr. Taubman was part of the vision that is Woodfield Mall today.  In September 2015 it will be 44 years since the debut of a shopping center that was, at the time, largely surrounded by farm land and a few connecting roads.  Today it is a hub in the northwest suburbs, if not all of Chicagoland.  It is quite a long-standing testament to such a unique individual.  Thank you Mr. Taubman.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

An undated article entitled “1971:  Dream, Plan Take Shape in Concrete”  by Drew Davis from the Schaumburg Voice assisted me in the writing of the paragraph on the history of Woodfield Mall.

 

TAKE A TOUR OF GREVE CEMETERY

April 19, 2015

On Sunday, April 26, 2015 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  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 after April 20.

A CONCERT AT JANE ADDAMS JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL

April 12, 2015

As so often happens in the writing of this blog, one thing leads to another.  In the past week a commenter very graciously added another band to the list of famous individuals or groups who have appeared at Woodfield.  He commented on an earlier posting that was titled Appearing Then at Woodfield Mall.  After a bit of research I discovered the band dropped in at the House of Lewis clothing store.  It wasn’t too surprising.  They were, after all, a Chicago area band who had produced a couple of albums in the early 1970s and were clearly searching for venues to promote their music. What was surprising was when I discovered that they played a concert at Jane Addams Junior High School on August 1, 1973.  The name of the band?  Styx.

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The five-member band had begun playing together in 1970 and officially became Styx when they signed with Wooden Nickel Records in 1972.  Their album, Styx I, came out the same year and Styx II was released the following year in July 1973.  This album launched “Lady,” one of their biggest hits.  Less than a month later, the Schaumburg Park District had hired Styx and Leviathan, another local band, to perform at a 3-hour concert beginning at 7:30 p.m.  It was time for Styx to highlight the new songs from the new album.Styx

Leviathan was scheduled to begin at 7:45 and play until 8:45.  After a short intermission, Styx would take over and play until 10:30.  All participants were encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets for seating.  Some bleachers were available but, for the most part, it was more of a fireworks setting.  Best part of it all?  It was free!

Jane Addams opened in 1969 and was the sight of a number of events early in the growth of Schaumburg.  The Park District held their annual Christmas Show, the Hoffman Hallmark Chorus performed concerts, free films were shown and a host of other activities.  Maybe you remember some of them or maybe you were there for the Styx/Leviathan concert?  If so, I encourage you to add a comment.  You never know where those comments might go…

Details on the concert were obtained from an article in the August 1, 1973 issue of The Herald.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

 

NIGHTCLUBS OF SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP

April 5, 2015

Just as the band Cheap Trick was getting its start in nearby Rockford in 1973, the B. Ginnings nightclub of Schaumburg came along to give them a stage.  Opening in 1974, B. Ginnings was begun by Danny Seraphine, the drummer for the band Chicago.  This wonderful photo, passed on to me by blog reader, Larry Rowan, shows the sign for Woodfield Commons.  If you’re wondering where the nightclub was, just put yourself in the Secretary of State’s Drivers License facility on Golf Road.  You’d be standing in the middle of it.B ginnings

Other nightclubs have also had their heyday in Schaumburg Township.  Some had dancing, some had live music and some were just a great place to spend a weekend night to see and be seen. Confetti could be found at 1850 E. Golf Road, adjacent to the Hyatt Hotel.They offered a complimentary dinner buffet, Ladies Night, had a dress code and stipulated that you had to be 21 with proper ID.

There was Studebaker’s which could also be found in Woodfield Commons.   It had a good-sized dance floor with music that leaned towards classic rock and roll.  It was opened by Walter Payton and a group of investors who followed on the heals of that success with another venture–Thirty Fours.  This bar opened in 1988 and closed in 1995 at the same location as Confetti.  It was very popular and had a great dance floor too.  After the closure in 1995 it reopened as Phroggs and had the same amenities as Confetti except that it was necessary to be 23 to enter.  A later incarnation was called the Living Room.  Hot location, wouldn’t you say?

Of course, there was also the Snuggery on Algonquin Road which was a huge hit during the 1980s and into the 1990s.  Further east on Algonquin, near Rte. 53 was La Margarita.  They were known for their Mexican food but became a nightclub in the evening and were open until 4 a.m.   There was also the Bamboo Room on Golf Road between Roselle and Plum Grove.  It closed in 2007 and became Heat.

Maybe you can remember others that were your hot spots?  Or that came earlier in the 1970s?  Please share any I’ve missed.  And, if you’re interested in a nice history of B. Ginnings, check it out here.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

 

A QUICK QUESTION ABOUT WOODFIELD MALL

March 29, 2015

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With the renovation of Woodfield Mall starting soon, an interesting thought occurred to some of us.

To all of the readers of this blog and/or former shoppers and employees of Woodfield, my question is:  Outside of the three anchors of J C Penney, Sears and Marshall Fields/Macy, what is the oldest store/restaurant/business in Woodfield Mall today?

I have some guesses about these long-lived establishments but it would be nice to see what you think.  And know.  Maybe you worked as a teenager in a business that’s still going strong?  Or have been eating there for a long time?  Or stop in every time you go to Woodfield?

Leave a comment and let’s see if we can come to a consensus…

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

WHO LOVES YA SCHAUMBURG? A BOWLING ALLEY COMES TO TOWN…

March 22, 2015

It was a big day in Schaumburg on Sunday, September 7, 1975 when Telly Savalas came to town for the grand opening of Schaumburg Lanes, the first bowling alley built in Schaumburg.  He arrived at the invitation of Tony Ceresa, the owner and operator of Frontier Lanes, Inc. of Elgin.  The 40-lane building at 117 N. Roselle Road was Mr. Ceresa’s second project and was just south of–what was then–the Golden Acres Country Club.  It was also state of the art with its Brunswick Astroline gear of automatic pinspotters and “revolutionary two lane Automatic Scorer–the first in the midwest and only the second in the country.”  [Daily Herald; 9/3/1975]

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The photos above are of the site before construction began.  It is obvious that St. Peter Lutheran Church is in the background as well as the low tan brick building that is their elementary school.  Also evident to the right is the Sloan/Kotel house that is now called the Blue House and is on Schaumburg Road.  The groundbreaking for the new bowling alley on the 3.16 acre site was held October 18, 1974 with Mr. Ceresa in attendance as well as Russ Larson, president of the Schaumburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bob Baldwin, president of the Elgin Bowling Association which was a governing body of men’s bowling in the northwest suburbs and Ray LeBeau, a village of Schaumburg trustee.  The building took nearly a year to complete and outfit but when it finally opened, not only was Telly Savalas in attendance but a whole other host of luminaries were there as well.

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The list included bowling champions Dave Soutar and his wife, Judy, Fred “Skee” Foremsky and Vesma Grinfelds who all participated in demonstration bowling for the audience of potential local customers.  These bowling pros were joined by Chicago Bulls’ basketball star Bob Love and a host of Playboy Bunnies who helped introduce the new bowling equipment.  [The photos above show both the building almost fully constructed with its distinctive, arched roof and also, shortly before the grand opening.]

Schaumburg Lanes was on Roselle Road for 20 years and was a popular spot with local bowling leagues.  They offered a snack shop and a nursery for parents who enjoyed a night out. Different events were sponsored including a New Year’s Eve Candlelite Bowling Party in 1979 that offered food, prizes, favors, bowling, open bar and hats.  The cost was $35 a couple and ran from 10:00 until the partying stopped.  [Daily Herald; 12/12/1979]  They also expanded their activities to include junior league bowling teams for children.  In an April 26, 1992 article from the Chicago Tribune, it mentions that Schaumburg Lanes manager, “Rich Klasa has seen an influx of bowling teams made up of kids and their parents in the last few years.”  All in all, it was a busy site, considering their neighbor, the Schaumburg Transportation Company, generously offering their parking lot as a space for the Schaumburg Farmers’ Market for a period of time.Schaumburg Lanes 1

Schaumburg Lanes 2By 1995 though, the developers were knocking and business had tailed off so the bowling alley closed.  “The lanes [were] sold from the bowling alley and [went] to California and North Carolina… [with] the machinery [heading] to Japan.  [Daily Herald; 3/29/1995]   The site, along with Schaumburg Transportation Company’s 15-acres, was purchased and eventually, in 1997, the Olde Schaumburg townhome community was begun by Hoffman Homes.  It’s hard to believe the townhomes have been there now almost as long as the bowling alley was.

Bowling  is a sport almost anyone can do and, in 1975, it had to have been a nice addition to the area.   If you were a regular or played your first game there, please share your memories.  From the interior, to the Automatic Scorers or to the good times you had, it’s always nice to discuss what you remember.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

The photos above were graciously donated to the library by Jay Campbell who had the foresight 40 years ago to take the pictures and preserve them so that we could all share in the memories.  Thank you Jay.

The black matchbook cover, with its ads for both Schaumburg Lanes and Frontier Lanes, was passed on by Johnny Kunzer, an interested reader of the blog.  It’s always nice when one of the blog postings strikes a chord.  Thank you Johnny.

 

 

A PLANE CRASH IN HOFFMAN ESTATES

March 15, 2015

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

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It’s been more than 50 years since that terrible plane crash occurred on March 8, 1964.  The plane crashed into the Golubski home, 112 Arlington St., just before midnight.  The chartered DC-3 two engine plane was returning from a skiing trip to the Boyne mountain area, Pellston, Michigan when the plane came down in the residential area of Hoffman Estates.  It was trying to land at O’Hare airport.

There were 28 skiers, members of the Snow Drifters Club of Aurora, and a crew of two on the plane when it crashed into the Golubski house.  It took two hours before the fire department could reach the pilot and co-pilot and free them from the cockpit that was buried in the garage of the home. Unfortunately, the co-pilot died in the crash.   The passengers were able to quickly leave the plane with just cuts and bruises. Ambulances were sent from Chicago to help take the injured passengers to Northwest Community Hospital for treatment.

Fire Chief Carl Selke said that pilot, Virgil Provonost, told him during the rescue that they “hit some turbulence and we were unable to lift up.  We were able to turn off the engines before hitting.” As the plane came down, it clipped a pole bringing down the wires and setting off the fire alarm at the nearby school.  Fire trucks arrived quickly.  They were concerned that the fuel in the plane would be ignited.  Several of the men disconnected the wiring to the batteries to prevent a spark that could set everything ablaze.  Firemen from Elk Grove, Bloomingdale and Hoffman Estates took part in the rescue.   (The photo below is Parcel A in mid-construction.  Arlington Street is in Parcel B.) 1871

There have been many stories about how the plane crashed.  One story tells of how the pilot mistook the lights on the street as the O’Hara runway.  I’ve heard this story many times.  But the pilot is never quoted as saying this.  Since there were no lights along the highways or on the streets of Hoffman Estates at that time, I never understood how street lights could confuse the pilot.

Ken Rogner, who had the Shell gas station on the corner of Roselle and Higgins told me he was one of the first to arrive at the crash scene.  Because he had a thin build, he was asked to try and work his way into the cockpit to rescue the crew.  Many of the neighbors also came to offer help but where warned to stay back because of the threat of fire.

Miraculously the five members of the Golubski family were unharmed but in shock at how close they came to serious injury or even death due to the plane crash that seriously damaged their home.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian
Eagle2064@comcast.net

Airplane photo compliments of the Village of Hoffman Estates’ website.

THE TRIAL? DEFENSE BY A FAMOUS ATTORNEY

March 8, 2015

BankLast week the tale was told of Frank Henning, a bank teller at the Farmers Bank of Schaumburg, who confessed in a letter to bank stockholders, that he embezzled $40,000 to speculate in the stock market.  Hoping to earn it back, he escaped to New York City on New Year’s day but, within a couple of weeks, was tracked down by the Burns Detective Agency.  The year was 1914 and Mr. Henning would not stay in New York for long.

In fact, as reported in the Rock Island Argus on January 17, Governor Edward Dunne “issued a requisition for the return from New York city of Cashier Henning.”  By the 22nd, Henning was on his way back to Chicago to await his trial.  And the next time we hear of him?  It is the end of May.  And who has he hired as his attorney?  None other than the most famous defense attorney to ever practice law–Clarence Darrow.

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In his review in the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society of the book, In the Clutches of the Law:  Clarence Darrow’s Letters, John Lupton, Executive Director of the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission, states that “Clarence Darrow is arguably the most famous attorney in American history… Darrow classified himself as a general practice attorney who had a substantial criminal caseload.”

And for this particular criminal case, the 57-year-old Darrow ingeniously supported his client by basing his defense on the fact that the Farmers Bank was a private institution and not legally incorporated. This would prove to be the crucial point in the trial.

In a cross examination by Mr. Darrow, one of the stockholders admitted the statement about the legal status of the bank was correct. In a May 28, 1914 article from the Chicago Tribune, it is mentioned that the stockholder also “admitted Henning was a partner and had an interest at the time he left.  Then Darrow made the startling announcement that Henning could not be touched under the law.  A partner cannot be found guilty of embezzling funds from a partner.  The state had ‘not a leg to stand on’ he asserted.”

Realizing Darrow was correct in this statement, W. W. Witty, the Assistant State’s Attorney, then proceeded to make an additional accusation, declaring Henning guilty of embezzlement of $835 in January 1911.  At this point in time,  Henning was a cashier but not yet a partner.  Darrow admitted this was correct, that Henning was not a partner, but there was yet another caveat–by law, the statute of limitations had already expired on such a charge.  The defense then moved that the “court direct a verdict of not guilty.”

In response, Judge McKinley, sustained this contention and took the case away from the jury and the court convened for the day.  On the following day, Thursday, May 28, 1914, Frank Henning walked out of the courtroom a free man.  Mr. Darrow had done his job.

Ten years later, in 1924, Mr. Darrow would rivet the world with his 12-hour long closing argument in the Leopold and Loeb trial.  One year later, in 1925, Mr. Darrow’s defense of John Thomas Scopes in the Scopes Monkey trial would truly establish his worldwide fame in a trial that focused on the right to teach evolution in public schools.  Taking on cases such as Frank Henning vs. Farmers Bank of Schaumburg in 1914 was a step in his rise to legal greatness.

Farmers Bank of Schaumburg bounced back from the embezzlement and even survived an attempted robbery in 1921 when Herman Freise, president of the bank, personally thwarted the robbers.  It would not outlast the Great Depression, though, and eventually closed in 1933.  Very few banks were immune during those harrowing years, and private banks and the banking system as a whole struggled.  New regulations and protective practices such as the FDIC were put in place to protect both the institution and the investors.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

I discovered this incident serendipitously as I do with a number of pieces of our history.  I was doing a brief search of the University of Illinois’ Digital Newspaper Collections and stumbled across mentions of the trial in a newspaper called The Day Book.  This was a newspaper that was published between 1911 and 1917 in Chicago–fortuitously for us.  It was designed as an experimental, ad-free daily and begun by E. W. Scripps, founder of both the media conglomerate by the same name and the United Press.  Mentions of the trial were brief but enough to pique my interest.  It wasn’t until I dug deeper into the Chicago Tribune’s database that I discovered the wonderful details about Clarence Darrow.  All of the articles used to write this blog posting are listed below:

 

  • Chicago Daily Tribune.  January 4, 1914
  • Chicago Daily Tribune.  January 5, 1914
  • Cook County Herald.  January 9, 1914
  • Cook County Herald.  January 16, 1914
  • Rock Island Argus.  January 17, 1914
  • Chicago Daily Tribune.  January 22, 1914
  • Chicago Daily Tribune.  May 28, 1914
  • Cook County Herald.  May 29, 1914
  • Chicago Daily Tribune.  May 29, 1914
  • Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society; Volume 107, Number 2, Summer 2014; p. 243.

 

 

THE CRIME? EMBEZZLEMENT

March 1, 2015

On Friday morning, January 2, 1914 the head cashier of the Farmers Bank of Schaumburg, walked through the bank’s front door and was greeted by a letter addressed to the directors.  Written by Frank Henning, the assistant cashier, the letter told the story of how he had embezzled $40,000 from the bank so that he might speculate in the stock market.  He’d lost all of it, every single penny, and begged to please, give him a chance, and he’d repay it.  Then he left, leaving town with only the letter to answer for his crime.Bank

The bank had opened in 1911 on the northeast corner of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads with a first day’s deposit of $21,000.  The bank was a source of pride for the hard working German farmers of Schaumburg Township who were pleased to have their own local institution to hold their savings.

Fast forward three years later and the 22 stockholders were holding a hurried meeting on Saturday, January 3, 1914 to discuss the details of the crime and figure a way to keep the bank solvent.  It seemed that Mr Henning, who had been with the bank since its beginning, left his home on New Year’s Day, telling his wife and 2 year-old daughter that he was going to attend a theatre party in Chicago that evening. Instead, he posted one letter to the bank and one to his wife confessing his crime.

The bank’s letter held a $1000 bond and Mr. Henning’s $1000 certificate of stock in the bank.  It was all that was left of his tenure and he probably would have raised a red flag had he earlier tried to cash in the bond. He also left promissory notes made out to the stockholders that were due over a period of six months to five years in the future with his guarantee that he would return the money.  In addition, he told them he was travelling to Omaha to begin working on that process.

In an immediate response, the stockholders raised the capital stock from $25,000 to $50,000 with each of them putting up close to $1500 to cover the loss.  They also hired a clerk from the First National Bank of Elgin to do an audit of the books.  Lastly, they hired the Burns Detective Agency, led by William J. Burns whose photo is shown below, to find Mr. Henning so that he might be brought to justice.  Warrants for his arrest were placed on the following Monday.  Burns Detective Agency

His wife was just as upset and puzzled as the stockholders.  The family lived on the second floor of the bank and after the embezzlement returned to a nearby town to live with their immediate relatives.

Mr. Henning, however, wasn’t on the lam for long before he made a crucial mistake.  He sent a letter to a friend asking about his wife and daughter and must have included his whereabouts in the text.  Either the friend turned it over to his wife or to the Burns Detective Agency, because it didn’t take them long to determine that Mr. Henning was not in Omaha but in New York City.  By January 13 they had tracked him down in the Woolworth building [shown below] and taken him into custody.  Woolworth Building

Shortly after, he spilled the whole story.  In an article from the Cook County Herald dated January 16, 1914, it states, “He talked freely with the detectives who took him—mainly talking about his wife.  He told them how he worked his way through a business college, worked in a country store and saved his money, and during the panic of 1907 speculated with his employer and made $1800.  He dabbled in stocks from then until he left Schaumburg and always lost.  Henning said he had an opportunity in 1910 to purchase stock in the Farmers bank of Schaumburg… He had no money, but borrowed $1000 from his father, an ironworker, and after buying an interest in the bank, became bookkeeper.  The money he had borrowed was all the savings of his father, and in the hope of paying it back he filled out signed drafts on the bank’s correspondents in Chicago.  With the money thus obtained, he resumed speculating in the Chicago stock market.  Henning said he always lost but by skillfully covering up his speculations he managed to avoid suspicion until late in last December.  Then he realized the game was up.”

In the same article he mentions how he arrived in New York with $2500 that he had on account with a Chicago broker.  Thinking he might get a law degree and make the money back more quickly, he talked to a number of law schools—including Fordham—and discovered that none of them “would graduate him in six months.”  Shortly after, the detectives tracked him down.

And this is where the story gets more interesting.  Next week we meet the gentleman who enters the scene and gives Schaumburg Township a small touch of early fame, albeit unasked for…   

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


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