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

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

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

  • The average number of acres that most of the farmers owned was right around 160.
  • Farm acreage ranged from 10.5 to 243 acres.
  • The number of tenant farmers was surprising. Of the 53 farms listed here, 16 were run by tenants. That means 30% did not own their own farms. Some of the tenants were clearly family members, which was most likely a father/son arrangement.
  • The names of the farms were not typically used by most of the farmers. When I asked LaVonne Presley about the farm owned by her grandmother, she said that she knew about the name because of the book, but it was seldom referred to as such.
  • The earliest resident of Schaumburg Township in this list was John Homeyer. The date listed for him was 1847. According to the St. Peter Lutheran Church records, John Homeyer was born November 19, 1847. He was most likely baptized by Pastor Francis Hoffman, the first pastor of St. Peter’s, in the very year the church was founded. He died in 1939 which was more than 20 years after this book was published.

This plat map is from Thrift Press and is dated 1926. It is the closest map in age to the 1918 Prairie Farmer’s Directory. You can get an idea of the section numbers of the township and where the farmers lived. In many instances, you can see the names on the map.

Bartels, Arthur H. (Wife Alma Hitzmann) (Children Lorena) “Apple Blossom Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 160 acres in Section 16. Resident of county since 1892.

Bartels, Herman H. (Wife Caroline Lichthardt) (Children William H., Henry F., Emma, Emil, Alfred, Irvin) “Valley Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 243 acres in Section 31. Residence of county since 1871.

Beisner, Henry (Wife Beata Mensching) (Children Anne, Elroy) “Shady Knoll Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 140 acres in Section 32. Residence of county since 1874.

Bell, Austin (Wife Florence Hastings) (Children Florence C.) “Stratford Farms”. Postal address is Stratford Farms, Roselle. Tenant and Manager of 197 acres in Section 27 that is owned by E.F. Meyer. Lived in county since 1917.

Bentrott, Henry “Orchard Grove Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 80 acres in Section 17-16. Resident of county since 1863.

Bierman, John W. (Wife Alvina Schuneman) (Children Harvey, Wilbert). Postal address Route 2, Palatine . Owns 80 acres in Section 12 of Hanover Township. Owns 40 acres in Section 36 of Hanover Township. Owns 40 acres in Section 36 of Schaumburg Township. Resident of county since 1882.

Blomberg, Ernest J. (Wife Martha Meyer) (Children William, Alma, Emma, Ernest, Minnie, Ida, Arthur) “Pine Lawn Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Ontarioville. Owns 110 acres in Section 30. Resident of county since 1902.

Bohne, Fred (Wife Marie Hoecker) (Children Henry, Fred) “Ash Grove Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 167 acres in Section 24. Resident of county since 1859.

Botterman, Fred W. (Wife Matilda Nerge) (Children Ernest, Alfred, Albert at home; Hattie, Irvin, Malinda, Sadie not at home) Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 10 1/2 acres in Section 22. Resident of county since 1911.

Botterman, Herman C. (Wife Annie Katz) (Children Selma, Annie, Meta, Herman, Edna, Viola, Alvin) Postal address is Itasca. Owns 91 1/4 acres in Section 24. Resident of county since 1863.

Brackmann, Henry (Wife Laura Huenerberg) (Children Mildred) Postal address Route 1, Roselle. Tenant of 82 acres in Section 34 that is owned by Henry Huenerberg. Resident of county since 1905.

Busche, Frank (Wife Clara Kruse) (Children Henry, Willie, Albert, Leonard) Postal address is Route 5, Elgin. Owns 160 acres in Section 20. Resident of county since 1887.

Busche, Herman C. (Hulda Freise) (Children Minnie, Ella, Edna, Harvey) “Sunnyside Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 160 acres in Section 27. Resident of county since 1879.

Cleveland, Fred (Wife Anna Welkisch) (Children Fred, Harold, Nina) Postal address is Route 5, Elgin. Owns 158 acres in Section 18. Resident of county since 1918.

Cwiefel, John (Wife Babetta Veeser) (Children John, Fred, Albert, Paulina, Henry) Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Tenant of 160 acres in Section 11 that is owned by Louis Freese. Resident of county since 1917.

Dammerman, Edward (Wife Minnie Beckman) (Children Henry, Meta) “Edgewood Farm”. Postal address is Route 2, Palatine. Owns 160 acres in Section 8. Resident of county since 1868.

Dohl, William (Wife Minnie Hasemann) (Children Elmer, Malinda) “Wooddale Dairy Farm”. Postal addres is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 110 acres in Section 33. Tenant of 52 acres in Section 33 that is owned by August Hasemann. Resident of county since 1883.

Eineke, Herman W (Wife Martha S. Wilharm) (Children Edna M., Elsie E.) “Linden View Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 2, Palatine. Owns 43 acres in Section 3. Resident of county since 1887.

Eineke, Louis W. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Tenant of 80 acres in Section 21 that is owned by Mrs. Mary Meineke. Resident of county since 1895.

Eineke, William (Wife Martha Wagner) (Children Esther, Arthur) Postal address is Ontarioville. Tenant of 200 acres in Section 31 that is owned by C.H. Fischer. Resident of county since 1913.

Engelking, John (Wife Anna Hartman) (Children Fred, Edwin, tillie, Henry, Ernestine, George, Loretta, Phillip, Laura) “Pleasant Valley Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 160 acres in Section 28. Resident of county since 1866.

Fasse, Henry E. (Wife Clara Gieseke) (Children Wilbert, Evelyn, Raymond, Adeline) Postal address is Route 2, Palatine. Owns 116 3/4 acres in Section 3. Resident of county since 1878.

Fasse, Herman H. (Wife Martha Gieseke) (Children Herman J., Edna, Marvin, Lorena) “Maple Lane Stock Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Itasca. Owns 120 acres in Sections 24-25. Resident of county since 1883.

Foege, Henry (Wife Amanda Tonne) (Children Hilda, Alfred, Hurbert) “Elder Leaf Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Itasca. Owns 80 acres in Section 36. Resident of county since 1878.

Fraas, John (Sister Annie Fraas) “The Pines”. Postal address is Route 1 Roselle. Tenant of 90 acres in Section 33 that is owned by Christ Fraas. Resident of county since 1890.

Freise, Alfred J. (Wife Martha Kastning) (Children Harvey, Raymond) Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 160 acres in Section 13 . Tenant of 40 acres in Section 13 that is owned by H.W. Freise. Resident of county since 1892.

Freise, Henry J. (Wife Christine Kirchoff/Kirchhoff) (Children Sophie, Henry, William at home. George, Pauline and Laura not at home.) “Pleasant View Farm” Postal address is Route 2, Palatine. Owns 160 acres in Section 10. Resident of county since 1884.

Freise, William H. (Wife Alma Lichthardt) (Children Arnold) “Clover Valley Stock Farm” Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 170 acres in Section 12. Resident of county since 1889.

Gathman, Henry O. (Wife Emma Beirmann) Postal address is Route 1, Itasca. Tenant of 80 acres in Section 36 that is owned by Henry Gathman Sr. Resident of county since 1883.

Gathman, Louis (Wife Emma Scharringhausen) (Children Ida, Amanda, Viola, William, Martha, Albert, Arthur, Carrie, Edward) Postal address is Route 1, Itasca. Owns 80 acres in Section 36. Resident of county since 1865.

Gehrls, John (Wife Diana Bortmann) (Children Martha, Arnold, Herman, Minnie, Elsie, Theodore, Lydia) “Cosy Corner Farm” Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 59 acres in Section 32. Resident of county since 1886.

Geistfeld, August (Wife Carrie Hattendorf) (Children Alma, Arthur, Laura, Martha, Bertha, Alfred, Herman, Walter, Elsie) Postal address is Route 1 Palatine. Owns 80 acres in Section 16. Resident of county since 1906.

Gerken, Ben (Wife Rosea Schmidt) Postal address is Route 1 Roselle. Tenant of 80 acres that is owned by Fred Pfingsten. Resident of county since 1875.

Gieseke, John (Wife Ella Meyer) (Children Fred W., Clara, John H., Emily, Emil, Herman, Louis C., Alma, Arthur, Edwin, William J.) “Village View Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 164 1/2 acres in Section 15. Resident of county since 1857.

Greve, August (Children Edwin G.) Postal address is Route 2 Palatine. Owns 215 acres in Section 8. Resident of county since 1863.

Greve, William (Wife Dina Behrens) (Children Edna) “Spring Creek Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 2, Palatine. Owns 153 acres in Section 7. Resident of county since 1882.

Haberstick Bros., Emil and Walter (Wife Mary Kieper) (Children Howard) Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Tenant of 160 acres in Section 34 that is owned by Herman Boeger. Resident of county since 1896.

Hansen, Victor (Wife Annie Dell) (Children Pearl, Florence, Harold, Ruby, Violet and Earl) Postal address is Route 2, Palatine. Tenant of 204 acres in Section 7 that is owned by Edward Lake. Resident of county since 1918.

Harke, Henry (Wife Emma Bartling) (Children Fred, Annie, Louis, Henry, Elsie) Postal address is Route 1, Itasca. Owns 85 acres in Section 36. Resident of county since 1870.

Hartmann, Fred (Wife Lena Kruse) (Children Meta, Henry, Albert, Minnie, Hilda, Arthur, Emil) “Clear View Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 160 acres in Section 29. Resident of county since 1870.

Hasemann, August (Wife Mary Nerge) (Children Mary, Emma, Minnie) Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 15 acres in Section 33. Resident of county since 1853.

Hattendorf, August (Wife Emma Clausing) (Children Alvin, Alfred, Herbert, Edna) “Mile Long Stock Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 160 acres in Section 16. Resident of county since 1883.

Hattendorf, Fred (Wife Minnie Haemker) (Children Arthur, Emily, Fred Jr., Hermine, Martha, Ella at home. Herman, Louis, Emil not at home) “Locust Hill Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Owns 150 acres in Section 21. Resident of county since 1856.

Hattendorf, Herman W. (Wife Lydia Swain) (Children Harold) Postal address is Route 1, Palatine. Tenant of 120 acres of Section 16 that is owned by H. Troyke. Resident of county since 1897.

Hattendorf, William (Wife Caroline Leiseberg) (Children William C. Emma, Alweria, Martha, Henry A., John, Martin) “Locust Lawn Dairy Farm”. Owns 200 acres in Section 23. Resident of county since 1853.

Heide, Frederick (Wife Emma Steinmeyer) (Children Otta F., Louis F., Laura, Emilie) “Ever Green Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 2, Palatine. Owns 120 acres in Section 9. Resident of county since 1878.

Heim, Ernest G. (Wife Augusta Dahms) (Children Andrew, Ernest, William, Gertrude, Adelia, Rosie, Nellie) “Clover Meadow Stock Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 140 acres in Section 32. Resident of county since 1903.

Heine, Fred W. (Wife Ida Vette) (Children Elmer) Postal address is Route 5, Elgin. Owns 93 acres and is tenant of 93 acres that is owned by Mrs. A. Heine. (Section number is not given) Resident of county since 1896.

Heine, Herman F. (Wife Emma Heine) (Children Harvey, Alice, Edwin) “Orchard View Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 5, Elgin. Owns 160 acres in Section 18. Resident of county since 1883.

Homeyer, John (Wife Caroline Baumman) (Children Sophia, Meme, Emma, John H. Henry, Emil) “Maple Wood Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Owns 158 acres in Section 34. Resident of county since 1847.

Homeyer, John H. (Wife Martha Geistfeld) “Maple Wood Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 1, Roselle. Tenant of 158 acres that is owned by John Homeyer. Resident of county since 1885.

Hoth, William (Wife Sophia Biermann) (Children Clarence, Willie, Raymond, Harvey, Frank, Carlton) Postal address is Route 5, Elgin. Tenant of 160 acres owned by Mrs. S. Lichthardt. Resident of county since 1912.

Huenerberg, William F. (Wife Anna Sporleder) (Children Raymond W., Elsie M.) “Maple Drive Dairy Farm”. Postal address is Route 2, Palatine. Owns 196 acres in Section 10. Resident of county since 1870.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

Additional lists will follow in the upcoming weeks.



Pratt Boulevard in Elk Grove Village

While driving down Tonne Road in Elk Grove Village it came to my attention that the names of the streets in the Centex Industrial Park looked familiar. Estes Avenue. Lunt Avenue. Morse Avenue. Pratt Boulevard.

Coincidentally, these street names can all be found in Schaumburg’s Centex Industrial Park.

Lunt Avenue in Schaumburg

When doing an update of the Roads of Schaumburg Township blog post, I found these same names on the internet and noted that they were also streets in Chicago. I then checked the names in Streetwise Chicago: A History of Chicago Street Names by Don Hayner and Tom McNamee. Sure enough there was a connection.

George Estes, Stephen P. Lunt, Charles H. Morse, and brothers Paul and George Pratt were all members of the Rogers Park Building and Land Company founded in 1873 that developed the community of Rogers Park. Not surprisingly, there are streets in Rogers Park named for them too.

In addition, the Centex Industrial Park in Elk Grove Village also has Touhy Avenue and Greenleaf Avenue. Touhy is named for Patrick L. Touhy, the son-in-law of Phillip Rogers who Rogers Park is named for. Greenleaf is named for Luther Greenleaf. And, yes, you guessed it. They were also part of the Rogers Park Building and Land Company.

The real questions are, why did Centex not only use the same street names in these two industrial parks but, also, what was the Rogers Park connection?

The first step in solving the mystery was to address when the two Centex parks were developed. Elk Grove’s was begun in 1957 and Schaumburg’s was begun over 10 years later in 1969. However, the quirky thing is those names can be found on Schaumburg Township maps PRIOR TO 1969. And they’re not in the current industrial park.

As you can see on this 1963 plat map from Atlas [of] North Cook County by Paul Baldwin & Son, the names Lunt, Morse and Pratt are part of this subdivision that is at the very south central boundary of Schaumburg and Bloomingdale Townships.

This subdivision, according to local realtor, Larry Rowan, is officially called the N.O. Shively and Company subdivision. In the November 1999 issue of Schaumburg Township’s Town Crier it stated that this area was developed in 1927 and is referred to as the Shively Roselle Highlands.  For many years, though, it was colloquially known as “Taylorville.”

The earliest plat map that the library owns that shows the subdivision laid out, is the 1936 M.B. Schaeffer North Part of Cook County. No streets are named, but it’s hard to believe that names were not assigned when the roads were put in.

The earliest map that the library owns that shows actual street names is the 1952 Cook County Highway map of Schaumburg Township. This is five years before the Elk Grove Village Centex Industrial Park. So, clearly, someone was ahead of Centex in their names. Which begs the question–how did these even earlier streets get the same names?

In doing a bit of research on Ancestry, I found that N.O. Shively’s name was Nilas Oran Shively. In the 1940 census he was listed as a broker, so we know he was involved in real estate. This census was also the first to list addresses. And his address? 2452 Estes Avenue in [Rogers Park] Chicago. His World War II draft registration card lists the same address. So there’s the Rogers Park connection for Schaumburg Township.

In addition, there are real estate transactions in the Cook County Herald that mention Shively & Co. The Chicago Tribune also mentions N.O. Shively & Co laying out Madison Street Gardens in Villa Park in 1927. Clearly, Mr. Shively was in the real estate development business in the rural areas of Cook County.

So, when Centex began developing the Schaumburg Industrial Park in 1969, it seemed logical to extend the streets of N.O. Shively’s subdivision into the industrial park. They also added one more–Estes Avenue–the same street that Mr. Shively lived on in Rogers Park.

But, how did those same names come to appear in the Elk Grove Village Centex Industrial Park in 1957, more than twelve years earlier?

Lunt Avenue in Elk Grove Village

In trying to answer that question, I contacted the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society to see if they were aware of any connection.

Their researcher surmised that, in looking at a large scale map of the northwest part of the Chicagoland area, both the industrial park in Elk Grove Village and the streets in Rogers Park run along the same latitude. Could it be that the developers looked at the same type of map when laying out the streets in Elk Grove Village? And that it’s just as simple as that?

It might be possible. In doing some research on Tom Lively and Ira Rupley, the founders of Centex, I could not find any Rogers Park and/or Chicago connection. There also seemed to be no Rogers Park connection from Marshall Bennett and Louis Kahnweiler, the owners of Bennett & Kahnweiler, a local real estate development firm that was engaged in the development of both industrial parks.

Is it really as simple as that? Extend those streets from Rogers Park, through O’Hare and you wind up in Elk Grove Village? And was the coincidence of that earlier, twentieth century N.O. Shively subdivision in Schaumburg Township, with the same street names, just too interesting for Centex to pass up?

If so, how could Messrs. Estes, Greenleaf, Lunt, Morse, Pratt and Touhy of the Rogers Park Building and Land Company, possibly have known in 1873 that their names would extend further west? Past one of the largest airports in the world to the towns of Elk Grove Village and Schaumburg? What an unusual, yet impressive, honor to have.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

*Photo credit of the 1963 map from Atlas [of] North Cook County, Illinois to Paul Baldwin & Son, Rockford, Illinois.


Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the November 2020 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter. The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

It’s such a small building, yet it was the most important building for the pioneer families that settled in what would one day be the village of Hoffman Estates. The small building is the only building in Hoffman Estates that’s on the National Register of Historic Places. This most important building is the Greek revival style smokehouse on the Sunderlage Farm at Volid and Vista Dr in Hoffman Estates. Built circa 1840, it is the only smokehouse built in such a style in the state of Illinois.

When you visit and examine this small building, besides its beautiful design, you’ll notice the unusual color of the brick and the fact that it has a window in the west wall. It’s very unusual for a smokehouse to have a window but this smokehouse was also used as a summer kitchen. 

The window provided light for the cooking and washing that was done to keep the house cooler in the hot weather of summer. A pump, sink and work counter were a part of the smokehouse. Wash day began early in the morning. A large wash boiler would be filled with water and put over the fire to come to a boil.  Laundry would be boiled, rinsed, wrung out and hung outside on clothes lines to dry. 

Baking (bread was baked daily) and cooking would be done out there keeping the kitchen and farmhouse cool. In winter, cooking returned to the large stove in the farmhouse.

Come November, with cold weather settling in, the animals raised since spring and destined for the kitchen table, would be slaughtered and prepared for the smokehouse. Pork was the meat of choice but some beef may have also been hung to smoke. The freezing temperatures also provided another way of preserving the meat. The number of hogs needed to feed the family would be one for each member of the household.

 It’s believed that the smokehouse was built before the farmhouse. Not only the Sunderlage family used the smokehouse, but other neighbors who had settled across Higgins Road in Wildcat Grove were thought to have used it.

The work involved to prepare the animals for smoking was very tedious. The animals had to have all of their hair removed with boiling water in a large tub or trough. The whole family and perhaps neighbors would be a part of the process.  Nothing was wasted. The blood would be used in sausage and blood pudding.  The layer of fat would be saved to be used in frying and cooking throughout the coming year. Some meat would be salted before hanging to dry or smoke. The women would be busy gathering all the pieces and scraps of meat for the sausage they’d be making and this would also be hung in the smokehouse.  

Life was not easy for our early pioneer families. Being able to provide food for the coming winter was vital to their survival.  The small smokehouse did just that.

For a wonderful look into the history of the Sunderlage House and smokehouse, along with other historical sites in Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg, view the Schaumburg Township Historical Society’s Virtual Bus Tour at  

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian

Credit for the photo of the woman doing wash goes to Canada’s History.
Credit for the photo of the men slaughtering a pig goes to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.


The History of Schaumburg Township blog has been running for over 10 years, with a post every week. That’s 568 posts. Posts that cover everything from earlier, more rural times to modern, suburban times. There is never a loss of topics to cover because there is always more to uncover.

Sometimes, topics present themselves when I’m driving around Schaumburg Township. Hello, first Hoffman Estates Jewel and high points in the township.

People give the library marvelous photos that we’ve never seen before and it’s just a delight to write the posts. The photos from Florence Catherine Bell Randall, a 100-year-old lady who lived in Schaumburg Township from around the time she was born in 1917 to when the family left in the 1930s, fairly crafted the blog posts themselves.

Or, some small detail presents itself and it’s irresistible not to dig into the history behind it. That’s where the posts like Slattery’s, the Naval airstrip at Schaumburg and Barrington Roads and the peat bog fires came from.

The top 10 posts of all time are not too much of a surprise. Except for two of them. One shocked me when I saw it on the list. And one gives me endless amusement because when I wrote it, never in a million years did I suspect it would provoke so much interest and so many comments that continue to roll in.

So, without further ado, lets look at that top 10.


My co-worker, Tom Holmberg wrote this post back in 2011. It’s not filled with photos but the basics about a favorite hangout in Hoffman Estates that bridged the 1970s and 1980s continue to strike a nerve. The comments tell you just how popular this hangout and blog post were.

9. HIPPO’S HOT DOGS: A LOCAL LEGEND (4470 views) (2011)

It’s only ahead of the Fireside by one view but it was another favorite hangout and dining spot. It started life in a trailer alongside a corn field and progressed to a spot in the Hippodrome Plaza at the intersection of Plum Grove and Higgins Roads. People still miss the hot dogs and the Italian Beef.


This is the one that amuses me to no end. I caught a glimpse of a Chicken Unlimited sign in one of our photos and was intrigued because I’d never heard of it. Turns out it was a nationwide chain in the 1960s and 70s that people all over seem to miss. KFC, Church’s and Brown’s do not appear to have filled the void.


And, this is the one that amazes me that it’s on the list. It is like no other that you will see in this post and is one that came about because I stumbled across an ad in a 1912 edition of the Cook County Herald. Karma must have been working because I happened to write about it 100 years after the horse found its way to Schaumburg Township. Clearly, there is an interest in draft horses in the greater Internet world.


As soon as the The Founder, a movie about Ray Kroc, the man who began the McDonald’s restaurant chain, came out, I started getting questions. The movie mentions Schaumburg as one of the first locations and people were curious which location they were referring to. It turns out the movie took a few liberties because the first Schaumburg location did not open until 1970. Which begs the question–who in the movie’s production crew had a connection to Schaumburg?


This was another post written by Tom Holmberg, my co-worker. B.Ginnings was a musical venue owned by a group that included Danny Seraphine, the drummer for the band, Chicago. The night club saw the beginnings (get it?) of many an up and coming musician like John Cougar Mellencamp, Robert Palmer, Eddie Money and The Ramones, to name a few. There are 47 comments on this one and they keep rolling in.


This isn’t a long post or one laden with photos but it hits a nerve for a lot of readers. From the 1970s to the 1990s, Schaumburg Township had its share of nightclubs for young adults in the northwest suburbs–and beyond. The clubs all either had a DJ or live music and it was a scene not to be missed on weekends.

3. JOHN’S GARAGE AND FILLING STATION (7385 views) (2013)

Is there anyone who went to Woodfield and DIDN’T GO to John’s Garage at one time or another? When that restaurant, with its massive salad bar and menu, was located outside of Lord & Taylor’s, you could be guaranteed that you were going to stand in the long line waiting to get in.

2. FAVORITE DINING SPOTS (7880 views) (2010)

When I wrote this post in the very beginning, I knew it was a surefire way to get the readers involved. And I wasn’t wrong. If there’s one universal interest, it’s food. The 123 comments, themselves, are worth the read. It just goes to show everyone has a favorite dining spot they remember and wish was still around. What is yours?

And the number 1 post going away?

WOODFIELD MALL OPENING DAY (10,479 views) (2010)

This was a no brainer to write too. It had to be done early on because it is quintessential Schaumburg Township. Look at the difference in views between this one and the dining spots. Over 2500. And 246 comments to be read and get nostalgic over. Whether you shopped at Woodfield Mall, ate there or worked there, it has huge memories and history for those who lived in Schaumburg Township.

Enjoy a trip down memory lane with these posts. Leave your own comment or memory. Better yet, if you have a picture, or two or three of any of these locations, send me an email. It would be nice to add them to these blog posts that keep on giving!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

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Upon his return from the European theater in World War I, Emil Sporleder continued his construction work and established a company under his name. He employed several men and worked on projects that were scattered across the northwest suburbs, including rural Schaumburg Township.

His name and the high quality of his work brought him to the attention of the Kern brothers who moved to the area in the early 1930s. They owned Alliance Life Insurance in Chicago and became interested in the rural nature of Schaumburg Township as a spot to raise thoroughbred horses. The first farm was purchased at the southeast corner of Higgins and Meacham Roads by M.A. Kern, the older of the two brothers and was later known as Lexington Saddle Farm.

While we are not quite sure whether Emil Sporleder built Mr. Kern’s antebellum style home, it is a distinct possibility, given the fact that the farm of Emil’s in-laws, the Bottermans, was due east. The thing we do know definitively, is that he built a house for the younger brother, L.D. Kern.

When L.D. purchased his farm on Meacham Road in 1936, he contacted a young, up and coming architect named Paul Schweikher, whose Chicago office was not far from Alliance Life Insurance. L.D. asked him if he would take a drive to Schaumburg Township and check out the farm house on the property for possible renovations.

In an article from the February 12, 1959 Palatine Enterprise, “Schweikher came out, surveyed an old farm house on the grounds, and then looked inside a nearby barn…  The architect discovered that the barn was of very solid construction… Schweikher looked through the stalls on the ground floor, crawled around the lofts for a while, came down and told Kern that this would be his home.”

The L.D. Kern barn that would become their family residence.

Shortly after, Emil Sporleder’s name must have come up—possibly because of the work he did on M.A.’s house—and he was given the contract to renovate the barn.

One of the first things designed was the super structure that supported the interior of the barn. Interestingly, both Jerry Kern, L.D.’s son, and Donald and Howard, the sons of Emil Sporleder, mentioned this super structure in conversations.

According to his sons, Emil was a perfectionist with a strong work ethic whose main focus was carpentry, both interior and exterior. He used sub-contractors for concrete and masonry work, as well as for the electrical and plumbing portions. His specialty was the interior woodwork that included doors, baseboards, trim, stairways, built-ins and other specialized jobs—all finished with hand tools only. His handiwork was so accomplished that another Paul Schweikher project was soon in his future.

The L.D. Kern barn/house upon completion.

After the barn/ home was completed in 1936 for L.D. and his wife, Dorothy, they were so pleased with the renovation that they gave Schweikher and his wife, Dorothy, a 7.5-acre parcel across Salt Creek, just south of the Kern property. The Schweikhers left for a trip to Japan in 1937 and, on the way home, Paul designed their future home. His natural choice for the builder? Emil Sporleder.

By 1938 the distinctive Schweikher home–that was so different from the Kern house–was finished. With its redwood exterior and interior, and its plethora of built-ins, Emil must have been tickled with the job. It gave him an opportunity to work with a wood that was unique to the area and a design that was singularly unusual.

He and Schweikher, though, were not finished with the Kern brothers. When a fire burned and damaged a portion of the M.A. Kern home in 1940, Schweikher was hired to update the design of the home, even though it was not his usual style of work. Emil was the logical choice for contractor and it is believed that he did much of the stained woodwork in the house. Once again, like the L.D. Kern and Schweikher house before, it was a standout interior.

Emil’s son, Howard, tells us, “An interesting remembrance was going with him to ‘Lexington Farms’ in Schaumburg where Dad did many maintenance requests during the Depression.” Howard also worked as an apprentice under his father and became a journeyman carpenter. It sounds as if the Kern brothers kept Emil busy with not only house projects, but farm projects as well.

Emil went on to work for many more years, building a number of homes in Mount Prospect, Arlington Heights and beyond. These included homes on the Mount Prospect Golf Club as well as the addition to the St. Paul Lutheran School in Mount Prospect where the Sporleder family attended the church that is connected to the school.

After having retired from a career that spanned close to 50 years, Emil passed away in 1971 at the age of 79. Little did he know that the unique, mid-century modern home that he built 33 years before for Paul Schweikher, an architect on the rise, would eventually find its way onto the National Register of Historic Places. As his son Donald Sporleder said, “The fact that my dad was working on the house of an architect—a real architect…” was something special.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

My thanks to the following for their assistance in creating these blog posts on Emil Sporleder:

  • The family of Emil Sporleder for the information they shared regarding their father and grandfather
  • Jerry Kern, son of L.D. and Dorothy Kern, for his use of the Kern photos
  • Anne Shaughnessy of the Mount Prospect Public Library for sharing many newspaper articles that rounded out Mr. Sporleder’s life
  • Emily Dattilo of the Mount Prospect Historical Society for sharing information and the photo of St. Paul Lutheran School
  • Librarian Tom Holmberg for his drawing of the finished L.D. Kern house


Nearly 30 years into his construction career, Emil Sporleder took advantage of his Schaumburg Township ties and built a residence here that is famous today. How could he have known then that the Paul Schweikher House and Studio, would become the only structure in Schaumburg to find its way onto the National Register of Historic Places? In 1938, it must have been intriguing to build the one story, mid-century modern house in what was then, a very rural part of Cook County.

Emil’s link to Schaumburg Township was strong. His parents, Albert and Margaret (Kastning) Sporleder, were born in the township in 1866 and 1867, respectively. After they married on March 6, 1891 they put Schaumburg Township behind them to homestead in South Branch, Minnesota.

Emil, their firstborn, arrived later that year on December 31. He was followed by his sisters Amalie in 1893 and Mathilde in 1896. Within a few years, they returned to Schaumburg Township because, as their grandson Ken Sporleder said, Margaret could not tolerate the isolation of the Minnesota plains.

Once here, Albert purchased a farm near the northwest corner of today’s intersection of Higgins and Roselle Roads as can be seen on this map, above the Edw. Sunderlage farm. There, they expanded their family to include Albert in 1898, Martin in 1903 and Edgar in 1908.

By the time Emil reached his late teens, he had decided he did not want to work on the family farm, having shown more interest in carpentry. He went to work for local builder Louis Menke, who built his own Turret House masterpiece at Schaumburg and Roselle Roads.

In 1913, Emil worked on the John Fenz home, which is across Schaumburg Road from the Turret House. This photo, donated by Bill Hartman, could have been taken outside of the Fenz home. Emil, wearing glasses, is second from the right.

As a hardworking young man, Emil, like his parents, had his sights set beyond Schaumburg Township. This was evident when he became the first person to open a passbook savings account at the Mount Prospect Savings Bank that businessman William Busse opened in 1911. (Daily Herald, September 8, 1966)

A mention in the Businesses and Service Directory of the October 12, 1951 issue of the Daily Herald confirms his interest in the northwest suburb by saying that “he has been a resident of Mount Prospect since 1915.” Clearly, he had decided on Mount Prospect as his new home during the decade of the 1910s.

World events, though, soon forced him to leave the area.

For all young men of that time period, America’s entry into World War I became a turning point. Emil, like others in his generation, was required to register for the draft. According to his draft card dated June 5, 1917, Emil listed his employer as carpenter Louis Menke. Emil was 25 at the time and registered in Schaumburg Township. This begs the question, was he moving back and forth between Mount Prospect and his parents’ farm at this time, living wherever the work was?

Hoping to escape being called up, he listed poor eyesight on his registration card as justifiable cause. Unfortunately, the War Department inducted him despite the fact that he wore glasses. He was sent to the front and served with the U.S. Army’s 89th Division, American Expeditionary Force in France, Belgium and Germany. After the war he stayed for the Occupation of the Rhineland where he served as a German interpreter. Because he grew up with parents and extended family who largely spoke German, his services were in demand.

His service impacted the rest of his life. After his return, he participated in this welcome home reception in Schaumburg Township. We know he is one of the soldiers on the platform. Later, to honor his service and others’, he became one of the founding members of the Mount Prospect VFW in 1925 and helped construct their meeting hall.

Following the war, he also began dating Selma Botterman from Schaumburg Township. Selma was the oldest of the eight children of Herman and Anna (Katz) Botterman who farmed on the southwest corner of Higgins and Rohlwing Roads. She was born on June 28, 1896 and was followed by siblings Anna, Meta, Herman Jr., John, Edna, Viola and Alvin. Emil and Selma married in 1923 at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Schaumburg.

That same year, according to their sons, they moved into the home Emil built at 10 N. Wille Street in Mount Prospect. Here, they welcomed those sons, Donald and Howard.

In addition to raising the children, Selma proved to be as enterprising as her husband. She served as a member of the VFW Women’s Auxiliary, the Mount Prospect Home Bureau and as an Election Clerk.

She also, ambitiously, started a catering business out of the basement of their home. After Emil retired, the two of them began producing her famous German potato salad and other deli products in the commercial style kitchen in their basement. Every morning they would prepare the aluminum trays of food for local grocery stores and supermarkets and deliver it themselves.

The husband and wife team of Emil and Selma were hard working and resourceful. Their Schaumburg Township farming roots served them well in their professional and personal lives.

(This post is continued next week as we, not only discover the business side of Emil, but also the homes that he built in Schaumburg Township as a professional contractor in his own right.)

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

My thanks to the following for their assistance in creating these blog posts on Emil Sporleder:

  • The family of Emil Sporleder for the information they shared regarding their father and grandfather, and the photos of Emil, Selma, Howard and Donald.
  • Anne Shaughnessy of the Mount Prospect Public Library
  • Emily Dattilo of the Mount Prospect Historical Society
  • Ken Sporleder for the photo of the World War I reception in Schaumburg Township
  • Bill Hartman for his contribution of the Louis Menke photo in Schaumburg: A Pictorial History


How many of you remember the B.Ginnings nightclub on Golf Road in Schaumburg? It was a hot music spot for up and coming rock and roll acts in the northwest suburbs and, really, in the Chicago area during the 1970s.

The venue opened in September 1974 at 1227 E. Golf Road. Danny Seraphine, drummer for the band Chicago, was one of the principal owners.

The club hosted many different acts ranging from Cheap Trick to the Cryan’ Shames to The Police.

One of the groups was a punk rock band named The Dictators who were out of New York. They were founded in 1973, a year before B.Ginnings opened.

By 1977 their band consisted of Andy “Adny” Shernoff, Ross “The Boss” Friedman, Mark “The Animal” Mendoza, Scott Kempner, “Handsome” Dick Manitoba and Richie Teeter. This was the lineup that put out the group’s second album “Manifest Destiny”.

In this year they came to B.Ginnings in Schaumburg for a performance. But, what date was it?

We know it wasn’t August 27 because they opened for Alice Cooper at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago on that evening. There is no further listing for them that year in either the Daily Herald or the Chicago Tribune.

Were any of you at the B.Ginnings’ performance in 1977? Could it have been around August 27 since they were in the area anyway? Or, was it sometime in July as this Fandom site states? It has to be presumed that it happened as part of a tour for their album debut which came out in May or June.

If you could help narrow this down for a patron, it would be much appreciated!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the December 2020 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter. The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

Late October and early November 1960 were the move in dates for the folks on my street in the Highlands. Not many of those people are still in their homes.  Many have moved on. 

The month of December brings back all the memories of years gone by.  It’s the month of gift giving. How I remember the excitement over the delivery of our Sears Catalog. It came early enough for the kids to have it in tatters by mid December. From week to week as Christmas approached, their Christmas gift list changed. They talked about friends who celebrated Hanukah and told me that some of their friends received a gift on each of the 8 days of Hanukah. They also found out that for other Jewish classmates gifts were given only on the first and last days of the celebration of the Festival of Light. “Boy, they’re lucky” was their comment when I told them they would only get gifts on Christmas Day. 

Where to shop for all those gifts was a challenge. Hoffman Estates was such a small community back then. Most of our shopping had to be done in Elgin, where you could get gifts at Speiss, Ackermans and Sears departments stores which were the only ones close by. Or you could find a very nice department store in Rolling Meadows called Crawford’s Department Store.  

Sears in Elgin was familiar to me but the other two in Elgin felt different because of the other brands they sold. How I remember the Sears store as being very old with a wooden floor that creaked when you walked up and down the aisles.  They always had what I needed except when the kids’ lists kept changing from day to day. Shopping always had to wait until closer to our holiday celebration. I learned to hide the Sears catalog to save my sanity.

I do remember some of the early stores in downtown Hoffman Estates that helped me with my shopping. Brass & Glass was the earlier Fabbrini Flowers in the Rose Arcade–next to the Thunderbird Movie Theater at Golf Rose Shopping Center (now Golf Center). It’s our oldest continuous business in Hoffman Estates. Golf Paint and Glass, Walgreen’s Snyder Drugs and our Jewel grocery store that opened in 1959 and was also the first grocer in Hoffman Estates, helped with some gifts.

How life has changed for us now in 2020. Kwanza is a newer 7 day celebration for the African American community that reminds them of the importance of the fall harvest with daily candle lighting and discussions about important traits to live by. 

With a virus that won’t allow us the freedoms we have always enjoyed,  shopping will be from catalogs, Amazon and other online stores for many of us.  We will always have our family traditions that we can edit and recreate for 2020. This year we need to use plan B. 

Happy Holiday! 

Pat Barch  
Hoffman Estates Village Historian

If you haven’t already visited the Schaumburg Township Historical Society’s website to tour the historical sites on our virtual bus tour, set aside some time to visit  I’m the school teacher in the one room schoolhouse video and enjoy the other historic sites as well.  

Credit to Pinterest for the photo of the 1960 Sears Christmas catalog.


If you have been reading this blog over the past 10 years, you have seen the presence of local Schaumburg resident, LaVonne Presley, in more ways than one. Whether it was in photos she donated, interviews she participated in, books she wrote or comments she shared, LaVonne was a true historian of Schaumburg Township.

She grew up on a farm on Wise or, Wiese Road, as she liked to say. She spent her youth helping out and combing every inch of their farm and her grandmother’s farm on Meacham Road. Listening was a great virtue of hers and she soaked up all of the details her mother and, especially, her father shared about running a farm.

This was echoed in the letters she wrote every week to her friends and family. Like any good farmer does, she always mentioned the weather and, quite often, a farming topic. Periodically, she would send a picture from her father’s farm and explain every detail in the picture. It was a lesson in farming and historical farming, all in the same paragraph.

Her farming heritage was so important to her that she wrote two books: A Schaumburg Farm, 1935-1964 and Schaumburg of My Ancestors. The first is the story of the farm where she grew up and the second is an account of her grandparents’ farm. Both books are incredibly rich in detail and full of photos and documents that the family saved over the years.

Because she spent almost all of her years in Schaumburg Township, she became part of the history that moved our township from a rural, agrarian lifestyle to a commercial, suburban lifestyle.

LaVonne was born to William and Clara (Becker) Thies on March 28, 1940 in Chicago. Clara, her mother, was the daughter of Otto and Emilie (Meyer) Becker who lived in Roselle. This Roselle connection stayed strong in LaVonne’s family as they did much of their business in Roselle and attended Trinity Lutheran Church.

Otto and Emilie Becker on their wedding day

Otto ran Becker & Leiseberg Machine Shop and Planing Mill that catered to farmers and homeowners. In LaVonne’s words, he “and his partner did wood turning, windows, screens, cisterns, windmills, farming implements, etc.”

++Otto Becker is the tall man on the right. His daughter, Clara, the mother of LaVonne, is in the middle.
The interior of Becker & Leiseberg Machine Shop and Planing Mill
Otto Becker is the tall man in the derby in the center of the photo.
Wedding photo of Henry and Sophie (Fedderke) Thies

LaVonne’s father, William, was the son of Heinrich and Sophie (Fedderke) Thies. His family farmed 120 acres on the east side of Meacham Road, near the WGN tower. Because his father died when William was 4 years old, William did not begin farming the family acreage with his brother Henry until 1910, when they were in their teens.

William in his World War I dress uniform.

William’s life was disrupted when he was drafted into the army in World War I during the height of the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic. After his return, he married Amalia Boergener and they had a son, Raymond. Amalia died suddenly in 1926 at a young age.

A few years later William and Clara met at the Roselle State Bank where she was a teller and where he came to do his banking. Shortly before they married in 1935, they purchased the former Haseman/Burgdorf farm on Wiese Road. This is the farm where LaVonne grew up.

William and Clara Thies on the event of their 30th wedding anniversary

She attended Trinity Lutheran School in Roselle for her grade school education. This was followed by four years of high school at Palatine High School and an additional four years at North Central College in Naperville where she graduated in 1962.

Three years later, in 1966, she married Leonard Presley. Both were teachers at Community Consolidated School District 54 in Schaumburg Township. Leonard was an art teacher and LaVonne was an elementary teacher. She began her teaching career as a fifth grade teacher at Hillcrest Elementary School in Hoffman Estates and finished her teaching years as a fourth grade teacher and, later, a librarian at Adlai Stevenson Elementary School in Elk Grove Village.

LaVonne on the left with family friend, Rose Dusek, at the Thies farm around 1950

LaVonne loved teaching and often shared her stories of times in the classroom with her students. She thoroughly enjoyed the many instances where former students would see her out and about in the community and stop to talk to her.

During her teaching years she and Leonard had two boys named Ronald and Carl who were the light of her life. It was also during this time that they moved to Arlington Heights. However, when her father, William, grew too old to stay in the house he and Clara had built after selling the farm, the Presleys moved back to Schaumburg where their sons attended high school. LaVonne spent the rest of her life in this house.

After her husband died in 1988, LaVonne continued to teach until she retired in 2001. A bit before this time, LaVonne joined a group of women who formed an organization called Facilitators for the Preservation of Schaumburg Area History. Led by L.S. Valentine, they undertook an oral history project, with the intent of capturing the history of the township in the words of both its German farmers and some of the residents who were early to the development of the township. These oral histories, with their wealth of information, are now viewable on the library’s Local History Digital Archive.

Her retirement years were spent writing her books and volunteering at the library and Trinity Lutheran Church, which was so very important to her. She faithfully attended many church activities and social outings, finding joy in her faith and the many friends she had at church.

She also joined the Schaumburg Township Historical Society, attending the meetings and giving presentations. Dressed as a 19th century school teacher, she would provide details on school life in the one-room Schaumburg Center School on the St. Peter Lutheran Church property.

Most importantly, she spent as much time as possible with her sons, daughter-in-law and granddaughters. She was endlessly delighted by the addition of these female family members. If her weekly letters began with the weather, you can be sure they also contained proud accounts of her family’s activities.

Even though part of her family lived outside of the Chicago area, she talked, communicated and emailed with them as much as possible. She always enjoyed their visits and her trips to see them, and loved when her son dropped by with his dog.

When her granddaughters were young, she waited every year for the week in the summer when they came to stay. She planned events and outings and indulged them with all of the local foods they loved. (Hello County Donuts and Portillo’s!) And every visit ended with a trip to the store to purchase supplies for their upcoming school year. She was always a teacher.

LaVonne passed away on November 22, 2020. She will be missed by many more than she could have ever realized. She stayed true to her roots until the end because, no matter where she lived or what she did, she was a Schaumburg Township farmer’s daughter every day of her life.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

LaVonne was such a good friend to me and is irreplacable in more ways than I can count. When I needed any type of local information or color on a tidbit of Schaumburg Township history, I could count on her to add details that I was unaware of. I will miss her suggestions, her comments and her local knowledge. As Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian, said, “One of the good ones is gone.”

+Credit to the Presley family for the photo of LaVonne.
++Credit to L.S. Valentine for passing on the top photo of Becker & Leiseberg Machine Shop and Planing Mill.
+++Credit to the Schaumburg Township Historical Society for the photo of LaVonne at the Schaumburg Center School.




The smoke and the bad odors were the first indicators that there was something wrong. After an extremely dry fall in 1966, a brush fire ulitmately ignited an underground peat fire in a 40-acre field south of the Hill ‘n Dale neighborhood. It was November and, once the fire began to burn, it did not stop.

Peat is an early stage of coal and is able to manufacture its own oxygen. Thus, these buried peat bogs can burn as deep as 200 feet underground.

These peat fires were somewhat common in the area due to the geologic formations in the many farm fields. In a September 29, 1939 article in the Cook County Herald another fire was mentioned on Benton Street in Palatine. They, too, had been suffering from hot, dry weather and this was one of numerous small fires that occurred that summer. It was mentioned that the smell was also difficult for the local residents to deal with. 

LaVonne Presley, local author and oral historian, said, “I do remember a fire in the peat located on the 80 acres that Dad was renting in the 1940s or 1950s. It would have been south of the Engelking farm. The Rural Roselle Volunteer firemen came with a fire truck and the tanker truck full of water. It took them a couple of days to put out the fire as it was so deep with fire spreading out underground. The stench from the burning peat permeated our whole neighborhood.”

With this November 1966 fire, Mayor Bob Atcher was concerned about the seriousness of the problem and created a small committee to tackle the issue. The committee consisted of Trustee Walter Slingerland who led the group; Harry Johnson, developer of Hill ‘n Dale; Joseph Sharkey of Campanelli Builders and a couple of other concerned citizens.

According to a November 24 issue of the Hoffman Herald, the first method that was used to try to extinguish the blaze combined the resources of Campanelli Brothers and various village departments. Water was poured underground with 350 feet of hose borrowed from the Hoffman Estates Fire Department shown above. The water came from a nearby creek that was pumped dry as a result of the indefinite size of the bog.

The next, ultimately successful method, was also attempted by Campanelli Brothers who obtained 2000 feet of hose from Robert R. Anderson Company of Chicago. The hose was hooked up to hydrants in the Weathersfield neighborhood and ultimately attached to an eight foot piece of two-inch pipe that was inserted into the bog. With the increased water pressure from the hydrants, the fire was finally put out. 

According to a year-end piece on Schaumburg that appeared in the Hoffman Herald on December 29, 1966, the fire burned for several weeks before it was successfully extinguished. 

Peat fires were a hazard we don’t even consider today. Inevitably, with development, came the grading of area farms that eventually took care of the peat problems in the area. And the underground fires that could spring up!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

*My thanks to two of the blogs readers for mentioning this incident. It was a new piece of history to be discovered.

**If any of you have any memories of this underground fire, please comment here or send an email!

***Photo credit of the peat bog fire is to Desert Research Institute.