July 16, 2017

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

Moving to a home out in farm country was exciting back in 1965.  With 2 young children, my husband and I bought the perfect home with a large yard for a little baseball, playing croquet and room for a swimming pool.

Shopping, bowling and a movie theater just within walking distance made for happy parents and kids.  We seemed to have everything we needed except for a nearby doctor and hospital.

With a new baby in the house, the long trip to the city to see the family doctor was inconvenient especially since I was just learning how to drive.  It didn’t take long to find a local doctor in Elk Grove Village.  The kids played outside the better part of day and we seemed to keep him busy with broken bones, stitches and miscellaneous bumps & bruises.


We had to take the kids to St. Alexius Hospital in Elk Grove Village on Biesterfield Rd that had just opened in the summer of 1966. It was a long ride when you had a kid bleeding or screaming in pain.  It took a few trips to the hospital before I learned the route.  Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights had opened in December of 1959 but it was no closer and our doctor was not on staff there.  We survived those early years without our own hospital.  We now had 4 kids and kept the emergency room busy with all the mishaps that came from falling out of trees to falling out of bunk beds.

It was a wonderful day when American Medicorp built the Community Hospital of Hoffman Estates.  The doors opened on September 6, 1979 to a six story twin tower 356 bed hospital on Barrington Road just south of Higgins Road.

It was so welcome to all the families, not only in Hoffman Estates but other surrounding suburbs who, like myself, had those day to day emergencies with their little ones and health issues as us parents were growing older and in need of more care for ourselves.  Along with the hospital came doctors buildings and the Behavioral Health Facility.

It was difficult to keep up with the hospital’s frequent name changes.  It was sold to Humana Inc. and became Suburban Medical Center Hospital of Hoffman Estates, then in 1983 the name became Humana Hospital.  In 1993 the name changed again to Hoffman Estates Medical Center.  Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. purchased the hospital and the name changed once again.  It was now Columbia Hoffman Estates Medical Center.  This lasted for one year when it reverted back to Hoffman Estates Medical Center when there were plans to sell the hospital.  In 1999 Alexian Brothers Health System purchased the hospital and changed the name to St. Alexius Hospital.

With the opening of the beautiful Woman’s & Children’s Hospital in April of 2013, the St. Alexius Medical Campus is a dream come true for all of us.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Historian

The photo of St. Alexius Hospital originates from the PatricksMercy Flickr account.  We thank them for the use.  


July 15, 2017

Join the Hoffman Estates Historical Sites Commission as they conduct tours of the Sunderlage Farmhouse at their annual open house.   Cookies and refreshments will be served.

In addition, the Schaumburg Township Historical Society is sponsoring the Sharon Kimble Ice Cream Social.  Come see how ice cream was made before we had Baskin Robbins or Dairy Queen.    If you enjoy socializing, learning about history and eating ice cream then stop by.  This is free but, as always, a donation will be accepted for the ice cream or our Raise the Flag Fund.

Take this opportunity to view this historical farmhouse and its National Register smokehouse, talk to the Civil War reenactors,  check out the cute animals and eat some delicious ice cream!

When:  Sunday, July 23, 2017 from 12-4 p.m.
Where:  Sunderlage Farmhouse at 1775 Vista Lane, Hoffman Estates


July 9, 2017

Bowling must have been right up the alley for Schaumburg Township residents in the early years.  Even though Hoffman Lanes opened first in 1961 and Schaumburg Lanes in 1975, it clearly wasn’t enough space for local bowlers.  To fill that need, Martin Weber, who also owned Striking Lanes in Mount Prospect, decided in the late seventies, to build the biggest bowling alley in the area.  And, boy, did he ever.

Woodfield Lanes opened in March of 1980 at 350 E. Golf Road in Schaumburg with 44 lanes, a bar, restaurant and playroom.  Because of its size, it attracted a large number of leagues for men, women and children.  Leagues were begun by apartment complexes, organizations like the Knights of Columbus, and groups of senior citizens and, especially, of women.  Most prominent were the many women leagues that played in the large facility.  The sheer number of leagues also led to many tournaments being held.

Mr. Weber also tried his hand at incorporating a nightclub into the alley.  A DJ played music from stacks of records while patrons lounged at the banquet tables and danced on the dance floor.  New Year’s Eve celebrations were also held at the bowling alley, complete with refreshments, music, dancing and showtime bowling which featured special lights and cameras.  The facility was even so big that it had a meeting room available for the public to use.

Woodfield Lanes kept its customers happy until league play began to decline, and the upkeep and taxes on the large building started to climb.  The business made the decision to close and notified its leagues in late 2000 that the business would be sold and torn down to make way for a larger Woodfield Lexus dealership.

This gave many of the leagues time to find new digs at Hoffman Lanes and Poplar Creek Bowl, the other bowling alleys that were still open in the township.  An ad appeared in the April 13, 2001 edition of the Daily Herald, listing various items for sale:  showtime lighting & sound, lounge & restaurant equipment, booths, chairs, sports memorabilia and more.  The bowling equipment, including the 44 lanes, pin-setters, pins, scoring equipment, bowling balls and shoes were dismantled over a three-week  and sold to a company in Detroit.

Before the bowling alley closed, I was able to take some photos of the interior and exterior of the building with a not-so-great camera.  But, it still gives you a decent view of the exterior and interior in the last days that it was in business.

May 7 was the last day of operation for Woodfield Lanes.  Gone was “Cosmic Bowling,” the fun of league play, the music and the dancing.  The sounds of balls rolling down 44 alleys and the ten pins being whacked by those 44 balls must have been something during the heyday.  If you have any memories to share of Woodfield Lanes, please leave a comment or send me an email to the address below.  It would be great to hear the personal side of such an iconic bowling alley!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

The top photo was taken by Gus Weiner and is used, courtesy of his son, Keith Weiner.


July 2, 2017

Over the years there have been many stories about how tough it was in the early days of Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg for working spouses to get into Chicago for their jobs.  Even though the Northwest Tollway was in place by 1958, many families had only one car.  This meant a spouse was left at home with no means of transportation for errands and appointments.  If you were lucky, your spouse carpooled so that you could have the car at least a few days of the week.  Or you made use of the only option left–the train.

The problem was that there were only two train stations within driving distance–Roselle and Palatine–and it remained this way for many years.  By the summer of 1976, the village of Schaumburg was posting reminders in the Cracker Barrel,  their village newsletterthat all riders should park their cars carefully so that all 1000 spaces could be used effectively.  In other words, the demand was growing, things were getting tight and village officials in the area knew it.

By 1978, a station plan was in the works and Mayor Ray Kessell was reporting on the status in the September Cracker Barrel.  The concerns were the station, the access road and the parking lot.  The station was scheduled to be constructed by the RTA, the access road would be constructed by the Cook County Highway Department after the village acquired the property, and the parking lot was being overseen by the Federal Highway Administration.  The project was on its way.

In the meantime, parking at the Roselle station was proving to be more and more of an issue.  It was so much so that the Schaumburg Transportation Company, in conjunction with the Northwestern Transit Company, began providing bus service to and from the station from various points in Schaumburg Township.  This process, highlighted in the June 1979 issue of the Cracker Barrel, was a stopgap measure designed to help with “the hardships of obtaining parking permits at the train staion” and with “the potential gas shortage” that was threatening the country at the time.

Ground was finally broken for the station on October 16, 1981 with U.S. Representative Phil Crane attending the ceremony.  The project consisted of three phases as can be seen on the map above.

The train station would be built through a $600,000 Mass Transit grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation and a $100,000 Mass Transit grant from the State of Illinois.

Another phase consisted of an extension of Springinsguth Road that was constructed early on as a two-lane stretch between Irving Park Road and the train station.  The total dollar amount of that project was $900,000, which was provided by Cook County and the Village of Schaumburg.

The parking lot phase was also funded by multiple sources and, at $2.7 million, was the priciest part of the project.  But, then, it was the best part of the project too.  There would finally be enough parking to accomodate the demand.

So, when the Village of Schaumburg finally celebrated the grand opening of the new commuter train station on November 1, 1982, it was a long time coming.  Modest in appearance, the station was “built in an Early American style… [and was] a 69-ft. by 21-fit. brick structure with a public waiting room, two 850-ft. platforms, high intensity lighting and landscaping.  Both platforms and station [were] accessible to the handicapped.”  [The Cracker Barrel, December 1982]

The parking lot had a “capacity for more than 1300 cars in addition to reserved areas for buses, taxis and “kiss and ride” passengers.”  This was expected to be enough parking despite the fact that ridership was expected to double by 1992.  As a bonus, the village expected the facility to stimulate industrial and commercial development in the southern part of the community.

In fact, the station was everything the area could want and even more.  It proved to be such a godsend that, 22 years later in 2004, it was torn down to make way for the current, more elaborate replacement.  But, in 1972 when village officials officially recognized a need for local transit, who really knew the patience, perseverance and planning it would take to bring the project to fruition?   Indeed, that wasn’t officially proven until the first train pulled into the station and put downtown commuting on the fast track once and for all.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library



July 1, 2017

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

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

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


June 24, 2017

Surprises come in all shapes and sizes and this particular surprise came in the shape of the house pictured above.  Last December, Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Historian, was contacted by Sue Gould, a local realtor, who was listing a home at 635 Lakeview Lane in Hoffman Estates.  According to the tax records she pulled, the home was built in 1879.  It is next to Lakeview School and the front of the house faces Evergreen Park and pond.  She wondered if we knew anything about it.  (Lakeview School is to the left in the photo below.)

The answer was no, we didn’t, because this house was a total surprise to us!  We know of only two houses in Parcel C that were here before the Hoffmans began development in the area.  One is the Hammerstein House on Illinois Boulevard that is now the Children’s Advocacy Center and the other is a private residence.

The realtor asked for a bit of background on the house so we got busy.  In looking at some of the old plat maps, Pat determined that the home was owned by the Bartels family.  I made a couple of calls and talked to Mr. Sporleder whose family farm backed up to the property.  He confirmed that, during his lifetime, the farm was first owned by Arthur Bartels and, later, by his son, Harvey Bartels.  He also mentioned that they lived in a big, two-story house.  Bingo.

In looking back at the many plat maps in our library’s collection, Arthur Bartels owned the property back to the 1920’s.  However, I suspected their ownership was earlier than that.  Mr. Bartels married Alma Hitzemann in 1915 at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Schaumburg.  An account of their wedding ran in the Palatine Enterprise and stated, “The happy couple were the recipients of many beautiful and useful presents and will start life under most favorable circumstances on the groom’s fine 160-acre farm, with good large buildings and everything to make them prosperous and happy.”  In fact, the obituary for Mrs. Bartels in 1945 confirms that, “after their marriage [they] made their home on their farm on Bode Rd. in Schaumburg twp.”

This clearly did not date the house though.  Prior to Mr. Bartels purchasing the property, the plat maps show that the farm was owned by the F. Gieseke family going back to 1861.  The property was split sometime in the following ten years and became two parcels, with houses built on both farms. (Note the fieldstones that make up the cellar walls of the house.)

According to the records collected by Larry Nerge, Friedrich or “Fred” Gieseke emigrated here in 1845 and died in 1891.   Friedrich or “Fred Jr.,” his son, died in 1911.  Both farms are listed on the maps under the name of F. Gieseke.  It’s a good possibility that the west farm passed from the Giesekes to the Bartels after Fred Jr. died in 1911.

Interestingly, Hattie Hitzemann, the sister of Mrs. Bartels, married William J. Gieseke who lived in another part of the township.  It is probably through Hattie and William that the Bartels heard that the Gieseke property was for sale.  Fred Gieseke Jr. was a first cousin to William’s father, Johann or “John” Gieseke.  So the property was kept in the family for all intents and purposes–though slightly removed from the direct line.

According to my contact, Mr. Sporleder, his best guess was that Harvey Bartels sold the property in the late 1950s.  The adjoining Gieseke property to the east had been sold in 1943 to Arthur and Dorothy Dalton Hammerstein.   After Arthur’s death in 1954, Dorothy sold the farm to the Hoffmans of F & S Construction.  It makes sense that the Bartels would have followed with a sale of their own farm in the next few years to F & S.

But the old Gieseke/Bartels house remained–as did the Gieseke/Hammerstein house.  For some reason F & S allowed both of them to stay in the midst of ongoing development. Somewhere along the line, though, the Gieseke/Bartels house dropped out of the local history consciousness.  Fortunately it resurfaced, thanks to Sue Gould’s attentiveness and concern.  And, just in time for Pat and me to take a look!

It was clear in the walk through that the house was added onto at some point.  There were two separate apartments with two separate kitchens and entrances.  Judging by the walls and the foundation in the cellar, it was also obvious here that at least one addition had occurred.  It is my feeling that the portion of the house in the middle and a fair portion on the east side, closest to Lakeview School, were the oldest parts of the house.  The chimney is another giveaway for that argument as is this bay in the center.  Notice the style of the trim around the window.

We are just grateful we were alerted to this piece of history we might have otherwise missed.  There are few farm houses left in Schaumburg Township and it was nice to have the opportunity to view this quiet masterpiece from days gone by.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library



June 18, 2017

It was recently brought to my attention that the Carpet One business at 26 W. Golf Road, just west of the Roselle Road intersection, on the north side of the street had moved.  Knowing the business and the building had been there for a long time, I was curious as to how it got its start.

As far back as the October 22, 1969 edition of The Herald, it was possible to find the 26 W. Golf Road address.  An article from that date refers to “Pat Griffin, manager of the new Schaumburg Hardi-Garden Center.”  The phrasing seems to infer that the building was possibly constructed by Hardi-Garden Center.

Searching further afield, a 1968 article in Grower Talks, references the new Hardi-Garden Center franchise.  “This (Nashville, TN) is the home of the new Hardi-Garden Center franchise operation.  This is a new operation that provides garden centers retailing know-how and designs for the garden center layout.”  It’s interesting that only one year later, they recognized the potential growth for our area and opened a franchise in Schaumburg.

Judging by the ads in the paper, Hardi-Garden Center offered everything from bird feeders, bird houses, vegetable and flower seeds, fireplace logs, bushes, trees, fertilizer and gardening tools and flower pots.  They were a one-stop shop, just down the street from Slattery’s Garden Center and Nursery that closed in 1970.

It is difficult to know how long they lasted in this location but, by June 24 1977, a new business had taken its spot.  Lighting Creations and Carpet Creations were now occupying the building and advertising in The Herald.  They also obviously  recognized the amount of growth going on in the area and hoped to fill a need.

This is where it seemed a good idea to contact the store to dig a little deeper.  That’s when I found some good information from Carpet One’s owner, Mike Ryan.  He confirmed that the building was built for the Hardi-Garden Center by a local contractor.  When Hardi left the area, there was an attempt to continue as a garden center and that only lasted a brief time until it became the lighting/carpet store.

Mr. Ryan bought the business from the owner of Lighting Creations/Carpet Creations and opened his carpeting/flooring business on October 1, 1979.  He named it Carpet Creations which is what it remained until 1997 when they changed their name to Carpet One.   They are currently located around the corner at 1234 N. Roselle Road, on the west side of Roselle Road, just north of the Golf Road intersection.

I still have a few questions though.  Does anyone know the name of the contractor who built the building?  Or what the garden center was called after Hardi left the area?  Is there any other ongoing business in the village of Schaumburg that has been in operation longer than Carpet One?   If you can help solve these mysteries, it would be appreciated!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


June 11, 2017

The tombstone simply read:

December 20, 1856
7 Yrs. 8 Mos.

The case began when a local lady found a tombstone while cleaning out her mother’s house in Schaumburg Township.  The family moved here in 1965 and, in those early days, her mother enjoyed antiquing in the area.  Along the way, she must have added the tombstone to her collection when it piqued her interest.  Her daughter called Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian, and asked if it could be determined who the tombstone referred to.  Pat gave me a call and I began my search–a bit dubious because of the commonality of the last name and the fact that there was so little to go on.

I started with a wonderful website called findagrave.com.  Entering the name, death date and the state, I pulled up 48 Wilsons who died in that year in Illinois.  But none with the exact date.  It also occurred to me that if this tombstone had been sitting in a house for the past few decades, it’s almost certainly not going to be on a website of tombstones!

So, I tried another tact.  From the data given, I knew the young person had to have been born in 1849 which means they might possibly be listed in the 1850 census.  From there I went on the Ancestry database and made my way to the census for 1850.  This time I entered the name, the birth year of 1849, the last name Wilson and the location of Schaumburg.  I know from past research that, even though most of the area was occupied by farmers of German descent at that time, it was still early enough that the original English settlers could be found living in Schaumburg Township.  Plus, there were always other non-German families who made their way to the area and rented farms or worked as hired hands.

Unfortunately, there was no listing for a Wilson of that age living in Schaumburg Township.  I expanded the search and took out the year 1849 so I could see if there were any Wilsons living in Schaumburg Township at that time.  None.  I went back to the first listing and discovered a “Mary E. Wilson” born “about 1849” who was listed in Palatine.  The listing had one-year old Mary E. living with her parents Thomas F. and Mary A. Wilson along with her siblings:  Eliza, Alonzo, Elizabeth, John, Charlotte, Abigale and Osker.

Knowing that antiquing in the area in the 1960s, 70s and 80s would have had to have taken our local lady further afield than Schaumburg Township–not a lot of antique stores here–I figured Palatine might be a good possiblity for our missing person.

It was now time to call the Clayson House in Palatine to see if they had any death listings for that time period.  Fortunately Marilyn Pedersen, historian at the Palatine Historical Society, was there and she said the Wilson name was big in Palatine Township.  She also recommended a couple of books:  Pioneer Cemeteries of Palatine Township and Hillside Cemetery.  And, fortunately, our library owns both books.

The first book I looked at was Pioneer Cemeteries of Palatine Township and, amazingly enough, there was a listing for Mary E. Wilson on page 36 in the section on the Cady Cemetery.  From the two pages on the Thomas F. Wilson (pictured to the left) family, it appears that most of the information is from the bible of Mary Angeline Wilson.

“In flowing script she recorded the births of her nine children.  Because of this Bible record, we know that the Wilson who died in June of 1850 is Mary Angeline herself.  [Note this would have been after the census taker came to their home in the same year.]  Another hand took over the record and recorded her death as well as Thomas Wilson’s second marriage in October of 1850 to Adelia Stall.  She is the Adelia buried here (in Cady Cemetery) in 1857.  They had one child, Coraet, also buried here.  Her half-sister, Mary Emily, died five days later.”

I looked on page 35 and there, at the beginning of the entry on the Wilson family was a transcription from the tombstone of Coraet Wilson as shown below.  It reads:

Coraet Wilson
dau. Thomas & Adelia Wilson
d. Dec. 15, 1856
5 Yrs. 1 Mo.

Well, add five more days to that date and you have December 20, 1856, the death date of our missing Wilson family member.  Everything fell into place.  The Wilson name, the death date and the birth year.  Case solved.

Thomas F. Wilson buried members of his family in Cady Cemetery in Palatine Township on Ela Road although he, himself, is buried in Hillside Cemetery.  Cady Cemetery is in a bucolic spot and surrounded by a locked fence as seen above.  As a result, I could not search for the Wilson family and take photos of the tombstones.   I did find Coraet’s online and was able to post it.

Soon, though, another tombstone will make its way there to its final resting place.  Amazing to think that an 1856 tombstone has made it back home, thanks to great record keeping and electronic databases!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

The photo of Thomas F. Wilson is used courtesy of the Palatine Historical Society’s website.
The photo of the tombstone of Coraet Wilson was found on findagrave.com and is used courtesy of the Barrington Area Library.


June 4, 2017

One of the readers of the blog posed a question this week asking about a restaurant his family frequented while he was growing up in Schaumburg Township.  This would have been in the 1980s or 1990s and, according to the reader, the restaurant was in the same location as the former La Magdalena which was at 216 W. Golf Road.  This is location of the current Ziegler Maserati dealership at the corner of Golf Road and Valley Lake Drive.

According to the reader, the restaurant served great burgers and steaks and, as a unique feature, showed silent, black and white movies in a back room.

The following restaurants were at this location beginning in the 1980s:

Real Seafood Company (Opened in 1983)

Ristorante Chianti

Edwardo’s Pizza

La Magdalena

None of these rang a bell with the reader–or fit the bill as far as the menu was concerned.

I also suggested Ground Round as a possibility because their restaurants typically used the black and white movies as a gimmick.  The first Ground Round in Schaumburg was located on the west side of Roselle Road, between Higgins and Golf.  [Thank you to the commenters below for this tidbit.]  The second Ground Round was at 800 E. Golf Road on the northeast corner of Plum Grove and Golf and it closed sometime in late 1989 or early 1990.  The reader did not think these were the restaurant or the location.

Does this ring a bell with any of you readers?  What are we missing? If you have a suggestion, please make a comment or send me a quick email.  Both the reader and I would appreciate it. Thank you!


After reading the many comments below–and some that were sent to me that duplicate the comments–the reader who posed the question thinks it probably has to be the Ground Round.  He definitely remembers the food and the movies and Ground Round is closest to that description.

Many thanks to those of you who contributed.  It is always nice to be able to appeal to the greater blog brain!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

Photo of La Magdalena used courtesy of http://travelingtproll.blogspot.com



June 3, 2017

Schaumburg Center schoolThe Schaumburg Township Historical Society will sponsor an open house of the Schaumburg Center School on Sunday, June 11, 2017.  The open house will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  The schoolhouse is located on the St. Peter Lutheran Church property.

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

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