December 15, 2019

This past week a lovely comment appeared on the Anne Fox, Teacher Extraordinaire in District 54 blog post that was published this past June. It was from Laura J. McMahon who said that she had “just hung an ornament on my Christmas tree that Miss Fox gave me 60 years ago this month when I was in her first grade class at Blackhawk (December 1959). Blackhawk had just opened that summer for a quick and late kindergarten for those of us entering first grade in the fall.”

In response I asked her to send a photo of the ornament so that I could post it on the blog in some way. As you can see in the photo above, she obliged with a wonderful picture of the 60-year-old ornament. She also added: “I have very fond memories of her… Miss Fox taught me to be curious and instilled in me a love of learning.”

How many of you have an ornament or holiday decoration from your District 54 days that you still display at this time of the year? Maybe it was given to you or it was a craft that you did in art class or in your elementary school classroom?

If you have some type of District 54 holiday decoration that finds its way out of storage every year, send a photo to me at I’ll create a blog post of all of the items I receive as well as the story behind them. It’s bound to be a great variety!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


December 8, 2019

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

Can a house talk?  Would it talk about all the years that it sat at its address? Could it feel that its time was ending? I know of a house that I would love to listen to. But it’s gone now. I think, if it were possible, the Bergman house would have told us many stories. I could just sit on the lawn in the side yard and listen.

The men in the Bergman family built it with the skills that they had learned over the years. It was a big house, meant to shelter several families. The upstairs apartment had a kitchen, dining room, living room and two bedrooms with a bath. The main floor of the house had beautiful wood, trimming each of the doors and windows. The dining room china cabinet had the same beautiful wood and was tucked into the west wall.

It was a happy house when family members would gather around the table for special holiday meals. The house could feel the love and sometimes the anger of the Bergman family as the days came and went year after year.

The house looked out across Algonquin Road to see the families’ Highland Dairy Barn. It heard about the dairy herd and the crops growing in the fields. The conversation around the breakfast table was always about the success or failure of one or the other. When electricity came in the 1930s the house was fitted with new bulbs and a new life for the family who no longer had to live with the battery powered system that only gave light until shortly after dinner. The house could feel the increase in evening activities. The piano was used more often and the two front parlors saw more reading, crocheting and listening to the radio now that it had electricity. The beautiful pocket doors always gave privacy for visitors when they came.

The back porch stairs had the most activity. It seemed as though It was up and down all throughout  the day. But the house noticed that year by year that the people in the house dwindled to just a few. Finally there was only one of the children who had been born in the house many many years ago, who remained. He worried about the house. The beautiful white house went unpainted. It turned to a peeling gray, the roof was leaking and the house felt old and sad and only that old child still loved it.

Finally the old child moved away. It had been 101 years since he was born there. The house now had that feeling that its time was coming to an end, and it did.

The house was silent.  There were no more stories to tell. In August of 2019 the work of the Bergman men came down quickly. Modern methods took little time to tear it down not like the months of hammering, measuring and sweating over the building that would be their home.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Historian


December 1, 2019

During Hoffman Estates’ 60th anniversary year of 2019, we will take a look back at the Hoffman Estates you’ve known for the last six decades. Every month there will be a posting on village happenings for each decade the village has been in existence. Maybe you remember some of the events and have something more to add to a few of the items? Send in your comments!

60 Years Ago In 1959

  • 200 students were evacuated at Twinbrook School when a bomb threat was called into the school on December 18 as the students were getting ready for their holiday party. Once the volunteer fire department and county and state police checked out the school, teachers retrieved the Christmas grab bag gifts, distributed them to the students and sent them home.
  • Five men were assigned to the village’s new Zoning Commission. They were: Chairman Al Harkins, Henry Biedrzycki, Robert Quigley, Del Allison and Carl Hundrieser.
  • A special census of Hoffman Estates residents that was completed for the purpose of obtaining motor fuel tax funds came in at 7554.

50 Years Ago In 1969

  • It was announced that bids for the construction of the future Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins schools would be opened on January 6. Land for Armstrong School was donated by the Hoffman-Rosner Corporation. Aldrin School land was donated by Campanelli Brothers and Collins School land was donated by the Lancer Corporation.
  • Rite-Way was advertising their specials at Plaza Value Land in Hoffman Plaza. Great deals such as Alberto VO-5 for .59, Rayovac 9 volt batteries for .29, and Jiffy Plastic Food Wrap 2 for .29 were part of the advertisement.
  • Totes “Feather Light Stretch Books” that could be folded up and carried in your pocket were being sold at Cherry’s Shoes in Hoffman Estates for $5.95. You could even buy them in a handsome plaid waterproof travel kit for $6.95.

40 Years Ago In 1979

  • Santa was appearing at Barrington Square Mall every Saturday until Christmas. He would be moving through all of the stores in the mall: Associated Wallcoverings, Barrington Square Barber Shop, Burger King, Cherry Shoes, Citadel Realtors, Dairy Queen, Dominick’s Finer Foods, Edie Adams Cut & Curl, Eye Openers, Flipside Records, Garibaldi’s, Golden Bear Restaurant, JoAnn Fabrics, K-Mart, Magic Years Children Wear, Maloney’s Hallmark Shop, Peter Pan Cleaners, Tub N Towel, Walgreen’s Drugs.
  • Rick’s Kosher Style Deli in Hoffman Plaza was featuring Vienna pure beef products and Rosen’s rye bread that was available on their holiday trays. Marlene’s Gift Showplace offered “Hundreds of unique gifts for everyone on your shopping list.” (This is the first time I’ve seen those businesses mentioned.)

  • Hoffman trustees were asking the Zoning Board of Appeals to change the zoning of a 2.5 acre site at Volid Drive and Vista Lane into a historic district. This was meant to accomodate the Sunderlage house whose smokehouse had recently been nominated for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

30 Years Ago In 1989

  • Funeral services for Paul Hassell, a Loop lawyer and gentleman farmer who once owned multiple parcels in what would, one day, be Hoffman Estates were held on December 7. He was 98 years old and a retired partner in the law firm of Eckhart, McSwain, Silliman & Sears. He sold his land in 1960 to F& S Construction.
  •  The Barrington Square 6 theater was showing The Little Mermaid and Paul Newman in Blaze.
  • The Madrigal Singers of Hoffman High School were set to perform at The Benchmark with 15th and 16th century vocal and instrumental music.

20 Years Ago In 1999

  • The Hoffman Estates Park District was scheduled to spend around $40,000 to update the High Point Park playground and gear it towards 2 to 7 year olds.  The playground, one of three in the 43-acre park, is located off Oakdale Road, east of Huntington Boulevard and north of Higgins Road. The park is located east of the Hilldale Golf Club.
  • After operating his furniture store in Elgin for three years, Sergio Tovar opened a new store at 1147 N. Roselle Road in Hoffman Plaza and named it Fashion Furniture. He was a one-man show, working as the store’s manager, salesman and stock boy.
  • A proposal to add on to the Blockbuster and Caribou Coffee on the SE corner of the intersection of Roselle and Golf Roads was tabled until a formal traffic and parking analysis could be completed.

10 Years Ago In 2009

  • At Village Hall a circular brick memorial, centered by five statues of children in action, included bricks that could be purchased for $75 each to commemorate the children of Hoffman Estates residents whose lived had been cut short.
  • At their Hoffman Estates, Arlington Heights and Villa Park stores only, Garibaldi’s was offering Select Subs for $4.99 and 14″ cheese pizzas and all new Wraps for $4.99 as well. In addition, a 20% off coupon for $50 worth of catering was available.
  • Even though a number of towns in the area had already addressed the issue of video gambling in licensed bars and restaurants, Hoffman Estates, like Schaumburg, Elk Grove Village and Streamwood, had not yet decided whether they would participate in the new venture or not.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

Photo credit of the Children’s Memorial at the Village of Hoffman Estates is given to the Daily Herald.


November 24, 2019

Shortly before Woodfield Mall opened on September 9, 1971, classified ads began appearing in the Daily Herald for the Orange Bowl. It was a small snack shop looking for people 17 and older to work at the new mall that was at the “Corner Rts. 53 and 58.” Anyone who wished to apply could do so at the Community Room in the NW side of J.C. Penney. This was the beginning of Orange Bowl’s tenure at Woodfield Mall.

Tucked in between the two main floors of Woodfield Mall on the J.C. Penney wing, is the mid-level that contains about seven stores. Orange Bowl could be found there, next to The Alley, offering pizza slices, hamburgers, hot dogs and chili dogs, soft drinks, fruit drinks, coffee, donuts, soft-serve ice cream and their most popular item, the O-Joy. That last refreshment was described in an ad in the January 5, 1982 issue of the Daily Herald, as a frothy ice cream/orange juice combo.

The Orange Bowl corporation was begun in 1965 in Florida by Leonard Turkel according to the 1986 edition of the Franchise Opportunities Handbook. His franchise obviously saw an opportunity for a new location when the large mall opened in Chicago’s northwest suburbs. Clearly they did not want to pass on such a prime location!

The snack bars were designed to be bright, colorful places with tables and chairs for the customers. Ordering was done at the counter and the food was served on plastic trays with paper plates.

Throughout their years at Woodfield, there were many ads in the Daily Herald, requesting all levels of help, from manager to assistant manager to counter help. An interesting one in particular was interested in “mothers wanted while children are in school. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.”

John Melackrinos recalled that his father, Murphy Melackrinos, was manager around 1973-74. He remembers going to the snack shop on Saturday mornings with his dad and finding the donuts, Danish and Mary Ann Baking company sandwich buns waiting for them outside the gate to the store.

He said that he “worked” for five hours, cleaning tables and doing odd jobs for his dad. Of course he also took breaks and played on the slide near the Orange Bowl that went from the first to the ground floor. It was “so much fun!”

The Daily Herald‘s last mention for the Orange Bowl was April 27, 1982. Is it safe to assume they closed around that time?

If you frequented the Orange Bowl, enjoyed any of their selections, worked there or have any more details to share about this snack shop, please put in a comment or send me an email. Better still, if you have a photo, send it my way. It would be fun to add your input to the blog post!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

Photo credit of the Orange Bowl menu is given to the Past Print blog



November 17, 2019

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

It’s hard to believe that since our incorporation on September 23, 1959, we’ve grown from the 8,000 residents in 1959 to over an estimated 53,000 people who reside in our wonderful village today.

When we began our community we were small, far from the motto Leslie Goetz would create in 1965 “Growing to Greatness.” It was just the beginning. The village consisted of a little more than 2 square miles. We’ve grown to 22.1 square mile in 2019–fantastic growth over the past 60 years. We’ve spread out to Elgin’s boundary in the west and Inverness’ boundary to the north.

We struggled and fought with surrounding villages and others who hoped to build their communities, fighting our way through court after court, even as high as the Illinois Supreme Court, to achieve our dream of becoming a village that would provide a great place to work, live and enjoy life.

Our early police force was housed in the second floor of the Hammerstein Farm House with just a few officers. Today we have the beautiful police headquarters at Higgins and Springmill Road that houses 93 police officers and staff.

In the beginning, our fire department was the Hoffman Estates Fire Protection District that had 38 volunteer firefighters. Now we have 4 fire stations located throughout the village with 93 firefighters to protect us.

From the first Hoffman Plaza shopping center on Roselle Road, to Huntington Plaza on Algonquin Road, to the Jewel Osco shopping center on Palatine Road and Poplar Creek Crossing at Higgins and Rt. 59, as well as many smaller ones throughout the village, we have shopping that’s convenient for everyone.

Since Thomas Engineering set up business on Central Road in 1960, business has been booming ever since. AT&T just down the road from Thomas Engineering will soon be another new world for our village. Prairie Stone Business Park, south of Higgins Road & west of Rt. 59 is home to Sears Headquarters, the Sears Arena and to corporation after corporation–too many for me to mention here.

Many thanks to all the Mayors and Trustees who have wisely guided us over the past 60 years. Leslie Goetz didn’t know how much the motto she created back in 1965’s “Growing to Greatness” would predict our development over the past 60 years and, hopefully, for the future of our village as well.

Happy 60th Birthday Hoffman Estates, you’re a great place to call home.

Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Village Historian

Credit for the top photo of the Hoffman Estates Village Hall is to the Village of Hoffman Estates.

Credit for the photo of Thomas Engineering is to Wikimapia. 


November 10, 2019

Cholera is a nasty, awful infectious disease. Death is not only messy, with acute diarrhea and vomiting leading to massive dehydration, but it is also sudden. Many die within hours of contracting it.

It is caused by ingesting food or drinking water that has been contaminated by a person who is infected with a bacterium called Vibrio cholerae. According to WebMD, symptoms are often mild but can be serious. A person can develop symptoms within a few hours or can carry them as long as five days after infection.

In the 1800’s cholera was prevalent before modern water and sewage treatment systems cleared up contaminated water. A wave of cholera swept Chicago in 1852 and again in 1854. The Encyclopedia of Chicago says that 1424 young and old died in 1854. This was about five or six percent of the population.

Interestingly, Connie Knake and Elmer Pfingsten specifically mention in their book, Dear Cousin, a history of the Pfingsten family of Schaumburg Township, that “cholera raged in summer of 1854…claimed many lives.”

Intrigued by this mention in the book, it seemed that it might be interesting to check out the St. Peter Lutheran Church death records. Did it affect Schaumburg Township and, if so, how many local lives did the dreaded disease claim? Would there be a larger number of deaths in 1854 than the years before or after?

There were seven deaths recorded in 1854, which was just seven years after the church was founded in 1847 and four years after the township was officially formed in 1850. The population for the 1850 census in Schaumburg Township was 489.

It is important to note that the church’s death records do not always mention a cause of death. The pastor was obviously not a medical doctor but, surprisingly, in this instance the death records clearly state the cause of death in two of the lines as seen below.

It appears that there were two deaths from cholera. The lower line accounts for William Claus who died on September 8, 1854. It was difficult to discern the other death, though it looks like the last name is Vogeler and the first name might be Emma Bertha. She, too, died in September 1854.

Turning to the cemetery records of St. Peter’s that are on the library’s Local History Digital Archive, the last names of Claus and Vogeler were keyed in to see if there was any type of overlap. Claus did not yield any results but, lo and behold, there were listings for both an Emma Vogeler and a Bertha Vogeler.

Emma was born April 18, 1813 and died September 8, 1854 at the age of 41. Bertha was born August 13, 1818 and died September 8, 1854 at the age of 36. This can hardly be a coincidence that the only deaths in 1854 all happened on the same day.

We have to wonder then, who was the carrier? Was it one of them or someone else passing through? Where did the three of them live in Schaumburg Township? William is not buried in the St. Peter Cemetery. It was almost certain that the three knew each other or, at least, were in contact with each other.

Digging a bit more, none of them are listed in the 1850 Schaumburg Township census nor are there any family members with the same last names listed in the 1860 census. They don’t appear in Ancestry on any immigrant ship manifests.

But, thanks to a last suggestion from Tony Kierna, our staff genealogist, I found the Vogeler name and the Claus name in the 1855 census in Schaumburg Township. In that census, which only gives the surname and first initial of the head of the household, there is a J. Vogler (without the “e”) listed with five other residents in the house. And, two people above J. Vogler? An A. Clause with an “e.” There are eight residents in that house.

So, can we possibly assume the Vogelers lived near the Claus family? And there was a connection that caused one of them to be the carrier? Or that someone came to the area from out of town and infected these three people?

We do know that the Vogeler women, who were possibly sisters, were buried in a family plot purchased by Hermann Boeger. He owned and resided on the property where Spring Valley is today and must have purchased the plot in 1847 when Caroline Boeger, the three year old daughter of John and Sophia Boeger, died.

Mr. Boeger’s headstone was easy to find in a trip to St. Peter Cemetery. There are a few smaller stones around Mr. Boeger’s but they are so worn and faded that it is impossible to discern if one is for the Vogeler women. By the way they are designated in the cemetery records, they must have been buried together in the same casket since Bertha is buried in grave 7 and Emma is buried in grave 7A. (Every other grave listed is simply a whole number without a letter following it.)

All of the other burials in the Boeger family plot are family members. How were the Vogelers connected to the Boegers? They don’t appear to be neighbors to them on the 1855 census. Did Mr. Boeger generously donate grave sites in their family’s plot out of the kindness of his heart? That seems a strong possibility.

Where is Mr. Claus buried? St. Peter’s tracked his death, but he is not buried in their cemetery, nor in Bluff City cemetery in Elgin, nor in Hillside Cemetery in Palatine. Was he given a simple, quick burial locally on their property due to the horrid nature of the disease? It would not be surprising if that were the case. According to an article entitled “Disease and Sickness on the Wisconsin Frontier: Cholera” that appeared in the Spring 1960 issue of Wisconsin Magazine of History,”disposal of the bodies of cholera victims presented a real problem… where whole families sometimes succumbed to the disease, funerals were not possible.” If Mr. Claus was buried before his name was even entered into the church register, it would be completely understandable.

The township is fortunate cholera deaths in 1854 were limited to just these three. Frankly, our remote locale, in relation to the big city of Chicago, probably served it in good stead in keeping the disease at bay. Despite the escape from the possibility of many more deaths, the sad story of its victims, William, Emma and Bertha should not be forgotten.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library



November 3, 2019

During Hoffman Estates’ 60th anniversary year of 2019, we will take a look back at the Hoffman Estates you’ve known for the last six decades. Every month there will be a posting on village happenings for each decade the village has been in existence. Maybe you remember some of the events and have something more to add to a few of the items? Send in your comments!

60 Years Ago In 1959

  • A search for candidates for “Citizen of the Year” was being undertaken by the Hoffman Estates Homeowner’s Association. Residents who performed exceptional volunteer service to the community would be considered. Sam Goranson, chairman of the committee submitted three names: Robert Quigley, John Medved and John Morrissey. It was hoped other names would be suggested for consideration.
  • On November 12, the village board held it’s first meeting after incorporation. They had a treasury of $6206, created a zoning commission and adopted a “stop-gap” zoning ordinance to hold building restrictions to Cook County code.
  • Cub Scout Pack #94 held its first meeting of the fall at Twinbrook School multi purpose room. Several den mothers were still needed to make the den complete.

50 Years Ago In 1969

  • Robert Hall at Golf and Roselle was advertising their “Maxi” and “Mini” coats for women for $39.99 and $29.99 respectively.
  • The Barrington Square homes were being unveiled in the fall by Kaufman & Broad Homes, Inc. The development was scheduled to be a 1500-home townhouse community with prices that would range from $21,000 to $32,000.
  • Over 1000 Hoffman Estates residents signed a petition stating they did not object to the Jack-in-the-Box restaurant that was proposing a drive thru on Roselle Road. The location was just north of Shakey’s Pizza and just south of the new Suburban Bank of Hoffman Estates.

40 Years Ago In 1979

  • A new RTA commuter bus service serving Hoffman Estates, Schaumburg and Streamwood was scheduled to be in service in December. The new route would travel from Barrington to Bode to Springinsguth to Wise and points south.
  • Garibaldi’s was offering a coupon for a free pitcher of coke with a large or extra large pizza. Monday through Thursday and one coupon per customer.
  • Golf Paint in the Golf Rose Shopping Center was having their annual sale of 33 1/3 off all framed mirrors, door mirrors and venetians.

30 Years Ago In 1989

  • Hoffman Estates officials were creating a panel to oversee the implementation of the village’s 911 telephone emergency system. Voters had approved a monthly surcharge of up to 84 cents to pay for the enhanced system.
  • Zippy’s Restaurant at 830 N. Roselle Road aborted plans to have a 17-foot tall rooftop rocket ship launch the diner’s new expanded look.
  • The Benchmark of Hoffman Estates was celebrating their second birthday. Shael Bellows, president of Benchmark, said the senior living community was thriving and attributed their success to the “reverse migration” that was happening. Seniors who had moved to the Sunbelt were moving back to be near their children and grandchildren.

20 Years Ago In 1999

  • The Hoffman Estates Park District board officially named their new recreation center the Prairie Stone Sports and Wellness Center. The name is the same as that of the business park in which the rec center is being built.
  • The Schaumburg Township District Library lost its bid to obtain one of the “Cows on Parade” that were so popular throughout the summer.
  • The Hoffman Estates Fire Department began a new program this year to send get-well cards to those who were injured and treated by the department.

10 Years Ago in 2009

  • Former village board member John A. Harmon, who was father of Susan Kenley-Rupnow, a village board member who passed away in February has also died. The Harmons moved to Hoffman Estates in 1958 and Mr. Harmon soon joined the Plan Commission and was eventually elected to the village board from 1960 to 1965.
  • St. Alexius Medical Center set up a trailer to exclusively handle an influx of flu patients. The hospital’s emergency room normally handled about 150 people daily, but it had been seeing up to 50 extra patients a day with flu-like symptoms, primarily fevers and sore throats or coughs.
  • Mori Seiki USA celebrated the opening of its new headquarters in Hoffman Estates. The 102,000 square-foot building housed the machine tool company’s North American headquarters. The facility at 2400 Huntington Blvd. that overlooks the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway, also includes classrooms.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


October 27, 2019

Halloween has always been a holiday for kids. Candy, pumpkin-carving, trick-or-treating. What’s not to like?

With a township full of young kids in the 1960s, the Jaycees and the park districts decided to add some other pieces of enjoyment to the holiday. According to a Daily Herald article from October 25, 1972, the Schaumburg Park District had been operating a haunted house for three years (1969) and it was the sixth year since the Jaycees had held a parade (1966).

The parade was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, October 28 at Campanelli Park, with prizes being awarded for the best costumes in four different age groups ranging from preschool to 10-year-olds. Everyone who had created a jack-o-lantern was welcome to bring it to the park for a contest for the best carved pumpkin. Once the parade began, led by the Rotary Club Clowns, it wound its way on Weathersfield to the Jennings House at 220 S. Civic Drive, site of the Park District’s haunted house, which is seen below. There was an expectation for a high attendance of 1000 children!

Fast forward a few years and an article from the October 18, 1975 paper noted that the Schaumburg Park District was still the sponsor of the haunted house at the Jennings House. This year, though, the Hoffman Estates Park District was sponsoring their own haunted house at the Community Pool on Grand Canyon Boulevard. Admission was .25 on October 29 and 30 and included a tour with complimentary cider and a donut.

The following year, in 1976, not only was the Hoffman Estates Park District sponsoring their third annual “Spook House” (1973) at the Community Pool, the Hoffman Estates Jaycees had stepped in and was sponsoring their own haunted house. With the proceeds going to the Poplar Creek Historical Society, the Jaycees held their “Scare The Yell Out Of You” themed event at the Sunderlage House, at Vista Lane and Volid Drive. Keep in mind, this was before the house was purchased by the village and any restoration work was done. You can see in the picture above, at the top of this blog post, and below, how it would have made an excellent haunted house.

Also, in 1976, both the Schaumburg Park District and the Schaumburg Jaycees were now sponsoring their own haunted houses. The Park District was continuing to hold their event at the Jennings House Youth Center and the Jaycees, having abandoned their parade, was holding their haunted house across Civic Drive at the Great Hall in The Barn.

By 1995, only the Schaumburg Jaycees was still holding a haunted house. They were continuing to do so at The Barn which was now the Teen Center. The theme was “Fabulous Monsters of Film Land” and was held on four different days. According to a Herald article from September 21, “new frights this year include Terror in the Park and the Haunted Riverwalk, as well as old classic creeps, like Frankenstein.”

Two years later, in 1997, the Jaycees held their final haunted house at The Barn. The theme was “The Final Chapter” and, as Bonnie Palmer, the publicity chairwoman said, “It’s our last haunted house at 231 Civic Drive, so we’re making this year’s event extra scary.” By this time, the Jaycees’ haunted house had been ranked best in the Jaycees’ North region for three years in a row.

From that point forward, the Schaumburg haunted house moved around the area, with the Jaycees finding it necessary to rent their space each year. The following year, in 1998, we know it was held somewhere on Walnut Lane because a press release notes that it was themed “A Nightmare on Walnut Lane.”

In 2002, the Schaumburg Jaycees teamed up with the Hoffman Estates Jaycees and were holding their combined haunted house at a vacant store in the Hoffman Village Shopping Center at the intersection of Golf and Barrington Roads. Interestingly, the October 24, 2002 article from the Herald mentions that, for lack of a location, the event had not been held for the past three years.

Going forward, it appears 2002 was the last hurrah. Consequently, for a solid thirty years, from 1969 until 1999, a haunted house was a staple in Schaumburg Township–whether it was sponsored by the  Hoffman Estates or Schaumburg Park Districts or the Hoffman Estates or Schaumburg Jaycees.

Were you one of the lucky ones who took advantage? Is there something special you remember from one of those haunted houses? Can you help fill in some of the gaps with forgotten themes or details? If you have any clues, it would be great to investigate!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

Photo at the top is courtesy of the Hoffman Estates Historic Sites Commission.


October 20, 2019

This is the first in a series of items taken from select issues of The Record which was published every Wednesday at 5 Hoffman Plaza in Hoffman Estates. The newspaper covered all of Schaumburg Township. Copies were lent to me by Jack Netter whose mother wrote for the paper. Unique, interesting articles, ads and press releases will be shared below.

  • Tentative plans were confirmed by F & S Construction for a motel to be built along Higgins Road at the corner of Grand Canyon Boulevard. It was slated to be near “the bowling arena to be constructed by the Bowling Proprietors Association of America.” The motel “would be used to house the persons who will come to Hoffman Estates to participate in the national bowling tournaments that are expected…”
  • It was reported to the Hoffman police that a bird was intimidating a woman’s 6 year old child. The police followed the bird to a local house and determined it was a pet. The owner said the bird was harmless except that it had a penchant for eating buttons off of children’s shirts.
  • During a winter ice storm a couple of weeks prior, many homes in Hoffman Estates went without power. An editorial states that “many residents of Schaumburg…opened their houses to Hoffman Estates families who were without heat and light, and…volunteered their services to the Hoffman Estates village board in notifying residents of the emergency measures the board had taken.”
  • In an article announcing a slate of Village Board candidates, Mayor Atcher of Schaumburg discussed Frank C. Wiley’s candidacy. “He credited Wiley’s friendship with Northern Illinois Gas Co. as starting the industrial development and subsequently Wiley has been the man who brought Schmidt Iron Works, Terry’s Frozen Foods and Reliance Insurance Co. into the village.” (Can anyone tell me where Terry’s Frozen Foods was?)
  • Mary’s Music School in the Golf Rose Shopping Center offered lessons on the guitar, drums, clarinet, sax and accordion (!) as well as sales on guitars and drums.
  • Jupiter Cleaners at 3 Hoffman Plaza was offering a 20% discount for February only on household goods cleaning including draperies, slipcovers, bedspreads and blankets. Their ad says CALL US or Bring Your Items to Either Location. (Does this mean they did a pick up and drop off service?)
  • Kelley Paints (which was located in the old Schaumburg Bank building at Roselle and Schaumburg Roads) was offering a one cent sail. A gallon of their very best latex paint was $6.98 and .01 for the second gallon.
  • The Help Wanted classified ads were separated into Male and Female ads. Male ads were for service route man, salesman, welders, tool designer, accounting trainees while female ads were for secretaries, department manger in the fabric & yarn department at Zayre, beauty operators, office girls, bookkeepers and “girl friday.” One ad, in particular, caught my eye. “Library Clerk: Part time, 3 evenings and Saturday weekly, some college preferred. Call Schaumburg Public Library, 529-3373 after 1 p.m. for an interview appointment.”
  • A brief editorial was written on who the new schools should be named for. The District 54 School Board put out a request from the community for suggestions. The Hoffman School principal suggested Paul Engler, a deceased former school board member. Jim Anderson, the columnist suggested the following political names:  John F. Kennedy, Eisenhower, Roosevelt, Truman, Hoover, [Adlai] Stevenson, [Wendell] Wilkie, [Richard] Nixon, [Alfred] Landon, Barry Goldwater and Lyndon Baines Johnson. Other well known names mentioned were: U Thant, Martin Luther King, Chuck Percy, Everett Dirksen, [Paul] Douglas, [Otto] Kerner and [William] Stratton. Local names thrown into the ring were Bob Atcher, Ed Pinger and Scott MacEachron. It is interesting to note that the board did eventually use Dwight D. Eisenhower, Adlai Stevenson, Everett Dirksen and Hoover–though the latter began as J. Edgar Hoover and was later changed to Herbert Hoover. You can read about District 54 school names here in an earlier blog post.
  • Larry Plote was appointed the new superintendent of public works for Hoffman Estates. He grew up in Palatine Township on a farm that was worked by his father and grandfather. He attended St. Peter Lutheran School and Palatine High School and began contracting with the village in December 1961 as an operating engineer for heavy equipment. He was then asked to become the first man in the “street department” until his appointment as superintendent. Plote rented a farmhouse and five acres for his family on Roselle Road, just north of the tollway. According to the article, he raised and cared for the ducks that lived in the summer on Lakeview Pond in Hoffman Estates.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


October 13, 2019

The year is 1847 and you have traveled across the Atlantic Ocean and half of the continent to reach Schaumburg Township. You get your first view of the land that you have purchased from the government. Rich, dark soil? Check. A market for your products in nearby Chicago? Check. Enough trees to build your first house? Check. Enough trees to provide you with fuel for the next 20 years? No. And that’s a problem.

Considering that Illinois farmers of the 1800s largely heated their homes and cooked their meals with wood, it was absolutely necessary to have a steady, ready supply for anyone living on the frontier. In rural Schaumburg Township there were five nearby groves on the prairie that were available with timber that was ready to cut and cull. 

Sarah’s Grove was in the middle of the township, just west of the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads. Wildcat Grove was in the northwest corner of the township where the Greve Cemetery is located today in Hoffman Estates. The other three options were just outside of township boundaries in today’s Paul Douglas Forest Preserve off of Central Road in Palatine Township, the Arthur L. Janura Forest Preserve on the west side of Barrington Road in Hanover Township and the Ned Brown Forest Preserve in Elk Grove Township that is best known as Busse Woods. (Portions of all of the groves still exist to this day.) The surveyor’s map below shows the large key-shaped section of Busse Woods to the left that is simply marked “Timber” in the middle.

To be able to take advantage of these groves, farmers purchased acreage that often ranged from two to ten acres. According to Larry Nerge’s report on the Johann Heinrich Boeger family who lived on today’s Spring Valley property, they had a wood lot of two to three acres in Busse Wood.

The following document from LaVonne Thies Presley’s book, Schaumburg Of My Ancestors, draws out a legal description of the nearly ten acre woodlot her great grandfather purchased from Henry and Maria Bochers on November 23, 1853 for $1250.

The entrance was off of Higgins Road in Busse Woods and required quite a trek from their farm on Meacham Road near today’s WGN transmitter. Multiple trips a year were necessary to keep the house stoves going for warmth and cooking purposes.

A trip to the woods began in the morning after the milking and chores were finished.  Two men drove a wagon pulled by two large draft horses that carried their “two-man [cross cut] saw, wooden bow saw, sharpened axe, steel wedges, water and/or coffee, food for lunch, and possibly oats or hay for the horses.” 

Presley’s relatives were no different from the brothers of Ralph Engelking who was one of our oral historians. His account can be viewed on the library’s Local History Digital Archive. In his history, Ralph, youngest of eleven, recalls that his brothers would bring a lunch of sausage sandwiches and coffee when they made their trip to Busse Woods.

It is not known how the owners determined exactly where their property began and ended but there had to have been some kind of posts or markings that established the corners of their acreage. (If any of the readers of this post have ever come across something like this in Busse Woods, please put in a comment or send me an email.)

Once there, they began accumulating the fallen logs and branches that were easy pickings. Next, they probably tackled any dying trees as these were quicker to take down and more easily chopped. Dead wood was also dryer wood and burned more cleanly in the stoves. If burned, newly cut, green wood created an accumulation of creosote that could cause chimney fires if the stove fires burned too hot.

According to Presley, trees “were cut into lengths (about 5-6 feet long) that could be lifted and put on the wagon. Lengths to fit the stove would be cut back at the farm. This cutting and splitting was time consuming and took time away from the farm work. Time was precious and could not be wasted on tasks that could be done more easily at the farmyard.”

Some lengths of wood were also used for fence posts in the farmyard. The harder the wood, the more durable the post. According to “Farm Woodlots In Illinois” from Transactions of the Illinois State Academy of Science, Vol. 16 published in 1923, the best types of wood were white oak, catalpa, cedar, black locust, mulberry and, osage orange or “hedge” which was the best possible choice. Of course, if they did not have a choice of wood, the farmers in this area were going to take any type that grew on their woodlot–and replace the fence post when necessary.

Wagons were loaded very carefully as they did not want any displacement to happen as the horses pulled the timber home. As the afternoon drew to a close, saws, axes, wedges and other items would be placed in the wagon and the slow, burdened wagon would be pulled home by the powerful draft horses.  

Presley recounts a story in her book that, on a late fall day, her father and uncle were at their woodlot when an unexpected snowstorm broke out. They left the woods as quickly as possible but the snow was so blinding and heavy that they could not make out the road. It became obvious that the horses weren’t going to stop so the two young brothers loosened their hold on the reins and let the horses pull the load where they wanted. Through better vision, instinct or the feel of gravel on their hooves—or all three—the horses pulled the wagon safely to the barn on their farm. 

Once home, the 5-6 foot lengths were arranged in a teepee form to allow for further drying before they were chopped for use in stoves or used as fence posts. Chopping happened when there was time in between chores or when a group of family and neighbors had time in the winter to tackle the pile. 

The woodlots were kept by local farmers until other means of heat, like coal or kerosene, became available to the farmers. This was also close to the time that Cook County purchased Busse Woods for their newly formed Forest Preserve District, as can be seen in the letter to the Thies family in January 1918. 

It was most likely a win/win situation for many of the farm families. There was an opportunity to easily sell their remote woodlot, adjust to life with a kerosene stove and, best of all, eliminate that portion of chores from their workload. 

They did us all a favor, though, by being such careful conservators of their woodlots. As a result, we remain blessed to this day with the large forest preserves that surround Schaumburg Township.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

The Thies family documents and photo are all taken from the chapter of LaVonne Thies Presley’s book, Schaumburg of My Ancestors which gives us an amazing overview of farming in rural Schaumburg Township around the turn of the century. Copies of the book are available in the library’s Local History Collection or can be read on the Local History Digital Archive