Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the January 2010 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates!

As a young girl I enjoyed sledding and ice skating.  My brother and I couldn’t wait for the snow and cold weather so we could get out the sled, wax up the runners and head for the sledding hill.  I still enjoy winter, I know it seems strange to say that but I still have those pleasant memories of fun in the snow as a child.

The January weather usually keeps us in the house with little opportunity to get outdoors and since we can’t escape the snow and ice we may try to enjoy some of the winter sports.

Hoffman Estates is fortunate to have more that 3,000 acres of forest preserves within the village limits.  Much of the land was acquired from surrounding farms in the late 60’s & early 70’s and the collapse of the planned “Leisure World” prompted the Cook County Forest Preserve District to take over that land preventing a development that would have brought 50,000 residents to the area just west of Rt. 59 and north of Rt. 58. At the time many farmers were sad to see their farming life come to an end.  Many of the farmers did continue farming out west with the purchase of new farms.

Since that time, picnic groves, biking trails and lakes provide great summer recreation for our families. Many of you don’t know that winter recreation is also offered by the forest preserve district.  Winter fun is just a mile or two away.

When the snow starts flying and measures 4 inches, you’ll be able to go snowmobiling in the Ned Brown Meadow on the south side of Golf Rd. and east of I-290. You’ll need to register your sled with the forest preserve district at

You can ice fish on Bode Lake South as long as the ice is 4 inches thick.  Fishing hours are between 8 am and sunset.  The parking area is off Bode Rd. 1 mile west of Barrington Rd. of course you’ll need your Illinois fishing license.  All the biking trails in the Poplar Creek Forest Preserve are open for cross country skiing as well as winter hiking.

Our own Hoffman Estates Park District offers sledding at your neighborhood park and outdoor ice skating, when weather permits and the green flag is up at your local lake. With the right weather conditions the Pine Park parking lot is turned into and outdoor skating rink.  Indoor ice skating is always offered year round at the Hoffman Estates Park District Community Center and Ice Arena at Higgins and Huntington Blvd.  When the snow is deep enough, the sledding hill at the Poplar Creek Country Club & Golf Course opens for great outdoor fun.  Get more info at

So get out those sleds, wax the runners (old candles or a bar of soap work well) and have the ice skates sharpened.  It’s time to have some fun in the snow.

Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Village Historian


  1. Kevin Franco Says:

    I have a question regarding the nine houses on Magnolia Lane/Court (just north of Golf Rd/Route 58on the east side of Route 59.) Was there any link between them and the planned “Leisure World” development mentioned in the article?

    Interestingly, digging around in Zillow gives build dates for the homes there and also places them in Elgin, rather than Hoffman Estates. The oldest home is from 1966.

  2. jane rozek Says:

    In my brief research through back issues of the “Daily Herald” I have been unable to find anything dealing with the houses on Magnolia Lane. According to a January 3, 1969 article from the “Schaumburg Herald,” the bulk of the “Leisure World” property was purchased from the Rossmoor Corporation by the Cook County Forest Preserve District in 1968. They paid 11,081,159.75 to purchase 2508 acres in western Hoffman Estates. It was the largest purchase ever made by the Forest Preserve up to that date.

    According to the article, “the 2508 acres are bounded by Bode Road on the south, the Northwest Tollway on the north, previously purchased forest preserve land and Sutton Road on the west and Barrington Road on the east.” How those few homes were built as part of this large parcel is a puzzle.

    The book “Hanover Township: Rural Past to Urban Present” by E.C. Alft also tells a brief story of Leisure World and mentions some of the facts I have provided above. It, too, does not give any further details.

    Because this is Hanover Township, I am limited to my research. You may want to contact the Hoosier Grove Museum in Streamwood. Their phone number is (630) 213-9706.

    Jane Rozek
    Local History Librarian

  3. jane rozek Says:

    In looking a bit further, I did find an article in the March 10, 1968 issue of the Chicago Tribune. It said, “The land in question totals about 3700 acres with the bulk of it bounded by Interstate Highway 90, Barrington, Bode and Sutton Roads. All but 288 acres is owned by the Rossmoor Corporation of California.” Magnolia Lane must fall into that 288 acres.

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