GENTLEMAN FARMERS 1: WAYNE KING THE WALTZ KING

Before the Mennonite Church on Roselle Road remodeled the barn that serves as their gathering place, it belonged, once upon a time, to Wayne King, a nationally known orchestra leader.  Renowned for his waltzes and playing the saxophone, Mr. King purchased the former Stratford Farm along South Roselle Road in August, 1951.  The farm was approximately 200 acres and was owned by the Niemacheks.

As was common from the 1930s through the 1950s, the farms of Schaumburg Township would often be purchased by gentlemen of consequence who either enjoyed dabbling in farming and/or wanted a vacation retreat.  They and their families did not live on the farm full time but ventured to the area as their schedules allowed.  They always had an onsite manager and Mr. King was no exception.   His farm was managed by Mr. and Mrs. Ernie Zack.  Quite often, some of the young men from the area German families were also employed to assist with the farming.

Mr. King sold his farm around 1957 but not before he endeared himself to many of the local residents.  Some of the oral historians on the library’s Local History Digital Archive speak very kindly of Mr. King’s quiet, unassuming ways and of his generosity towards local establishments such as Lengl’s Inn, now the Easy Street Pub.  It is even noted in a 1951 issue of the Daily Herald that he served as master of ceremonies at the “Fall Dance Frolic” at the Roselle Country Club.

Mr. King was born in Savannah, IL and gained fame when his band was featured on a weekly radio broadcast, “The Lady Esther Serenade” from 1931 to 1938.  He often performed at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago and, when it closed in 1964, he returned to play his theme, “The Waltz You Save for Me” for the occasion.  He died in 1985 at the age of 84.

Stop by the AudioVisual Dept. at the library and check out some of our Wayne King CDs for yourself.  You may find yourself waltzing along…

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

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3 Responses to “GENTLEMAN FARMERS 1: WAYNE KING THE WALTZ KING”

  1. debby miller Says:

    I live on what once was the Hassell Farm after which Hassell Road was named. He was a gentleman farmer until the tollway cut his farm in half and he sold to developers. I understand his children would come out to the farm occasionally.

  2. Robin Bartholet Says:

    Our family lived on Wise Road with my mom’s parents from 1946 to 1952. I went to school with Judy Zack who was the daughter of Ernie Zack. I remember her having polio as a child and she wore braces and used crutches. My mom drove the school bus for St. Walter’s Catholic Church and drove the children to St. Isadore’s Catholic School in Wheaton before there was a school at St. Walters.

    • jrozek Says:

      Hello Robin,

      Did your grandparents own or rent the house they lived in? Was it on a farm and was it closer to Irving Park or Roselle Roads? I’m familiar with that area and with some of the farmers who lived there. It looks like Ernie Zack and his wife managed the Wayne King farm which was on Roselle Road, close to the intersection with Wise. I tracked down an article that even mentions how the Zacks delivered a baby of a nearby neighbor during a snowstorm!

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library

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