Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian. This column originally appeared in the March 2010 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter. The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.
“Everyday we spend time on the roads traveling to work or school or running errands on the weekends. Have you ever thought about the history of the roads you travel? Some of them have been around for 170 years. Before that time they were Indian trails such as Irving Park Rd. and Algonquin Rd. Those roads that go on an angle were common sense roads that the Indians established as the quickest way to get from here to there.
One of the oldest roads in our area is Bode Rd. It was on the map in 1840 and it was shown as a 4 rod road on the 1857 map. A rod measures 16.5 feet. That measurement included the shoulders, not very wide by today’s standards. Bode Rd. was originally known as the Chicago-Elgin Rd.
Another old road is Meacham Rd. It can also be seen on the old 1840 map. It was the narrowest road in the area at 3 rods. The very early maps give it the name, “old 3 rod road”.
Algonquin Rd. is only a few years younger than Bode and Meacham. It opened in 1842 and was called Missionary Rd. Later on in 1941 the road appears on maps as Algonquin Rd or Route 62. The older maps showed the road, but without a name.
It wasn’t until 1851 that Higgins Rd opened. Back then on the 1904 maps it was known as Dundee Rd. early settlers called it Chicago-Dundee Rd.
Following along by 1 year was the opening of Roselle Rd. on June 7, 1852.
Two years later on Feb. 15, 1854 Barrington Rd opened. It was also 4 rods wide. It wasn’t until 1947, almost 100 years later, that Barrington Rd road was widened to 100 feet.
Central Rd. was next on the list of roads to be added to the area. It was opened on Aug. 18, 1858. Central Rd. was widened from 4 rods (66 feet) to 100 feet in 1947 also.
In the same area, Jones Rd. opened on June 27, 1863, a short north south road that ran from Higgins Rd to Central Rd. Later in 1906 this road was vacated and a new parallel road located to the east of it was opened. That earlier road may have been called Jahn Rd. for the farm family that lived along it.
Golf Rd. is the baby of them all. It wasn’t opened until Sept. 24, 1929. Early on it was called the Elgin – Evanston Rd. and is still called that today.
The widening of roads continues along with repairs, wider shoulders, pothole filling and endless roadwork that we’ve come to dread. The history of our roads tells us the history of our development. We’ve come a long way since the 1840’s and those horse and buggy days. ”
Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Village Historian, firstname.lastname@example.org