During WWII it was a fairly common sight to see Stearman bi-planes buzzing the skies of Schaumburg Township.  Flying out of the Great Lakes Naval Training Station, these training planes practiced touch and go landings at an airstrip in the photo above.  This strip was directly on the SE corner of the intersection of Schaumburg and Barrington Roads.

The planes flying overhead were a wonderful source of distraction during the war years.  Several of the oral historians whose histories are on the Local History Digital Archive remarked how they madly waved to the pilots and, quite often, the pilots would wave back by tipping their wings.  Mr. Engelking called them his buddies!

There were a couple memorable incidents that the historians remembered though.  The Gerschefske girls spoke of the pilot who tried to go under the wires along Roselle Road, caught a wing and tipped over.  One of their friends took a picture but the Navy didn’t approve and took her camera away from her.

Mr. Leonhardt recalled how one winter a plane ran out of fuel and was forced to land rather abruptly on the Fred Springinsguth farm.  As a result the motor and propeller were damaged.  The incident happened around 12:00 noon and the pilot walked to their farm to contact his base.  They did not arrive to pick him up until 6:00.  The next day the engine and propeller were replaced on the spot and the plane was towed to Schaumburg Road.   Without further ado, the pilot used Schaumburg Road as its runway and took off going west.  As was remarked on the video, there wasn’t much traffic to worry about then!

During this time, the property was part of the Gertrude McNaught farm that was called Rolling Acres.  It was purchsed from William Schuneman in 1937 by Gertrude and her husband Norris, who was the co-founder of Duro Metal Products in 1916.  Mr. McNaught died in 1942 and his widow later married his business partner, William Odlum.   It  became known as the Odlum property and was eventually sold for development in 1986.

Many thanks to one of the blog’s consistent readers for passing on the photo and providing incentive for an interesting posting.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


  1. Larry Rowan Says:

    Very interesting stories! Thanks for the research. I have seen maps and documentation that list the “Schaumburg Airstrip” as one of the 16 “Satelite” training airstrips used by the Glenview Naval Air Station during WWII. Other Satelite airstrips in our area include “Murphy’s Circus” which was located just North of the former Klem property near Rt 59 and 72, “Barrington” located where Rt 59 and Barrington Rds. converge and one called “Pralls Pit” which was on the South side of Central Road, just East of Barrington Road. There must be some stories out there regarding the names used for some of these airstrips. I had the pleasure of speaking to a gentleman that grew up on his family’s farm near Barrington and Palatine Roads during WWII and he remembered watching bombers buzzing their barn making practice carrier landings from one of these nearby airstrips.

  2. Larry Rowan Says:

    Does anyone know when the present day Schaumburg Airport come into existence? It is not listed or shown on the WWII era maps. Someone once told me it was around 1955.

    • jrozek Says:

      According to the village of Schaumburg’s website, the airport opened as Roselle Field in 1959. They have written a very nice history on the airport here: Take a look!

    • Randy Seiler Says:

      The current Schaumburg Regional Airport (Roselle Field) should not be confused with the Schaumburg military airfield that was located at the Schaumburg and Barrington Roads. The following information was taken from different Roselle Register News articles regarding the now Schaumburg Regional Airport. 1959 purchase of land for the Roselle Field began in Dupage and Cook Counties. Feb 22, 1960 investigation of the construction and installation of an airport three quarters of a mile west of the Village Limits on Irving Park Road, based upon the complaints of residents principally because of it’s proximity to a Lutheran school. Feb 25, 1960 Roselle Register News mentions that Leonard Boeske will start building the airport by March 31st. April 31, 1961“Work on the airport is 80 percent complete…” “Landscaping and sodding will be finished by June 1. May 25, 1961 Dan Smith Illinois Safety Inspector landed at Roselle Field and certified the showpiece airfield safe for operation. Lee Boeske said the official opening will be delayed until about mid-July. To sum this up the Roselle Field official opened in or around July 1961.

  3. Larry Rowan Says:

    While doing research on old military airstrips in the area, I did notice the airport history web site. Unfortunately, the writer made an assumption that the Roselle Field was in existence back in 1943 and that it was an OLF for NAS Glenview. That was wrong. The Glenview OLF’s were clearly mapped and the Schaumburg OLF was located on Barrington and Schaumburg Roads, not at the Roselle/Schaumburg airport that didn’t even exist until the 1950’s. On all military maps and airfield maps that I have been able to find, there is no indication of any airfield near the Schaumburg Airport in the 1940’s at all.

  4. Larry Rowan Says:

    The Schaumburg airport website wrote of the site being used during wwII, using a reference that it was an OLF of NAS Glenview and being able to see an airplane on the grass. This reference is exactly stated on an old photo of the Schaumburg OLF on Barrington Road. The writer made an assumption in error that the photo was taken in Roselle.

  5. mark l markese Says:

    I recall seeing & getting up close to a military surplus p51 mustang aircraft around 1963-64. The p51 was at what is now Schaumburg airport and could be clearly seen from rt19. The plane was a later model p51 as it had the bubble type canopy. The USAAF insignias were painted with dark paint over the original outline i believe. I also am fairly certain the plane still had it’s Normandy invasion stripes.

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