One of the most iconic photos of early Schaumburg Township is this view of a new bridge  built over Salt Creek on East Schaumburg Road near today’s Spring Valley Nature Sanctuary.  With so many people in the photo and the relatively new Wilkening Creamery in the background, the photo provides an interesting display of local residents and their excitement over a new bridge that had to have made their lives much easier.

What is barely noticed in the photo is the photographer’s name in the lower portion of the picture–Thiede of Des Plaines.  Knowing that our library has a few photos by him, most of which are outside photos, I thought it might be a good idea to contact the Des Plaines History Center to see if they had his archive of photos.  Acquiring other Schaumburg Township photos for our collection would make for neat, unique items in our Digital Archive.   Unfortunately, in exchanging emails with them, I discovered that they have photos and postcards of their own taken by Thiede but do not have his collection.

In further discussion though, they mentioned that, interestingly enough, Mr. William Thiede is actually buried in the Immanuel United Church of Christ cemetery on Old Church Road in Streamwood.   Having just obtained their records on microfilm, that got me started in a whole new direction.

It seems that William Julius Thiede was born in Germany and moved to Hanover Township with his parents in 1880.  By 1891 he had married Ida (Mundhenke) Thiede in the above mentioned church.  They either lived nearby or had a real affinity for the church because their daughter, Alpha, was baptized in the same church in early 1892.

The 1900 census lists the family in Elk Grove Township where William was employed as a teacher for Cook County School District No. 63 and their only child is Clarence, born in 1894.   (Alpha died in 1899.)  Shortly after this they moved to Des Plaines and William established his first photo gallery on Ellinwood Street.  Later he purchased a tailor shop at 686 Lee Street and converted it to a photographic studio.  In 1910 the personal information in the census is the same except they were now living in Maine Township and William was an insurance agent.  According to information at the Des Plaines History Museum, he served as a representative for Prudential Insurance Company from 1909 until 1927. Shortly after the 1910 census, another child, Evangeline, was born to them in 1911.  Unfortunately, she died in September of 1920.  The same year William sold his studio.  One can imagine he didn’t have much heart for photography work after his daughter’s death.  A stroke in 1925 caused him to retire from active life and he passed away at the age of 60 from the long term effects.  His wife, son and daughter-in-law were the only survivors.

Clarence died in 1963 leaving only his mother and wife.  Obituaries for the two ladies have not been found.  Because we know William and his daughter Evangeline are buried in the nearby cemetery, it is difficult to suppose that his wife is not also.  I have walked the rows and did not see a stone for the name Thiede.  It would be interesting to know the end of the story if anyone can supply it.

It is true that Mr. Thiede and his family may not have lived in Schaumburg Township but he most definitely left his mark.  A picture is, indeed, worth a thousand words.

[After reading this posting, Shari at the Des Plaines History Center did a little more digging.  She discovered that, on July 12, 1962, William, Alpha and Evangeline were all reinterred at the Town of Maine cemetery.  This was one year before Clarence died in July 1963 and two years before Ida died in May 1964.  Rose was also buried there later.

According to the cemetery records the family is buried in the following locations:
William Thiede, Block 49, Lot 3, Grave 19
Ida Thiede, Block 49, Lot 3, Grave 18
Evangeline Thiede, Block 49, Lot 3, Grave 17
Alpha Thiede, Block 49, Lot 2, Grave 12
Clarence Thiede, Block 46, Lot 4, Grave 30
Rose Thiede (Clarence’s wife), Block 46, Lot 4, Grave 29

No wonder I couldn’t find them at the Immanuel United Church of Christ cemetery!]

(Many thanks to Shari with the Des Plaines History Center for providing me with so many details and for sharing my interest and enthusiasm in this topic.)

(The article is from the April 3, 1908 issue of the Cook County Herald.  Thank you to David Hammer for supplying it.)

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

2 Responses to “MR. THIEDE LEFT HIS MARK”

  1. randy schallau Says:

    I came across an ad in the Arlington Heights Cook County Herald dated May 28th 1909 mentioning a studio of Mr. and Mrs. W.J. Thiede which was located in Itasca. It was open Mondays and Fridays, And the Des Plaines studio would be closed those days.By coincidence in that same issue there was an article about the bridge in the photo. It was one of five to be built in the township that year. By chance or by purpose three of the other four were near old creameries.

    • jrozek Says:


      Thank you for this information! That article is a great find. I knew about the Wilkening Creamery and Nebel’s Creamery but I am unfamiliar with the Highland Grove Creamery or Berlin’s.

      I know for sure there was a creamery at Barrington and Old Higgins Road and it is quite possible it was Berlin’s Creamery. There was–and still is–a bridge that went over Poplar Creek in that location. A creamery was once located across from the Harz Blacksmith shop at that spot–on the east side of Barrington Road at Old Higgins.

      After a bit research I found a listing for the Highland Grove Creamery in the 1915 Annual Report of the Illinois Food Commissioner. It was run by H.L. Sharrenghausen and is listed in Palatine.

      The bridge at Nebel’s creamery was at Higgins and Roselle Road, north of Roselle.

      The bridge on the north/south road between the Hartman and Wille farms was on what is now Springinsguth Road.

      Thank you again Randy. Very good to know!

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library

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