After walking out of Lou Malnatis at the corner of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads a couple of weeks ago, a coworker and I came across this hole in the ground next to the entrance of the pizza restaurant.  We stopped to take a look and it was  fascinating.  (Unfortunately, by the time we took photos the next day more work had been done and the view was not as clear.)

The hole was about 10 feet deep and, you’ll notice, that there are several visible layers in cross section.  It is obvious the first layer is topsoil followed by what looks to be a construction debris layer.  The next layer is the most interesting.  It is a combination of dirt, debris and red, clay bricks.   And, if you look to the right, there seems to be a filled-in well or cistern.   Or maybe it’s too small for that. 

I was curious so I contacted Mr. Nebel who owned the building when it was the Schaumrose Inn.  He said there used to be a well on the southeast side of the tavern.  I told him what I saw was on the northeast side of the restaurant but he was quick to remind me that the Schaumrose was moved in 1979 for the widening of the intersection.  The tavern was moved 35 feet to the south and 35 feet to the east to accomodate the lanes added to each of the roads.  It is possible this is the long ago well.

Mr. Nebel also told me that a small house that stood directly to the south of the Schaumrose could have had a well too.  This building was once upon a time used as a post office for the tiny burg of Schaumburg.  When the roads were widened, it too was moved.  It now rests on the edge of the entrance to the grounds of  the Prairie Center for the Arts.

What do you think?  Is it too small for a well?  Or, could it have been mostly filled in with dirt and someone finished the job with bricks and stones?  Where did those red bricks come from?  The Easy Street Pub is the only building near by built of red brick.   To the best of my knowledge there was never a brick drive around either.  It’s interesting what can be uncovered just because Lou Malnatis wanted to add on to their restaurant.

I discovered this brief mention in a February 1, 1946 issue of the Daily Herald:  “The people of Schaumburg Center wondered last Friday where all the smoke was coming from.  Some party evidently set fire to the two piles of corn cobs lying on the empty lots between the schoolhouse and Roselle rd.  Upon being summoned to the scene, F.W. Pfingsten called the Roselle Rural Fire Truck at 5 p.m. to put out the fire which took them two hours.  The water was pumped out of a cistern holding several thousand gallons of water just east of the Lake-Cook office.  This cistern was put in by the late John Fenz for fire protection several years ago.”  

This small article is referring to the Lake-Cook Farm Supply that was directly south of what is now Lou Malnatis.  It is important to keep in mind that this is before the Lou Malnatis building was moved for the widening of the Schaumburg and Roselle Road intersection.  Malnati’s was originally  further north and west of its present location.  So, the photos above show, quite possibly, the remnants of the Fenz cistern.  John Fenz owned the Fenz store that was on the southwest corner of the intersection.  The store burned down in 1924 so it’s very possible that that fire gave Mr. Fenz strong impetus to build the cistern.  (Updated March 4, 2015)

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


  1. joe Says:

    I remember when they lifted the buildings to widen the road back in 79. They had the building standing on stacked up rail road ties for a while why the did the work,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: