SOMEWHERE AT THE RAINBOW INN

Valli Produce wasn’t always the hotspot on the southwest corner of Higgins and Roselle Road.  For over 35 years the business serving that intersection was the Rainbow Inn.  Starting life as the Rainbo Tavern, the March 29, 1928 issue of the Cook County Herald, lists A.J. Tworkowski as the proprietor.  According to W. Wilkening, however,  the business was actually established around 1925. 

It wasn’t until June 1936, though,  that the business was renamed the Rainbow Inn and was advertised in the Daily Herald as a restaurant/tavern/gas station with music and dancing.  It was said to be under new management by Arthur S. Krooth.  Texaco gas was sold as well as Primas Bros. Ice Cream. The following week they tried to draw in the “race track people” from Arlington Heights by offering chicken and steak dinners for .65 and Edelweis beer on draught for .10 with dancing every night. “Truck gardeners and friends” were also welcomed at the Rainbow.  And, if you needed to reach them by phone, just call Roselle 3138.

The inn was said to have a spacious dance floor with a number of private booths and many different events were being planned complete with barn dances and fish fries. Other foods advertised over time were Bar-B-Q sparerib lunches for .25 along with sandwiches and Schlitz beer on draft.  Another popular special was the Duck Dinner Dance.  Imagine that today!

Much advertising was done in the Daily Herald during the 1930s and 1940s.  In August, 1936 an ad invited local folks for the low cost of .25 to the Big Barn Jamboree Dance with music by Cy’s Hayshakers on a Saturday night.  The same ad mentioned German Night with Old Time and German Music being played by Walter Heine’s Orchestra.  They were also sponsoring Amateur Night that year, complete with a cash prize, as well as Waltz Night.  Square dances were another popular form of entertainment with Buddy Hagemann calling the dances as well as Henry Roesslein Jr.  They also knew when to cancel their dances.  Some events like the Roselle Rural Fire League picnic were just more important!

Many different orchestras were hired including:  Wally Hahnfeld’s Orchestra, Peter and Anna Fakles Orchestra, Mel’s Orchestra (obviously popular, given the number of times advertised), 4 Kernels, Eddie Jahn’s Orchestra,  Freeman and Theis Orchestras, and my two favorites: Richard Nolte and His Rhythm Jesters and Charles Lawrence and His Tune Teasers.

It was also one of the local places for wedding receptions.  The size of the facility and the large dance floor must have been the big attraction and made the celebrations very lively.  Wedding anniversary celebrations were also held including that of Mr. and Mrs. August Hattendorf in June 1945.

Dancing was a distraction but the war was still very much in the minds of  Schaumburg Township residents in the 1940s.  Because Arthur Krooth, the owner, was Vice President of the Veterans Relief Commission of Cook County, many special veterans’ events were held.  War stamps for $18.75 were given away as well as the “usual” drawing of defense stamps in 1942.  They even held festivities such as the Dedication of Our Flag with a special invite to 1918 World War Veterans or Legionnaires.  An Armistice Day party was also held November 11, 1944.  As servicemen began coming home from World War II, dinners and dances were held at the Inn to celebrate their safe homecoming.   And, in keeping with the township’s patriotism, a flag pole and memorial plaque containing 41 names was erected during the war.  This was possibly Schaumburg Township’s first veterans war memorial.

In early 1947, Fred Fay was listed as the owner of the Rainbow Inn and it was that year that he announced a remodeling of the tavern.   However, by May 1, 1947 Walter Kruse had taken possession of the Inn.  His ownership coincided with the growth that was beginning to happen to Schaumburg Township.  By the 1950s, the Schaumburg Parent-Teacher Association was holding dances in the spring and fall with box socials being another big draw.  You could dance to the music of Elmer Piske’s band and do some square dancing and long-hair dancing!  (What is long-hair dancing anyway?)

It is possible another new owner may have taken possession in 1955 because a grand opening was held April 29 and 30 with music, food and door prizes.   With an uptick in residents, meeting spaces for substantial crowds were hard to come by.  As one of the few larger meeting areas in Schaumburg Township in 1956, the Hoffman Estates Homeowners Association used the restaurant for their first meeting.  The Rainbow Inn took advantage of this influx by sponsoring many of the local baseball, golf and bowling teams in the 1950s and 60s.  In April 1957 it was announced that Sam’s Pizza, as well as Italian and American sandwiches, were now being served at the Inn.  Take-out orders were also being filled although the kitchen was closed on Monday nights.  The new phone number was the familiar Twinbrook 4-3884.

The Inn was not immune to crime.  In March 1954, Charles Kruse and two of his customers were held up at gunpoint.  It was the second holdup in two years.  The somewhat remote location was probably attractive to the robbers.  A total of $100 was taken in both robberies.  Another robbery was reported in May of 1965 after James McArthur, the proprietor, left for the evening at 3:00 a.m.  A total of $300 in cash was taken and $400 in damage was done to the front door, a cigarette machine and the juke box.

Sometime in the early 1960s the building was divided into a restaurant and bar.   According to Dennis Peters, a reader of the blog, “Irene’s Kitchen was the restaurant there through the mid to late 60’s. My wife’s mother, Adell Dickelman, and Aunt Irene Shedore, made the pizzas and Italian beefs that were legendary through those years.  (The Italian beef recipe is still in the family!)  I kind of grew up in the Rainbow as I would go to sleep in the booth while my dad sat there till closing many a night from the time I was 5 till the Rainbow changed hands to Gus (Lykos) and them.  My dad, Bob Peters, also delivered pizza from 1967 to 1970.  If you are old enough to remember the mid to late 60’s there, Adell Dickelman (my mother in law) was the little lady in the back and her husband was Paul, a BIG man that sat in the bar a lot. The other waitresses were Carol Groth, Goldy McGuire, and Kaye Alexander as well as Betty Atkins and others.”  The restaurant was closed in 1969 or 70. 

In 1972 a new restaurant called Captain’s Cove, whose owner was Janet McDonald, moved into the restaurant portion of  the building that encompassed the Rainbow Inn.    Because Captain’s Cove could not get a liquor license, a pass-through was made between the two establishments so that the Rainbow Inn, whose owner was Gus Lykos, could provide the liquor for the diners at the Cove.  Virginia Hayter, the soon to be Hoffman Estates mayor was hired as the chef at the restaurant from the time it opened in October 1972 until she was elected to office in April 1974. 

According to an October 14, 1984 issue of the Daily Herald, the building burned down and made way for the Fireside Roller Rink that opened in 1975 and is now home to Valli’s Produce.  The southwest corner of the  intersection of Higgins and Roselle has always been a hoppin’ corner but it was certainly the Rainbow Inn that led the way!     

This blog posting couldn’t have been written without the help of Marilyn Lind, Virginia Hayter, Dennis Peters and the Daily Herald. Any photos of the Rainbow Inn or Captain’s Cove would be much appreciated.  Please contact Jane Rozek at jrozek@stdl.org with any leads.

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2 Responses to “SOMEWHERE AT THE RAINBOW INN”

  1. Bob Dohn Says:

    Does anyone have a photo of either Rainbow Inn or Captain’s Cove they could publish?

  2. jane Says:

    This detailed information on the Rainbow Inn/Irene’s Kitchen was sent to me by Dennis Peters. Thank you Dennis!

    “Before Irene’s time in the early 60’s, you used to walk up the 4 or 5 concrete steps at the extreme left of the building on the Roselle Road side. It was a small area and there was a counter where you would order and pick up food. Later that was closed off and Neff’s TV was in that part about the time Irene and John Shedore took over and opened Irene’s Kitchen. I was very young at the time, about 6 in 1962-63, but I remember that fairly clearly. After that you would open a heavy wooden door about 20′ to the right of the concrete steps and climb steps inside the building. There was another door to enter the dining room. Inside, there was a 16′ or so long counter to the left with short bar stools and then several tables with red/white checkered plastic table cloths straight in and to the right. The kitchen was to the left of the door. You would go to the right through the dining room to get to the bathrooms and the back entrance to the bar. I can still visualize it very clearly, even the smells.”

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