Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the November 2010 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

“The long hot summer brought back memories of the 60s and 70s when a hot summer day could bring a smelly problem to my front porch.

Now the possibilities are endless when you realize that we were a neighborhood of young families with lots of kids.  It could have been anything.  Kids in our neighborhood (The Highlands) were known for their practical jokes.  But it wasn’t a problem with the kids; it was a problem with my memory.

In the 60s and 70s we had the luxury of home delivery.  Hoffman Estates was served by a wonderful milkman from Hedlins Dairy.  The milkman was a godsend.  Most of the wives and mothers were home with the kids and the only car we had was off to work with our husband.  It was great to be able to order milk, eggs, sour cream, butter etc. from our milkman.  We knew him by his first name, although I don’t remember it after so many years.

You had to leave your note in your box; everyone was supplied with an insulated box to be kept on the front porch year round.  Most of us had a standing order for milk, but if you didn’t need milk one day you had to leave that note.  If you forgot the note, you had more milk than you could use.  If you forgot to take in the milk, especially on a hot summer day, you had smelly sour milk to clean up and the box never smelled the same after that.  If we forgot our note to “please leave only 1 gallon today” we’d make pudding or give everyone an extra glass of milk before bed that night.

Home Juice would also deliver to our homes.  That was wonderful juice.  Our family didn’t always get juice each week because it was more expensive that the frozen juice we’d stir up in a pitcher.  Of course the juice man could not leave his juice in the milkman’s box.  He would come later in the day not at dawn like the milkman.  He would ring the bell and the juice went right into the fridge.

Another special home delivery service was the Jewel Tea truck.  The “Jewel Man” would stop once a week with many grocery items and a catalog with clothing and home furnishings.  We loved the boxed pizza mixes and the chili wheel supper was another favorite to whip up for dinner.  The noodles were shaped like wagon wheels and the kids loved it.  Grocery shopping for meat was a problem because you couldn’t buy meat after 6 p.m. or on Sundays.  That Jewel truck was very welcome when there was nothing else in the house to eat.

Most of us gave up the milkman as soon as we had an extra car available for shopping during the day.  The other delivery services soon disappeared also.

I must tell you that that milk box was used by the kids for frogs, snakes and anything else they could think of to scare the wits out of you and the milkman.”

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


  1. jrozek Says:

    A local resident recently told me that, not only was dry cleaning delivered at this time, but so were Charles Potato Chips! Does anyone else remember that?

  2. Jon Guiney Says:

    My mother had Charles Chips and Charles Pretzels delivered to out house in the late 60s. If I recall correctly, there was a deposit on the cans, so the driver would pick up the empties when a new delivery was made. The chips came in a large tan can with a brown logo, and the pretzels in a reversed brown can with a tan logo. The cans are now considered collectors items.

  3. Nancy Frank Says:

    I lived in Elgin, Il, when Hoffman Estates wa built. It was a big mystery as the whole property was enclosed im a 10 ft. wall! No one could figure out what was being built. Trucks came and went and then finally someone started cutting holes in the fence so we could peek in! What a surprise to see houses starting up! As things professed, the fence came down and those houses sold so fast. The first school classrooms were in several houses side-by-side. The superintendent of Elgin School became their first Principal and then Superintendent. What a history to see.

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