CHICKEN FEED, HEATING OIL AND FERTILIZER–SUPPLYING THE FARMER

What do these two buildings, located near the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads, have in common?  If you’ve been around the area long enough, you would be able to tell me that both were once the home of Lake-Cook Farm Supply.  The one above was the first location.  It was recently given to the village of Schaumburg in exchange for the Turret House on Schaumburg Road.  The building on the right was later erected when the need to expand became apparent.  It is currently the home of the Trickster Gallery.   

Lake-Cook Farm Supply came to the area on August 1, 1938.  This location was the sixth in a local farmer cooperative that was started in Grayslake in 1927 “under the Farm Cooperative Act established in 1923.” (Daily Herald, November 10, 1983)  According to the July 29, 1938 issue of the Cook County Herald, “the new service will offer a full line of feeds, seeds, and fertilizers in addition to petroleum products that the area received during eight years of patrolling by the Farm Supply.”  They were even good enough to hold an introduction to their business at Schnute’s Tavern (the current Lou Malnati’s) in April of 1939.  A movie was shown and a talk given to any interested parties who wished to attend.   

Accounts differ as to who was the first store manager.  According to a July 29, 1938 issue of the Cook County Herald, Ed Bickford was named the manager of the store.  Later accounts mention Ray Tagtmeier.  In any case, one year later, Delbert Bullamore took over the reins and stayed until his retirement in 1979.  He was joined by Ivan Reid in 1959 who also retired in 1979.  Another employee, Bill Pohlman, delivered fuel oil for the early suburban residents of the township.  After Bullamore and Reid’s retirement, the store was managed by Jim Coens or Doug Haas.  Again, accounts differ. 

The Farm Supply first began operation in a large building that was known as Al Botterman’s Garage.  “The building was an old barn where Botterman did auto repair work.  Lake Cook supplied farms with bulk feed, fuel oil and gasoline.”  (Daily Herald, November 10, 1938)  According to LaVonne Presley, “when Lake-Cook Farm Supply took over the building, they used the larger structure for storing chicken feed, oyster shell bags, feed for farm animals, etc. This was confirmed by Marion and Ray Ravagnie and by Viola Straub.”  Later, in 1957, the low building that is shown was built.  LaVonne Presley said “the lower building was used by Lake-Cook Farm Supply as its office, sale of smaller items like chicken water fountains, chicken feeders, medications, milking accessories, etc.”

For years the motto of the Farm Supply was “House of Quality.”  But, by 1968, with the continual loss of steady farming in Schaumburg Township and Cook County in general, the small chain had changed the motto to “Home of Old Farm Friendliness.”  This reflects Ivan Reid’s comment that, “We have a lot of farm people who move to the city and come here, browsing for hours, because they’re homesick.”  

In 1975 the Schaumburg Planning Department approved construction of a large, two-story building to be built on the west side of Roselle Road across from the Buttery.  According to an April 23, 1975 column from the Advisor, “Bullamore called attention to the widening of both Roselle and Schaumburg Roads, which he said is inevitable.  He said the traffic along those roads was already too heavy for the two-lane patterns.”   Built a year later in 1976, the business operated in their new, large space complete with big, wooden ceiling beams and a rustic decor.  By this time, the store had evolved from supplying farmers to supplying suburbanites with lawn and garden equipment and supplies such as seeds, bulbs, nursery stock, tools, fertilizers, lawn spreaders, etc.

The store survived another six years until it was forced to close October 31, 1983 because of declining sales.  Taking its place was Women’s Workout World followed by the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design.  It is now the location of the Trickster Gallery.

Assistance for this posting came from those mentioned as well as Jack Netter of  the Village of Schaumburg.

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