Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the April 2011 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

I’ve been reading the reports, minutes and publicity releases that Howard Turpin’s wife gave me several years ago.  Howard served as publicity chairman for the Hoffman Estates Homeowners Association during the formative years of our young community.  He was also instrumental in bringing the Lion’s Club to Hoffman Estates. 

Howard kept his papers in a zippered three ring binder of leather that had his name embossed at the top.  The three rings are rusty and the stitching is coming apart.  The inside is certainly showing its age.    I’ve been very careful in handling the yellowed pages that tell a story of early plans, decisions and disagreements of the members of the 1959 HEHA. Here’s some of what I found.

A meeting was held on February 1, 1959 with officers Mr. Johnson, Mr. Gluck, Mr. Schumacher and Mrs. Steffen.  District representatives Mr. Arrington, Mrs. Gerker, Mr. Keshen, Mr. Turpin, Mr. Cripe, Mr. Occhuito, Mr. Fast, Mr. Baustian, Mr. Neal and Mr. Friedman also attended.  They met in the Hammerstein Farm’s caretaker’s house.

The purpose of the meeting was to report back on the possibility of Schaumburg Center annexing Hoffman Estates.   The request for annexation had been put before the Schaumburg Center representatives by Hoffman Estates individuals Mr.  Beaulieu, Mr. David and Mr. Morrissey at a special meeting held at Mr. Redekers home on Jan 28, 1959.  Those present for Schaumburg were Mr. Frank, Mr. Meineke, Mr. Mueller, Mr. Wiley, Mr. Winkelhake and Mr. Redeker.  Schaumburg voted no to the request for annexation of Hoffman Estates to Schaumburg. The incorporation question would continue to divide the community.

Howard’s old papers included the letters that were sent to Hoffman Estates resident’s encouraging them to vote no to incorporation and the “Incorporation News Special” published by the Organization for Municipal government that stated reasons for voting yes to incorporation.  Everyone seemed to have an opinion on why residents should vote yes or no.  Those against incorporation were fearful of the high taxes it would bring to Hoffman Estates residents.  A faded pink copy of a flyer that read “Vote No! Crying Won’t Pay Your High Taxes” was in amongst Howard’s correspondence and minutes of the HEHA.

Arguments for incorporation included having their own police and fire protection.  A quote from the “Incorporation News Special” stated that “we have no enforceable traffic ordinances in Hoffman, except on Roselle Rd (a County road) and Golf and Higgins Rd (State-aid roads).  The 20 mile per hour signs throughout our community were erected by the Homeowners Association and are completely unenforceable. Consequently, many of our ladies have found it necessary to place barriers in the streets to protect their children from speedsters.”

Another major concern was street maintenance.  The streets that F & S were constructing could not be turned over to Schaumburg Township for plowing and maintenance for two years after they were built. That left a lot of streets in different areas of development unplowed in the winter and not maintained until reaching the 2 year mark. There was so much to be concerned about and incorporation would solve so many of the problems.  The benefits of self government were the goal of many early resident of Hoffman Estates.  A previous vote for incorporation had failed and another was planned.  Parcel A residents were against the plan and parcel B & C had other ideas of becoming part of Schaumburg. 

Reading through Howard Turpin’s papers, some held together with rusty staples or small pieces of tape, revealed plans for a Hoffman Estates Library to be built in the basement of the caretaker’s house on the Hammerstein farm property.  Blueprints were found showing details for the new library. I also found the minutes of a meeting on January 29, 1959 that discussed the possibility of starting a Park District.  Could this be done if the community wasn’t incorporated?  The question wasn’t answered that night. 

Looking through the yellowed pages of minutes and press releases made me realize how hard it was for a new community to make the right decisions and to plan for the future.  The third incorporation vote on September 23, 1959 finally had enough yes votes to send us into the future that Howard Turpin and the other early leaders in the Hoffman Estates Home Owners Association looked forward too.  I’m glad we had people like Howard and thankful that his family donated his papers to the Village Historian.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian

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