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

The police station on Gannon Drive sits empty.  What the future holds for the building in not known but   I can tell you about its past.  The now vacant police station had been our second village hall and police department.  It was necessary to build due to the fact that our first village hall was a 100 year old farm house.  The old Gieske/Hammerstein farm house was donated to our newly incorporated village in 1959 by the Hoffman Estates Homeowners Association.  It served the community for twelve years housing the village hall, police department as well as the public works garage. 

It was as early as March of 1968 that the Independent Citizens’ committee recommended a civic complex for the village to be built on the site of the old village hall on Illinois Blvd.  More than two years later the final decision was made to purchase the 6.69 acre of land on Golf Rd. just east of Fairmont Ave. Voters went to the polls on December 12, 1970 and approved the sale of bonds to build the new police and municipal building.  Work would begin in the spring of 1971.   

Architect Andrew McPherson, who moved to the Highlands in 1962, shared his story of the construction of the new village hall & police department.  Mr. McPherson, of Otis & Associates, Inc. was the architect in charge of the new building project.  Alan Construction was the general contractor. Work began in the spring of 1971.  The foundation was in the process of being poured in June and by the end of July the walls were beginning to rise. Throughout the summer, the work continued with a completion date of early summer 1972 in mind.  Mr. McPherson talked about some of the details of the building.  Solid one piece limestone slabs were used for the window sills and American elm, being a native tree from our area, was used for all the interior trim.  Otis & Associates, Inc. worked closely with village officials to construct the first public building in Illinois that included total planning for the handicapped. Plans also included future expansion to the west if that became necessary. The final cost of the building minus furnishings and landscaping came to $751,187. 

The new 31,000 square-foot building was dedicated on June 25, 1972 by Mayor Fred Downey, Senator Charles Percy and Representative Phillip Crane. Trustee Bruce Lind headed the village committee that supervised the construction. In 1992, when the Safeco Building became the third village hall, the police department took over the Gannon Rd. facility.  Following the death of Trustee Bruce Lind in December of 1991, the village board named the police department building the Bruce C. Lind Complex.

Otis & Associates, Inc. with Andrew McPherson as architect in charge, went on to build the Black Hawk Recreation Center, (now the Triphahn Center) Willow Recreation Center on Algonquin Rd., the Westbury Fire Station, the Mazda Dealership on Higgins Rd. and the Northern Illinois University building on Beverly Rd.  As Mr. McPherson shared his stories of Otis & Associates and the role they played in developing the area, I was very surprised to learn that they had built the Zurich Towers in Schaumburg.  As historian for the village, I had never known that our beautiful village hall and police department on Gannon Dr. and the beautiful Zurich Towers in Schaumburg were built by the same firm and architect, Otis & Associates, Inc. and Andrew McPherson. 

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian

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