THE ST. BUGGY WHIP LOUNGE

When a small, fledgling group of Catholics from the early homes of Hoffman Estates began searching for a space big enough to hold a service and say confessions, it didn’t take much time.  Tired of driving back and forth from Hoffman Estates to St. Theresa’s in Palatine, they were looking for a spot closer to home.  In rural Schaumburg Township in 1958, meeting space was hard to come by so the organizers turned to one of the few spots big enough–the newly opened Buggy Whip Lounge.   Only it really wasn’t new.

Located in what is today’s Easy Street Pub,  the Buggy Whip opened under the management of a gentleman named Donald Little.   He had recently rented the space from long-time owner Frank Lengl who, for years, ran the establishment as Lengl’s Schaumburg Inn.

An ad from February 6, 1958 in the Daily Herald,  says “The Buggy Whip Lounge.  (Formerly Frank Lengl.)  We are pleased to announce that we are now serving complete dinners.  Luncheons served daily.  Friday Fish Fry.”  For somewhat of a remote establishment, the hours were certainly generous.  They were closed Monday and open Tuesday through Thursday from 4-11, Friday from 4-1 a.m., Saturday from 1 p.m.-2 a.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m.-1 a.m.

Mr. Little was a generous proprietor and frequently allowed various organizations to use the facility for meetings.  Examples were the Lions Club, VFW, Hoffman Estates Homeowners Association and local political groups.  And, of course, the mission church of St. Theresa Catholic Church in Palatine began holding services there on Sunday mornings.  Their first mass was officiated by Father Raymond Sullivan and held in February, 1958 in the main, first floor room of the restaurant.

Every Sunday a group of men would arrive at the Buggy Whip at 6:00 a.m.–four hours after it had closed as a bar–and begin to clear the tables and rearrange the chairs so that the dining room loosely resembled a place of worship.   Drapes made by Mrs. Gene Jeris were hung to cordon off the bar and tables so that the establishment could look a bit more reverential.  With the smell of alcohol and smoke still thick in the air, masses were held in quick succession at 8, 10 and 11.  Then, just as quickly, the tables and chairs were put back in place so that the building was set to reopen as a tavern at 12:30.

Blog reader Dick Clark remembers that he and his friend Skip Seaver, both early Hoffman Estates Parcel A residents, were the altar boys who served the mass. He says they had two qualifications–they both knew the Latin mass and both were available–thanks to their mothers!

By November of 1958, a temporary church that would be later known as St. Hubert’s, was built on Grand Canyon in Hoffman Estates.  There was no longer a need for the dining room facilities of St. Buggy Whip, as it was humorously called.  Although, a couple of weeks later on December 3 at 7 p.m., the first annual men’s corn beef and cabbage dinner was held at the “Buggy Whip Hall.”   Things truly came full circle when Irene Dickelman and John Shedore, the first couple to be married in St. Hubert’s, held their wedding reception at the Buggy Whip Lounge.

The Buggy Whip remained in this location until sometime in late 1963 or early 1964 when Mr. Little moved the tavern to the Weathersfield Commons shopping center at Schaumburg and Springinsguth Road.  In a personal ad in the March 19 paper, Frank Lengl says, “Not responsible for debts of Schaumburg Inn or The Buggy Whip as of March 1.”  This is sure indication that he must have maintained ownership of the Roselle Road property while Mr. Little rented it from him.

While in Weathersfield Commons, it was known as Buggy Whip Package Liquors and The Buggy Whip.  An ad from February 1966 says, “Always the lowest price in package liquors.  Visit our friendly lounge.”

The last mention of the Buggy Whip was in a December 8, 1966 issue of the Hoffman Herald, with a press release stating the Jaycees were having  a meeting there.  Maybe one of the readers of this blog knows what happened to the Buggy Whip?  Or where it was located in Weathersfield Commons?  If you have anything to contribute, please send in your comments!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

6 Responses to “THE ST. BUGGY WHIP LOUNGE”

  1. George McCann Says:

    If I remember correctly it was next to the hardware store,my parents took me there to celebrate my high school graduation and that was in 1983. Not sure how much longer it stayed open.

  2. Ed Barczak Jr. Says:

    I believe the location in Weathersfield Commons was the southeast corner, a few doors away from where the True Value (earlier the original Jewel Food Store) was. Later on the BW became The Saint’s Place.

    • jrozek Says:

      Thank you for providing the exact location of the Weathersfield Commons tavern–and for giving the name of its successor! This is good information I had not come across.

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library

  3. mary hannon Says:

    I am looking for football players that played flag football on the Buggy Whip team with my Father -in Law Bill Hannon . he told me about Jack Larson, George Mansfield, Johnny Walters, Chuck Joiner, And Ward Thompson…If you were on the team, or related to a player, please contact me at Maryjhannon@yahoo.com…Thank You

  4. Don Says:

    In the 1980’s the Jewel store was in the south building of the plaza-where the India house is. There was a hardware store next to Ken’s restaurant, and the Saint’s Place was just south of that. Named after the owners, it was a liquor store and a lounge.

  5. Richard (Dick) Clark Says:

    Hello, my name is Dick (Richard) Clark. Carl (Skip) Seavers and I were the altar boys at “St Buggy Whip” Saloon back in the 1950’s and into the early days of St Huberts. Skip and I both lived in “Parcel A” of Hoffman Estates while growing up. I have NO memory of there ever having been a “portable altar”. There was a fireplace in the “dining room” and the mantle of the fireplace was used as the altar. I also have no memory of an organ of any kind being used. I talked to Skip via email about this just today (June 9th 2018). Neither of us can remember any other altar boys being involved. I was 14 in 1958 and Skip was 13 so both of our memories are now 60 years old, so anything is possible! I also didn’t remember 3 masses? Fr. Sullivan was an elderly man in 58′ and had false teeth. Just before communion, he’d remove his teeth and put them up on the “altar” til communion was over. The “altar”/fireplace also backed up onto the men’s restroom. Between the smell of stale beer and the restroom, it was a real assault on the senses so early on a Sunday morning! Today, 60 years later, Skip is retired, living in Nebraska. I spent most of my working life in Southern California and am now retired, living in Rosarito Beach, Baja, Mexico since 2000. When I tell my friends, mostly retired military officers, about having been an altar boy in a saloon called the “Buggy Whip”, few if ANY can believe it…..not so much the “saloon” part but just ME in general!

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