THE CHARLES A. LINDBERGH SCHOOL ON SHOE FACTORY ROAD

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the October 2007 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

There’s been much written about the old school house on Shoe Factory Rd.  It’s known as the Charles A. Lindbergh School, named after the famous aviator who crossed the Atlantic Ocean in May of 1927.  According to an 1861 map, a school was located at or near the site of the present Lindbergh School.  The farming community set up a school district as early as March of 1842.  The district was district #41.

The first school built on the site was a typical frame building that burned.  The second school the “little brick schoolhouse” as it was called was built by the Helberg family who owned the land and farmed to the west and north of the school.  This one also burned on Monday, Jan., 28, 1929.

The students had to attend school in a garage owned by John Tredup until a new school was completed. Roy J. Miller, a former student, remembered that “his father, along with two other farmers Albert Helberg and Dietrich Garrelts, immediately began construction on the new building just a bit east of the old one.”  The walls “look like a kind of flagstone.  They laid out the walls on concrete forms, positioned the decorative stone, then let them dry.  The school was built by some outside contractor, who used a crane to tip the walls into place.”  It was hoped that this school would never burn.

Roy also remembered how the inside of the school was laid out.  “The blackboards were on the northwest wall.  Under one of the two towers like points of the roof was the library.  The staircase to the basement and furnace room were under the east tower.”

The school was also the center of social life for the farm families.  It was the only structure in the area to provide a meeting place for social gatherings. The families started the Lindbergh School Club.  The game of bunko was played at social gatherings that took place each month.  Christmas pageants and spring picnics were held at the school.  A small lake behind the school was a favorite for fishing and in the winter many of the children brought their ice skates and could go skating during recess.

Many of the students who attended LindberghSchool now live in the Elgin area and they remembered there teacher Miss Anne Fox as being very special and loved by all the children.  Miss Mosley was the teacher who came to the school once a week to teach them music.  When there was work to be done on the farms, the children wouldn’t go to school.  Some of the children never finished all 8 years but went long enough to learn how to read and write and do simple math.  By the late 1940’s the area was consolidated into Elgin Area Unit 46 and the school was closed.  Miss Anne Fox continued teaching in District 54 and was honored by having a Hanover Park school named for her.

After many years of indecision regarding the old school it seems as if it still struggles to survive.  There is only one other building like it in the area and possibly in the state.  The other school building, identical to LindberghSchool, was called Nelson Park School in Batavia.  That old school has been beautifully restored into a residence.

Our Charles A. Lindbergh School in HanoverTownship is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and has been recognized as such by the Illinois Historical Preservation Agency in Springfield.

Many thanks to John Russell Ghrist.  Much of this information came from his research and book titled “Rural Schoolhouse Faces Possible Destruction, A Special Report” printed March 3, 1996.

Pat Barch
Hoffman   EstatesVillage Historian
Eagle2064@comcast.net

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2 Responses to “THE CHARLES A. LINDBERGH SCHOOL ON SHOE FACTORY ROAD”

  1. Betsy Armistead Says:

    It was my understanding that this school had been demolished – despite the efforts of many to save it.

    • jrozek Says:

      You are absolutely correct. It was torn down in September 2007, a month before this column went to print in the Hoffman Estates Citizen. We are going to be running some of Pat Barch’s older columns that predate this blog in an effort to get the history of the township out there. Thank you for helping to update the column!

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian

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