JACK HOFFMAN: DEVELOPER OF HOFFMAN ESTATES

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the August 2012 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

Last week I wrote a piece on Louis Menke, the first major builder of early Schaumburg Township.   As it sometimes serendipitously happens, Pat wrote her August column on Jack Hoffman of F and S Construction Co. who built early Hoffman Estates.  I think you’ll see he, like Menke, was definitely a busy man.       

Jack Hoffman was the developer of Hoffman Estates.  He gave his name to the town he built.  Although he and his dad Sam built their first homes in Phoenix to provide homes for the returning GIs, he was always proud of the village that bore his name.

Recently a story in the Neighbor section of the Daily Herald dated 6/26/12 told of the generous gift made by Jack’s daughter Robbie and her husband Scott, to the Jewish Community Center’s “Jews in Blues” program at the Great Lakes Recruit Training Center in honor of her dad’s memory.

Jack’s Russian born parents, Sam and Anna Hoffman, escaped religious persecution and fled to the United States.  Jack knew firsthand how precious freedom was and joined the Navy in World War II.  He trained at Great Lakes and served as a signalman on Navy oil tankers and learned some German along the way. Being Jewish, from time to time throughout his life he experienced discrimination.  He grew up in Chicago but moved to Phoenix where he and his father Sam built affordable housing for the returning GIs.  Their construction company was F & S Construction Company and later it became Hoffman Rosner and then Hoffman Homes.

He didn’t just build homes in Hoffman Estates, he built a community. As part of his planned community he built Hoffman Plaza and Golf Center shopping areas, the Thunderbird Movie Theater (now Royal Buffet) the Hoffman Bowling Alley, the Medco office complex and adjacent apartment buildings. As the homes were completed in parcel A, B, C, D, the Highlands and Highlands West so were the schools.  Twinbrook, Fairview, Hoffman, Blackhawk, Lakeview, Hillcrest and Churchill were built by Jack Hoffman with donated land and materials that totaled $1,246,000.  The Hammerstein Farm property was also donated to the Hoffman Estates Homeowners Association and the farm house became our first village hall and police department when we incorporated in September, 1959.

In the Chicagoland area Hoffman Rosner/Hoffman Homes built the communities of Butterfield, Lincoln Hill, Foxcroft in DuPage county and Southdale in southern Cook County as well as Churchill in Schaumburg. They built homes in Salt Lake City, Cleveland and Denver.

A testimonial dinner was given by the City of Hope on February 12, 1966 to award the Torch Of Hope to Jack Hoffman “fund raiser extraordinaire” for his contributions to help research in catastrophic diseases such as cancer and leukemia.  Jack was a compassionate and generous man.

The memorial donation made by Robbie and Scott Schreiber to the Great Lakes Recruit Training Center will ensure that the JCC programs will continue to provide kits “which contain prayer books, ritual objects, music and meditations that recruits can use once they’re deployed to maintain connections to Jewish practice”.  Also “JCC will provide weekly Shabbat programming, holiday services and the opportunities for Jewish learning and exploration.”  What a fitting memorial for the father of our village.

Jack Hoffman passed away in December of 2008.  I was just getting to know him and had so many questions to ask him, just as a historian should.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian
Eagle2064@comcast.net

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2 Responses to “JACK HOFFMAN: DEVELOPER OF HOFFMAN ESTATES”

  1. nenamatahari Says:

    Reblogged this on Breaking Out of the Box and commented:
    I never knew this about my home town! This is awesome.

  2. Steven Turner Says:

    As a high schooler and college kid I worked for Jack Hoffman in the 1960s when it was known as F&S Construction and then Hoffman Rosner Corp. I wanted to be an Architect or Engineer. Working for F&S and DUCO Engineering was a great encouragement to me. I’ve spent my whole life in construction and owe a good part of my life success to those years working with and around so many fine people.

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