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

The Northwest Toll Way is 54 years old.  For the early residents of Hoffman Estates, the opening of the Northwest Toll Way on Aug. 20, 1958 was a reason to cheer.  The toll way would make the trip back and forth to the city so much faster than taking Higgins Rd. or Golf Rd.

The construction of the toll way was a boon to developers in the area.  Not only was F & S Construction building homes in the new Hoffman Estates development, but other neighboring towns such as Rolling Meadows and Elk Grove Village were also being built.

The farmland would soon change forever.  A way of life was coming to an end.  From the corn fields would spring the homes and then the commercial development that would provide jobs and a tax base for the new towns and villages.  Over the years, the smell of corn growing in the fields would disappear.

The Werner farm was one of many to be torn down.  It was located at Mudhank just south of Higgins.  It had 12 buildings that included their beautiful 2 ½ story home. The Bierman farm was on the east side of Barrington just north of Higgins. If you get on the toll way at Barrington Rd. heading to the city, you’ll drive right through the old farmstead.  It had 9 buildings, among them the barn, hen house, tool shed and farmhouse.  They all met with the bull dozer as progress on the tollway moved forward.  Other farms included the Williams farm, the Stynaski farm, the Krumfuss  farm and the Plote farm.

A book titled, The Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Farmland Acquisitions for Schaumburg Township  in the reference area of the Schaumburg Township District Library, has photos, plats, appraisals and miscellaneous documents for those farms purchased for the toll way development. It has so much information about the process that took place, but of course nothing about the sorrow of giving up a farm that may have been in the family for several generations.

The farm equipment had to be sold as well as the livestock and miscellaneous items that another farmer might need.  Many of the farmers held auctions.  It wasn’t easy to say good bye. Knowing that your home would be destroyed made the farm families realize that it was truly coming to an end. What was sold didn’t bring much money, not even the land.

Many of the farmers moved further west.  Some continued farming, others moved to a city life in Elgin, Palatine, Dundee or Roselle.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian


  1. Kim Says:

    My dad tells me that he and his friends drag raced at night down the tollway while it was being built. How sad that all evidence of those former farms are gone now.

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