Fred Volkening spent much of his long life in Schaumburg Township.  He was born on September 24, 1899, came to the area in 1903 at the age of 3 and died on March 21, 1993 at the age of 94.  Almost 20 years before he died he was interviewed by Stirling Morita, a reporter for the Daily Herald.   The article ran on April 25, 1974 and was titled, “Memories of Schaumburg Centre.”

The article gave interesting insight into the early days of the 1900s in Schaumburg Township.  With permission from the Daily Herald, I am reprinting it here along with some explanations and clarifications:

“Fred Volkening has lived in Schaumburg 71 years, and the mention of Schaumburg Centre brought back memories.  Schaumburg Centre, split by Roselle and Schaumburg Roads, once was the social and business hub for the farming community of Schaumburg Township.

Volkening recalled the days of helping to build the first paved road in the township–Roselle Road–and cutting ice on a pond in 20-degree-below-zero weather.   He came to the area in 1903 at the age of three.

Some of the buildings still stand, although many have been torn down.  Volkening remembered the way they once were.

Schaumrose InnThe building housing the Schaumrose Inn on the southeast corner of the intersection was once a hardware store, a soft-drink place, a store with pool table and other machines and later a tavern.  [This is currently Lou Malnati’s.  In the ca. 1913 series of postcards that can be found on the Local History Digital Archive, there is a photo of the building in its incarnation as a Hardware Store.  In the 1940s, it was owned by Herman Schnute and known as both Schnute’s Tavern and Schnute’s Hall. George and Julia Niemann were the next owners and they renamed it Niemann’s Tavern. They later sold it to Hugo Gerschefske. His sons in law, Victor Binneboese and Wayne Nebel, operated the business and renamed it the Schaumrose Inn.  Lou Malnati’s bought it in 1985 and its popularity is obvious in its continued longevity.]

Across the street on the northeast corner, a bank was constructed in the late 1920’s.  The building now houses the Hoffman Estates Realty Co.  [Mr. Volkening was a bit off on the construction of the bank.  The Farmers State Bank of Schaumburg opened on the northeast corner of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads in 1910.  Herman Fenz was its first president.  Bank

When Schaumburg State Bank (no relation to its modern-day namesake) went out of business, Herman Hattendorf moved his grocery store from down the street to the corner site.  [At some point the bank changed its name to Schaumburg State Bank.  It closed in 1933 as a result of the Great Depression and it wasn’t until March 1, 1940 that Herman and Clara Hattendorf moved their store into the bank building.  It is unknown if the bank sat vacant the entire time.]

On the southwest corner was a combination general store, saloon and dance hall owned by John Fenze [sic.]  “The store had everything–women’s clothing, food, everything.”  The store also served as a post office.  The area had been in various postal rural routes over the years–Elgin, Palatine and Roselle.  [The store began as Schaumburg House and opened in 1858 with Heinrich Rohlwing as the owner.  After his untimely death, his wife Mina maintained the store until it burned down in 1881.  Sometime later, Caroline, the daughter of Heinrich and Mina, rebuilt the store with her husband John Fenz.  They continued to use the name Schaumburg House and eventually changed that to J. Fenz & Son as mentioned in an ad from a 1907 issue of the Daily Herald.  This store lasted until September 17, 1924 when it burned down once again.] Fenz store

Mrs. Volkening fondly recalled the box social dances held on the second floor of the store.  Volkening said the second floor was used for almost everything, adding that he registered for the Army there in 1918.  Once a week a dentist stopped at the store to pull teeth.   [It was, indeed, a multi-use store, with voting and paying taxes also taking place on the second floor.]

Fenze [sic] owned a warehouse on the northwest corner, where farm machinery was sold.  [There are a number of ads in early editions of the Daily Herald where John Fenz & Son advertise various farm implements such as plows, rakes and potato planters.] 

The general store burned down, and Volkening was one of the men who attempted to extinguish the blaze.  The warehouse was leveled later, and both lots remained empty.  Then an Ace Hardware store sprouted where the general store had been.  [The Ace Hardware was built around 1954 by Schaumburg’s first mayor, Louis Redeker.  It was there until 1996 when the village bought the property to create the second version of Town Square.”]

Look for Part 2 on May 19…

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


  1. Kim Says:

    I remember when I moved to Schaumburg in 1966 there was an old barn or building just south of the Ace Hardware that was pretty old and was leaning during the late 60’s/early 70’s. I vaguely remember the field/swampy area behind it before they began building the Town Square shopping area. Does anyone remember a tavern in the woods on the north side of Schaumburg Rd between Roselle and Blackhawks School? As students we were always warned to stay on school grounds and out of the woods.

    • jrozek Says:

      Hello Kim,

      There was indeed a tavern in the woods at that location. The foundation still exists in the woods that border Schaumburg Road on the Friendship Village property. It was originally called Herman-In-The-Woods and was owned for a long time by Herman and Julia Somogie. They later sold it to Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Schnell who renamed it the Topside Inn.

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian

  2. Diana Dobrovolny Says:

    I moved to Weathersfield in 1959 just as the population boom was starting. We were the 4th to move into the new development and there were about 350 people in Schaumburg. We knew the Volkenings. I would ride my bike to their farm and they would deliver eggs to our door. The intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Rd was “downtown” for us, however we were gaining more activity at the shopping center at Schaumburg and Springinsguth when it was built. Growing up we were told that Al Capone had enjoyed relaxing at some of the Schaumburg inns as he could have privacy and quiet. Not sure if fact or fiction.

    • jrozek Says:

      Thank you for the nice additions about the Volkening siblings. Their ranch house still exists at the NW corner of Schaumburg Road and Salem Drive. It certainly makes sense that they would raise chickens and sell eggs, given their farming background. Did you know Carrie Volkening lived to be 105 and her brother, Fred, lived to be 94? Great genetics!

      I have heard some Al Capone stories but have never had any confirmation on them. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could?

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library

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