Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the June 2013 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

Shell StationOver the years since the incorporation of our village in 1959, we’ve grown to become a very special place to live.  The quiet highways have become bustling highways with many stop lights to direct use left, right, straight ahead, stop, go and wait…and wait.  When I moved to Hoffman Estates in 1965, there were not many stop lights. I recall Mr. Rogner, who owned the Shell Gas Station on the northeast corner of Higgins and Roselle Rd, telling of how he could never pull out onto Higgins Rd. from the station because there was only a stop sign for Roselle Rd. and Higgins traffic didn’t stop at all.  As the population grew,  traffic increased.  He said you’d take your life in your hands to try to cross Higgins Rd in the morning and evening rush hours.  Now, these many years later, it is one of the busiest intersections in the area controlled by lights that tell you how to do everything.

If you drove down Roselle Rd. between Algonquin and Golf Rd. back in the 60s, you had not one stop light. But in winter there was always a problem with the slippery hill to climb just south of Hillcrest up to Golf Rd. Salting and plowing wasn’t that great back then.

Higgins Rd is especially beautiful now that we have the median planted with beautiful flowers and trees. The blossoming trees along Higgins Rd. east of Roselle Rd were especially beautiful this spring.  Back in 1851 when it opened, it was known as the Chicago-Dundee Rd. and later in 1904 it was called Dundee Rd., not to be confused with the present day Route 68.

To ease congestion on our local roads, our village has made the streets and highways bike friendly.  That would have been so welcome for us Moms who rode our Schwinn bikes down the narrow dirt paths along Golf, Higgins, Roselle and Algonquin Roads.  There weren’t any sidewalks along the highways then but now we have bike paths and walkways to offer us a wonderful choice…leaving the car at home.  The 10 ft. wide walking and biking path along Higgins Rd from Hoffman Lanes to Plum Grove Rd. was just finished, thanks to grant funding.  18 miles of on-street bicycle signs can be found throughout the village on our residential streets and the bike trails on Higgins Rd. connect with the Poplar Creek Trail at Shoe Factory Rd. that is a 9 mile paved loop through the forest and prairie.Poplar Creek trail

Our village is a very special place to live.  We began as a small village surrounded by farms and corn fields.  We are now one of the few villages that have 4,000 acres of parks and forest preserve within our boundaries. Plans for the future will include more bike & pedestrian trails that will interconnect to Schaumburg’s bike paths and the 7.75 mile paved loop in the Busse Woods.

There are no more two lane highways, no more dirt paths to navigate just busy 4 lane traffic filled roads.  But you can hop on your bike, set off with the stroller or just walk; you have the choice to leave the car at home.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian

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