Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the July 2014 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

There are many interesting locations in the village that you may not be aware of.  Some of them have been written about before, others may not be known to many of you.

The Village of Hoffman Estates is a blend of what’s left of the rural history and what has become our sprawling suburban town.

It’s like a “did you know” list of trivia that everyone seems to enjoy.

Shoe FactorySo, did you know that on the south side of Shoe Factory Rd., about a mile east of Bartlett Rd., you can find a model airplane flying field?  When the weather permits, model airplane enthusiasts will be busy flying their planes, sometimes having races, or just showing off their latest upgrades to the others who will do the same.  It’s open to the public and the owners of the planes always seem happy to answer questions and show you their prized models. As seen from the air the planes look small but once you see them on the ground they’re really quite big.  It’s a great place for everyone in the family, especially the kids.

hoffman estates village hallDid you know that the old village hall that was located on the corner of Gannon and Golf Rd. held a special distinction?  It was the first building in the country to be built and designed for those with handicaps.  The building, that became our second village hall in 1972, was completely accessible to anyone with handicaps.  I believed that it was the first building of its kind in the state but have since learned that it was the first in the nation.  It’s gone now, with an Audi dealership at that location.

SAMSUNGDid you know that the village has won many Governors’ Home Town awards over the years?  The one that really brought the community together was won in 1993 for the work done to renovate our first village hall that was a farmhouse built in the mid 1840s.  Rather than tear the old building down, the village brought together the local trade’s people and other local community organizations to remodel, furnish and paint the old village hall.  It became the Children’s’ Advocacy Center.  Today it still has many of those early tradesmen actively keeping the building in shape.

Sunderlage SmokehouseDid you know that the only building in the village of Hoffman Estates that’s on the National Register of Historic Places is a small smokehouse? It’s believed to have been built in the 1840s.  It’s located behind the Sunderlage Farmhouse that was built in 1856.  The smokehouse was built before the house since preserving food for the family was so necessary.  The large house came later.  It is quite unusual for such a small building to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places but it represented a unique design for such a necessary building.

Lion BridgeDid you know that the Lion Bridge, built in 1906 over Poplar Creek at Rt. 59 and Rt. 58, isn’t on the National Register of Historic Places but is considered an historic bridge by listing historic & notable bridges of the U.S.  It is listed as the Old Sutton Rd. Bridge.  It was built in 1906 by Cook County and Hanover Township.  Much research has been done, but it is not known who designed and built the bridge.  When you are at the intersection of 59 and 58, look at the southeast corner to see this bridge that is still used by horses, bikes and pedestrians.

Please don’t forget to come to our Museum program on Saturday, Sept. 27th from 1 to 2:30 pm.  We’ll celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Village of Hoffman Estates.  Our program is titled “Growing Up in Hoffman Estates or What I Didn’t Tell my Mom”.  Contact me at if you can join a panel of “kids” who will spill everything about growing up in Hoffman Estates.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Historian

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