THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE OF SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP

If you enjoyed your geography or science classes, you probably know that the Continental Divide of the United States runs down the backbone of the Rocky Mountains.   The streams and rivers on the east side of the Rockies flow into the Atlantic Ocean and those on the west side flow into the Pacific Ocean.

Continental divides are naturally-occurring high spots that delineate how an area is drained of water.  Interestingly enough, Schaumburg Township has its own small continental divide that runs north to south down the middle of most of the township.  The divide and high point runs between Salem and Roselle Roads and is most noticeable driving east on Wise Road near Roselle Road.  You know you’ve reached a high point because it is possible to see the skyscrapers of Chicago from the road.Wise Road 2

Below is a topographical map of part of Schaumburg Township.  This map is part of the greater Palatine quadrangle and was redrawn in 1972.

Topographical map

If you zoom in, you can see that on the east side of the divide the small streams that run through that part of the township drain into Salt Creek and eventually into the Des Plaines River.  These would include the streams that run through Friendship Village, Town Square and along the southern border of the Schaumburg Golf Club.  Yeargin Creek, which runs through the Schaumburg Municipal Center property, also drains into Salt Creek as do the creeks that run through the Spring Valley property.

On the west side of the divide the streams are part of the Poplar Creek system that eventually drains into the Fox River.  You can find these branches of Poplar Creek as they flow through the Hilldale Country Club, the Hoffman Estates Village Hall property, Poplar Creek Country Club and in front of the St. Alexius property that is close to Barrington Road.

There is one exception to this continental divide drainage pattern in Schaumburg Township and that can be found in the southwestern part of the township.  The West Branch of the DuPage River actually begins in Campanelli Park and eventually flows into the Des Plaines River.  It drains south in Schaumburg along Braintree and then east along Syracuse Lane into Hanover Park.  It takes a southerly turn at Anne Fox Park, flows under Irving Park Road and continues along Longmeadow Lane into the Metropolitan Sanitary District Basin and out of the township.  Obviously, the continental divide does not come into play in this part of the township since we have an east-flowing stream on the western side of the township!

If you look at the map below, you can see the head waters of the DuPage River in Campanelli Park and the path that it follows through Schaumburg Township.

Schaumburg Map

Do you remember playing in these creeks as you grew up in Schaumburg Township?  Did any of them flood after big rains?  Or maybe your family had a pet name for the creek behind your house?  Feel free to share your stories about our township’s streams…

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

 

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2 Responses to “THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE OF SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP”

  1. Ed Hardt Says:

    We used to play in the creek as kids. I went to school at Anne Fox and the teachers never wanted us in there. We just called it the creek. I didn’t know it was the west branch of the Des Plains river until the put up a sign in Hanover Park.

  2. Rick Smith Says:

    My back yard is at the intersection of the W branch of the Dupage River and another creek that is getting larger and larger that I am not able to find any information on. It runs through Freedom park in a buried sewer pipe, then , them emerges once it hits private property and then connects to the Du Page by Braintree. Anyone know what this is? It is becoming huge in my back yard and will be taking my garage one of these years. There is a neighbor on Braintree that is going to lose his shed in the Dupage anytime now. The Water Reclamation District could not tell me what the creek is and said they saw no evidence of erosion… hmmmm

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