A PLANE CRASH IN HOFFMAN ESTATES

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the January 2015 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

plane crash

It’s been more than 50 years since that terrible plane crash occurred on March 8, 1964.  The plane crashed into the Golubski home, 112 Arlington St., just before midnight.  The chartered DC-3 two engine plane was returning from a skiing trip to the Boyne mountain area, Pellston, Michigan when the plane came down in the residential area of Hoffman Estates.  It was trying to land at O’Hare airport.

There were 28 skiers, members of the Snow Drifters Club of Aurora, and a crew of two on the plane when it crashed into the Golubski house.  It took two hours before the fire department could reach the pilot and co-pilot and free them from the cockpit that was buried in the garage of the home. Unfortunately, the co-pilot died in the crash.   The passengers were able to quickly leave the plane with just cuts and bruises. Ambulances were sent from Chicago to help take the injured passengers to Northwest Community Hospital for treatment.

Fire Chief Carl Selke said that pilot, Virgil Provonost, told him during the rescue that they “hit some turbulence and we were unable to lift up.  We were able to turn off the engines before hitting.” As the plane came down, it clipped a pole bringing down the wires and setting off the fire alarm at the nearby school.  Fire trucks arrived quickly.  They were concerned that the fuel in the plane would be ignited.  Several of the men disconnected the wiring to the batteries to prevent a spark that could set everything ablaze.  Firemen from Elk Grove, Bloomingdale and Hoffman Estates took part in the rescue.   (The photo below is Parcel A in mid-construction.  Arlington Street is in Parcel B.) 1871

There have been many stories about how the plane crashed.  One story tells of how the pilot mistook the lights on the street as the O’Hara runway.  I’ve heard this story many times.  But the pilot is never quoted as saying this.  Since there were no lights along the highways or on the streets of Hoffman Estates at that time, I never understood how street lights could confuse the pilot.

Ken Rogner, who had the Shell gas station on the corner of Roselle and Higgins told me he was one of the first to arrive at the crash scene.  Because he had a thin build, he was asked to try and work his way into the cockpit to rescue the crew.  Many of the neighbors also came to offer help but where warned to stay back because of the threat of fire.

Miraculously the five members of the Golubski family were unharmed but in shock at how close they came to serious injury or even death due to the plane crash that seriously damaged their home.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian
Eagle2064@comcast.net

Airplane photo compliments of the Village of Hoffman Estates’ website.

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9 Responses to “A PLANE CRASH IN HOFFMAN ESTATES”

  1. Larry Rowan Says:

    The site of the plane crash was actually in Parcel “B”, not Parcel “A”. The plane came down about 150 feet from the (now) Schaumburg Golf Club.

    • jrozek Says:

      Hello Larry,

      There were actually two plane crashes in the area. There is the one Pat is referring to that happened in 1964 and the one you are referring to that happened in 1981. The latter is actually on my list of things to write about. Thanks for the nudge…

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library

      • Larry Rowan Says:

        Well, I do have more to learn regarding two crashes, however, Arlington Street only exists in Parcel “B”. Parcel “B” is the area South of Higgins Rd, East of Roselle Rd. There is no Arlington Street in Parcel “A”. Parcel “A” is the first area to be developed and it is situated between Golf and Higgins, East of Roselle Road. And, I believe the house numbers were all changed sometime after the crash. There is no 112 Arlington Street today.

      • jrozek Says:

        Hello Larry,

        You are correct, it is Parcel B. These are photos that I added to Pat’s story and the subdivision designation was mine. Thank you for pointing this out–as did Pat! I have made the correction.

        Jane Rozek
        Local History Librarian
        Schaumburg Township District Library

  2. Eileen T Pierre Says:

    interesting story

  3. Jim Jurewicz Says:

    Jane,

    My parents bought me to the crash site and I remember all the mud and viewing the airplane from the tail end. Our family moved to Hoffman a Estates in 1961. I was just over 3 1/2 at the time of the accident. It’s hard to believe that I can remember the crash at such a young age. Ironically, I am an aircraft maintenance manager for American.

    • jrozek Says:

      Jim,

      You’re right, 3 1/2 is awfully small to be able to recall memories but it must have been a shock to your young brain to see an airplane sticking out of a house in the town you lived in. It’s difficult to believe even today that it happened. Just a few years earlier and the crash would have occurred in a farm field.

      Thank you for your response. It’s always interesting to hear an eyewitness point of view!

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library

  4. Dana Fisher Says:

    I remember this plane crash too. I was 10 yrs old at the time.

    People came from miles around to see the crash site, and there was a general feeling that the event helped put Hoffman Estates on the map.

    One theory of the crash was that the tail wheel of the DC-3, which hangs down permanently and never retracts, miraculously caught some high-tension wires behind the Golubski home, which slowed the plane dramatically, almost like an aircraft carrier landing, before it slid into the garage of the house. That may be why there weren’t more injuries or fatalities or a fire.

    Can anyone confirm those theories? Or point to an official accident report?

  5. Michele Fritz Says:

    My mom was on that plane. I was only three at the time but she has told me the story several times.

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