A TALE OF TWO GAS STATIONS (Part 2)

Last week it was stated:  It was the best of times for two small gas stations that sat at the crossroads of Higgins and Golf Road in Schaumburg Township.  And the worst of times never happened because both owners did not leave until they retired.  Their stations survived at the junction of these two major roads in Schaumburg Township for over 30 years.  They were Kosnik’s Service Station and the Sunderlage Service Station.   And because of their close proximity, the two station owners were obviously competitors but they were also good friends.  

This week we are telling the tale of the Sunderlage Service Station which was located on the north side of Evanston-Elgin (Golf) Road, just east of the intersection of Higgins and Evanston-Elgin Roads.  It is denoted as the red square on this map.  (The Kosnik Service Station is denoted by the blue box on the map below.)

Service Stations

 

The Sunderlage Service Station was begun in 1932, four years after the Kosnik Service Station.  It was located on the north side of the intersection of Evanston-Elgin and Higgins Roads.  The owners were Edward and Amanda (Gieseke) Sunderlage who married in 1903.

Seven years later, in 1910, the Sunderlages purchased what is today the Vogelei property from Amanda’s father, Friedrick Gieseke Jr.  They took up residence in the small frame home that was on the property and, in 1916, they built the large two-story house that still resides at this location.

Searching for a way to gain some income during the Depression, Edward decided to start a service station on a corner of his property in 1932.  He and his sons, Edmund, Erwin and Marvin moved an old kitchen to the site.  It had been part of the original house that Edward and Amanda lived in and were now using as a tool shed.

They then proceeded to construct a house adjacent to the gas station.  It was built mostly from the lumber of an old barbershop in Palatine and had no indoor plumbing.  Edward’s son and daughter-in-law, Erwin and Ella Sunderlage, along with their children, then moved into the house. Ella managed the service station while Erwin worked as part of a PWA construction crew building local highways. Their third child was born in the house.

Ella added to her income by making and selling slices of pie and coffee to the Depression PWA workers working on the highway. The pie operation was so profitable that it was moved to the basement of her in-law’s home.

In September 1936, her father-in-law, Edward, suffered a back injury and was unable to continue farming.  It was decided that the two families would switch places.  Erwin, Ella and their three children moved to the farm and Edward and Amanda moved to the gas station.  (The farm was later sold in 1941 to Chester and Esther Christiansen who sold it to Ida Vogelei in 1952.)

Edward and Amanda Sunderlage operated the gas station for the next 27 years, eventually becoming Sinclair dealers.  According to the 1959 telephone directory, the station offered Sinclair products, lubrications and accessories.  They honored credit cards and were open daily, including Sundays and holidays, until 10:00 p.m.

1659a

 

During these years indoor plumbing and a porch were added. A separate two-car garage was built near the back, trees were planted and large stones were placed to delineate the grass areas from the gravel driveways.  It was also during this time, that the service station served as a pickup spot for milk for the local farmers. They would gather at the station while waiting for the milk truck to arrive and share the latest gossip and news.

Edward and Amanda retired in 1965 and sold the service station to developers. The two-car garage was dismantled by Edmund and his sons and rebuilt on their farm near Hampshire, IL. The remaining buildings were torn down.  Only the Vogelei House and Barn remain on the original Gieseke/Sunderlage property.

Thus ends the Tale of the Two Gas Stations.  If you have any memories of the Sunderlage Service Station, please do share them with us.  We’d be happy to hear your stories!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

Many of the details written here and the photo of the gas station were graciously provided by the Sunderlage family.  My thanks to them for sharing their family’s history.  

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