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

The first residents of Hoffman Estates had the usual problems that come with moving to a newly developed community.  They dealt with the muddy streets, problems with minor construction flaws and delays in getting things done.

They didn’t have any governing body to turn to.  Everyone realized that they needed to help themselves to organize and manage their community.  In April, 1956 the residents received a letter addressed to: “Dear Neighbor”.  The letter invited all the residents to a meeting to be held at the Rainbow Inn.  Everyone was to be there for the start of the meeting at 8:30 p.m.  “Put a circle around this date on your calendar, Wednesday, May 2.”

That night they had the first opportunity to read the Constitution and By Laws for the proposed Hoffman Estates Homeowners Association.  Earlier that year the newly built homes of Parcel A were sectioned off into districts and everyone was asked to pay dues of $2 per year.  There were 8 districts that were further divided into blocks.  Only those who’d paid their dues would be able to vote for their district representatives.  The men who wrote the first Constitution and By-Laws were Mark Dick, Don Openheimer and Fred Hill.  In time there would be changes and amendments to this first document but it was the beginning of the community’s commitment to self- government.

The newly elected officials would be; President, Harry Martin, Vice President Robert Smuda, Secretary Mark Dick and Treasurer, Betty Johnson.  The Hoffman Estates Home Owners Association formed the following committees; Legal, Civic Affairs, Membership, Ways & Means, Public Safety & Health, Public Relations, School Affairs and Community Center Management and Planning.

F & S Construction had turned over the Hammerstein Farm to the Home Owners Association and now they had the responsibility of maintaining the barns and house.  The community was excited to plan for a new kindergarten in the barn as well as space for dances and special activities during the holidays.

At their meeting on October 5, 1956 they had a balance of $528 to work with and volunteers were needed for organizing a Civil Defense team.  Table and chairs were needed for the barn and playground equipment for the school.  A dance was being planned and the profits would help with the playground equipment.  Hoffman Estates was moving ahead with plans for its community.

On October 24, 1956 the Hoffman Estates Homeowners Association said “we represent approximately 600 families at present and will according to the first plans, eventually be the speaking voice for at least 1500 homes.  In spite of the fact that we are still in the early formative stages, this association is laying the foundation for future incorporation of the area.”

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian

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