THE DIVERSE NAMES OF DISTRICT 54 SCHOOLS

When the District 54 school district was created in 1952, the board immediately began the process of consolidating the existing one-room schoolhouses into one brand new school.  As a result, Schaumburg School was built two years later, in 1954, on East Schaumburg Road.  At the time it was assumed this school would suffice for township students for years to come.  That presumption lasted for about a year until F & S Construction came to the area and development began to explode in the future village of Hoffman Estates.

The fast-paced development would continue through 1980, and during that time thirty more schools were built in Schaumburg Township.  This amazing number created the largest elementary district in the state of Illinois.   One of the small, but hardly insignificant details involved in the  building process, was putting a name to each school.  If you take the time to notice, the unique and creative names the schools were given by the school boards, administrations and builders during that time period were truly something special.

Many school districts name a school for a location or by sticking with the tried and true like Lincoln, Jefferson or Washington.  Not District 54.  Most of their names are derived from famous people–either local or national–and the sheer variety is quite interesting to explore.

The name origins for the schools can be divided into 10 broad categories.  Listed below are the categories, the schools and a description of who the school is named for.

  1. LOCATION
    A.  Hanover Highlands School.  Named for the Hanover Highlands subdivision of Hanover Park.
    B.  Hillcrest School.  Has been renamed Lincoln Prairie School but was originally named for Hillcrest Boulevard that the school is on.  Lincoln Prairie is named both for President Abraham Lincoln and the prairie ecosystem that was prevalent in this area before any settlement began.
    C.  Twinbrook School.  Named for the area’s first local telephone exchange that was later considered as a name for the future village of Hoffman Estates.  So named because Hoffman Estates was located between Poplar Creek and Salt Creek.Anne Fox005
  2. LOCAL HISTORY
    A.  Anne Fox School.  Named for an early, much beloved teacher of District 54.  (Her photo is to the right.)
    B.  Adolph Link School.  Named for the gentleman who was a local artist, education advocate and a long-time owner of property close to the school.
    C.  Frederick Nerge.  Named for the German farmer/gentleman who is responsible for giving Schaumburg Township its name in 1850.
    D.  Hoffman School.  Named for Sam Hoffman, president of F & S Construction, the developer of Hoffman Estates.
    E.   Francis Campanelli School.  Named for the father of Alfred Campanelli, developer of the Weathersfield subdivision in Schaumburg.
  3. ILLINOIS HISTORY
    A.  Black Hawk School.  Named for the famous Illinois Sauk Indian chief.
    B.  Jane Addams School.  Named for the American settlement activist/reformer who founded Hull House in Chicago.
    C.  Everett Dirksen School.  Named for the Illinois politician who served in both the US House of Representatives and in the US Senate.
    D.  Adlai E. Stevenson II School.  Named for the Illinois politician who served as both governor and ambassador to the UN.
  4. SCIENTISTS
    A.  Albert Einstein School.  Named for the physicist who developed the general theory of relativity.
    B.  Elizabeth Blackwell School.  Named for the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States and to appear on the UK Medical Register.enders and salk
    C.  Enders-Salk School.  Named for John Franklin Enders who won the Nobel prize for developing in vitro culture of the poliovirus and for Jonas Salk who applied the technique to develop large quantities of the virus and, subsequently, the vaccine to fight the virus.  (Enders is on the left and Salk is on the right in the photo.)
  5. POLITICIANS
    A.  Winston Churchill School.  Named for the Prime Minister of England during World War II.
    B.  Dwight D. Eisenhower School.  Named for the World War II general and president of the United States.
    C.  Herbert Hoover School.  Named for the President of the United States.  (Originally named for J. Edgar Hoover, the long-time director of the FBI, the school’s name was changed in 1994.)
  6. MILITARY
    A.  Douglas MacArthur School.  Named for the World War II general.
    B.  Nathan Hale School.  Named for the Revolutionary War patriot who served as a spy and was later executed by the British.
  7. ASTRONAUTS
    A.  Neil Armstrong School.  Named for the first man to walk on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission.astronauts
    B.  Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin School.  Named for the second man to walk on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission.
    C.  Michael Collins School.  Named for the Command Module pilot of the Apollo 11 mission.
  8. ACTIVISTS
    A.  Thomas Dooley School.  Named for the Navy physician whose humanitarian efforts were prominent in South East Asia.  (In the photo below.)thomas dooley
    B.  Helen Keller School.  Named for the woman rendered deaf and blind as a result of a childhood illness who rose above these disabilities to graduate from college and campaign for women’s suffrage and labor’s rights.
    C.  John Muir School.  Named for the naturalist and early environmentalist whose work to preserve wilderness areas led to the creation of  Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks and organization of the Sierra Club.
    D.  Margaret Mead School.  Named for the American cultural anthropologist who wrote Coming of Age in Samoa.
  9. POETS
    A.  Robert Frost School.  Named for the poet who was a four-time Pulitzer Prize winner and was known for reading his poem, “The Gift Outright” at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy.
  10. OTHER
    A.  Fairview School and Lakeview Schools.  Named by F & S Construction Company, the builder and developer of Hoffman Estates.

What an incredible amount of diversity.  I’m quite sure, after a bit of research, that there is no other school district in the United States that has schools named for the first three astronauts to reach the moon.  Who would have thought that two years after the moon landing, Schaumburg Township’s rampant development would create such a neat opportunity?

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

 

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10 Responses to “THE DIVERSE NAMES OF DISTRICT 54 SCHOOLS”

  1. Jon Guiney Says:

    I have always suspected (maybe assumed) that the two schools in the last “other” category were also related to their locations – Fairview for its view of the fairways of Golden Acres (Schaumburg golf Club), and Lakeview for its view to the lake it was built next to. Therefore, I think they might also fall under the category of “location”.

    • jrozek Says:

      This is a very interesting supposition Jon and I have to wonder if you’re not correct. I can’t find any mention of their name histories in the newspapers but I will try and follow up with a couple of people who might be able to confirm it. Thank you for the suggestion.

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library

    • jrozek Says:

      Hello Jon,

      I ran the Fairview and Lakeview names past the first superintendent of the district as well as one of the first homeowners in Hoffman Estates and neither one of them could confirm that the schools were named for anything in particular. Both of them essentially said that the names sounded like pleasant school names at the time. The superintendent did say that after the naming of Frost, it was decided by the school district that, going forward, all schools would be named for “people of renown.” Obviously they stuck to that philosophy!

      Thank you for your comment and the conversations it started!

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library

  2. Pamela Brotko Says:

    Hoover was originally J Edgar Hoover. Why did they change it?

  3. Marsha Heilbronner Says:

    Hoover School was originally named J. Edgar Hoover School. Many years later it was changed to Herbert Hoover School when many unsavory details about J. Edgar Hoover were made public. I would guess that it was the only school in the US named for J. Edgar Hoover!

  4. Sam Says:

    Pretty much all white people, except for Black Hawk. Diversity!

  5. Edward Says:

    Interesting there is no mention of Hoover once being named “J. Edgar Hoover” School. A bit of revisionist history here?

    • jrozek Says:

      Hello Edward,

      I’m afraid I did not realize or remember a name change had occurred for that school until I read some of the comments–and I thank those who alerted me! I have since changed the blog posting to reflect the change.

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library

  6. Kristin Moreno Antonio Says:

    Hoover Elementary was originally named “J. Edgar Hoover” When did the name change?

  7. Jane Rozek Says:

    Thank you to one of the readers for providing the info on how Lincoln Prairie was named!

    Jane Rozek
    Local History Librarian
    Schaumburg Township District Library

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