As mentioned in a blog posting from August 28, 2016, the Schaumburg Township Historical Society received a phone call from the Arnold family last fall.   They had a collection of photos of Schaumburg that Mrs. Arnold took in the early 1970s.  The pictures had sat in a drawer for the past forty years and they were hoping to pass them on to someone who might be interested.  The Historical Society gladly accepted the photos and then kindly donated them to the library to add to our Local History Collection.

The story of these photos begins in 1971 when the Arnold family moved to Schaumburg from southern California.  They were surprised at the amount of open space in Schaumburg Township still occupied by farm fields and undeveloped acreage.  Mrs. Arnold said, “We were amazed at all the open field but knew that wouldn’t last long.  I decided to take pictures of the ‘before’ of Schaumburg.”  She then began to drive the roads of Schaumburg, taking photos of various buildings and intersections.  This is some of what they saw…


Taken from Schaumburg Road between Walnut and Barrington Road.

This is one of the McNaught-Odlum farms.

The property was part of the Gertrude and Norris McNaught farm that was called Rolling Acres.  It was purchased from William Schuneman in 1937 by Gertrude and her husband Norris, who co-founded Duro Metal Products in 1916.  Mr. McNaught died in 1942 and his widow later married his business partner, William Odlum.   It  became known as the Odlum property and was eventually sold for development in 1986.

This portion of the farm was on the southeast corner of Barrington and Schaumburg Road.  The family farm of Ruth (Volkening) Clapper was to the east of this acreage.  According to Mrs. Clapper this portion was leased “from the McNaughts during the war [by the Navy] and had a pilot training area with small shed type buildings on the property.  The sheds on the navy property were about 20 x 20 ft. and used for residences for the men working on the property… The buildings were quickly built with no inner walls so they were cold in the winter and hot in the summer. We used that Navy building for storage and, in the summer, part was my playhouse for my dolls and all their furniture including a child size kitchen.”

You can read about the Navy’s use of the property for pilot touch and go training here.

Mrs. Clapper said “the barn had a residence over the right extension of the barn. Two families lived on the farm – one in the house and one above that portion of the barn.”


Schaumburg Road between Walnut and Barrington Road

This is a better vantage point of the farm and it is possible to note that the lane off of Schaumburg Road separates the barn from the house.  In fact, there seems to be quite a distance between the two.  It is also interesting how many trees and evergreens surround the house, providing shade and a wind break.  What appears to be missing–or obstructed from view–are the many outbuildings that can be found on a farm, i.e. the machine shed, a chicken house, equipment shed, etc.  Maybe they are tucked in amongst the trees or over the rise of the hill?

McNaught-Odlum farm on Barrington Road

The other McNaught-Odlum farm is in the distance with its big white barns and silos.  The acreage of this farm was substantial and the farm place itself was near the northwest corner of the intersection of Schaumburg and Barrington Roads.



Looking southwest from the intersection of Schaumburg and Walnut Lane.

 The brown building on the corner is Christ the King Lutheran Church (then Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, now Salem Korean United Methodist Church) which was built around 1971.  According to Mrs. Clapper, the church was initially intended to be an outreach center for St. Peter Lutheran Church.  In the middle background are some of the buildings of the farm belonging to Mrs. Clapper’s parents, Herman and Edna (Greve) Volkening.  You can see the large barn with the silos to the right.  The white building to the left is the corn crib.

The Volkenings sold the corner to the church and according to Mrs. Clapper, “the parsonage is my family home since my parents had it moved there so it would not be demolished. They were one of the last to sell their land.  The church was built without a parsonage and Pastor Borhardt (sic) rented a house in Weathersfield until my parents sold their farm and moved the house.”

In the far background are the Hanover Highlands homes.


Schaumburg Road and Pleasant Drive looking northeast.

As we look northeast, we can see the back of the strip mall that was on the NW corner of the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads.  This strip mall–that was never named–was built  around 1966 and remained on the corner until 2010 when the village bought the property for development purposes.  The property is now the home of Pleasant Square–a residential development that includes row houses, townhouses and single family homes.


Town Square sign at the intersection with Schaumburg Road.

The Town Square sign on Schaumburg Road at Pleasant Lane notes the turnoff for the shopping center that opened in 1970.  The homes of Timbercrest are in the background.


Looking across Schaumburg Road near Branchwood Drive at the property that became Friendship Village.

In July 1972 the Village of Schaumburg and Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center North announced that they were beginning negotiations to bring a hospital to Schaumburg.  Their potential site was the home of today’s Friendship Village and, at that time, was owned by A. Harold Anderson of J. Emil Anderson & Son, a large Chicago area development company.  The sign notes their potential development of the space.  The project was disbanded in 1975 when the costs became too high to bring a hospital to Schaumburg.

Looking northeast across Schaumburg Road at Hilltop Drive.

The cars across the street are parked at Blackhawk School which opened in 1958.  To the right is the property that would later be used for the Schaumburg Post Office.


Looking west down Schaumburg Road at Hilltop Drive.

One of the Hoffman Estates Parcels is to the right off of two-lane Schaumburg Road.  Note the tall oak trees on the right side of the road.  They are remnants of the original Sarah’s Grove.   The distinctive Episcopal church sign, also on the right, is there to point out the Church of the Holy Innocents that was on Illinois Boulevard for many years.

Looking across Barrington Road at the Schaumburg Road intersection.

Notice that Schaumburg Road ended at Barrington Road at that time.  Even so, Barrington Road was a four lane road with a stop light.


Schaumburg Road near Walnut

The open spaces, undeterred by development in these photos, were abundant and definitely carried a rural feel.  Schaumburg Township in 1973 still had an awful lot of growing up to do!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

My thanks to Ruth Volkening Clapper for providing the necessary details that allowed me to complete this blog posting.  Her personal memories and knowledge of the area were a wonderful addition to the photos taken by Mrs. Arnold.  


  1. Dan Says:

    These pictures are amazing and paint a fantastic portrait of early 1970s Schaumburg. Many thanks to the Arnold family for sharing these.

    Jane, any more surprises from the collection?

    • jrozek Says:

      I am always grateful that photos like these come to light after a number of years and am always hopeful that there are many more out there that are still tucked away in a drawer or cabinet or box. I never know what will pop to my attention so, yes, there will be more forthcoming surprises. Do you have any in your family’s collection that might be interesting? I’m always on the outlook!

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library

      • Dan Says:

        There might be some taken in the mid to late 1990s but I don’t think we have any earlier.

        I would love to see some photos of development beginning along the retail stretch of Golf Road between Meacham and Plum Grove. Jane, how about an article about all the car dealers that sprouted up there during the 1970s?

  2. Fred Luft Says:

    Thanks Jane for sharing these great photos.

    The unknown strip mall near the NW corner of Roselle Rd and Schaumburg Rd had a Chicken Unlimited that had great chicken.

    The “road” that was near the Town Square sign was a very narrow bumpy dirt road. It ran northbound/southbound from the Town Square parking lot to Schaumburg Rd. I drove it often when I made deliveries for Cliff Skarr who owned the Town Square Pharmacy.


  3. Diana Dobrovolny Says:

    I appreciate your comment that Schaumburg still has a lot of growing up to do after 1973. I grew up in Schaumburg from 1959 until the mid 1970s. I was almost 6 when we moved in and there was only 350 people in the census. It was 59,000 or more when I graduated high school. We were the 4th to move into Weathersfield, I was one of the first employees of Woodfield Mall and first graduates of Schaumburg HSBC. It seemed like we were pioneers. Our parents started the Boy Scouts,Lions Club, etc. So much growth happened in those years. Thanks for sharing. I remember these sites well.

  4. - Says:

    I love these kinds of articles especially! When I lived in Schaumburg, just at the border of Hanover Park, at Irving Park and Wise Rd., there were still farms all around us! I remember being able to hear the freight trains roll through in the middle of the night, clear across the soybean (or at least that’s what we were told they were) fields, and summers were full of fireflies, and this was some years before the Metra station was put in.

    Would you happen to know anything about the farms surrounding the Schaumburg train station? I seem to remember a big red barn not far from the road, possibly Irving Park Road, that we used to pass all the time. I’d love to be able to find out more about those farms, especially since even back then I was curious who owned them. Now, of course, that area is covered by Savannah Trace, the baseball stadium, huge parking lots and other homes. No trace of any farm land at all. Thanks so much for such wonderful memories!

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