The District 51 school was located on the south side of Higgins Road between Roselle and Barrington Roads. In 2017 the location is slightly west and south of the intersection of Huntington Boulevard and Higgins Road in Hoffman Estates. This school was alternately called the Sunderlage School and the Meyer School. The latter name referred to its location on the Meyer farm.
[The USGS topographical map from 1935 below shows the school listed as Meyers School.]
[The USGS topographical map from 1953 shows it listed as the Sunderlage School.]
Both Ester (Steinmeyer) Bierman and Erna (Lichthart) Hungerberg remembered walking to the Meyer School as students. Erna arrived at school with potentially frost bitten hands one bitterly cold winter day. The teacher had Erna put her hands in a wash basin full of snow, and the hands suffered no ill effects. Miss Laura Williamson was one of the teachers that the ladies recalled. Miss Williamson did not board with a farm family, but she drove a car (coupe) to school each day, because she lived in Norwood Park with her family.
[The school closed for the first time in 1943. In a September 5, 1952 article from The Herald, it was mentioned that the school was reopened and used as a location for the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders of Schaumburg Township after being closed for the previous nine years.]
The District 51 School was closed in 1954 after the consolidation of the five township school districts and the opening of the new 4-room Schaumburg School. Richard Gerschefske purchased the school building for his personal use. The roof was carefully removed to aid in moving the school down Higgins and Roselle Roads to Schaumburg Center. Richard placed the school on a portion of his farm southeast of the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads. The school is shown below during the moving process.
He also purchased the Hartmann School (District 55), which was located at the northeast corner of Wise and Rodenburg Roads. Because this school was closed for many years, the building was in poor condition. Richard dismantled it for the lumber that he used to add on a kitchen and dining room to the District 51 School.
[An article in the December 23, 1954 issue of The Herald confirms this: “Meyer School on Higgins Road was purchased by Richard Gerschefske and will be made into a residence. Mr. Gerschefske also won the bid on the Hartmann School of Wise Road… All associated buildings on the school property was sold along with the school houses, in all four cases. The buildings were sold due to the fact that they were no longer being used since the erection of the new consolidated school on Schaumburg Road.”]
The District 51 School on Higgins Road and the District 54 School in Schaumburg Center were the last two one-room schoolhouses used in Schaumburg Township. Robert Flum was teaching the intermediate students at the Meyer School when it closed in 1954. He went on to be a teacher/principal of the new 4-room Schaumburg School and, later, Community Consolidated School District 54’s first superintendent of schools.
The text for this blog posting is an excerpt from Schaumburg of My Ancestors by LaVonne Thies Presley, published in 2012. The book is an in-depth look at Schaumburg Township around the turn of the nineteenth century.
Her particular focus was the farm off of Meacham Road where her father grew up. However, LaVonne also took the opportunity in the text to create a detailed examination of the formation of the public one-room schools of Schaumburg Township. In the upcoming months a posting will be shared on each of those five schools. But, first, an introduction to the formation of Schaumburg Township public schools…
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library