Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian. This column originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter. The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.
When developers saw the potential for building their suburban communities, they went about buying up the farms but not every farm fell to the wrecking ball and bulldozer. The farm fields were laid out with curving streets and newly built homes but some of the old farm houses remained. After several generations of life on the old homesteads, it was impossible for some of the farm families to see their homes torn down, so they choose to stay, selling their open fields and keeping life going in the family farmhouse.
We can still see the old farmhouses scattered within the village. Only their unique appearance gives them away. Few of us know their whereabouts.
One such farmhouse was recently discovered after I received an e-mail asking about its history. After living in Hoffman Estates for the past 50 years, I’d never seen this old farmhouse yet it was about a half mile from my home. Of course I had to drive to the address to see for myself. The farmhouse was located on Lakeview Lane directly west of Lakeview School. Due to restrictions for right turns onto Lakeview it was clear that I had never gone down this street before.
I learned that it was the Bartels farm house by looking at the old 1942 and 1954 farm plat maps and with help from Jane Rozek, Schaumburg Township Library Historian. What a wonderful historical discovery. It was so surprising that both Jane and I had no idea that this farmhouse still existed. There are other old farmhouses in our village; some have been restored or repurposed.
The ones that come to mind are the Hammerstein Caretaker’s home on Abby Wood Dr. west of Conant High School, the Gieseke/Hammerstein farmhouse on Illinois Blvd., east of St. Hubert’s School (shown above), the Sunderlage farmhouse on Volid Drive (first photo below), the Vogelei farmhouse and barn on the northwest corner of Higgins and Golf Roads and the Bergman Family’s farmhouse on the northwest corner of Ela and Algonquin Roads (second photo below.)
The farmers have moved on. Most have died but a few live on now into their 80s and 90s. Many of their children remain to tell us the stories of growing up on the farms. Over the years Jane Rozek and the Schaumburg Township District Library have saved those farmer’s stories for us to listen to long after their passing.
Many early residents, who lived on the edge of the newly developing village, still remember hearing the cows mooing out in the fields or the roasters crowing early in the morning.
Hoffman Estates Village Historian