Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian. This column originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter. The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.
The 165 acre farm had been purchased from the Giesekes in 1944, by Arthur Hammerstein and wife Dorothy Dolton [in the photos below.] They chose architect Thomas McCaughey to remodel and add on to the existing farmhouse. It became a luxurious 11 room country home and several barns and out buildings were added for the Black Angus cattle that Mrs. Hammerstein raised along with pigs and chickens.
F & S Construction purchased the Hammerstein farm in the mid 50s for development of the village with the promise that the house and barns on the remaining 8 acres would be turned over to the village. Ownership of the farmhouse began in November of 1959 when F & S Construction Company turned over the keys to the newly formed government of Hoffman Estates.
A fire had burned the north end of the 11 room residence in 1959. Converting the farmhouse would be a daunting task for the newly formed municipal building and grounds committee. Mayor Ed Pinger chose trustees Roy Jenkins and Jim Gannon for his newly formed committee. They would have an insurance settlement of $34,000 to get them started with their work.
The 11 room Hammerstein farmhouse would have to be redesigned to accommodate offices for clerk, police magistrate and council rooms on the first floor. Builiding, zoning and utilities offices would be on the second floor. There was solid oak flooring throughout the house and two fireplaces in the living area and upstairs bedroom. The fireplace on the first floor would remain in place. So much needed to be torn out and reconfigured for the newly formed government.
The north end of the farmhouse that had been damaged by fire was remodeled to become the police department. Lack of a jail required prisoners be taken to other nearby towns and villages which took time and money. A new lock up facility would be welcome. It was planned for the basement area under the police department. The basement would also be used for storage
Reglazing windows, replacing a window with a door, tearing down walls, plastering and painting, replacement of much of the electric wiring were on the list of the work to be done.
The farmhouse and barns had been used as sale offices for F & S Construction, Hoffman Estates Homeowners Association’s site for meetings, dances and kindergarten classes and the volunteer fire department headquarters. After having been remodeled and renovated for the new Village of Hoffman Estates, it continued to serve as our village hall, police department and public works garage.
Everything important to our village began in this now 156 year old farmhouse.
Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Village Historian