Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

Early residents of Hoffman Estates found that springtime was not what they had expected.  Many of us found ourselves surrounded by a yard that had an inch or two of topsoil and not a blade of grass anywhere.  In fact, with spring rains came the ugly muddy front & back yards.   Everyone was up to their elbows in dirt and a spring filled with landscaping chores of one kind or another.

Parcel A had ½ acre lots but the other homes that were going up quickly had smaller yards.  When they purchased their homes not everyone thought of the work that lay ahead once the winter snows had melted. Not only were the roads a nightmare to navigate that first year but now everyone had lawn work to keep them busy throughout the entire summer.

Those first neighborhoods didn’t have homes that came with trees, shrubs and lawns.  That was going to be a big undertaking for most.  Parcel A didn’t even have parkway trees since they didn’t have a parkway only a small sidewalk that went along the edge of the street.

Nothing could be done until you had the right equipment.  Wheelbarrows, rakes, shovels, seed and fertilizer spreaders and the list went on and on.  The salesman would always tell us that if you wanted to have a great lawn you needed the proper tools.  We had only one nursery and lawn equipment store in town and that was located between Higgins and Golf about where Dunkin Donuts is now.  In fact it was in Schaumburg not Hoffman Estates.   It was called Slattery’s Nursery.  They had land across the street on the north side of Golf Road where Ahlgrim’s Funeral Home is located, where they grew their stock of trees and shrubs.  Landscaping and a lawn was an expensive project for the homeowners.  Of course the salesman would want to sell you every blooming thing.

If you needed black dirt, gravel, stone or some sand for the kid’s sandbox, you were referred to Rose’s across the street on the north side of Golf just east of Valley Lake Dr.  He had everything else you needed for that beautiful lawn, especially the loads of black dirt to supplement what the builder had left behind once the house was completed.

The beauty of your lawn soon became the business of everyone on your block.  The men would compare notes on how they killed the dandelions or how they got the lawn so green.  But there were some who always enjoyed that beautiful sea of yellow and let Mother Nature take care of the lawn.

Now landscape materials are found at the big box stores or the few local hardware stores we have in our area.  The nurseries and greenhouses have moved away but what a necessity they were for the new and inexperienced home owners of early Hoffman Estates.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian


  1. Fred Says:

    I do not remember Parcel “A” ever having sidewalks. Then again I grew up in Parcel “C” on Des Plaines Lane. We had sidewalks that were right next to the street. I do not remember what year they moved the sidewalks so they would be farther from the street. This now created parkways. As back then, the homeowner did not own the land in the parkway but you were expected to mow the grass.

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