THE HISTORY OF BARRINGTON SQUARE MALL

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

Barrington Square Mall, located on the north side of Higgins Road east of Barrington Road, was so different when it was first built in the early 70s.  The main store was Robert Hall Village which was originally located on the southeast corner of Roselle & Golf Roads.  That location has also seen many changes.  The Robert Hall Village store in Barrington Square became K-Mart and later the Menard’s store that was torn down and that we all miss.

Shopping at Barrington Square Mall back in the 70s gave the flavor of town and country.  Across Higgins Road, you could clearly see the beautiful large Steinmeyer farmhouse.  George Steinmeyer still kept a herd of Black Angus steers out in the fields as well as hay and oats that you could see being harvested each fall.

There was a Dominick’s store with Garibaldi’s Pizza on the corner and Flip Side Record store in between.  GiGi’s Playhouse is where Dominick’s used to be and the Poplar Creek Bowl is still there.

An AMC sixplex movie theater was so popular with my family.  Set to the rear of the mall, it only cost $3 for adults and 1.50 for children’s tickets.  First run movies were shown then, but AMC sold the theater to Classic Cinema who showed second run movies for only $1.00.  One of the favorite afternoons for my kids was to take in a movie and still have money enough to buy a slice of pizza and a cold drink at Garibaldis.  The hobby shop was also a favorite with remote control race cars, trains and rockets.  A stop in Baskin Robbins was also a frequent activity.

Of all the merchants that called the Barrington Square Mall home, the most noteworthy was the Flip Side record shop.  In 1978, the Village of Hoffman Estates passed an ordinance that banned the sale of drug paraphernalia and required the merchant to apply for a license to sell such goods at a cost of $150. They would have to keep a record of the customer’s names who bought his merchandise.  Flip Side was a very popular record store and the place where the kids lined up to get their concert tickets but were also able to buy drug paraphernalia from a very prominent display of all of these items.  Not wanting to obey the ordinance, Flip Side, Inc. sued Hoffman Estates.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Flip Side but the Village took the fight to the highest court, the United States Supreme Court.  Our lawyer, Richard Williams, argued the case before them on Dec. 9, 1981 and on March 3, 1982 Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall read the unanimous decision stating that Hoffman Estates did have a valid & constitutional ordinance.  We had won the case that made a difference all around the country.  Small shops and stores could see that other villages were writing their own ordinances.  Many closed knowing that they had been legislated out of business.

Flip Side closed long ago.  We also lost Burger King to a larger one at the southeast corner of Barrington & Higgins.  The old McDonald’s closed also with a bigger and better restaurant just west of the old one.  Stop by Barrington Square Mall and see what’s new.

Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Village Historian
eagle2064@comcast.net

*The photo of the mall at the top of the blog is used courtesy of of the former Profile Publications, Inc. of Crystal Lake, IL.

**This column gives us a wonderful opportunity to start a list of all of the businesses located in the shopping center.  We’ll begin with those that Pat mentioned:

  • America’s Bar
  • Associated Wallcoverings
  • Barrington Square Barber Shop (Jim Gerz, owner)
  • Barrington Square Cards, Coins & Comics
  • Barrington Square Theaters  (1979-2000)
  • Baskin Robbins
  • Burger King  (outlot)
  • Buona Beef (outlot)
  • Cherry Shoes
  • Citadel Realtors
  • Dairy Queen
  • Dominick’s  (Closed in 1988)
  • Edie Adam’s Cut & Curl
  • Eye Opener
  • FlipSide Records
  • Garibaldi’s Pizza & Pasta House
  • Gigi’s Playhouse
  • Golden Bear Restaurant (outlot)
  • Hair Pros
  • Maloney’s Hallmark
  • JoAnn Fabrics
  • K-Mart  (1978-1992)
  • McDonald’s  (outlot)
  • Magic Year Children’s Wear
  • Menard’s
  • Official’s Time Out (restaurant)
  • Peter Pan Cleaners
  • Pizza Hut  (outlot)
  • Poplar Creek Bowl
  • Robert Hall Village
  • Shanghai Restaurant
  • Sportsplex (After Dominick’s and before Poplar Creek Bowl)
  • Thumka Indian Bar & Grill
  • Tub N Towel

If you have any to add, send a comment to the blog or an email to me.  Thank you!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

7 Responses to “THE HISTORY OF BARRINGTON SQUARE MALL”

  1. Dan Says:

    Thanks for a retrospect on one of the more memorable shopping malls of the area. Any idea what year Barrington Square actually opened? Here are some additional stores to add:

    -Hair Pros (they actually just closed in the last few years)
    -Barrington Square Barber Shop (owned by the late Jim Gerz… where I got my first “real” haircut)
    – There was a Chinese restaurant of some sort next to Hair Pros
    – Peter Pan Cleaners
    – Hallmark
    – A comic book store was located near the theaters I recall.

    Other interesting facts I remember…

    -Garibaldi’s had its corporate offices in the little nook where the Barber Shop was.
    – Kmart had its Midwest Regional Offices directly to the west of the store and its entrance was also in the nook.
    – There was an inside connecting entrance between Dominick’s and Walgreens.

    And some dates:
    Dominick’s closed in 1988.
    Kmart opened in 1978; closed in 1992.

    I have always wondered what the Kmart offices were before Kmart was located in the center. Menards eventually combined the former office space to create a much larger store than the space was as a Kmart/Robert Hall Village.

    Something else I remember was the “repetitive cruising” ordinance enacted by the village to curb teenagers drive around the plaza. Back in the 1980s-early 1990s, this was THE place to be to show off your wheels on a Friday or Saturday night. I remember the massive parking lot being full and people all over the place back in the day.

    It’s actually quite sad to see the center a mere shadow of its former self. Hopefully some day the former Menards portion will be redeveloped.

    • jrozek Says:

      Thank you for the additional information Dan. I added a few other stores/restaurants and located the name of the comic book store. (Barrington Square Cards, Coins & Comics.)

      From what I can tell, the mall opened in the fall of 1973. The earliest ad I can find in the Daily Herald or the Chicago Tribune is for Robert Hall Village in November 1973.

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library
      jrozek@stdl.org

      • Dan Says:

        Thanks Jane. I meant to add that the North Park Mall in Villa Park was almost an exact duplicate of Barrington Square. Both had Dominick’s, Walgreens, Kmart, and Garibaldi’s and some of the exterior features including the brick style were the same. I would imagine both were built around the same time. by the same developer. There was never a theater in North Park though, but it did have an enclosed area in the back of the mall.

  2. jkunzer Says:

    Was this the location of the Golden Bear restaurant? It would have been in a separate building along Higgins Rd and was a very popular place for Sunday brunch.

  3. Anthony Martini Says:

    How did you miss the Walgreens attached and sharing the same entrance as the Dominick’s !! I was an assistent manager there fro 2 years starting in 1985. Eventually it moved, to the free standing Walgreens at Golf and Barrington Rd.

  4. Mashke Says:

    Another business for the list…who’s name i cant remember (its actually what brought me here..trying to find the name): video rental. It was a small vhs/beta rental shop. It was located in the center of the mall along the right side middle wing (as you walk past the shanghai restaurant you turn right down the wing and it was on the left). This shop WAY predated video rental chains like blockbuster. Im relatively confident it was the first and only rental place in hoffman during the very early days of home video rental. It also had a small selection of atari 2600 rentals.

    A few other Barrington Square Memories:

    * The area behind the theaters was originally a bunch of undeveloped dirt mounds and such…we used to ride bmx bikes back there.

    * The barrington square theater was a great place to go with friends after school..again on bikes…and had some of the earliest video games (i remember playing Space Invaders there).

    * Flip Side was the greatest record store. It used to have a huge selection of record singles which were small 45 records that had a hit on one side and b-side song on the other. As a kid with not much money, these were a great opportunity to get some music cheap. I remember purchasing singles for: Blondie Heart of Glass, Charlie Daniels Devil Went Down to Georgia, chicago DJ Steve Dahl parody song Ayatola (to the tune of My Sharona), and many many more. See the Flip Side blog on this site for more great information.

    * The mall was definitely a hang out for Hoffman kids. As mentioned above: driving around the mall in circles was a thing. As was hanging out or going to Garbaldi’s for a huge slice.

    Peace .n. Hoffman Memories

    Mashke

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