Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the December 2018 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

The land that F & S Construction purchased east of Roselle, south of Golf and north of Higgins became what has always been known as “Parcel A”. F & S Construction promptly set up their lumber yard and milling operation on Plum Grove Rd., south of Higgins Rd. Houses started going up, with the first ones ready for occupancy in December of 1955. Families even moved in on Christmas Day.

That winter was a tough one for the newcomers. Their stories tell of broken water pipes, streets that were impassable due to mud and gravel roads that were not due for paving until spring. Mailboxes were nailed to posts and boards set up along Golf Rd. Each home had a tank in the back yard for propane that the homeowners called a pig.

Parcel A had large ½ acre lots. This was one of the reasons that people were moving out from the city. This first section of Hoffman Estates never had curbs or sidewalks. There were culverts on either side of the roads to drain off the water from heavy rainfall. To this day it has remained the same.

A number of residents suffered from flooding, possibly due to the relocation of a branch of Salt Creek that cut through Parcel A. The creek had been moved from the center of Parcel A to a location close to the north side of Higgins Road. The heavy rains may have been seeking its original route through the middle of the new development. [Addendum: You can see the creek, in blue, in the map above, as it moves between Hawthorn and Bluebonnet. This is from a 1961 U.S. Topographical map.]

The homes that were built in Parcel A didn’t offer a garage. The only protection for the cars was a carport that left the autos open to the rain and snow. But many missed the extra space for storage that a garage would offer them.The majority of new homeowners began closing in their carports, although in 2018 there are still homes that retain the carports from 1955-56.

Moving into a new home in December was really an exercise in patience and perseverance. The majority of new families had children. Those children were looking forward to Santa and wondering how he was going to find their new home. Those parents were also wondering how they would finish their holiday shopping and still have time to unpack the boxes and boxes of household items that still sat in hidden corners of the new house.

Hanukkah began on Dec. 10th that year and shopping for Christmas and Hanukkah gifts would be difficult. Elgin, Roselle or Palatine were the closest towns for shopping & groceries. Somehow the gifts were purchased, the holiday cooking traditions continued as always but in a new kitchen, in a new home and the start of a new life in Hoffman Estates.

Happy Holidays!

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian

3 Responses to “HAPPY 60TH HOFFMAN ESTATES! (2 of 12)”

  1. Gene Moser Says:

    Who were the first families that moved into Hoffman Estates. I’m asking because our family, Kenneth Moser family, lived at 302 Apple St. As I remember we were there from 1956 through mid 1973. As of the time we were there, these were our neighbors. This list is a 43 year old recollection so I may have not everyone llisted. To the north of us was originally the Arrington’s; later Merkel’s then Ulm’s then Smeyerage’s (sp). To the south was Zagar’s, Richardson’s, (not original family), Hardy’s then I think Eisiner’s not sure about the rest of the east side of the street. The west side from north to south is: Mansburger’s, next house not sure, then Leonhart’s, Witizek’s (not original family), Gorman’s, Kowaleck’s (not original family), Harrow’s, Steffens, Castelanos, one or two homes then Lambert’s at the end.

  2. Thomas Whittle, Jr. Says:

    We moved into our new home at the SW corner of Kingman and Mohave in Parcel C in 1957. We had the large propane tank in the back yard and my mother tells the story of how a contractor for one of the utility companies had a huge backhoe with tracks in front of our house one frozen cold morning. The operator was using the bucket to chop at the frozen ground in an attempt to break through the frost line and the entire house was shaking to the point where mom worried that it would crack the foundation. She went outside and told the guy to stop and he did! She then called my dad who worked in Chicago, to tell him what was going on. I believe they were installing gas pipe.

  3. Penny Says:

    Our family, the Konnen family moved in August 1956 on Hawthorne Lane. My mom lived in that home until she passed away last February, she lived in that house for over 61 years

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