HOFFMAN ESTATES AND THE USA IN 1959

We begin another year. How quickly time goes by. This is a special year for our village. We celebrate 60 years as the Village of Hoffman Estates.

As Historian, I’ve always marveled at the strength and determination of those who first moved here from the city for the opportunity to buy an affordable home for their family. The homes in the first development by F & S Construction, called Parcel A, are more than 60 years old as the first homes were built in 1955-56 and are now 64 years old. Many have changed. They’ve been upgraded and added on to. Some have been torn down and replaced with much larger homes that suit the ½ acre lots. The area still has that rural feel to it.

Life was so different then. 1959 was a year that introduced so many more “modern conveniences”. With new homes to furnish, I can imagine that many of the women wanted to upgrade the kitchen to include a dishwasher, a larger cook stove, and maybe one of the new larger screen TVs for the living room. Everyone loved to watch The Danny Thomas Show, Father Knows Best or for the western fans, Wagon Train or Gunsmoke. Back then TV was your evening entertainment along with a nice big bowl of popcorn.

I found a small book titled Back In The Day: 1959, Reflections of a Special Year. It had all the information about what was going on in 1959. Here’s some trivia that you can share. The overall average income was $5,417.00. Clerical work paid $3,782.00 but construction work paid $5,637.00. With all the surrounding suburbs developing along with us, construction workers would’ve been in demand.

Do you remember who was president? Dwight David (Ike) Eisenhower was our President and Richard Milhous Nixon was his Vice President. The President’s salary was $100,000.00 per year. The Vice President’s salary was $35,000.00.

With the promise of postage going up to .55 cents this year, back in 1959 it was nice to only pay 4 cents for a stamp. In 2019 we pay bills on line and communicate with e-mail or texting. No need for a stamp. Going to the movies in 1959 only cost you .51 cents for a ticket.

Do you remember what movie won the Oscar in 1959? It was Ben-Hur staring Charlton Heston who also won for Best Actor. The movie went on to win a total of 11 Academy Awards. We didn’t get our own movie theater for another 7 years. It was the Thunderbird Movie Theater at the south end of the Golf Rose Shopping Center that opened in October, 1966. (It’s the oval shaped building in the photo above.)

Groceries prices seem cheap compared to today’s prices, but we have to remember how small our salaries were back then. Bacon .67 cents a pound, milk was $1.01 a gallon, bread .20 cents a loaf, butter cost .75 cents a pound and coffee was .78 cents a pound. Many of us had a pot of coffee on the stove all day, either in a percolator or a drip pot. There was no Starbucks back then. No Keurig coffee makers. I would always waste so much coffee by making more than I’d drink in one day. This was the year that Maxwell House introduced the “Good to the last drop” advertising campaign.

Wishing you all a healthy and happy New Year!

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Historian
eagle2064@comcast.net

2 Responses to “HOFFMAN ESTATES AND THE USA IN 1959”

  1. Richard (Dick) Clark Says:

    In 1959 we had already been living in parcel A for 3 years. I turned 15 in 59′ and had been working for Bill Frank at Sundance Ranch for 2 years. When Bob Atcher was elected mayor of Schaumburg, he and Marty Conroy (police chief) had their 1st offices in an old bunk house at Sundance Ranch so we all got to know each other quite well. In September of 1962 I was 18 and went off to San Diego to Marine Corps boot camp. My family remained at Hawthorn Ln and Aspen St on the creek until the early 1970’s I was 12 when we moved there and never realized at the time how good our childhood was growing up there.

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