THE HISTORY OF THE BUILDING THAT IS LOU MALNATI’S (PART 2)

From the early days of Schaumburg Township, the building that is now Lou Malnati’s has been key to the development of the township. In the course of its history it has had many owners and gaps in ownership. The late 1920s was one of those gaps. When E. H. Diekman closed his general store in 1925, it appears to have taken a few years for it to reopen under another name.

The next time we see a mention of the building is in a February 21, 1930 issue of the Herald that mentions the annual meeting of the Pure Milk Association was to be held at “Schnute’s Hall.” Even more interesting is an ad for the same store that appeared in the same paper and said, “Full line of groceries: Fruits, vegetables & ice cream at new “Schaumburg Store.”

We can suppose that Mr. Schnute obtained the business somewhere between 1925 and 1930. They must have celebrated New Year’s Eve because we have this small noisemaker that must have been passed out as a giveaway at the party. It says “Passing of 1929” and “Smile of 1930.”

 

Later, in the 1930 Schaumburg Township census that was completed in April, it lists Herman Schnute as the proprietor of a restaurant. Sometime between February and April, Mr. Schnute began selling prepared food. Another ad from May 9 of the same year confirms that he introduced “Real Old Hickory Bar-B-Q in that tantalizing and inviting southern style” for the bargain price of .15 a sandwich. Ice cream, candy and pop were also available at the Schaumburg Store. Clearly he used “Schaumburg Store” and “Schnute’s” interchangeably.

At some point, we know from our oral historians that the name of the establishment changed to Schnute’s Old Kentucky Tavern and this is confirmed in the ad below–even though Mr. Schnute’s name is spelled incorrectly.

When he passed away in March of 1939 his wife Jennie continued the establishment and, in fact, is listed in the 1940 census as the operator of a tavern/restaurant.

From the same oral historians mentioned above, we know that the next owner was George Nieman. We have a fairly good guess that he opened Nieman’s Hall in 1944 from an article in the November 4, 1949 issue of the Herald that states, “Mr. and Mrs. George Nieman are celebrating five years stay in our fair community. The shindig takes place from Nieman’s hall Wednesday night. An evening of music and lunch has been planned for those invited. The Niemans hailed from Chicago before they landed here five years ago.” Mr. Nieman is shown below in this photo from 1961.

By 1957 the Niemans had renamed the tavern the “Schaumburg Inn.” This is noted in the 1957 Bartlett, Roselle and Bloomingdale phone book.

Then, in 1960, two Roselle brothers-in-law, Victor Binneboese and Wayne Nebel purchased the building and had their grand opening on July 17, 1960, advertising themselves as the Schaumrose Inn. It lasted as a local, popular institution for 25 years–by far and away the longest ownership of the building until that time.

During their tenure they installed a mid-roof, brown vertical siding and shutters along with east steps. But, the biggest issue they faced was the proposed widening of the intersection from two lanes to four lanes. Discussion of the project began as early as 1973 or 1974, and very nearly happened in 1975.

For the next few years a steady drumbeat was sounded by the Village of Schaumburg and the Cook County Highway Department to get the job done. With two historical buildings on the intersection (the Schaumburg Bank building was across Schaumburg Road on the northeast corner) steps were taken to ensure that both buildings were saved.

Monetary terms were finally reached and it was eventually agreed that the Schaumrose would be moved approximately 20 feet to the south and 20 feet to the east. This was accomplished in the fall of 1978 when the delicate task of picking up the nearly century-old building and placing it over a large hole. A new foundation was then constructed as well as a new parking lot, sidewalk and front steps. (You can see the results in the photo above.)

And Mr. Nebel’s response in the November 23, 1978 Daily Herald? “Shoot, I couldn’t have torn this place down. I guess it will prove worth the trouble in the long run.” It WAS worth the trouble because, for the next seven years, the Schaumrose Inn remained a mainstay until the Malnati’s Pizza chain recognized the value of the corner and came calling.

On October 22, 1985, Lou Malnati’s opened their 5th restaurant on the corner of the intersection that has been going strong since the nineteenth century. They soon added on a glassed, closed-in porch that circles the north and west sides of the building and, in 2010, after 25 years, they did a little trade with the village. Malnati’s gave the village ownership of the Turret House and, in exchange, the village deeded the small furniture store directly to the south on Roselle Road to Lou Malnati’s. It is the light blue building in the photo below.

The pizza restaurant tore down the furniture store and replaced it with a new kitchen. They also created a new waiting space, washrooms and ramp outside. In the intervening years, parking has also expanded, giving diners much greater ease in finding a spot.

Despite the fact that it appears a title search is about the only way we can determine the year this building was built, we do know that it has definitely withstood the test of time at the busy corner of Schaumburg and Roselle Road. Both the Schaumburg Bank on the northeast corner, and the Fenz store on the southwest corner that were its longtime cohorts during the rural period of Schaumburg Township, eventually burned down. The bank’s spot is now a small park and the Fenz Store’s spot is now the village’s Veterans’ Memorial.

Whether you know the building as Lou’s, the Schaumrose Inn, Nieman’s, Schnute’s Old Kentucky Tavern or any of the other names, we can indeed speak well of the endurance of this unique building. It is perfect confirmation that location is everything at the heart of Schaumburg Township.

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

 

 

One Response to “THE HISTORY OF THE BUILDING THAT IS LOU MALNATI’S (PART 2)”

  1. Fred Says:

    i always enjoy the history that Jane finds out about this building.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: