Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the April 2019 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

The back and forth of court fights to annex land for the development of Hoffman Estates seemed to occupy the first five years of the village’s history.

Last month I wrote about the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision to allow us to annex the land north of the tollway. The back and forth court decisions over this annexation made development of the area unusual.

Between 1962 and 1964 a story was unfolding that I would title “The Topsey Turvey Howie in the Hills development”. The development was located on the south side of Palatine Road, about where the Jewel is now presently located.

Believing that the land planned for the Howie in the Hills development was annexed to Hoffman Estates in September, 1962, their project went forward with all the appropriate approvals needed from the village board. Foundations were poured, a well was put in and plans were going forward for the sewer system. But then the results of the lawsuits against Hoffman Estates by three of our neighboring villages, South Barrington, Barrington Hills and Inverness , who believed that land could not be annexed across a tollway, was settled in their favor. It took the land away from Hoffman Estates and placed Howie in the Hills’ development under Cook County’s building requirements. Under the new Cook County rules only 8 of the 10 foundations that had already been poured met with the county’s requirements.

Sewerage plans weren’t going very well either. Howie in the Hills planned on building a sewage treatment plant for its proposed homes but Inverness and Palatine objected to water from the plant spilling into Salt Creek.  The Metropolitan Sanitary District did not have plans to expand and accept the Howie in the Hills development. Howie in the Hills’ request for connections to the sanitary district were voted down.

With on again, off again changes to how they would continue their development, Howie in the Hills’ costs for sewer lines, lawyers, lawsuits and other unexpected expenses eventually took its toll. The final blow came when City Savings and Loan, who was handling the financing for the development, collapsed. The entire Howie in the Hills development was abandoned. Homes that had been built sat empty for years and some said it looked like a ghost town.

It took close to 10 years to finally resolve the Howie in the Hills failure. The land reverted back to Hoffman Estates and Allister Construction purchased the land and built the Westsbury subdivision.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Historian

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