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

Forty-one years ago ordinance #1017-1978 dated June 19, 1978 was signed by then-Mayor Virginia Hayter. It would alter the lives of every resident and business in the Village.

As early as 1955 and through June 1978, we all knew were we lived in the village of Hoffman Estates. I was at 209 on my street but for all of us, our address would change–not just the number, but some  street names as well.

This ordinance was called the “Uniform Safety Code Plan (Grid System).” It would update all addresses in town to new addresses to follow a new grid for Hoffman Estates.

The community was rapidly growing. As each developer built new neighborhoods to add to the Village, they named and numbered their own streets. Confusion was the order of the day as delivery trucks, and especially fire and police departments, coped with the situation.

There were 99 streets that either had their name changed completely or had changes such as circles, coves and courts, altered. Others had a direction added. “Circles” completely disappeared, but kept their original names with “Road” added. “Coves” became “Drives.” Most “Courts” were removed, but seven were not only added, but they also had a name change. An example would be Chippendale Drive–it became Cobble Hill Court. A few other examples: Bonita Drive became East Berkley Lane, Auburn Street became Ash Road, Willow Drive became Washington Boulevard and Freeman Boulevard became Westbury Drive.

You can see how inconvenient this would be for our residents. After receiving my Christmas cards that year, I remember relatives asking if I had moved. Many others must have had the same questions.

The changes weren’t a surprise to the community. I talked with retired Mayor Hayter about why and how the changes came about. Of course it was about safety, she said. Fire stations were being built four-and-a-half minute circles, a plan that would allow emergency services to arrive in that amount of time before severe brain damage could occur. Locating your home quickly would be much easier than with the old numbering system. Throughout the spring of 1978, there were committee meetings each month for the residents to discuss and learn about the changes to come, she told me.

It was only six weeks between the signing of the new ordinance on June 19, 1978 and the August 1, 1978 enforcement date. We should have been prepared to put up that new number and get used to our new street name, but there was so much more to do. Hardware stores and stationery stores, printers and bankers were very busy with people purchasing new numbers, ordering new return labels, business stationery and asking questions about changes to check books.

The village notified all the utility companies about the changes and the banks would let us use up our old checks. It wasn’t the easiest transition but it needed to be done for our everyone’s safety.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian

4 Responses to “HAPPY 6OTH HOFFMAN ESTATES! #5”

  1. Jon Guiney Says:

    Ash Road, south of Higgins, will always be Aztec Street to me. And when we moved to the Highlands, I often think of the old house number we had on Northview Lane. It needed to be done, though.

  2. Fred Luft Says:

    The Zero-Zero line is Schaumburg Rd & Roselle Rd. Same numbering system that Schaumburg has.
    Everything North of Schaumburg RD ie. South of Schaumburg Rd. East of Roselle Rd and West of Roselle Rd.

  3. Tom Rogers Says:

    My parents moved to Westview in 1965 and we lived on that street for 21 years and Washington was always Washington. Do you have any more information on the Willow to Washington change?

    • Pat Barch Says:

      How the new names were chosen is not available to me. Perhaps Willow was a street in Schaumburg or another nearby town. To avoid confusion with mail that may have been the reason. We could ask that question for all the street name changes and never understand why a particular name was chosen. I just know how inconvenient it was for all of us back then.
      Pat Barch Historian

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