Archive for the ‘Businesses’ Category


January 12, 2020

Farms dotted the terrain of Schaumburg Township from the late 1840s and well into the 1960s. Most of those farms centered around a herd of dairy cows that required milking twice a day. The farmers then had to deliver that milk to the local creamery. This was where the cream was separated from the whole milk, allowing for the production of butter and cheeses.

There were at least three creameries that operated in Schaumburg Township at various times: the Wilkening Creamery on east Schaumburg Road, the Buttery on Roselle Road that was just south of Schaumburg Road and the Nebel Creamery on the northwest corner of the intersection of Higgins and Roselle, where Walgreen’s is today. Pictured below is a plat of survey for what was left of the Fred Nebel property in 1938.

Fred married Mary Scharringhausen in November, 1889 at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Schaumburg.

Shortly after their marriage, young Fred Nebel began operating in a building on the corner of Higgins and Roselle Roads. It is unknown whether he built the house that eventually contained the creamery and a store, or whether he and Mary moved into an already existing building. In any case, it also acted as a residence for his expanding family. Fred and his wife Mary would eventually have eight children: Albert, Alma, George, Edwin, Fred Jr., Leonard, Raymond and Alvin. The building is pictured on moving blocks in this photo from 1938 when it was moved to the Fred Wille farm.

According to family members, the creamery was located in the basement of the building and was a profitable business. In an article from the July 8, 1938 issue of the DuPage County Register, “as much as 10,000 pounds of milk were received each morning by Mr. Nebel, whose butter achieved a reputation for quality.” In addition, Marilyn  Lind states in her book, Genesis Of A Township, that “several times a year he (Fred Nebel) would ship cases of cheese into Chicago from the Roselle rail office.”

If we track the Nebel family through the various censuses, Fred is listed in 1900 as a cheesemaker, along with Herman Scharringhausen who resided in the house with the Nebels. Herman was also listed as a servant and was, in fact, a brother to Mary Nebel. Their sister, Lydia, also resided with the Nebels and eventually married Herman Nebel.

In the 1910 census both Fred and his oldest son, Albert, are listed as buttermakers, and Mary is listed as a saleswoman in the grocery. This compliments the 1938 article that states “the farmer brought his milk to Nebel, and took home from the Nebel store the groceries that he needed. At the end of the month a balance would be struck and if Mr. Nebel owed the farmer any money, a check was forthcoming. If it was the other way, the farmer just kept bringing the milk to settle the account.” The photo below is from the cover of an account book in the library’s Local History collection that is the Daily Milk Delivery Log to Fred Nebel of Nebel’s Corners. It covers the time period of 1890-1892.

Interestingly, the 1920 census has Fred listed as a farmer on a dairy farm. In fact, the Nebel property’s 60 acres extended along the western edge of Roselle Road from Golf to Bode and the largest portion of it was farmed. There was obviously plenty of work to do on Nebel’s Corners as an article from the July 28, 1922 issue of the Cook County Herald states that George Nebel and his young wife, Alma Rodewald would “make their home with the groom’s parents on Nebel’s Corner at present.” Whether it was farming, running the dairy or managing the store, multiple people were needed for the operation, especially since Mary died a year later in 1923.

The following year, in 1924, it was announced in the Daily Herald that the Arlington Dairy “has purchased the route of the Des Plaines dairy, also the Nebel dairy business and is erecting the bottling plant at 111 No. State road.” This arrangement did not last long because the Nebels reopened the creamery in January 1926 under the Nebel name.

By the 1930 census, Fred Nebel is listed as a grocer in the grocery store and Alma, his daughter, is listed as a saleslady in the grocery store. Alma and her husband, William Heide, who worked for the state highway department, lived with both Fred and their daughters, Elvira and Evelyn, on Nebel’s Corners. Evelyn is the younger one with the necklace and Elvira stands next to her at the food stand that the Nebels operated.

A year later, on October 4, 1931, Mr. Nebel died in a car accident at the age of 64. On his death certificate, he is listed as a buttermaker at a creamery. According to the oral history of Wayne Nebel, Mr. Nebel’s grandson, it was after Fred Nebel’s death that the farmland portion of the property was sold and the creamery part of the business was halted.

The business continued to operate under the guidance of Alma and William Heide until 1938 when the State of Illinois’ Highway Department began the process of widening Route 72/Higgins Road. The plan was to create a “super highway 200 feet wide with two parallel highways, each 20 feet wide.” The grocery store/food stand at Nebel’s Corners was directly in the path of the new road, and the entire parcel–both north and south of Higgins Road–was subsequently purchased by the state.

Schaumburg Township was fortunate to have the Fred and Mary Nebel family manage their corner for over 40 years. They created both a necessary creamery that gave the local farmers a place to have their milk processed, and a small grocery store that provided local residents with a nearby spot to pick up basic food items for their dinner table. It was unique for this area because it wasn’t  just a dairy, but an early version of a convenience store too!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

Many thanks to Lori Freise, granddaughter of Elvira (Heide) Freise, for the photos of Nebel’s Corners and for providing so many details about the creamery.

Copies of the Wayne Nebel oral history are available in the library’s Local History collection and on the library’s Local History Digital Archive.



January 5, 2020

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

Four years ago we sadly learned of the closing of the Hoffman Lanes Bowling Alley.  It was built by F & S Construction, the developer who was building Hoffman Estates, to fill a need for entertainment in the new community.

Hoffman Lanes has some history that many may not know of.  I didn’t know about the interesting happenings at the bowling alley until I received a newspaper article from a friend who loves to investigate the past.

In just a year after Hoffman Lanes opened in 1961, a series of 22 “Top Star Bowling” network television programs were taped during an eight day recording session, beginning August 28. They were scheduled to be aired for Saturday night broadcasting throughout the country, starting that fall.  The previous year’s TV programs were called “Championship Bowling.”

Many of the “big name bowling champions, such as Don Carter, Carmen Salvino, Harry Smith, Ed Loubanski, Dick Hoover, Tom Hennessey, Ray Bluth and many others will be in Hoffman Estates for the filming” the Hoffman Herald’s August, 16, 1962 newspaper reported.

Hall of Fame bowler Joe Norris (shown above) represented the program sponsor, the Brunswick Corporation bowling division.  Lanes 29 and 30 were chosen to be the lanes that would be used in the filming.  They were kept in peak condition and used only for the competition. Local residents could receive complimentary tickets for the event until they were gone.

Another very special bowling tournament that came along years later was the Petersen Classic.

It was known as bowling’s grand event.  It began in Chicago in 1921 at the Archer & 35th Recreation building.  The top bowler would receive $1,000 compared to golf’s US Open that paid $500 for its first place prize.  Quite a bit of money in those days and entry fees were $28, a week’s wages back then.

Over the years it grew to include tournaments in other major cities.

It survived the Great Depression and in 1981 the tournament still drew more than 36,000 bowlers but finally, in 1993, the Petersen Classic died.  After 90 years in Chicago at Archer & 35th it finally died of old age.

It wasn’t long before private investors purchased the tournament and it moved to Hoffman Lanes in Hoffman Estates where it debuted in its new home at Higgins and Roselle Roads.  Hoffman Lanes proudly displayed “Home of the Petersen Classic” on its outdoor marquee (as seen on the sign above.)

I never knew what this was until I did research for my article.  They held the famous bowling tournament there for 20 years, from 1994 till 2014 when the tournament was moved to AMF Bolingbrook for just one year. It moved to Brunswick Zone in River Grove, IL in 2015 and is still drawing bowlers to its classic tournament.

Hoffman Lanes sits empty and quiet.  It had a wonderful run from 1961 until it’s closing in 2015. As I learned, it was a wonderful bowling alley, not just for our families but for the top bowlers in the U.S. and the historic Petersen Classic.

Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Village Historian

Credit for the photo of Joe Norris is given to Dr. Jake’s Bowling History Blog.


March 13, 2019

What: “Dairies to Prairies”  This free exhibit, presented by the Elgin History Museum, explores the history of the area’s remarkable dairy heritage. At one time, there were over 140 dairies, dairy farms and creameries in a 50-mile radius around Elgin. Now, there are only three dairies left.

Who: The Hoffman Estates Historical Sites Commission

When: Saturday, March 23, at 1 p.m.

Where: at the Sunderlage House, 1775 Vista Lane, Hoffman Estates, IL 60169

For more information, call Sue at 847-781-2606.

(The Wilkening Creamery listed below as the “Artesian Creamery” was along East Schaumburg Road, across from Spring Valley Nature Sanctuary. You can read about it here.)


February 17, 2019

Last week we posted a series of photos from a small booklet that was published for the tenth anniversary of Hoffman Estates. The 1969 booklet was titled “Community From Cornfields.” This week we’ll continue with photos that are centered around some of the District 54 and District 211 schools, and a few of the larger retailers that opened in Hoffman Estates during its first ten years.

Blackhawk Grade School opened in 1958. It was the second school built in, what would be, Hoffman Estates, following Twinbrook Grade School. A history of Blackhawk School can be found in an earlier blog posting. It closed in 1976.

Lakeview Grade School opened the following year in 1959–the same year the village of Hoffman Estates was incorporated. It was built in Parcel C and is on Lakeview Lane. An earlier blog posting discussed the farmhouse that can still be found directly west of the school. Clearly, the site was optimal for both the house and the school.

Winston Churchill Grade School opened on Jones Road in 1965 to serve the children of the Highlands subdivision.

Helen Keller Junior High opened in 1967 and was the second junior high in the district, following Frost Junior High. By 1969 the school district’s offices had moved into trailers next to the school.

Conant High School opened in 1964 and was the first secondary school in the township to serve students who lived in both Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg. Fremd High School (the insert) opened in 1961. All Hoffman Estates students north of the tollway attend Fremd.

This wonderful photo gives us a bird’s eye view of the first Jewel that opened in Hoffman Plaza in the summer of 1959. It was a much needed grocery store for the new residents of Schaumburg Township.

With that iconic water tower behind the grocery store you can tell that the orientation of the shopping center faces south towards Higgins Road. You can also see a barber shop off to the left with other stores in between. Maybe some of you can identify what they would have been in 1969?

If you know Hoffman Estates history at all, you recognize this building as the Fireside Roll Arena which opened in 1975 after the booklet was published. This is actually its predecessor, the Magna Mart department store, that was built for this location and opened in May of 1968.

Their advertisement in the May 3, 1968 paper said that they had 52 departments that included: clothing, home furnishings, electronics, paint, jewelry, records, sporting goods, patio, family shoes and a snack shop to name a few. They did not last long and seem to have closed their doors sometime in 1970 or 1971 as there is nothing in the paper beyond February 1970. Does that sound correct?

Last, but not least, this gem of a photo captures three businesses that were the heart and soul of early Hoffman Estates.

The brick building to the left is the Thunderbird Theater which opened in 1966. The business in the center of the photo is Grant’s, a one-stop shop department store for the entire family and, off to the far right is the National Food Store. Both Grant’s and National opened in the Golf Rose Shopping Center on October 17, 1963. By the time this photo was taken in 1969, they were fixtures and had been there for six years.

What a wonderful discovery this booklet has been! Next week you will have a chance to take a quiz on the churches of Hoffman Estates. This time, I’m leaving the identifications all up to you!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


January 20, 2019

In December 1959 the first Campanelli home was finished in the “W” section of Weathersfield and Ray and Carmella (Carm) McArthur moved in. They were the first in a long line of Weathersfield owners that extended into the late 1980s.

Ray was employed by Motorola, initially at their Franklin Park campus, and later in Schaumburg where the corporation established their headquarters. The couple didn’t let any grass grow under their feet and proceeded to get involved in the brand new village of Schaumburg.

Carmella worked at both the Ben Franklin store and W.T. Grant store in Hoffman Estates. Later, in 1965, the couple opened Carmen’s Colonial Restaurant in the brand new Weathersfield Commons at Springinsguth and Schaumburg Road. A Daily Herald ad for Carmen’s from June 4 of the same year mentions their specialty in Italian and American food for Dine In or Carry Out. The restaurant was in business until 1967. You can see portions of the menu below. It was quite extensive and reasonable–complete with a soda fountain, no less!

Ray served on Schaumburg’s Plan Commission for more than 12 years under Mayor Bob Atcher. In addition, Ray and Carm were also actively involved in St. Marcelline Catholic Church. Ray was head usher and a deacon, and Carm was one of the volunteers responsible for counting donations on Sundays and holidays.

Their son, Richard, moved with them to Schaumburg and built his own house in Weathersfield with his new wife, Mary Ann. They opened McArthur Realty in 1971 and had offices at 1635 W. Wise Road and 1407 W. Schaumburg Road. It was an active, busy realty company that served the greater Schaumburg Township area. To promote their company, they ran radio ads on some of Chicago’s major radio stations. Thanks to the McArthur family, you can listen to one of those ads here.

The radio spot advertised McArthur Realty’s involvement in the Weathersfield Lake Quad Row Homes in Schaumburg that were being developed by Campanelli.  It came complete with membership in the Nantucket Club which gave owners access to the clubhouse, gameroom and swimming pool.

The realty office closed after Richard passed away in 1976.

Before Richard’s death however, he and Mary Ann were also very involved in community affairs. Richard was one of the first Schaumburg Jaycees and Mary Ann was a Jayceette. They helped put together The Shindig which was a predecessor of Septemberfest. Richard also served on the Schaumburg Kings board.

Mary Ann was busy with the Camp Fire Girls, Nathan Hale Elementary School and St. Marcelline Church. She served on several committees of the Nathan Hale PTA and in 1975-1976 was President. She said, “To celebrate our country’s 200th birthday, our PTA had a carnival and it was amazing the number of people who attended, and more amazing was the number of volunteers we had including fathers of the students who helped build booths and supplied the hard labor.  The number of donations we received from business owners was overwhelming…from lumber and nails to build the booths, food, beverages, to prizes for the games!”

Another branch of the McArthur family was also instrumental in the development of Schaumburg. Ray’s step-brother, Wayne, and his wife, Carol, moved to Schaumburg with the intent of establishing a Methodist church. Campanelli became aware of this situation and donated a house on Springinsguth Road to serve as both a temporary church and house for the McArthurs.

When their house on Sharon was finished, the congregation then began meeting in the Jennings house and, later, in The Barn. Our Redeemer’s United Methodist Church formally opened its doors in 1970 on the northwest corner of Schaumburg and Springinsguth Roads. The church remains there nearly 50 years later.

The beginnings of Schaumburg and Hoffman Estates were busy times. The many young families who moved to the area immediately got involved establishing businesses, organizations and churches. Multi-generational families such as the McArthurs were definitely unusual in the early days. Schaumburg Township benefited all the more because of the passion of Ray and Carmella, the younger Richard and Mary Ann, as well as Wayne and Carol. In fact, to this day, members of the McArthur family still call Schaumburg Township home. They have all been instrumental in raising Schaumburg into the village it would become.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Mary Ann Russell and her son, Scott McArthur, for contributing photos and information about the early days of Schaumburg. They came to talk to me in 2014 with their photos in hand and, about a month ago, passed on the radio ad and the restaurant menu. They had mentioned these items in their earlier visit and, the fact that they remembered four years later, is amazing.

Justin Teschner, who is a grandson of Wayne and Carol, also stepped in and contributed wonderful details about their family’s contributions. The McArthur family hasn’t stopped giving and it is appreciated!

















December 2, 2018

This charming little school at Schaumburg and Roselle Roads served as one of the five, one-room public schools in Schaumburg Township. It remained Schaumburg Centre school until January 1954 when students in the township began attending the newly built Schaumburg School on east Schaumburg Road.

When that happened, the school building entered its second phase and was rehabbed to accommodate a series of businesses. With its central location in the township, it was a prime spot for small businesses to get a start. As a result, for the next 26 years it housed everything from the R.I.C Delicatessen to a wrought iron store to three different realty agencies.

The photo below, taken in 1978 or 1979, was contributed by local realtor Bob Dohn when it was Koenig & Strey Realtors. The sign to the far left clearly shows a portion of the long time Koenig & Strey logo.

This realty agency was preceded by FBK Realty and Kole Real Estate. According to Mr. Dohn, “Kole Real Estate [was] a well-known local real estate company in the 1970s that was started by Robert Kole. When I worked in the building, Koenig & Strey was a well established, family-run firm from the north suburbs that made a foray into the northwest suburbs in the late 1970s.

As part of this move, they purchased FBK Realty, which still had operating offices in Mt. Prospect and Arlington Heights. I’m not sure whether Jack Keller retained ownership of the schoolhouse building or if the building and land were part of the acquisition, but K&S hired me to open their office there. Jack Keller remained active in the merged company until he passed away a short time later. Jack was a genuinely good person who was admired by eveyone, by the way.”

The office began operating in September 1978 according to a March 8, 1979 issue of the Daily Herald. Mr. Dohn said, “Koenig & Strey had plans to build a shopping center on the site, much like the current Schoolhouse Square that was later developed by Terry Bolger. The idea was to build the new center around the schoolhouse, then move our offices into the new space and donate the schoolhouse to the historical society, who were to move it to its current location by St Peter’s Lutheran Church.

Unfortunately, per my understanding at the time, the Village of Schaumburg wanted the schoolhouse moved to allow for the installation of a water detention area prior to any other construction taking place. As a result, we merged our Schaumburg staff into another K&S office in Palatine and the schoolhouse was moved to its temporary location.”

This site was across Schaumburg Road in Town Square. You can see the red school next to the pond in the photo below.

Mr. Dohn continued, “Before the shopping center was started, the real estate market saw record-breaking interest rates, heralding hard times for the real estate business. K&S shelved their building plans and eventually closed all their northwest suburban offices. After several mergers over the years, K&S today operates as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff.”

In a time when open commercial space was valuable, it is telling that three realty agencies took advantage of the real estate mantra “Location, Location, Location” and moved into our township’s centrally located, one room school. What a prime spot!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library



November 18, 2018

There is no Park Place and there is no Pennsylvania Avenue in Schaumburg but, in 1983, there was Hippo’s and Woodfield Lanes on a game called “Heritage of Schaumburg.”

It was based on the Parker Brothers’ Monopoly game, and featured an array of 46 businesses and governmental bodies. Moving your game piece around the board, it was possible to “land on” any one of these entities while playing.

Bill Tucknott, who has been an active participant on a number of Schaumburg’s different boards and commissions, shared the game with me. He and his family purchased the game when it was first introduced to the community.

In a December 23, 1981 article from the Janesville Gazette, it states that the game was “the brainchild of David A. Colbert, a young Oshkosh [WI] entrepreneur who is founder and president of Citigames of America Inc.” According to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institution’s website, the company was founded in 1980 and dissolved in 1993.

Mr. Colbert’s original game was for his hometown, the city of Oshkosh, WI. The company then began soliciting other cities and villages with the hope of designing similar games for towns across the country. The Schaumburg game was copyrighted in 1983 so it would have been one of the earlier games developed.

Based on the Janesville article, which detailed information on the Monroe, WI locale, the game cost $9.95. It was a laminated game board and was suggested for ages 6 to adult. It came with game pieces and money but, unfortunately, those were not to be found with this game. (The money would have been important since the prices of the property range from $1400 to $7600. Not the Monopoly game we’re all familiar with!)

It is quite an interesting to note the local businesses that were willing to contribute advertising money to the game’s developer in exchange for their appearance on the game board. Is it possible the amount they contributed was in correlation to their monetary spot on the board?

Below is a list of the businesses and governmental bodies that appeared on the board. We’ll begin with the Start spot and move around the board from there.

  • Woodfield Bank* (Located on the NW corner of Meacham and Higgins and founded in 1971 at Woodfield Mall.)
  • Kayhan International Limited
  • Moondog’s Comics
  • Collins Fireplace and Patio Shop
  • Sheraton Inn-Walden
  • Discount Sun Drugs
  • Petersen’s Auto Body, Inc.
  • Town Square Grog Shop (Established in 1970 and closed in 1994)
  • B.O.S.S. (Budde’s Office Supply Store, Inc.)
  • Roselle AMC/Jeep Renault
  • Schaumburg Cyclery, Inc.
  • Parks Beautify Community (Schaumburg Park District)
  • Colonial Chevrolet in Schaumburg
  • Hippo’s
  • Woodfield Ford
  • Family Pride Cleaners (In Schaumburg Plaza)
  • The Hobbyist
  • Schaumburg Security Services, Inc.
  • Woodfield Lanes (Established in 1980 and closed in 2001)
  • Joan’s Hallmark Card & Gift Shop
  • Ahlgrim Funeral Directors
  • Woodfield Realty* (Established in 1977 and named because “In Schaumburg, it’s Woodfield.”)
  • Damen Savings
  • SCAN (co-op contemporary furnishings)
  • Osco Drug
  • Dunn-Rite Car and Truck Rental
  • The Daily Herald
  • Jon E. Floria (Solicitor-Barrister)
  • Schaumburg Music Center* (Established by Francis G. Bowen in August 1973. Sold, repaired and rented musical instruments.)
  • STI (Schaumburg Tele-Communications)
  • Mike’s Body Shop
  • Kroch’s & Brentano’s
  • Schaumburg Park District
  • Muffler Magic Shoppe* (Mr. Spaeth opened his doors on January 1, 1982 with the intent to franchise many small shoppes.)
  • Schaumburg Dodge
  • NPS (Northwest Printing Service)
  • Computerland
  • Raycon Lamp & Lighting Gallery
  • Highland Cleaners
  • Ziebart
  • The Right Club
  • Stevens, Maloney Office Supplies
  • Weller’s Heating & Air Conditioning
  • Preferred Travel, Inc.
  • Marty’s (in Woodfield Lanes)

It’s obvious a number of the businesses such as Damen Savings, Woodfield Lanes, Kroch’s & Brentano’s, Hippo’s, Moondog’s Comics and SCAN no longer exist but there are definitely some that can still be found in Schaumburg or the area. Ahlgrim’s, Osco Drug, The Daily Herald and the Schaumburg Park District are the ones I recognize right off the bat as still being in business.

Those with an asterisk were highlighted in the directions for the “Heritage of Schaumburg” game. If you have any details regarding when any of these businesses opened and/or closed their doors, or if they merged or changed names, please leave a comment or send me an email. I’d be happy to update this blog posting.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


August 12, 2018

An ice rink in a mall? Where else but Woodfield?

Less than two months after the mall opened in September 1971, an ice skating rink was already being considered by mall management as a unique attraction for their customers.

As part of the Phase II construction, an additional 300,000 square feet of space was in the works. It would include Lord & Taylor, 30 retail shops and the skating rink. This would create another entire wing at Woodfield for the nearly full mall. Interestingly enough, at that time, the Taubman Company also operated additional skating rinks at some of its other malls in California!

Two years later, on August 16, 1973, the 2200 square foot, 75’x170′ skating rink opened. Tom Muru, a former Montreal junior hockey player, served as manager. Figure skating lessons for children 3 years through adults were given by Ice Follies performers Mike and Lois McMorran. Hockey lessons were also offered, and figure and hockey skating clubs were formed. Viewing windows between the mall and the rink allowed shoppers to watch the skaters. [Daily Herald; August 15, 1973]

Later advertisements that appeared in the March 17 and April 21, 1981 issues of the Daily Herald highlighted the fact that the Woodfield Ice Arena was the only indoor skating rink in the Chicago area located in a shopping center. Public skating sessions were offered every day of the year as well as classes. Lessons culminated that year in a gala Ice Show with a western theme. Potential skaters were encouraged to contact the rink’s manager, Bill Krzyston.

Other features at the time were men’s night, family night, ladies night and date night as well as Adult’s Coffee Club on Tuesday mornings. The Club featured a half hour lesson followed by coffee and donuts. In addition, they also advertised their group rates for all types of parties.

Unfortunately, the fun on the ice did not last much longer. In a Daily Herald article from September 3, 1984, it was announced that the Ice Arena would close on October 19 after 11 years in operation. The rink had been doing poorly for its last few years of operation so it was only a matter of time.

The large space, however, was too valuable to go unused for long. Less than a year later, the Woodfield Mall Theaters opened on June 21 and featured five new theaters run by Plitt Theaters. From a bright, wide open ice rink to five dark movie theaters, the venue definitely changed its theme in a matter of eight months!

The new screens opened with area premiers of five movies. Can you guess the names from these clues?

  1. A Disney film based on one of L. Frank Baum’s novels.
  2. Ron Howard’s wife, parents and brother all appeared in this movie.
  3. This horror movie featured a musician and an actress who welded by day and danced by night in her earlier breakout movie.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

The photo of the ice rink was used courtesy of the former Profile Publications of Crystal Lake.


April 15, 2018

Tucked away in the Friendship Village woods, there once stood a small dance pavilion and tavern.  It was called Herman-In-The-Woods and was appropriately named for its owner, Herman Somogi.

In 1928, Simon Strauss sold the property, with its dance pavilion, to Herman and his wife, Julia.  The pavilion structure, based on a loose description by oral historian Ralph Engelking, was a modest dance hall with a wooden floor and large shutters that swung up and opened the building to the nighttime air.

Before the Somogi’s ownership the area was called Schween’s Grove and was named for Ernest P. Schween, the original land grant owner of the property.  The grove had been used by local people as a bucolic picnic area and, at some point, a dance pavilion was erected on the property.  Mr. Engelking, who was born in 1922, remembered his parents going to the pavilion when he was a boy.

In an August 10, 1934 issue of the Cook County Herald, there is a mention that Herman Somogi of Palatine applied for a liquor license.  This was a year after prohibition ended and the Somogis were probably hoping to capitalize on the potential of a drinking establishment near the center of the township.  Mr. Engelking also mentioned that a barrel of beer could usually be found outside the pavilion for those wanting to quench their thirst on dance nights.

Judging by a small article in the Cook County Herald from August 9, 1940, it seems that the Somogis had built a new pavilion around that time.  “Miss Mildred Springinsguth and Mr. Fred Salge played a few tunes for a group of people who wanted to try the new dance hall in Schaumburg Grove.  A group consisting of local people find that the floor is marvelous for dancing.  Miss Springinsguth played her piano accordion and Fred Salge played his faithful concertina.”

Two days later on August 11, Mr. Somogi and Frank Sporleder, who lived on an adjoining farm, held the “first Schaumburg picnic” in the former Schween’s grove.  Music was provided by Heine’s orchestra with “usual picnic attractions.”  A week later it was reported in the August 16 issue of the Cook County Herald that the first annual picnic and dance was successful enough that Mr. Sporleder planned another picnic and dance for August 25.

The following year, according to a July 4, 1941 article, the Somogis started their picnic and dance season on the Fourth of July.  A month later, Mr. Somogi resurrected the Old Settlers Picnic which had been famous 30 years prior.  Again, Heine’s seven piece orchestra provided the music.

Unfortunately, during the entertainment, “a light fixture was stolen from the dining room.”  That last statement gives us an indication that sometime between the liquor license application in 1934 and the picnic in 1941, Herman and Julia moved from Palatine and built the combination tavern/home on the property that was discussed in a few of the oral histories. Another brief in 1941 confirms that there was a dining room on the premises when it mentions “those famous squab dinners for which Mrs. Somogi is so well known.”  (A squab is a young pigeon–similar in size but not taste–to a Cornish game hen.)

Based on a legal notice in the March 26, 1956 issue of the Daily Herald that reported an application of a liquor license, it appears that some time between 1941 and 1956, the Somogis changed the name of their establishment to the “Top Side Inn.”  Four years later, in another article on June 9, 1960, it is mentioned that “the village of Schaumburg’s most secluded tavern, The Topside Inn–more familiarly known to local residents as Herman-in-the-Woods–would soon be under new ownership.”  (Clearly the old name had remained popular.)

Bernard and Robena (or Roberta) Schnell of Chicago successfully applied for a liquor license and named the tavern, Barney’s Tap.  For five years they ran the tavern while living on the premises, until Mr. Schnell died on December 5 after suffering a heart attack at his home “above Barney’s Tap.”

A year later when the new, unnamed owners tried to apply for rezoning, the application was denied by the village of Schaumburg.  At some point, after the village was organized and the tavern area was incorporated, the village rezoned the area from commercial to residential.  Because the tavern was already established, it was grandfathered in.  As stated in an April 14, 1966 article in the Daily Herald, “President Robert O. Atcher pointed out that because of the special circumstances, once the tavern ceased operation, the property would automatically be restricted to residential use.”

Despite subdivision and hospital possibilities that were later suggested for the property–and did not come to fruition–it was Friendship Village that inevitably purchased the acreage. They opened their doors in 1977 behind the woods that contained the hidden dance hall and tavern.  And hidden it was.  It was virtually nonexistent in the May, 1959 phone book.  Mr. Somogi was listed, but not his establishment.  Not Herman-in-the-Woods.  Not The Topside Inn.  It was definitely a small part of our history that tried to go missing but did not succeed!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

Some of the information in this blog posting, as well as the photos of the concrete footings and the map of the tavern premises were provided by Herb Demmel in his document called The Ownership of Sarah’s Grove that can be found on the library’s Local History Digital Archive.  I thank him for his work!



March 18, 2018

For years it was called Maggy Magoo’s.  And before that it was known as The Homestead House.  It’s the house on the right and it was a home shoppe that offered a wide variety of home accessories, decorations, gifts and floral arrangements for a variety of occasions.  You can still find the building at 105 E. Schaumburg Road even though the business is gone.

The craftsman style bungalow was built in the late 1920’s by Louis and Hannah Schoenbeck who had farmed in Schaumburg Township after they married in 1897. Louis was born on a farm north of Arlington Heights and Hannah Freiberg was born in Germany and settled in Schaumburg with her parents.

After their marriage, as stated in Louis’ obituary, they lived on their farm for 31 years.  That farm was on the east side of Roselle Road, between Schaumburg and Wise Roads.  They must have rented for a time from the owners, H.C. and Wilhelmine Thies.  A record from the April 2, 1910 issue of The Economist:  A Weekly Financial, Commercial and Real Estate Newspaper states that Louis Schoenbeck purchased the 260 acres from Wilhelmine on March 21, 1910 for for $22,ooo.

While on the farm they raised their four children:  Henry, Minnie, Edward and Clara.  When they retired from farming in 1928, they bought some property in “downtown Schaumburg” and built the home you see here.  In addition they built the small barn that still exists, a chicken house and a smokehouse.  Their property line abutted the Panzer house which was due east and has since been updated and realigned to face west.

When Louis died a few years later in 1932, Hannah remained in the house with her son, Henry, until her death in 1951.  Henry then married Katie Wachman in 1954 and they resided in the house until his death in 1966.

At some point, between their marriage and Henry’s death, the couple either sold or gave a 1/2 acre parcel to the west of their house to Minnie and Arthur Flentge, his sister and brother-in-law.  They built a ranch home of their own on the property and lived there with their daughter Lorraine.  The Village of Schaumburg eventually purchased the property after the deaths of the elder Flentges, giving Lorraine joint tenancy until she no longer needed the home.  The home was subsequently torn down around 2015 and remains an open parcel.

Meanwhile, the Schoenbeck house and property to the east were sold around 1973 to Albert and Eleonore Manzardo.  They had begun a specialty carpet business in 1970 in Weathersfield Plaza called Homestead Carpet.  It eventually expanded to include interior design and other decorating services.  After purchasing the house, they moved their business there and operated as the Homestead House for a number of years, expanding to include an offshoot business called Country Oak.

The house/business space was later leased to Alan and Margy Bedyk in 1992 who changed the name to Maggy Magoo’s Country Accents and Gifts.  It operated as such until 2016.  In March 2018, a European coffee shop called KaffeeStube opened in the spot.

So, from the Schoenbecks to The Homestead House to Maggy Magoo’s to Kaffeestube, this house has stood for 90 years with its unique-for-the-area, craftsman style.  A little variety never hurts!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

Articles from the Chicago Tribune, March 26, 1995 and the Daily Herald, November 13, 1992 were used in the creation of this blog posting.  The obituaries of Louis, Hannah and Henry Schoenbeck were also very helpful.