Archive for the ‘Developments – Hoffman Estates’ Category

PARCEL B: HAVING FUN AT THEIR OUTDOOR PARTIES

June 12, 2016

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

Before there was a Hoffman Plaza at Roselle Rd between Golf and Higgins, there was a large weed filled prairie that served as the first outdoor party location for the early residents of Parcel B.  Following the 1955 development of the first homes in Parcel A just east of Roselle & Golf Rd, the development called Parcel B, was being built east of Roselle & Higgins Roads.  The new residents decided to get together every Saturday night  for fun and dancing in the weed filled prairie.

Weiner roast

I had a wonderful conversation with Shirley, one of the first residents of Parcel B, who  told me of the neighborhood fun they planned for the open prairie were Jewel now stands.  Now in her late 80s, she told of the happy times they all shared with their neighbors.  The men would begin gathering branches, twigs and any firewood they could find to get the fire hot enough for the sausages, hot dogs and burgers the women would bring out to the fire.  Salads of all kinds were part of the Saturday night get together.  Shirley especially remembered all the delicious cakes, each baker trying to outdo the other.

Cakes

Shirley kept telling me how much fun it was.  She told me this several times to emphasize how she loved those early days.  The kids and adults would get softball games going.  Later in the evening, with several of the men able to play musical instruments, dancing would begin.  Since there was no park district yet, this was their way of planning fun activities with what that had.  The empty prairie served the purpose.  She said that as the village grew, the Saturday night parties ended but the memories for her remain.

Shirley and her husband Howard started the first business in Hoffman Plaza.  It was a fabric and drapery shop.  Although I didn’t ask her, I would assume that the business did well with so many new homes needing drapes to cover the windows.

Shirley’s husband knew Jack Hoffman, who encouraged them to come out to the town that he was developing and start a new life for themselves.  They took his advice and came to Hoffman Estates those many years ago.  Shirley, now a widow, still lives in the same house that she and Howard purchased in 1956.  She still calls her part of town “Parcel B” as other early residents still do.  Her plans are to live out her life in the town she loves.  Thanks for the memories Shirley.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian
Eagle2064@comcast.net

MOVING IN TO A BEAUTIFUL NEW HOME IN HOFFMAN ESTATES

May 8, 2016

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

The winter is over and many of us are looking forward to the grilling season but I can’t help thinking about how different life was in the winters of the 1960s.  With only one car to rely on, walking to the nearest grocery store was almost a daily routine.  A & P was a few block away on Higgins Rd. or a longer walk would take you to the National at Golf & Roselle.  Either way you had to plan for the walk home with the bags of groceries.  With three kids in tow, especially with snow on the ground, it wasn’t easy getting home.   But that was how many of us did it.

CleveportOur homes seemed so big, compared to the apartment living we left behind.  Storage wasn’t a problem; many of us put the things in the garage and for some, it is still there.  Shifting stuff in the garage was how you got the snow blower out, if you were lucky enough to have one.  Those in Parcel A didn’t even have a garage, only a covered carport.  Many homeowners closed it in shortly after they moved in.

Over the years, our homes got smaller as the family grew and new technology helped us get more stuff. The kitchen especially comes to mind.  F & S Construction thought they were building homes with a nice size kitchen.  But new gadgets were taking up room in all the cabinets.  Do you remember how a cutting board and a sharp knife did the work of chopping the veggies for dinner?  Now I have a food processor that doses all that and more.  Gone is the large cast iron frying pan for the oversized electric fry pan.  Steamers, rice cookers, pressure cookers and the k-cup coffee machine have filled my kitchen that once seemed just fine.  Cooking dinner means I have to search in the closet, crawl under the bed or hunt in the pantry for all those special appliances and gadgets that I thought I couldn’t live without.

My home was built in 1960 and F & S could’ve put in more electric outlets if they had only known what we would have to plug in in 2016.  Cell phones (all those little antennas on the old water tower keep us connected) Nocks, iPads, computers, printers, monitors not to mention the battery chargers that help us with what we don’t have to plug in.   The cords that go with the equipment can never be found when you really need them either.

Life was sure different back in the 60s.  Life was not so hectic or so connected.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian
eagle2064@comcast.net

THE FIRST CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS OF F & S CONSTRUCTION/HOFFMAN HOMES

January 10, 2016

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the December 2015 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

Curved side 2

 

In the spring of 2016, the building located at 1070 N. Roselle Rd. will be torn down to make way for a McDonald’s Restaurant. The building has been the home to many different businesses since it was constructed in 1971. It was constructed by Hoffman Homes, previously F & S Construction, the builders of Hoffman Estates. It was built as the first corporate headquarters in the town that had been named for the Hoffman family. They moved into their new headquarters in 1972.

Jack Hoffman, president of Hoffman Homes, didn’t want to build just homes. He wanted to build a complete community. First and foremost, he wanted to build homes that the returning World War II vets could afford. He knew the town would need shopping and office space, apartments and schools and places to have fun.

The homes started going up in 1955 with Parcel A, then across Higgins to Parcel B in 56 & 57. Twinbrook and Fairview Schools were the first of many schools in the newly developed neighborhoods. Conant High School, the first to be built in Schaumburg Township, was built in 1964.

Shopping was needed and Hoffman Plaza at Roselle Rd. between Golf and Higgins, opened in 1959 with a Jewel Food Store, much awaited by the community that had to travel to Roselle or Palatine to shop. A Walgreens Agency Drug Store (Snyder’s) doctor’s offices and other retail stores quickly filled the Plaza.

To continue the plan for a complete community, F & S. Construction built the Golf Rose Shopping Center across from Hoffman Plaza in 1963. Grant’s Department Store, National Tea Grocery Store and the Buttery Bakery were some of the much awaited new additions to the growing town. The Thunderbird Movie Theater came along a few years later. It was in this shopping center that F & S Construction, now known as Hoffman Homes, chose to build its first corporate headquarters in 1971.

Front facade

In doing my research, I had the privilege of talking with Harry Buck, the project manager for F & S Construction. He built the Golf Rose Shopping Center and later constructed the 1070 corporate headquarters. Harry is 90 years old and remembered so much about the building. He told me that it was built without any corners. He recalled calling it the castle since it had a ramp entrance with what looked like a moat below. When I talked with Buz & Ed Hoffman, Jack’s sons, about the building, they remembered calling it the submarine. Everyone was sad to hear that it would soon be gone.

Water tower view

Harry reminded me that the Medcoa building & apartments at Higgins & Grand Canyon along with the bowling alley were also built by F & S/Hoffman Homes as part of their plan for a complete community. It was great talking to the man who had actually built the 1070 Roselle building.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian
Eagle2064@comcast.net

BIKING THE STREETS OF HOFFMAN ESTATES

November 9, 2014

Bicycle from ENGLAND

 

 

This is a prize of a picture that was sent to me by Daniel Sedory, one of the blog’s followers.  It is a great representation of 1960’s Hoffman Estates complete with new bike, old car from the 1950s and brand new houses along Bode Road.

It is obvious the photo was taken to highlight the new bike which, according to Daniel, was given to him by his parents in 1966 or ’67.  It was manufactured in England and was a 3-speed with the shifter on the right handle bar on top.  It was black and, as a result, Daniel referred to it as “Black Beauty.”  He remembers how quiet the bike was and remembers riding around the neighborhood after dark–and sometimes after curfew–without making a sound.  “Occasionally I’d be able to ride right up behind some kid my age on the sidewalk, say “Hi” and scare them cuz I’d been so quiet.”

The bike came from a bike store on Roselle Road and the day Daniel picked up the bike he rode it home.  Thinking the store might be Bike Connection just north of the intersection with Golf Road–and knowing it had been there awhile–I stopped by and talked to owner, Rick Johnson.  He said the store opened in the early 1970s so that notion fell through.  It might be possible that one of this blog’s readers remembers the bike store it might have been?

The backdrop of the photo then leads us to a car that looks to be from the 1950s.   I wasn’t too sure about the make and model until one of our readers told me it was a 1952 Mercury Custom sedan.  It looks neat sitting in the background.

And, then there’s the new houses that surround both the car and the bicycle.  According to Daniel, the photo was taken outside of, what was then, 290 Bode Road.  The Sedory’s were the first owners when this house was built in 1960.  This area of Hoffman Estates is part of the Parcel C development that was constructed by F & S Construction.   Curb and gutter have been installed along the streets and the grass is growing quite nicely but the tree is not yet mature.  It is still a very new street.

All in all it is a neat juxtaposition between new and old–and a great photo of early Hoffman Estates.  Thank you to Daniel for passing it on with so many details included.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

My thanks to Rick Johnson at Bike Connection for providing me with details on the bike as well as the logo.  His helpfulness helped advance the story you read here.

 

JACK HOFFMAN: DEVELOPER OF HOFFMAN ESTATES

September 9, 2012

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the August 2012 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

Last week I wrote a piece on Louis Menke, the first major builder of early Schaumburg Township.   As it sometimes serendipitously happens, Pat wrote her August column on Jack Hoffman of F and S Construction Co. who built early Hoffman Estates.  I think you’ll see he, like Menke, was definitely a busy man.       

Jack Hoffman was the developer of Hoffman Estates.  He gave his name to the town he built.  Although he and his dad Sam built their first homes in Phoenix to provide homes for the returning GIs, he was always proud of the village that bore his name.

Recently a story in the Neighbor section of the Daily Herald dated 6/26/12 told of the generous gift made by Jack’s daughter Robbie and her husband Scott, to the Jewish Community Center’s “Jews in Blues” program at the Great Lakes Recruit Training Center in honor of her dad’s memory.

Jack’s Russian born parents, Sam and Anna Hoffman, escaped religious persecution and fled to the United States.  Jack knew firsthand how precious freedom was and joined the Navy in World War II.  He trained at Great Lakes and served as a signalman on Navy oil tankers and learned some German along the way. Being Jewish, from time to time throughout his life he experienced discrimination.  He grew up in Chicago but moved to Phoenix where he and his father Sam built affordable housing for the returning GIs.  Their construction company was F & S Construction Company and later it became Hoffman Rosner and then Hoffman Homes.

He didn’t just build homes in Hoffman Estates, he built a community. As part of his planned community he built Hoffman Plaza and Golf Center shopping areas, the Thunderbird Movie Theater (now Royal Buffet) the Hoffman Bowling Alley, the Medco office complex and adjacent apartment buildings. As the homes were completed in parcel A, B, C, D, the Highlands and Highlands West so were the schools.  Twinbrook, Fairview, Hoffman, Blackhawk, Lakeview, Hillcrest and Churchill were built by Jack Hoffman with donated land and materials that totaled $1,246,000.  The Hammerstein Farm property was also donated to the Hoffman Estates Homeowners Association and the farm house became our first village hall and police department when we incorporated in September, 1959.

In the Chicagoland area Hoffman Rosner/Hoffman Homes built the communities of Butterfield, Lincoln Hill, Foxcroft in DuPage county and Southdale in southern Cook County as well as Churchill in Schaumburg. They built homes in Salt Lake City, Cleveland and Denver.

A testimonial dinner was given by the City of Hope on February 12, 1966 to award the Torch Of Hope to Jack Hoffman “fund raiser extraordinaire” for his contributions to help research in catastrophic diseases such as cancer and leukemia.  Jack was a compassionate and generous man.

The memorial donation made by Robbie and Scott Schreiber to the Great Lakes Recruit Training Center will ensure that the JCC programs will continue to provide kits “which contain prayer books, ritual objects, music and meditations that recruits can use once they’re deployed to maintain connections to Jewish practice”.  Also “JCC will provide weekly Shabbat programming, holiday services and the opportunities for Jewish learning and exploration.”  What a fitting memorial for the father of our village.

Jack Hoffman passed away in December of 2008.  I was just getting to know him and had so many questions to ask him, just as a historian should.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian
Eagle2064@comcast.net