Archive for the ‘Families’ Category


May 20, 2017

Schaumburg Center schoolThe Schaumburg Township Historical Society will sponsor an open house of the Schaumburg Center School on Sunday, May 27, 28 and 29, 2017.  The open houses will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  The schoolhouse is located on the St. Peter Lutheran Church property.

Constructed in 1872–and first called Sarah’s Grove School, it is believed to have been the first of five public schools in Schaumburg Township. It was later renamed Schween’s Grove School and called Schaumburg Centre Public School until 1954. For 82 years, the building served as a one-room schoolhouse, and was the last active one room schoolhouse in District 54.

With the widening of Schaumburg Road, the building was saved from demolition and temporarily placed on the grounds of the Town Square Shopping Center in 1979. It was permanently relocated to the St. Peter Lutheran Church property in September, 1981. It has been fully restored as a museum and is under the auspices of the Schaumburg Township Historical Society.



November 6, 2016

Every once in a while I receive a photo that is difficult–or maybe impossible–to identify.  In this case a local gentleman dropped off two photos with the hopes of giving them a good home since they do not depict any of his family members.  The photo of the twin baby girls had names on the back and was easy enough for him to confirm.  But the other one, a confirmation photo of a young lady, has been a struggle.  The photographer on the photo is Mosser from Palatine so, clearly, the young lady is a local girl.

Here’s where it gets interesting though.  The photo, oddly enough, has two names on the back.  They are “Milly Mess” and “Helena Mueller.”  They are written in two different handwritings and in two different colors of ink, with Milly’s name more in the center of the photo.


Where to start?  Recognizing the Mess surname, I contacted a member of the family who, indeed, acknowledged her aunt was Emilie (Quindel) Mess or “Millie” for short.  Emilie was born on May 14, 1889 in Schaumburg to Charles and Caroline (Busche) Quindel.  According to confirmation records for St. Peter Lutheran Church, Emilie was confirmed in 1902 around the time she turned 13.  Given the length of the dress in this photo, it is quite probable this photo is from that time period.

Millie married Otto Mess at age 21, eight years after the confirmation photo was taken.  Below is a  photo we have of Millie in our Local History Digital Archive.  She is clearly older than the young lady in the confirmation photo.  Do the two photos depict the same young lady?   The dates for Millie certainly align with the confirmation photo.


Information for the other young lady took a bit more effort to track down.  Mueller can be spelled so many ways in government and church records–Muller, Miller, etc.  I tried the census for the years 1900-1920 and did not have any luck.  I also tried variations on the first name–Helena, Helen, Helene, etc.  I then tried a simple search of Helena Mueller in the Daily Herald and bingo!

There was a reference in an obituary to Helena (Mueller) Heine.  Additional obituaries  mentioned that she was married to Oscar Heine.  With such a distinctive first and last name, I tried searching for him on and there he was.  And his wife?  Rosa Helene “Helena” Muller Heine.  With a photo included on the page!  I’d obviously hit the bonanza.  And I’ll be darned if she didn’t look very similar to our young lady in the photo above.


The problem is that Helena was born February 17, 1882 in Germany. In talking to the descendant who posted the photo and data on, I was told that Helena was confirmed in 1897 and came to the United States with her husband and son after marrying in 1905.  The photo above was taken in 1905 when she was 22 or 23, probably around the time she married.   Given her time frame and all of these details, it’s very unlikely that she is the young lady.

So, the mystery remains.  Is it Millie?  Or more remotely, is it a relative of Helena?  Taking a bit of a closer look at the confirmation photo, it looks like the girl’s nose tilts downwards.  Millie’s nose does the same thing.  Helena’s seems to tilt upwards.  However, the young lady’s hair appears to have some wave and curl to it just like Helena’s.    In the confirmation photo, the young lady looks more sedate and relaxed.  Millie looks more tense and staunch in her photo while Helena has the same relaxed expression as our mysterious young lady.

Until someone comes forward with another copy of the photo it appears we cannot definitively identify the young lady.  Whoever she is, her mother must have lovingly sewed her dress–and ironed it!–for the occasion.  It’s probably a safe bet that those are new shoes too.  Confirmation was a special moment in a young Lutheran girl’s life and it would be a shame to leave her unidentified.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

The photo of Helena is used courtesy of the contributor to Helena Heine’s listing.  My thanks to C. Debenport for posting the photo and passing on more info about Helena.  She shared wonderfully researched information with me as I created this blog posting.



January 31, 2016

In April 2011 I wrote a blog posting about the large wedding between Fred Pfingsten and Emma Rohlwing that occurred on September 3, 1903.  It was quite an event, and was so big and festive that it was written up in the Chicago Inter Ocean magazine.  That accounting has stood the test of time and continues to pop up in the German history of Schaumburg Township.

However, while doing a bit of research I recently stumbled on yet another large wedding that occurred just two years later in 1905.  Mr. Henry Lichthardt and Miss Lucy Oltendorf were united in marriage at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Schaumburg Township at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 7, 1905.  (Notice it wasn’t a Saturday or even a weekend day!)

The wedding was a three day event and so big it was reported in not only the Palatine Enterprise but the Duluth News-Tribune, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Freeport Daily Journal, Sandusky Star Journal and Oakland Tribune to name a few.  Clearly, word got around.

Both the bride and groom each had four attendants at the 11:00 A.M. service:  Fred Lichthardt, Della E. Oltendorf, Louis Oltendorf, Martha Rohlwing, Louis Nerge, Sarah Schunemann, Edward Leiseberg and Alma Lichthardt.  The bride wore a blue silk dress trimmed in Battenburg lace and carried a bouquet of “bride’s roses” while her bridesmaids were dressed in white and carried pink roses.  Interesting how over the years the color of the dresses has reversed.  (Unfortunately, we do not have a wedding photo of the bride and groom.  The following photos were extrapolated from a larger photo from the Pfingsten collection.)

Lucy Lichthardt



Henry Lichthardt

After the service, a long procession of carriages carried the wedding party, family and guests to the home of the groom’s parents, Johann and Engel Lichthardt.  Their farm was two miles south of the church and the gaily decorated carriages that stretched for a mile must have been a sight.  One team of horses “was literally covered with gay plumes and rosettes of fancy ribbons.”  They were led by the Bartlett Blue Ribbon Band in a wagon pulled by a 4-horse team.  This was followed by the bride’s wagon carrying the wedding party, and also drawn by a 4-horse team.  Five more rigs carrying the flower girls and additional family members were next in the procession.  (Below is an example of a local wedding procession that took place in 1909.)

Horses and buggies

Henry and Lucy invited over 250 families–which equaled nearly 1000 relatives and friends.  Four large tents were erected in order to accomodate a buffet meal, dining, cards and dancing.  Mrs. Hartmann was the caterer and oversaw the cooking while other ladies from the township helped serve the meals.  The food on hand included:  1200 pounds of meat, five barrels of sauerkraut, 160 pounds of head cheese (a type of sliced cold cut that includes bits of pork jelled with a delicious broth and firmed in a mold), three tubs of potato salad, 50 kegs of beer and 100 gallons of gooseberry shrub.  This latter item was also served at the Rohlwing/Pfingsten wedding and, according to one of the commenters below, seems to have been a drink that was possibly fermented.

The dining tent could hold 150 people while the card tent was set up with tables for games of pinochle. The dancing tent was 50×80 feet and covered with a smooth dancing floor specially laid for the occasion.  The Bartlett Blue Ribbon Band proved its worth yet again by providing the music for the dancers.

Yet another piece of enjoyment for the bride and  groom was the opportunity to take a ride in a new 25 horsepower automobile driven to the festivities by Louis Althen, president of the Elgin Brewing Company.  He gave them a ride at top speed around the township.

Obviously, not everyone could fit in the tents so the large lawn of well mown grass and the orchard provided other relaxing options for the many guests.  By all accounts the weather was gorgeous and in full cooperation for the three days.  Who could ask for anything more?

Mr. and Mrs. Lichthardt began their married life at a new house on their 140 acre farm.  Love must have been in the air during those three days in September 1905 because Mrs. Licthardt’s sister, Della, married Mr. Licthardt’s brother, Fred, a mere one year later on November 1, 1906!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

[Accountings used in the writing for this blog posting came from the September 7, 1905 Duluth News-Tribune and the September 8, 1905 Palatine Enterprise.]



February 10, 2013

Every once in a while descendants of some of our German farm families will pass on their unidentified photos with the hope that someone can put a name(s) to the people in the photo.  I post these photos on the the Schaumburg Township District Library’s Digital Archive in the hopes that another family member may own the photo and can help us out.

Sunderlage albumI now have a collection of these photos for three families–the Meyer, Panzer and Sunderlage families.  How do I know these photos pertain to the individual family?  I can’t be absolutely certain but the family member or interested party has usually had the photos for a while.  They can either put a name to some of the faces or the photos are clumped with others from the family.

For instance, the Meyer photos were passed on to me by someone who tracks Schaumburg Township genealogy.  A gentleman from the Meyer family knew of the genealogist’s work and gave him a photo album which he, in turn, passed on to me.  The Panzer photos were shared with me by a member of the Panzer family who had the photos in her possession and was hoping someone, anyone, would help her with the identifications.  As far as the  Sunderlage photos go—these were passed on by the Sunderlage House Archives of the Hoffman Estates Historical Sites Commission.

Meyer albumThe Meyer photos consist of three newly married couples from the early 1900s, one child, a young man, two young women and four confirmation photos of 13-14 year-old young ladies in their white confirmation dresses.  The wedding photos show the brides in white dresses—something that didn’t happen until after the turn of the century.

The Panzer photos consist of five individual children, two sibling photos (one with five siblings dressed in their finest), three wedding photos, an older couple, a young lady, five confirmation photos of 13-14 year-old young ladies and one confirmation photo of a 13-14 year-old young man.Meyer album 2

The Sunderlage photos have fewer children and all appear to be taken in the 1800s.  They consist of two individual children, two photos of the same man that appear to to have been taken on the same day, one young woman, one young man, one mature woman, a sibling photo with a boy and two girls, a possible wedding photo of  Herman and Catharine (Rustman) Sunderlage and, lastly, a somewhat unique photo of August E. Sunderlage with three other men who might be family or might be friends.  It’s a bit on the dark side but it’s an intriguing photo.  (See it above)

I have posted some of the photos here but the bulk of them are on the library’s Local History Digital Archive.  If you are a family member and curious or have never paid a visit to the Digital Archive, start here.

You can navigate to the photos by the following path:
>Browse Photos
>Go to the individual folders for the families.  You will see thumbnails of the photos and can click on each of them to increase the size.

If you are a family member and can make an identification, please contact me at  I’d love to be able to move that photo to another folder—and report the change back here.

Or, take a look around and see if anything else catches your eye.  Maybe you have photos that we could add to the Digital Archive?  We are always looking for anything related to Schaumburg Township with no limit on the date.  History is history.  Businesses, homes, events, people, dignitaries–we’re interested in it all.  Contact me at the above email address if you have something you’d like to share.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


December 2, 2012

In 1899, eight-year-old Marie Quindel of Schaumberg, Ill’s was given this small keepsake album.  The intent was that her friends and family could record messages for her to remember them by.  Some of the messages are in English.  Some are in German.  Almost all of them rhyme and give advice.  Many include beautiful, small cutouts of flowers and fruit that were pasted onto the pages.   Marie, herself, put her name on the inside cover along with the older spelling of Schaumburg and the curious abbreviation of Illinois.  It is interesting to note that the spelling of Schaumburg varies throughout the book.

Here, though, are some of those sweet messages:

Dear Marie:  Strife to keep the golden rule, and learn your lessons well at school.  Your sister, Sophia.  Schamburg Ill’s, Jan. 14, 1901

Dear Marie:  When sitting sad and lonely and think you are unloved, remember O remember there is a friend above.  Ever your friend, Alma S. Nerge.

Dear Marie:  Down in the valley there is a rock and on it is written forget me not.  Your friend, Annie Mess.  Schaumberg Ill’s, Aug. 20, 1902

Dear Cousin:  Tis sweet to be remembered.  Tis sad to be forgot.  And you my dearest schoolmate, forget, forget me not.  Your cousin, Arthur Quindel.  Schaumburg, Ill, Jan. 10th, 1906

Dear Marie:  Summer may change for winter.  Flowers may fade and die, but I shall ever love thee while I can have a sigh.  From your friend, Louise E. Fiene.  Feb. 12, 1904

Dear Marry,  My love to you shall never fail as long as kitty has a tail.  From your friend, Emma Nerge.  Jan. 15, 1903

Dear Mary, When you are old and can not see, put  on your specks and think of me.  Fred W. Porep.  March 11th, 1906

Dear Sister:  Labor for learning before you grow old, for learning is better than silver or gold.  For silver or gold may vanish away but a good education will never decay.  Your sister Emilie.  Jan. 28, 1909

Dear Marie:  O think of me when far away and absent from my sight and I will do the same by you with pleasure and delight.  Remember me when time is fled and I am murmerd [?] with the dead.  Your true friend Alma Panzer.  Schaumberg Ill, Feb. 8th, 1904

Some of the others who wrote messages to her in German are:  C. Meinke, Alma Lichthardt, and Hermina Rohlwing.

Young Marie was born in 1891 in Schaumburg to Charles and Caroline “Lina” (Busche) Quindel.   Her five siblings were:  Sophia, Henry, Emilie, Wilhelmine, and Alvine.   She was christened, confirmed and married in St. Peter Lutheran Church in Schaumburg.  She married Benjamin Meyer in 1914 and they had one child.  Their farm spanned Higgins Road just west of the intersection with Golf in today’s Hoffman Estates.  Her husband died in 1962 and Marie died at the age of 90 in 1981.

It is always interesting to have these little treasures come across my desk.  Holding the album in my hands and looking at the neat script of the writers, I think of Marie and wonder what made her ask her friends and family to record their sayings over such an extended period of time—from 1901 to 1909.  Whatever the reason, it was obviously a prized possession since it was kept over such a long life.  Thank you to the Hoffman Estates Museum for sharing.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


September 2, 2012

This house is probably familiar to all who live in Schaumburg Township.  It is unique for its Queen Anne style and the time period in which it was built.  With its distinctive turret, the house can be found at 17 East Schaumburg Road in Schaumburg.

It was built in 1901 by Louis Menke who lived there with his wife, Eliesa “Lizzie” (Pelletier) Menke and their children Meta, Edwin, Frank, Herbert, Arthur and Louis.  Over the years he made a number of improvements to the house and some of these were documented in early versions of the Daily Herald.  

For instance, in 1905, Louis was one of a number of residents of the township to get telephone service in his house.  The year 1915 was a big year for renovations.  The March 5 edition says, “Louis Menke has been busy excavating his cellar to install a furnace.”  This is followed by the April 23 edition that says, “Louis Menke is improving his premises by laying of cement walks; he also had his barn raised and placed on a cement foundation.”

It is presumed Louis built this house as a showplace for his construction skills because, in the following two decades, he quickly became one of THE contractors for Schaumburg Township and the surrounding area.  Some of the buildings are still in existence and it is possible to note how varied the styles are.  It is obvious, too, how skilled Mr. Menke was.

Listed below are entries from versions of the Daily Herald, Genesis of a Township by Marilyn Lind and personal accountings by local residents.  It should also be noted that two of Mr. Menke’s grandchildren noted in their oral history that he built many of the barns in Schaumburg Township.

1901      The home of Otto H. and Emilie (Meyer) Becker in Roselle on Prospect
Street.  According to their granddaughter, LaVonne Presley, “it was the first home in Roselle to have running water.  Otto sold windmills and water tanks.  He had a windmill constructed between the house and barn.  The water was pumped into a tank and the water flowed down to the kitchen and bathroom.  They also had the first septic field in Roselle.”

August 29, 1903 Herald     “Louis Albrecht has built a nice new house on his farm. Of course the job is O. K. because be had first-class workmen.  Henry Meyer and Son did the mason work; Louis Menke was the carpenter and Fred Kun? is the painter.”

1904 (Genesis of a Township)     ‘St. Peter Lutheran Church steeple.  On July 11 lightning struck the wooden steeple of the church on Schaumburg Road.  Menke was paid $891 to rebuild it.”

September 1, 1905 Herald    “Louis Menke built a new machine shed on Henry Thies’ place.”

October 20, 1905 Herald     “Louis Menke has finished H. Volkening’s new residence which looks up-to-date.”

December 8, 1905 Herald     ” Chas. Wsthager has bought of Schauble & Becker a 12-hp. gas engine to run his feed mill, corn shredder, pump water, etc.  Louis Menke built a new house for the machine.”

February 9, 1906 Herald     “Louis Menke has finished the new store and John Fenz & Son have already filled it full of hardware.  Watch for their grand opening.”  [This store was the remodeled Quindel Hotel that was on the southeast corner of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads.]

March 6, 1906 Herald     “Henry Oltendorf had a bee this week.  Many neighboring farmers helped haul material for his fine new house and barn to be built on the Dr. Miner farm.  He has let the contract to Louis Menke for $7000 to furnish material and build same complete.  Buildings cost money these days.”

June 22, 1906 Herald     “Louis Menke has drawn plans for a fine, new house, to cost over $3,000, to be built by Wm Wille at Mt Prospect for Conrad Bartels, as a present to his daughter and son-ill law, Wm. Hulke and famly, who will move there from Chicago.”

July 7, 1906 Herald     “Henry Oltendorf’s new barn, 36×86—16 with 8’ft. concrete basement and hip roof was raised Tuesday. Contractor Louis Menke with a large force of willing helpers had the frame up before dinner; then all hands took bold and boarded.”

February 22, 1907 Herald     “L. Wilkening had the former H.C. Bartels farm, barn fixed up by L. Menke.  A renter will soon take possession.”

Genesis of a Township (In 1910)    “The contract to build [Farmers Bank of Schaumburg] was given to Louis Menke for $7900 and the building was ready for business in October.”  [This bank was built on the NE corner of Schaumburg and Roselle Road next to the Fenz house which still stands today.]

October 4, 1912 Herald     “Louis Menke is busy with his force of men finishing houses.  Fenz and Oltendorf’s are nearly completed.”  [The Fenz house still stands across the street from the Turret house and is pictured here.  The Oltendorf house was further east on the same side of Schaumburg Road.]

December 4, 1914 Herald     “Quite a number from here attended the dedication of the new church in Bloomingdale built by Louis Menke.  The congregation can certainly be proud of the new edifice as it is a credit to the community.”  [This is the  St. Paul Evangelical Church on First Street.  The cornerstone was laid March 29, 1914.]

March 12, 1915 Herald     “Louis Menke is rebuilding Wm. Gieseke’s residence.”

February 9, 1917 Herald     “Henry W. Moehling has the material on the ground for a new barn 36×80-10 with a 8 ft. concrete and brick basement on the old Jones place one mile south of Arlington Heights.  Louis Menke and John Clausing are the builders.”

July 16, 1920 Herald     Louis Menke and carpenter crew are busy building a large Dairy barn in Schaumburg.

December 2, 1921 Herald     “The new school in Hanover township cost about $7,000.00 complete.  Louis Menke & Son had the contract for this building. Contract amounted to $4,650.00, balance was donated by district. The building was designed by Edwin Menke and the board of directors.  Size of building 37×39 ft.  Brick veneer construction.  Size of school room 24×37 ft. Well ‘lighted by windows, equal to one fifth of floor space. Has basement under the whole building. Hot air furnace and a good well in basement. It has a good ventilating system inspected and approved by
state inspector.”  [There were nine one-room schoolhouses in Hanover Township.  It is unknown which one this was.  The fact that it was brick makes it somewhat unique.]

On October 7, 1917 Louis and Lizzie Menke celebrated their daughter, Meta’s  wedding to Arthur Thiemann by holding the reception in the small barn that is still on the Turret House property today.  The Thiemann’s children recalled that their parents told them of the corn shocks and other fall adornments that made the building look special for the reception.

Three years later in 1920, news reached the newspaper that Mr. Menke and his family were selling their “fine home” to Henry Moehling from Arlington Heights and moving to 482 Chicago St. in Elgin “where his boys will have a better chance for employment and education.”  And, unfortunately, that’s about the time the mentions of any Menke area construction stopped in the newspaper.  Fortunately, he and his skills left the area a wealth of buildings.  We’re very lucky some of them still exist today.

The home was later sold in 1924 to John and Wilhelmina Wille.  Upon Mr. Wille’s death, the house was passed on to their daughter and her husband, Emil and Elsie Trost.   Subsequent owners were Frederick Reis and Martin Miller.   Later the house was purchased by the Lou Malnati’s chain.  The house then became the property of the village of Schaumburg in 2010 in a property swap with the pizza chain.  It now serves as offices for the village’s Health and Human Services department.

The photo of  Evangelical St. Paul Church in Bloomingdale is gratefully used with the consent of the Bloomingdale Historical Society. 

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library



April 22, 2012

In 1943 Frank and Loie Wiley were living in Oak Park with their young boys, Robert and Donald.  Mr. Wiley was president and owner of Reproduction Products, a blueprint manufacturing plant on Damen Avenue in Chicago.  Having grown up in rural Earlville, IL, Mr. Wiley was eager to move away from the big city life and look for something rural.  That same year a real estate agent introduced them to a farm in Schaumburg Township.

Located off of Plum Grove Road in northern Schaumburg Township, the 80-acres was across from today’s Motorola campus.  When the Wileys moved there in 1944 they named the farm Spring Creek for the creek that runs through the property.  They continued farming with the help of a farm manager.  (According to a Paddock Publications article of February 4, 1954, the manager was Melvis Mossman.)  Most of the acreage was used to grow soybeans, corn and wheat or oats.  Their boys, with the help of the farm manager, raised purebred Yorkshire hogs and enjoyed showing them at fairs and other exhibitions.   Later they switched to the breeding and raising of sheep instead of hogs.  In addition, the boys had a pony and a few horses.  They were able to run the horses on a small racetrack that was on the farm when they purchased it.

The farmhouse was nearly 100 years old when they moved in, except for the large living room addition that had been added on by the prior owner.  They began planting fruit trees on the property so that the bounty could be canned and frozen by Mrs. Wiley.  She also kept a large rose garden and English-style garden where she grew a mixture of annuals and perennials.  And, unlike many of the gentleman farmers of the period, the Wileys lived there year round and sent their sons to elementary and high school in Palatine.

The Wileys were socially active in the township and blended well with both longtime German farmers like their neighbors, the Freises, and other newcomers to the area like the Atchers.  Mrs. Wiley became active in the Palatine Woman’s Club and served in many capacities, including president.  Countless mentions in editions of the Herald talk of the dinners, get togethers and functions that the Wileys attended.  (The photo to the right shows the NE corner of the Wiley property at Plum Grove and Wiley Road.  Notice Motorola in the background.  That was the farm and property of their good friends, the John Freise’s.)

In the words of Mrs. Wiley, in a Chicago Tribune article of October 6, 1974, “It was a good place to bring up our two boys.  We had 10 good years here before it [development] came.”  Not ones to sit idly by and wait for things to happen,  the Wileys jumped right in when the development started and became part of the movement that built up both the village and the township of Schaumburg.

Mr. Wiley began his public service when he became a board member of the newly formed Schaumburg Township School District 54 in 1952.  Following the detachment from District 250, Mr. Wiley, along with other members, Albert Straub, William Greve, Herbert Buesching, Palmer S. Carlson and Paul Engler, oversaw the 1953 construction of a much needed, modern school on Schaumburg Road, east of St. Peter Lutheran Church.  Simply called Schaumburg School, this building now serves as the technology offices of District 54.  (Pictured below are school board members and trustees standing at the site of the new school.  Mr. Wiley is second from left.)

As it became increasingly clear that the formation of a village would be necessary to handle the development that was beginning, Mr. Wiley put his hat in the ring in 1956 to run as board member for the new village of Schaumburg.  With President Louis Redeker, Clerk Sara Meginnis and other board members, William Frank, Ellsworth Meineke, Phillip Mueller, Walter Slingerland Jr. and Herman Winkelhake, Jr., the first village board was elected.  Three years later in 1959, Robert Atcher took the place of Louis Redeker and the village board began, in earnest, the busy process of creating their local government and village.  As Mr. Wiley said in a Sept. 8, 1968 article in the Chicago Tribune, “I didn’t want development, but now I find myself outselling Schaumburg just like Bob.”

Whether fortuitous or not, it was also this year that Mr. Wiley sold his plant in Franklin Park.  Having looked for property to start another business, Mrs. Wiley said in a July 29, 1965 article from the Herald, “We looked all over for space.  In Elk Grove Village, in Palatine, in Rolling Meadows.”  The solution eventually became obvious.  In a special meeting of the village board, the zoning of a small portion of their property was changed from agricultural to industrial.  Following this move, the Wileys began construction of a small, cinder block building that would house the first industrial plant in the township—the Frank Wiley Co.

(In the aerial photo to the right, you can spot the Wiley farm in the lower part of the photo.  The small concrete building that housed their business appears to be white with a darker roof and sits next to I-90.  The two dark strips in the middle of the property are two rows of over 150 Dutch elms that bordered both sides of the lane.   The Wileys sadly lost the trees to Dutch elm disease shortly after this photo was taken in 1965.   The racetrack oval that was used for horseback riding is also visible.  It is directly to the left of the left strip of Dutch elms.)

Next to the recently opened Interstate 90, the company was perfectly positioned to attract business–for themselves and for Schaumburg Township.  It was strictly a family-run company that employed his two sons and his wife.   They were part of the paper supply industry that transparentized paper by saturating it with a plastic resin.  As a sideline, he also synthesized cloth.  The company served as the only industry in Schaumburg Township until 1963 when Schmidt Iron Works opened just down the road to the east.

Mrs. Wiley was also busy in the early years of the village.  She acted as the Schaumburg correspondent for the Schaumburg Party Line column for the Hoffman Herald.   In 1960 Mayor Atcher asked her to serve on both the Schaumburg Planning Commission and as chairman of the village’s library committee.  This committee was successful in bringing library service in the form of a traveling bookmobile, sponsored by the Regional Library Association for the Fox Valley, to the village of Schaumburg.    Later, on January 15, 1964, an organizational meeting led by Mrs. Wiley formed the Schaumburg Township Historical Society.   She worked with Sara Meginnis, Dru Linnel, Carolyn Smith and Mrs. Rev. F.A. Hertwig of St. Peter Lutheran Church on this project.  Then, in 1965  she was appointed once again to head a three-person village committee to look into a possible merger of the villages of Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg–an idea that clearly never came to fruition.

Around 1966/67, the Wileys closed their business and in 1969 Mr. Wiley decided not to run again for the village board.  The couple  continued living in Schaumburg Township but, by 1971, the taxes had gotten too far out of reach to continue farming their acreage.  Mr. Wiley tried but could not find anyone to “custom-farm just 80 acres.”  (Chicago Tribune, October 6, 1974)  As a result it became necessary to sell the property.  By the late 1970s, the Wileys had sold their property to the Ridge Development Co. of Schaumburg and had retired to Florida.  Mr. Wiley passed away in 1990 and Mrs. Wiley, two years later, in 1992.

Who knows what the formation of the village of Schaumburg would have been without the strong participation and dedication of Frank and Loie Wiley?  Their time and energy spent on the variety of boards and committees in the village and township was invaluable–and unmeasurable.  Heaven knows, our the Schaumburg Township District Library certainly has much to thank for Mrs. Wiley’s service!

This posting was written with the assistance of the articles mentioned in the text as well as those from the April 7, 1966 and April 13, 1961 issues of the Daily Herald and from the January 17, 1960 and October 17, 1965 issues of the Chicago Tribune.  The Genesis of a Township by Marilyn Lind also proved useful in writing this posting.

The photo of the District 54 board is used compliments of William Engler and the photo of the sign of the Schaumburg Industrial District is used compliments of the Schaumburg Township Historical Society.  Ironic that we can publish a photo of the Industrial District on Wiley Road thanks to the formation of an organization that Mrs. Wiley helped to found!


October 9, 2011

When she was just a 10 year old girl, Mary Lou Link moved with her parents, Adolph and Estelle, and brother, Robert, from the busy suburb of Maywood to the rural reaches of Schaumburg Township. Her father had lost his job as a commercial artist and, as a result, they were forced to give up the family home.  Mr. Link made arrangements for them to move to the Redeker farm near the intersection of Schaumburg and Plum Grove Roads.  In exchange for farm work, taking care of the peonies that were being grown and keeping the invasive thistles at bay on the farm, the family could live rent free.

Life wasn’t quite the same as it had been in Maywood. With no electricity or indoor plumbing, and cooking that had to be done on a woodstove, the Links went through some adjusting. (The house where they lived is now the Volkening Heritage Farm Visitor Center at the Spring Valley Nature Center.) They maintained the farm and, like other farmers in the area, even raised tomatoes for the Campbell Soup Company.

It was very quiet on the narrow, two-lane roads of Schaumburg Township and the Links eventually adapted. School meant a one-room public schoolhouse at the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads. And, with no high school in the township, it meant Mary Lou and her brother Robert had to get a ride to school. Robert attended Arlington Heights High School while Mary Lou attended Palatine Township High School, paying a neighbor $1 a week to transport her.

In 1939, the year that Mary Lou graduated as valedictorian of her class, her father, having saved enough money, bought 5 acres of land about 1/4 mile south of the southeast corner of the intersection of Plum Grove and Schaumburg Roads.  According to In The Valley of the Springs by Heidi Keran, parts of  the  home were built using wood that was salvaged from a barn that was damaged as a result of the tornado of 1933.  Adolph and Estelle had obviously decided to stay.

Mary Lou went on to Northern Illinois University where she met her future husband, Bill.   Shortly before World War II, they married.  Bill served in the Merchant Marines and when he came home they built a house next to her parents.  Her brother, Robert, who had served in the Air Corps brought his wife, Blanche, to Schaumburg and they built their own house on the other side of their parents’.

Adolph passed away in 1971 after having become a local fixture in the community.  He had become more involved in his art, working with both pen & ink as well as oils.  His works were shown locally—including at the Schaumburg Township Library.  One of my favorites is this picture he created of St. Peter Lutheran Church.  If you look closely, you will see the entire drawing is made up of the last names of the church’s parishioners.  Very clever!

In 1972, a year after he passed away, the District 54 School Board took note of Mr. Link’s contributions to the community and gave his name to their new school in Elk Grove Village that was close to the Link acreage.  Following Estelle’s death in 1975, Robert and Mary Lou’s families continued to live on the property.  Mary Lou was a charter member of the Spring Valley Nature Club and served on their board.  Robert served as a member of the District 54 School Board and the Schaumburg Planning Commission.   He also had a fondness for trees and planted over 300 in the area.  This is why Spring Valley’s arboretum is named for him.

Robert and his family eventually left the area and, a few years after his death in 2004, Mary Lou moved as well.  The 5 acre parcel that the Link family bought and developed was then turned over to the Schaumburg Park District and is now a permanent part of the Spring Valley Nature Center.  Sadly, Mary Lou passed away last month at the age of 88.  The Link family name–along with their many contributions–continues to live on in Schaumburg Township.  For proof, take a drive by the Adolph Link Elementary School at 900 S. West Glenn Trail in Elk Grove Village or a walk through the Bob Link Arboretum at Spring Valley Nature Sanctuary in Schaumburg.  It truly was a fortuitous move the Links made back in 1932.

The book, In the Valley of the Springs by Heidi Keran, obituaries of Mary Lou Reynolds and her brother Robert Link, as well as a writeup in the Natural Enquirer by Susan Findling were most helpful in the writing of this posting.  Thank you to those writers.