Archive for the ‘Government buildings’ Category


April 28, 2019

In the fall of 1988 Hoffman Estates finally opened this full-service post office building on Gannon Drive that was big enough to accomodate the growing population. Discussions actually began in 1982 but were put on hold until a proper site could be found.

Postal officials had gone through several plan revisions in the meantime. Construction eventually began in 1987 on the $2.9 million structure and ended with the red-brick building that today features beautiful arched glass windows and 21,000 square feet of space. When the facility opened, there were 75 full-time employees at the new office and they served all residents in the 60195 zip code and portions of 60194. Wayne L. Kuhlmann was the postmaster.

Before this permanent facility opened, a post office of some sort had existed in Hoffman Estates in multiple locations since the early years. In a wonderful article in the Hoffman Herald of January 19, 1967, the reporter accounts for the first four branches in Hoffman Estates, beginning in 1962. (Prior to that time, mail service was done exclusively through the Roselle post office.)

  • In November 1962 the first temporary facility opened at Frank Beauty Salon in Hoffman Plaza. It closed after eight months because it was so busy that Frank Vaccaro, the owner, could not keep up with the heavy traffic.
  • The next sub-station opened in the Clothes Basket (a laundromat) at 213 Roselle Road. It lasted until September 1964. It too closed due to the heavy volume of business.
  • The third location was at B&K Realty at the corner of Roselle and Higgins Roads. It opened in October 1964 and was coordinated with Joseph Boris of the realty company. Irene Hitzeman, Roselle Postmaster, suggested that most users try to visit Roselle whenever possible because of the lack of space in the realty office.
  • In February 1966 a newly built, one story, 3579 ft. substation opened in Hoffman Estates. F&S Construction, who built much of early Hoffman Estates, won the U.S. government contract for this venture. One article mentioned that it was “directly north of the Hoffman Plaza shopping center” and another article stated that it would “be 678 feet north of Higgins Road and 321 feet east of Roselle Road.” As stated in the comments below, this was a stand alone building that faced Roselle Road and was behind the first Jewel. According to Tom Rogers, a 39-year employee of the Hoffman Estates Post Office who retired in 2001, this building was called “The Vault” by the carriers who worked out of the building. In a Daily Herald article from September 21, 1972, a story on a new Jewel being built mentions that the six year old post office  would be torn down for the new store. (This would be the Jewel that is there today.)
  • After the relatively young, six year old building was torn down, a temporary home was needed while the next Hoffman Plaza location was prepared. Due to its temporary status, it was moved to a couple of store fronts that were a few doors down from Denny’s. (This was in the north wing of Hoffman Plaza.)  Mr. Rogers remembered that they were definitely there while Denny’s was being built. Denny’s opened in the summer of 1973 so this time frame matches up.
  • The next location was in the original Hoffman Plaza, close to the Currency Exchange and the Hot Dog Place–as shown in the photo above. If you look closely enough, you can see the water tower behind the tree. According to Mr. Rogers, they were in this location from 1974 to 1985. In fact, a Daily Herald article from January 3, 1974 states that Hoffman Estates’ new 3900 square foot branch post office opened that week in the south end of the expanded Hoffman Plaza Shopping Center. The location was “nearly twice as large as the former building and [employed] approximately 60 persons.” Allan Jacobson is listed as the manager.
  • The last location, before the official building opened in 1988, was at 1833 W. Golf Road. This appeared to have been at Poplar Creek Plaza at Walnut Lane–which is actually Schaumburg today. They were here until 1988 when the new, larger location was completed and opened.

My thanks to Tom Rogers for confirming and clarifying the many locations. It was great to have him help fill in the gaps!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

[Credit for the top photo of the current Hoffman Estates Post Office is given to Post Office Fans.]


February 10, 2019

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Hoffman Estates in 1969, the village put out this neat little booklet called Community From Cornfields: The Story of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

It is 24 pages and includes everything from a brief history of the village to blurbs on the various village departments to lists of government officials and board members to a list of Hoffman Estates churches.

The library is fortunate to have two copies of the original document that was sent to the Thomas Guiney household on Northview Lane and the Carl Soderholm household on Bonita Drive. The most interesting part of the little booklet, though, are the surprising number of photos that are here for you to check out.

This is a photo of the Gieseke family farm that was originally located off of Bode Road and is currently the site of the Children’s Advocacy Center, St. Hubert Catholic Church and School, Alliance Fellowship Church and Hoffman Estates Fire Department Station 21.

The Giesekes sold the farm in 1943 to Arthur and Dorothy Dalton Hammerstein. They lived there until 1954 when Arthur passed away and Dorothy subsequently sold the farm to Jack Hoffman of F & S Construction.

This photo probably looks familiar to you. It is the Gieseke/Hammerstein house that became the Hoffman Estates village hall and is today’s Children’s Advocacy Center. When Dorothy Hammerstein sold the property to F&S, they used the house as their field headquarters. F&S then relinquished the property to the Village in 1959 and they adapted the house as their municipal center.

At the time of the printing of this booklet, the village was trying to decide what to do with the property as they felt they had outgrown the building and needed a more modern structure. “The Trustees are reluctant to tear down more than a hundred years of history, however, our growing community requires a decision soon.” To their great credit they preserved the house and it exists as one of the oldest structures in the village today.

It was, initially, a bit puzzling to discern what we are looking at in this aerial photo–except that the big grove of trees had to be either Sarah’s Grove or Walnut Grove. It took a bit but the thing I kept going back to is the diagonal road that crosses through the upper middle of the photo. It had to be Illinois Avenue. When I looked more closely I could see Schaumburg Road in the middle of the photo on the far right. It bisects Sarah’s Grove which puts the Timbercrest subdivision in the very foreground of the photo. Friendship Village is yet to be built, since it opened in 1974. Thus, we are looking at Parcel C and the Highlands in the background.

We then move into the photos that cover some aspects of Hoffman Estates government that were in place in 1969. This was Village Clerk Grace Kindelin’s office.

Fire Station #1 opened in 1960 and, sixty years later, exists as Station #21.

This was Fire Station #2 that was located at 469 Hassell Road. This station existed until 1974 when the village sold the building to the Schaumburg Township Public Library. The library used the building as their Hoffman Estates Branch Library until 1992. It was later torn down and the current Branch Library was erected on the spot.

The Village Board’s chamber was the location for all board meetings.

The three photos above represent the Hoffman Estates Park District which was formed in 1964–five years after the formation of the village. None of the photos are identified in the booklet. The top two are clearly built around a pond or a lake–and are possibly the same park. (The consensus in the comments below indicate that this was Evergreen Park near Lakeview School.) The last photo is likely the Community Pool.

Other photos, such as the ones below, represent the various parades that took place in the young village.

If you recognize any of the parades or locations of the parks, please leave something in the Comments or send me an email. It would be great to put a name to the location.

Next week, schools and businesses will be featured. The businesses, in particular, were a wonderful surprise!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


November 13, 2016


Prairie Center 2 of 1

Prairie Center 2 of 2

These wonderful renderings of the Schaumburg Prairie Center for the Arts were recently discovered on a 1983 calendar prepared by the First Bank of Schaumburg.

The drawings were created by architects, LaRocca Associates of Chicago, in anticipation of construction of the Prairie Center.  It had been many years in the making and was soon to come to fruition.

Two years later, on March 13, 1985, the invitation for bids went out to the public.  Final approval had been given for a building that would contain a 429-seat theater, ticket office and conference rooms, as well as an outdoor plaza.  The location would be just east of the Municipal Center on Summit Drive at a planned cost of $2.2 million. The project was paid for through a special endowment of funds collected over the years from developers.

Not surprisingly, there had been earlier suggestions for an even larger venue.  As far back as 1968, former Mayor Robert Atcher had originally planned a 500-seat drama theater and a 900-seat concert hall.  Scott Fisher, who was the chairman of the Cultural Commission in 1983, favored a 750-seat hall but the price was too high.  And, interestingly, prior consideration had also been given to a proposed site near Woodfield Mall.

The bid for the scaled down project in 1985 was eventually awarded to International Contractors of Elmhurst and building commenced in May of that year.

During the course of construction, consideration was given to who would be the director of the Cultural Center.  By July, Village President Herbert Aigner suggested that the village board opt for former President Bob Atcher as the ideal candidate.  “His heart is in this.  He’s in the entertainment field. He’s got contacts with major business people and a tremendous reputation.”  (Daily Herald, 7/17/1985)  After giving it some thought, the 71-year-old President Atcher turned down the job, concerned that the time necessary to devote to the job was more than he was comfortable with.

In October the village hired Elizabeth Armistead, former program coordinator for the Hemmen’s Auditorium in Elgin.  Going forward, her duties were to manage the Center, be involved in the construction process of the building, establish a group of part-time workers to assist her in day-to-day operations and seek out entertainment for the venue.  To this day, Ms. Armistead continues in her role, even as that role has expanded to include oversight of Septemberfest, the Prairie Arts Festival, the village’s cable channels and the Volunteer of the Year Awards program.

On June 14, 1986, a little over a year after the project had begun, grand opening ceremonies were held.  The stars of the show were former Schaumburg Village President Robert Atcher and his wife Maggie and their three children.  Having long desired such a facility for the village, the Atcher family returned their gratitude with a country and western concert to the an appreciative audience of nearly 200 people.

Kudos were also extended to William Lambert who originally donated some 40 acres of land to the village as the future site of the municipal center and cultural center.  He was given the honor of cutting the ribbon that stretched from end to end across the new stage.



Twenty years later, during the 50th anniversary year of the Village of Schaumburg, the theater at the Prairie Center was officially dedicated to Maggie Atcher who helped form the first cultural arts commission in Schaumburg.  It was a fitting bookend to the building next door, the Robert O. Atcher Municipal Center.

Today the Prairie Center continues to offer itself as a lineup for entertainment, a venue for local orchestras and choirs and a patio for the festivals held on the municipal center grounds.  Even if you haven’t been there for an attraction, you may just want to stroll the grounds.  The walking paths are an enticement to return again!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


April 29, 2012

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

The Gieseke/Hammerstein farm house is one of the most historic buildings in Hoffman Estates.  It can be found on a quiet residential street surrounded by small ranch homes that were built in 1957 and 1958.

John and Caroline Gieseke were immigrant German farmers who bought their 165-acre farm from the U.S. Government in the mid 1850’s. Land sold for $1.50 an acre.   An Indian trail went through the farm and Pottawatomie Indians would stop for a cold drink or sit and rest on the front porch.

The third generation of Giesekes, John and Edwin, sold the farm to Arthur and Dorothy Hammerstein in 1943.  The Hammersteins added additional barns, new silos, and several smaller homes along with an additional 100 acres.  They hired Architect Thomas McCaughey of Park Ridge who made major changes to the old farmhouse.  When finished the newly renovated farmhouse had 5 bedrooms, seven bathrooms, servant quarters, a kitchen in the basement and a wine cellar.

Arthur was the uncle of Oscar Hammerstein II who was famous for his Broadway musicals and Dorothy was a silent movie star.  Dorothy especially enjoyed the quite rural life.  Their farm was known as “Cardoa Farm” but Arthur jokingly called it “Headacres” when the farm work got the best of him.  They raised pure blooded and registered Duroc Jersey hogs and Holstein dairy cattle.

When Arthur died in 1954, Dorothy sold the farm to F & S Construction for $150 an acre.  Within a year Hoffman Estates was springing up from the corn fields.  The farm house became the field headquarters for F & S Construction.  The largest of the barns became the first Community Center but on Nov. 11, 1959 a fire broke out and the barn burned to the ground. Another fire damaged part of the farmhouse.

Shortly after the fires Jack Hoffman deeded the property to the Hoffman Estates Home Owners Association.  With incorporation in Sept. of 1959, the farmhouse became our first village hall, police department and maintenance garage.  Fire insurance money along with an additional $19,500 was used to remodel and repair the 100 year old building.  Certified Construction Co. was awarded the bid in late Sept. of 1960.

The village hall grounds originally had a duck pond and several swamps.  The five acre site also had 75 trees, among them were 19 apple, 5 pear and 4 cherry trees.  Eventually the pond and swamps were filled in and the old silos torn down.

When the Village moved to their new home on Gannon Dr., the large white farmhouse was used by Health and Human Services and later became home to the Children’s Advocacy Center.  Through the efforts of Mayor O’Malley, the trade’s people from 20 local trade unions took on the aging farmhouse as a remodeling project.  Their volunteer work and donation of time and materials earned the Village the 1993 Governor’s Home Town Award.  The Center pays $1 a year for rent and many volunteer hours are still donated toward the upkeep of the now 150 year old farmhouse.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian


September 18, 2011

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the August 2011 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

It’s been more than 45 years since our Hoffman Estates Post Office opened for business in the Hoffman Plaza on February 4, 1966.  It was a wonderful convenience for all the residents of Hoffman Estates.  Our own post office had finally opened that cold February morning.  The first customer was Dr. Alex Waxler.  Postal staff consisted of 15 to 20 people, Superintendent Sheldon Galanter, his assistant, 2 clerks and the remainder was postal carriers.  The post office was at the south end of the plaza located were South Beach used to be.  It was so nice to be able to mail packages at a full service post office with our own Hoffman Estates post mark.  No more trips to Roselle with Christmas packages and bundles of cards. 

The story of our first post office begins in early 1960 with 9 months of negotiations with the postal authorities seeking permission to establish a post office in Hoffman Estates.  In late October of 1960, Hoffman Estates Village president Ed Pinger received permission from the board of trustees to search for an appropriate site. Trustee Jenkins suggested that residents send letters asking for a post office for their town. 

In June of 1962 Democratic Senator for Illinois, Paul Douglas, pledged his support for a new post office.  Shortly after, on July 2, 1962, Senator Douglas announced the establishment of a Roselle branch post office for Hoffman Estates.  We would finally have our own post mark “Hoffman Estates” on all our mail.  All of the town residents at that time had Roselle, IL 60172 as their mailing address.

In the mean time, public bids for temporary postal substations were called for by the Roselle postmaster and Frank Vaccaro of Frank’s Beauty Salon, located in Hoffman Plaza, was awarded the contract.  He opened the first postal substation on November 1, 1962.  He would continue this community public service until July, 1963 when he was no longer able to handle the increased work load due to the rapid growth of the village. Going through another Christmas season was next to impossible for him.  By the spring of 1962, the population of Hoffman Estates had risen to 13,000 residents.  Another substation opened at the Cloths Basket, a laundry and dry cleaning establishment at 213 S. Roselle Rd. It closed in September, 1964 due to increased volume of mail and services. Once again a local businessman, Joseph Boris of B & K Realty came forward to become the next postal substation. 

Impatient to get their own post office, Hoffman Estates residents didn’t see the beginning of construction until the foundation was poured in the summer of 1964.  After many delays with bidding, as well as construction delays and delays with government contracts, the post office opened more than 3 ½ years after Senator Douglas’ announcement.  Postal carrier’s hourly wage back then was $2.57. 

Our present day post office at 1255 Gannon Dr. opened in the fall of 1988.  It’s been a good 45 years of service.  Offer a nice cold drink to your carrier on a hot day to say thanks.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian


August 8, 2010

During the early years of development in Schaumburg Township, it wasn’t just houses that were being built at a furious clip, it was schools too.   On April 3, 1958  F & S Construction–who was the developer of the early homes in Hoffman Estates–and the District 54 school board announced plans for the construction of the 5th and largest school yet in the elementary district.

The announcement was dramatic in that the school was desperately needed but also because the design was so unique.  Fridstein and Fitch, the architects commissioned by F & S, were instructed to design a 12 room school that conformed with the elongated, narrow property that ran along the east side of Illinois Blvd at Schaumburg Road. 

What they initially came up with was a double hexagonal design with 6 classrooms in each hexagon with doors leading to the outside.  The two hexagons were connected by a central area for office space, restrooms and a lobby.

More than 80 percent of the sides were glass and the roof had enough of an overhang so that classrooms did not receive direct sunlight.  Each hexagon had a folded roof with six gables and a clear story in the center to permit sunlight to enter the corridors and to provide ventilation for the individual heating units.

However, as plans progressed, a third hexagon was added to the rear that housed an all-purpose theater style auditorium for school assembly use.  It featured a large stage, dressing and washing rooms, floor space for school athletic and community activities.  According to Keith, one of our commenters below, the school did not have a cafeteria so many of the neighborhood children went home for lunch.  In addition, he also noted that the playground was covered with smooth pea-sized river rock.

By the end of construction, the outlay for F & S was $175,000.  And, since a new building needs a new principal, Octavio Candelara was hired for the job by District 54’s first superintendent, Robert Flum.  It should also be noted that Anne Fox who was later to have a school in Hanover Park named for her also spent some time teaching at Blackhawk.

In 1958 the community was already making good use of the building’s stage.  The Hoffman Estates Theater Guild held their first production “The Tender Trap” on December 5th and 6th and followed with showings of “Harvey” and “Sabrina Fair” in 1959.  In addition, the Hoffman Estates Baptist Church, a mission of the First Baptist Church of Palatine was holding services in the hallways in 1959.

Much beloved by the community and given awards for its innovative design, the school, nevertheless, closed in 1976 because of a decline in attendance.  In the fall of 1977, the school district vacated the building and the Schaumburg Township offices moved into the building from the Buttery on Roselle Road. The building was razed in November, 1996 after a new Township office was built on the same site.

What are your memories of Blackhawk School/Schaumburg Township offices?  It was certainly a unique building for its time and almost reminds me of a school you would see in Southern California.  Any thoughts?

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

(Photo of Blackhawk School courtesy of the Hoffman Estates History Museum.  Photo of Anne Fox courtesy of Bill Engler.)