Archive for the ‘Hoffman Estates’ Category

HAPPY 60TH HOFFMAN ESTATES! #3

April 14, 2019

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

As Historian, I’m continually looking back.  The stories of how we’ve become the Village of Hoffman Estates are always in my thoughts as I prepare my Historian’s Notebook column each month. Now, as we celebrate 60 years as a village, the stories explain how we grew from a population of 8,000 in 1959 to a community of more than 50,000 in the year 2019.

Time seems to pass so quickly.  It seems as if we just celebrated our 50th anniversary and here we are celebrating our 60th.  I’ve lived in Hoffman Estates for 53 of the past 60 years.  This “looking back” always puts me in a position to see the whole story of our village but, then, there always seems to be something new to learn.

This past January 22 marked the 45th anniversary of the historic Illinois Supreme Court ruling in favor of Hoffman Estates’ annexation of about 1700 acres north of the tollway.  The ruling in favor of our village prompted the Chicago Tribune Jan. 26, 1964 headline to read “Court Ruling Tumbles ‘Wall’ to Annexation”.

Land north of the tollway had been annexed by Hoffman Estates between November of 1961 and September of 1962.  Three neighboring villages opposed the annexation and the lower courts ruled that Hoffman Estates’ annexed land was not legal and it was separated from our village by Circuit Court ruling on July 23, 1963.

In doing research for this column, I learned that one of the opposing villages, South Barrington, had just incorporated in December of 1959, a few months after our incorporation on September 23, 1959.  They needed land to continue to develop the same as we did.  Both Barrington Hills and Inverness also opposed our annexation. I learned that Barrington Hills incorporated in 1957 and Inverness would not incorporate until 1962.  All of the opposition came from the others who were planning on growing and developing the area to continue their way of life.

The land north of the tollway was very important to Hoffman Estates and the village decided to take their fight to the Illinois Supreme Court.

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled in our favor, stating that Barrington Road and the Barrington Road bridge that had been annexed into the village earlier, was contiguous with the land requested for annexation north of the toll way.

When Hoffman Estates Mayor Ed Pinger heard the Illinois Supreme Court’s ruling, he is quoted in the Jan. 26, 1964 Chicago Tribune’s story saying this will “put Hoffman Estates on the map for years to come.  We won’t suffer, as some of the older communities have by being completely surrounded by other municipalities with no room to expand.” And expand we did, spreading out to Inverness and Palatine to the north and Ela Rd to the east.

Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Village Historian
eagle2064@comcast.net

HOFFMAN ESTATES THROUGH THE DECADES: A MONTHLY LOOK BACK (APRIL)

April 7, 2019

During Hoffman Estates’ 60th anniversary year of 2019, we will take a look back at the Hoffman Estates you’ve known for the last six decades. Every month there will be a posting on village happenings for each decade the village has been in existence. Maybe you remember some of the events and have something more to add to a few of the items? Send in your comments!

60 Years Ago in 1959

  • The Hoffman Estates Fire Department and their 38 volunteer firemen celebrated the district’s first anniversary and made plans for a July 4 fund raising carnival. The district had one fire truck, a 750-gallon pumper built by Ward-La France and had recently purchased a used ambulance to carry people to hospitals in Elgin.
  • Photos and a written description of the house at 314 Westview owned by the Carl Rauchenberger family, appeared in the April 18th issue of the Chicago Tribune as a way to introduce the public to some of the homes being built by F&S Construction. Their home featured 3 bedrooms, 1 full bathroom, a powder/laundry room, a family room and a living/dining room. Outside features were a patio and a carport. Mr. Rauchenberger, who was an architect, also planned to add a rec room onto the house.
  • The Hoffman Estates Theater Guild put on a very successful production of “Harvey!”, following en earlier production of “The Tender Trap.”

50 Years Ago in 1969

  • The village approved a recommendation to install a $700,000 sewer system that would run along Golf Road from Barrington to Higgins Road. From there it would run southeast along Higgins Road and connect with the metropolitan sanitary’s district Des Plaines intercepter two blocks west of Plum Grove Road. The sewer would be oversized to accomodate businesses that would be building in the community.
  • Hoffman Estates led the northwest suburbs in the month of February in both apartment and home building permits. There were 425 apartment unit permits issued and 80 home permits. The next closest in apartment units was Buffalo Grove with a mere 160!
  • Pete of Pete’s Barber Shop was back at the SW corner of Higgins and Roselle Road and advertising all European and American haircuts, hair styling, razor cuts and toupe sales and service.

40 Years Ago in 1979

  • Suburban Medical Center, soon to open, was looking for managers for the following departments: laboratory, pharmacy, cardio-pulmonary, dietary, housekeeping, physical therapy, medical records, social services, patient accounts, data processing and volunteers. They wanted applicants to have 2-5 years of supervisory experience. The interim office was located at 1701 E. Woodfield Road in Schaumburg.
  • Mobile classrooms at various District 54 schools, including Twinbrook in Hoffman Estates, were approved for sale by the school district. The minimum sale price was $2500.
  • Golf Paint Glass & Wallpaper in the Golf Rose Shopping Center was having a paint sale of $3 off of interior paint. They also offered picture framing, artist’s supplies and mirrors for sale.

30 Years Ago in 1989

  • Trustees voted for another 3 year contract with Browning-Ferris as their garbage hauler. This continued an association that had been ongoing since 1966.
  • “Chances Are”, “Disorganized Crime” and “1969” were all showing at the Barrington Square Theater in Hoffman Estates. (Does anyone remember seeing these movies?)
  • Three young women–two from Hoffman Estates and one from Elk Grove Village–will compete for the title of Miss Hoffman Estates 1989 at Eisenhower Junior High School. The new Miss Hoffman Estates will reign over the village’s Fourth of July festival.

20 Years Ago in 1999

  • The Hoffman Estates Park District Board approved contracts with Turner Construction Co. of Chicago, to build the Prairie Stone Community Recreation Center.
  • This month, village officials officially designated the retail center along Roselle Road, near Golf and Higgins, a business district, in a move that allows them to apply for state and federal loans for land improvements or to acquire buildings if necessary. At the time, the center included Hoffman Plaza that had a Jewel, Golf Center that had an empty Minnesota Fabrics store and the large brown, brick building behind Zippy’s (that now holds Valli’s and is shown in the photo above).
  • The Hoffman Estates Chamber of Commerce was planning their Fish Derby in June that attracted around 2000 participants annually.

10 Years Ago in 2009

  • The Jaycees were offering two $500 scholarships to high school seniors who lived in Hoffman Estates and were well-rounded individuals with merit who gave back to their school. They were looking for future leaders and service-minded people who would give back to their community.
  • In celebration of the village’s 50th anniversary, the village held Tartan Day, devoted to a Scottish theme. The day kicked off with a parade on Hassell Road followed by the “Celebration of Nations” at the Village Hall and ended at the Sears Centre Arena with the Heartland International Tattoo Music and Dance Festival.
  • Burning rubber mats at Plote Construction on Brandt Drive sent plumes of black smoke in the air. At its peak the fire could be seen clearly from the Jane Addams tollway and up to four miles west in Elgin.Jane Rozek
    Local History Librarian
    Schaumburg Township District Library
    jrozek@stdl.org

HOFFMAN ESTATES AND THE USA IN 1959

March 10, 2019

We begin another year. How quickly time goes by. This is a special year for our village. We celebrate 60 years as the Village of Hoffman Estates.

As Historian, I’ve always marveled at the strength and determination of those who first moved here from the city for the opportunity to buy an affordable home for their family. The homes in the first development by F & S Construction, called Parcel A, are more than 60 years old as the first homes were built in 1955-56 and are now 64 years old. Many have changed. They’ve been upgraded and added on to. Some have been torn down and replaced with much larger homes that suit the ½ acre lots. The area still has that rural feel to it.

Life was so different then. 1959 was a year that introduced so many more “modern conveniences”. With new homes to furnish, I can imagine that many of the women wanted to upgrade the kitchen to include a dishwasher, a larger cook stove, and maybe one of the new larger screen TVs for the living room. Everyone loved to watch The Danny Thomas Show, Father Knows Best or for the western fans, Wagon Train or Gunsmoke. Back then TV was your evening entertainment along with a nice big bowl of popcorn.

I found a small book titled Back In The Day: 1959, Reflections of a Special Year. It had all the information about what was going on in 1959. Here’s some trivia that you can share. The overall average income was $5,417.00. Clerical work paid $3,782.00 but construction work paid $5,637.00. With all the surrounding suburbs developing along with us, construction workers would’ve been in demand.

Do you remember who was president? Dwight David (Ike) Eisenhower was our President and Richard Milhous Nixon was his Vice President. The President’s salary was $100,000.00 per year. The Vice President’s salary was $35,000.00.

With the promise of postage going up to .55 cents this year, back in 1959 it was nice to only pay 4 cents for a stamp. In 2019 we pay bills on line and communicate with e-mail or texting. No need for a stamp. Going to the movies in 1959 only cost you .51 cents for a ticket.

Do you remember what movie won the Oscar in 1959? It was Ben-Hur staring Charlton Heston who also won for Best Actor. The movie went on to win a total of 11 Academy Awards. We didn’t get our own movie theater for another 7 years. It was the Thunderbird Movie Theater at the south end of the Golf Rose Shopping Center that opened in October, 1966. (It’s the oval shaped building in the photo above.)

Groceries prices seem cheap compared to today’s prices, but we have to remember how small our salaries were back then. Bacon .67 cents a pound, milk was $1.01 a gallon, bread .20 cents a loaf, butter cost .75 cents a pound and coffee was .78 cents a pound. Many of us had a pot of coffee on the stove all day, either in a percolator or a drip pot. There was no Starbucks back then. No Keurig coffee makers. I would always waste so much coffee by making more than I’d drink in one day. This was the year that Maxwell House introduced the “Good to the last drop” advertising campaign.

Wishing you all a healthy and happy New Year!

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Historian
eagle2064@comcast.net

HIDDEN PHOTOS FROM HOFFMAN ESTATES’ “COMMUNITY FROM CORNFIELDS” (GROUP TWO)

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
jrozek@stdl.org

HAPPY 60TH HOFFMAN ESTATES! (2 of 12)

December 30, 2018

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the December 2018 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

The land that F & S Construction purchased east of Roselle, south of Golf and north of Higgins became what has always been known as “Parcel A”. F & S Construction promptly set up their lumber yard and milling operation on Plum Grove Rd., south of Higgins Rd. Houses started going up, with the first ones ready for occupancy in December of 1955. Families even moved in on Christmas Day.

That winter was a tough one for the newcomers. Their stories tell of broken water pipes, streets that were impassable due to mud and gravel roads that were not due for paving until spring. Mailboxes were nailed to posts and boards set up along Golf Rd. Each home had a tank in the back yard for propane that the homeowners called a pig.

Parcel A had large ½ acre lots. This was one of the reasons that people were moving out from the city. This first section of Hoffman Estates never had curbs or sidewalks. There were culverts on either side of the roads to drain off the water from heavy rainfall. To this day it has remained the same.

A number of residents suffered from flooding, possibly due to the relocation of a branch of Salt Creek that cut through Parcel A. The creek had been moved from the center of Parcel A to a location close to the north side of Higgins Road. The heavy rains may have been seeking its original route through the middle of the new development. [Addendum: You can see the creek, in blue, in the map above, as it moves between Hawthorn and Bluebonnet. This is from a 1961 U.S. Topographical map.]

The homes that were built in Parcel A didn’t offer a garage. The only protection for the cars was a carport that left the autos open to the rain and snow. But many missed the extra space for storage that a garage would offer them.The majority of new homeowners began closing in their carports, although in 2018 there are still homes that retain the carports from 1955-56.

Moving into a new home in December was really an exercise in patience and perseverance. The majority of new families had children. Those children were looking forward to Santa and wondering how he was going to find their new home. Those parents were also wondering how they would finish their holiday shopping and still have time to unpack the boxes and boxes of household items that still sat in hidden corners of the new house.

Hanukkah began on Dec. 10th that year and shopping for Christmas and Hanukkah gifts would be difficult. Elgin, Roselle or Palatine were the closest towns for shopping & groceries. Somehow the gifts were purchased, the holiday cooking traditions continued as always but in a new kitchen, in a new home and the start of a new life in Hoffman Estates.

Happy Holidays!

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian
Eagle2064@comcast.net

HOW THE HOFFMAN ESTATES JAYCEES WON THE STATE STREET CHRISTMAS PARADE!

December 16, 2018

The box above is missing a picture of a snowman float that was created in Hoffman Estates in 1962. That year the State Street Council of Chicago decided to try something new with their famous Christmas parade. They opened it up to the suburbs, allowing local villages and cities to create a representative float to appear in the parade.

In fact, according to an article from the Hoffman Herald of November 1, 1962, “the Council wrote to the village requesting participation, and agree[d] to underwrite the cost of a float to the extent of $100.” Needless to say, even in 1962, this would not be enough to cover the expense so, once the Village gave approval, they also “agreed to further underwrite the cost of a float by an additional $150.”

They also requested that the Hoffman Estates Jaycees construct the float that would represent the village. So, with the help of an additional $150 from F & S Construction and $25 from Judge Muldowney, the Jaycees formed a special parade committee and got started.

Jim Boyer was named materials chairman and Carl Johnson was named construction chairman. They enlisted the assistance of fellow Jayceers Jerry Meyers, Fred Downing, Neal Galvin, Jim DeCardo, Dave Basch, Jim Lewis, Jim Sloan and Don Daly.

After throwing in the Jaycees’ donation of more than $425, they also contacted Al Hartman of the Roselle Lumber Company, who agreed to donate all of the lumber and exterior fibre glass. The Dickhaut Painting and Decorating Company of Elgin provided the painting and flocking, and “basic construction of the float was made by the lathing class, Washburn Trade School, Chicago.” [The Record, November 29, 1962]

Because a large enough site was required to create the float, H.C. Wilkening stepped in and donated a construction spot on his farm property. (You can see his farm in the upper right corner of the map above. It was located where the Dunbar Lakes subdivision is today, on the northwest corner of Schaumburg and Plum Grove Roads.) With all of the necessary materials, and manpower that consisted of more than 800 hours of volunteer help, the float came together in the shape of a 35-foot snowman.

The immense size of the structure required three more bits of special assistance: one, a hydraulic lift that was incorporated into the construction so that the snowman could be raised and lowered as it encountered the State Street “L” tracks and the bridges on the Congress Expressway; two, Don Sperling of Hoffman Estates provided the truck that was used to pull the float; and three, the village, state and Chicago police were required to act as escorts for the trip into the city.

And what a trip it was. The amount of time that it took to travel there and back, allowing for the bridges and the huge size of the float, was five hours. Five hours!

But, it was not in vain because, it won First Place in the suburban division! The cash prize was $1000 and the Jaycees and the village drove away (albeit, slowly) with a wonderful coup for the three-year-old village.

As Ed Pinger, village president, said at a huge victory celebration on November 25, “Today Hoffman Estates was put on the map. The entire village joins me in thanking all of the Jaycees for their tremendous effort.”

So, if you have a photo of this infamous snowman and would be happy to contribute it to the blog posting, I’d welcome the opportunity to add it. We’d all love to see what this masterpiece looked like!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

This blog posting was written with the assistance of The Record, November 29, 1962 and the Hoffman Herald, November 1 and 29, 1962.

 

HAPPY 60TH HOFFMAN ESTATES! (1 OF 12)

November 25, 2018

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the November 2018 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

I’ve started the first column on the history of Hoffman Estates to honor our village’s 60th anniversary of incorporation that occurred on September 23, 1959. I’ll try and tell our history each month during this 60th anniversary year.

This entire area was farm land. So many settlers came here because life in other countries was torn by war, famine and general unrest.  In the 1840s the government sent surveyors to map out the territory, describing the number of rivers, forest land, swamps and streams on each acre they surveyed.

Land was being sold for $1.25 an acre. The promise of good farm land drew the new settlers to this area. The old plat maps of Cook County from 1942 and 1954 show the townships that made up Cook County and the names of the landowners in each township.  As you look at the plat maps, of Schaumburg Township, you can’t help but notice the same family name on other farms in the area. Many times the first families to arrive wrote back to family & friends telling of the good farming conditions and encouraging them to come and start a new life in America.

The earliest settlers to this area came from the east coast.  A large number of Germans, many encouraged by friends and family,  also settled in Schaumburg Township. German became the predominant language of the area and others who did not speak German moved on to farm land to the west.

With the end of World War II came a demand for housing for the returning service men. F & S Construction had been building homes in Arizona. They wanted to create a community of homes for the families of the service men that would be well built and affordable. Looking for new areas to develop, F & S Construction found an area in Schaumburg Township that was very suitable for their next development. The area had the promise of being very successful with a tollway under construction, O’Hara Airport nearby and a willingness of the farmers to sell their farms, they had found an ideal location for their next project.

In 1954 F & S Construction purchased 160 acres of land east of Roselle Road between Golf and Higgins Roads.  An additional 600 acres were added with the purchase of the Hammerstein farm.

This was the beginning of F & S Construction’s plan for a new community that would become Hoffman Estates.

Pat Barch, Hoffman Estate Village Historian
Eagle2064@comcast.net

DISCOVERING FAMOUS ART AT THE SUNDERLAGE FARM HOUSE

November 11, 2018

This is an interior photo of the Sunderlage House in Hoffman Estates taken in the mid-1950s. It showcases the warm, cozy interior of this beloved farmhouse when it was a private residence. If you look closely, though, your eye is also drawn to what look to be murals painted on the walls on either side of the staircase.

This photo was donated to the library by Sandra Volid Bauer, the wife of Peter Volid. Mr. Volid owned the house when the photos were taken. He was not married to Sandra at the time, but he told her later about the murals on the wall.

According to Mr. Volid, these murals were commissioned by Lila Harrell who bought the farm from descendants of the Sunderlage family in the 1930s and owned it until 1952 when Mr. Volid purchased it from her. See the entry above from the 1949 Bartlett/Roselle Telephone Directory that shows her address and phone number.

Ms. Harrell called her home and its surrounding acres “Angelus Farm.” She also modernized the house by putting in electricity and plumbing.  One of her other touches was the murals that were painted on the walls.

Marilyn Lind of the Hoffman Estates Historical Sites Commission, that oversees the home, said that Ms. Harrell was a Chicago-based interior decorator who had an office on Michigan Avenue. It was in Italian Court that was built in 1926 and, according to Paul Gapp, the architecture critic for the Chicago Tribune, was a mixed location of businesses and apartments that “were tenanted by artists, designers and writers.” [Chicago Tribune, September 23, 1990]

Given her involvement in that field, she must have been fairly familiar with the arts world in Chicago. At some point Ms. Harrell hired a Chicago-area artist by the name of Malvin Albright to paint the walls according to Sandra Volid Bauer. It isn’t known if Ms. Harrell specifically instructed him to design murals for the walls or whether that was his idea.

What IS interesting is the artist. Malvin Albright was the twin brother of Ivan Albright, who has a special gallery for his works in the Art Institute of Chicago. Ivan was known for his unusual style that was most noticeable in the painting featured at the end of the 1945 movie, “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” You can see it below.

Malvin and Ivan grew up in Warrenville, IL where their father Adam Emory Albright, a painter himself, purchased an old Methodist church in 1924 to use as the Albright Gallery of Painting and Sculpture. While Adam was more of an impressionistic painter, his sons turned their sights to other styles.

Malvin began his art career as a sculptor but eventually switched to painting with watercolor and oils, signing his work with the name “Zsissly.” According to his obituary in the Chicago Tribune of September 16, 1983, Malvin’s paintings were a lighter contrast to his brother’s darker style. Still, in looking at Malvin’s painting below you can get a glimpse of how their painting techniques were somewhat similar.

Unfortunately, the mural that Malvin painted is not viewable today. In fact, Marilyn Lind said that when she first got a glimpse of the house back in the 1970s, the walls had already been painted over with a solid color. But, in scraping at it with her fingernail, she could tell that the paint that was used was quite thick and that the colors were pale blue, gray, pink and white–which was quite an interesting palette. She could also see the outline of nature scenery, houses and people walking. Today, wallpaper covers the staircase walls.

It seems there are always surprising connections to be found in Schaumburg Township. The area may have been rural for many years, but it was still close enough to Chicago that it was touched by some very interesting people!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

You can take a look at the Sunderlage House for yourself. The next time the home will be open is for the Teddy Bear Holiday Party on December 1 at 1 p.m. More details can be found here.

If you are interested in the Albrights, you might want to check out the Warrenville Historical Society.

[Photo credit of Italian Court to Chicago Tribune]

 

HOFFMAN ESTATES 60TH ANNIVERSARY PREPARATIONS

September 30, 2018

 

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

This is our anniversary month. On September 23 it will be our 59th year as the Village of Hoffman Estates. We’ll set off on our 60 anniversary year with fun activities beginning in January.

Last month I asked those who have lived here since the beginning of Hoffman Estates, 1955-1965 to contact us so we can honor you and save the wonderful stories you have to tell about the good old days. Any photos you may want to share would be wonderful to save as part of our history.

One of our early residents, Alice Selke, just celebrated her 100th birthday in July. She’s someone very special because she was married to our first fire chief, Carl Selke. As wonderful as Carl was as our fire chief, she had her own wonderful qualities. Alice’s job was to man the fire alarm calls. Early on, we had a volunteer fire department. Alice would send out the alarm to all the men and they’d jump into action immediately. She’s told the story about how her cat accidently set off the alarm by walking across the alarm button. She quickly had to send out a call saying that everything was OK , it was just the cat.

Because she was always home with her job of monitoring the alarm system, neighbors would frequently ask her if she could baby sit for them while they went grocery shopping. The moms knew she was always there. Some of the kids were very well behaved but she told of how some were wild children who never seemed to behave.

This is an example of the kind of stories we’re looking for. When I hear these stories I realize how different life was for those who first moved into their homes in Parcel A, B & C.

Please consider sharing some of those old photos that are in shoe boxes, envelopes and photo albums. It’s easy to scan them and return the originals to you. What people have shared with us has become the heart of those early years. It’s hard to believe that we’ll be celebrating our 60th anniversary in 2019.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian
eagle2064@comcast.net

THE FIRST SETTLERS OF HOFFMAN ESTATES

September 2, 2018

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the August 2018 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

I’ve written before about the first settlers to the area beginning with the farmers who came after the land was opened up after the Indians were removed following the Blackhawk Wars.  And I’ve also told the stories of the first pioneer families that purchased their homes from developer F & S Construction in 1955-56.  They were just the beginning of the rapid development of Hoffman Estates, with the construction of up to 4 houses a day.  We still call the differing parts of town by the original names of Parcel A, Parcel B, Parcel C, the Pie, the Highlands and Highlands West.

These early citizens who purchased homes were, as I’ve been told, friendly, neighborly, and determined to take hold of their new town by setting up a Homeowners Association in order to govern themselves.

At the drop of a hat, they’d step in and help a neighbor with whatever was needed.  Clubs were formed by the women to support one another in a new town that had neither shopping nor entertainment.   Babysitting clubs, the Women’s Club, the Gardening Club were some of what was established by women who were home with the kids and mostly without cars.   They were a community that didn’t want to sit around and do nothing.

These early residents were the people who debated, discussed and argued about what kind of community they wanted, not just for the next few years but for their future in Hoffman Estates. Would the future be better if they became a part of the Village of Schaumburg?  Maybe it would be better to split the town in two, letting those who wanted to incorporate go ahead with their plans and let the other half negotiate with Schaumburg in an effort to become a part of that village.

These sturdy, stubborn and argumentative folks would eventually vote for incorporation not once but 3 times.   Hoffman Estates became the Village of Hoffman Estates on September 23, 1959.

Elections were held and those who won elected offices  jumped into their new roles as mayor and trustees with both feet.  Learning as they went and finally governing themselves  as they always wanted to, having a say in all that would affect their lives for years to come.

Many have passed away and those who still reside in Hoffman Estates are in their late 80’s and early 90’s.  As we approach our 60th anniversary, please contact me with stories and photos you would like to share.  They are treasures to keep in our village history album.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian
eagle2064@comcast.net

The Village of Hoffman Estates will be celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2019. We want to honor those early pioneers who moved here from 1955 through 1965. If you’d like to be honored as an early resident of Hoffman Estates, please get in touch with Sue Lessen at the Village Hall 847-781-2606 or e-mail her at suzanne.lessen@hoffmanestates.org