Archive for the ‘Hoffman Estates’ Category


April 2, 2017

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

The Gieseke/Hammerstein Farmhouse, now the Children’s Advocacy Center on Illinois Blvd., built circa 1860, is perhaps the most historic building in our village.

The 165 acre farm had been purchased from the Giesekes in 1944, by Arthur Hammerstein and wife Dorothy Dolton [in the photos below.]  They chose architect Thomas McCaughey to remodel and add on to the existing farmhouse.  It became a luxurious 11 room country home and several barns and out buildings were added for the Black Angus cattle that Mrs. Hammerstein raised along with pigs and chickens. 

F & S Construction purchased the Hammerstein farm in the mid 50s for development of the village with the promise that the house and barns on the remaining 8 acres would be turned over to the village.  Ownership of the farmhouse began in November of 1959 when F & S Construction Company turned over the keys to the newly formed government of Hoffman Estates.

A fire had burned the north end of the 11 room residence in 1959.  Converting the farmhouse would be a daunting task for the newly formed municipal building and grounds committee.  Mayor Ed Pinger chose trustees Roy Jenkins and Jim Gannon for his newly formed committee.  They would have an insurance settlement of $34,000 to get them started with their work.

The 11 room Hammerstein farmhouse would have to be redesigned to accommodate offices for clerk, police magistrate and council rooms on the first floor. Builiding, zoning and utilities offices would be on the second floor.  There was solid oak flooring throughout the house and two fireplaces in the living area and upstairs bedroom.  The fireplace on the first floor would remain in place. So much needed to be torn out and reconfigured for the newly formed government.

The north end of the farmhouse that had been damaged by fire was remodeled to become the police department.   Lack of a jail required prisoners be taken to other nearby towns and villages which took time and money.  A new lock up facility would be welcome.  It was planned for the basement area under the police department. The basement would also be used for storage

Reglazing windows, replacing a window with a door, tearing down walls, plastering and painting, replacement of much of the electric wiring were on the list of the work to be done.

The farmhouse and barns had been used as sale offices for F & S Construction, Hoffman Estates Homeowners Association’s site for meetings, dances and kindergarten classes and the volunteer fire department headquarters.  After having been remodeled and renovated for the new Village of Hoffman Estates, it continued to serve as our village hall, police department and public works garage.

Everything important to our village began in this now 156 year old farmhouse.

Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Village Historian


March 19, 2017

An issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen from March – April 1981 was brought to my attention because of the wonderful write-up on what it was like to live in Hoffman Estates in the very early days.   With permission from the Village of Hoffman Estates, I have reproduced it here in its entirety.

Pioneers Recall Days of No Streets, $750.00 Down Payments

If you think that the pioneers all died out after the West was won, guess again!  It took a band of hearty, pioneering souls to settle the wilderness–and it was a wilderness–that we now know as Hoffman Estates.  Forty-one of the couples who helped transform Hoffman Estates from a cluster of homes in the middle of a cornfield into a thriving, progressive suburb, spent the evening of January 24, 1981, at a Pioneer Party at the Navarone Restaurant, where they celebrated their 25th anniversary of homesteading in Hoffman Estates.  All 41 of these couples are still living in the area.  The party was organized by Bill and Irene Hanson, who found that 65 families are still living in the original homes they bought from developers Sam and Jack Hoffman 25 years ago.

A total of 260 families moved into the Hoffmans’ new subdivision starting in 1955.  The homes were located east of Roselle Road, between Golf and Higgins.  Newspaper ads called it “Hoffman City,” and promised spacious homes on a half acre of land for $14,950–$750.00 down and payments of $99.00 a month that included principal, interest and taxes.

They were nearly all young couples in their early 20’s with their first baby, and perhaps a second on the way, who moved to what seemed like the end of the earth to settle in Hoffman Estates.  They were lured to the area by the same things that have always attracted pioneers–the promise of land and a home at a price they could afford, fresh air and plenty of open space for their children, and the chance to use their youthful energy and zest for life to build a new community that they could be proud to call home.

From the perspective of 25 years, these pioneers found it easy to laugh about the multitude of problems and inconveniences they endured a quarter of a century ago when they settled in Hoffman Estates.  The picturesque street names–Apple, Apricot, Ash, Aspen, Aster, Azalea, Basswood, Bluebonnet, Carnation, Hawthorn–somehow promised an enchanting new life in a pastoral setting, but the harsh realities of the pioneer life quickly became apparent.  [The map below shows Parcel A, B and C.]

When the first young couples drove up with their moving vans the week before Christmas in 1955, they found that there were no streets and no sidewalks leading to their homes.  Some understood the real significance of the lack of streets only after their moving trucks’ tires sank and became hopelessly mired in a foot of mud.  Others parked their trucks on the pavement on Higgins or Roselle and carried every box and every piece of furniture several blocks to their new home.

“It was an area without just about everything,” as Jane Berger recalled.  The closest grocery store was in Roselle, the ladies bowling group had to drive to Franklin Park to bowl, church services were held in the local tavern, the kindergarten classes met in a barn, there were eight families sharing a telephone party line, the closest doctors were many miles away, and the women were virtually marooned at home all day when their husbands drove off to work every morning the family’s only car.

But in spite of it all, the people gathered at the Navarone Restaurant on the night of January 24 clearly remember the good times they had during those early, struggling years.

“We’d try to get one of the husbands to leave the car home one day a week,” Connie Gallo recalled.  “We’d gather up the pre-schoolers, pile into the car, and take off for a day of shopping.  We were lucky if we had a quarter among us, so we sure didn’t buy much, but we had a great time just getting out and being together.  None of us had very much, but somehow we were all happy.”

Their happiness and their strong sense of community spirit is the foundation upon which the Village of Hoffman Estates was built.

The close friendships among the women blossomed into the Women’s Club, which in the late 1950’s was responsible for getting the first grocery store built in the community, and persuading a doctor and dentist to locate in the area.  The men formed the local volunteer fire department, and  in 1956 every family dug deeply into their pockets to donate $25.00 toward the purchase of a fire truck.

Lawn parties were a springtime ritual in the early years–not the formal, dress-up affairs popular with the well-to-do, but the kind where all the men got together and helped each other put in their lawns.  The women fixed a hearty pot-luck breakfast for the group, and transformed the back-breaking work of putting in a lawn into a neighborhood social event.

These pioneers can still remember when Hoffman Estates had a population of 125 people with 74 who were old enough to vote in 1955; when there were a total of five teachers under contract in 1956 in what was destined to become School District 54, the largest elementary school district  in the state; when there were 7,500 residents and $6,204 in the treasury when the Village was incorporated in 1959; when everyone in the community could be listed in a 15 page telephone directory in 1960.

Much has changed in Hoffman Estates in the last 25 years, but the heritage left by these pioneers is still shaping the destiny and future of Hoffman Estates.

“This community sprang up because of your strong volunteer spirit,” Village President Virginia Hayter said when she addressed the couples gathered at the 25th anniversary dinner.  “You built this community, and many of you have stayed involved in one form or another over the years.  You made Hoffman Estates what it is today, and we thank you for all of the years you have put into our Village.  You are truly the salt of the earth.”

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

The photo of Virginia Hayter was used courtesy of the former Profile Publications of Crystal Lake.





February 5, 2017

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the January 2017 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

Hoffman Plaza


Changes are coming to our first shopping center. Hoffman Plaza, built in 1959, has darkened store front windows and an empty parking lot.

I received an e-mail from a reader of this column, asking what was happening to the Hoffman Plaza. He saw empty stores and knew that something was up. I’ve learned that there will be changes coming to the area, what exactly I can’t say. There’s still a lot not known about what changes will take place.


I do know that the Hoffman Plaza was our first shopping center. Parcels A, B & C were being constructed and there was no place to shop. It was with happy hearts that the residents learned that F & S Construction was planning on building the shopping area with an opening date of summer of 1959.

Hoffman Plaza

Shirley Turpin opened Turpin Fabrics & Drapery shop, the first small business in the Plaza. Jewel also opened our first grocery store, not to be confused with the newer store that will remain in the Plaza. The first store openings continued during that year and into 1960; Walgreen Agency Snyder Drugs, Ben Franklin, and Twinbrook Hardware. The first doctor’s offices and the first beauty shop also opened.

That first beauty shop belonged to Frank Vaccaro but his beauty shop would also serve as our first post office. After Roselle’s postmaster requested public bids for a substation in Hoffman Estates, Frank Vaccaro was awarded the contract and opened our first postal substation on Nov. 1, 1962. The east end of the plaza would become our first post office in 1964.

I also remember the first Yu’s Mandarin restaurant tucked into the corner of the north facing portion of the Plaza, the Hot Dog Place (Express) was one of my favorites also. A small ladies dress shop was on the north side too but I can’t remember the shop’s name perhaps it was the Sorority House. I know I loved there dresses.

With the addition of the new McDonalds and the newly built Wendy’s in Golf Center, the downtown area is always improving for the better. Everyone is especially happy with the new stop light that we’ve hoped for for a number of years allowing us a safer and more convenient way of shopping in our original downtown area.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian


December 4, 2016

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

voteThe first election held in Hoffman Estates was November 7, 1959.  We had just voted for incorporation for the village in September and now the residents would go to the polls to elect a new village president and board of trustees.

Unlike the long drawn out political campaigning that goes on now, the early residents had only 6 weeks to learn about the candidates that would govern them for the next 4 years, very little time to make such important decisions.

The population of Hoffman Estates was only 8000 residents but that was a lot of door bells to rings and visits to be made to persuade neighbors and friends to vote for either the Good Government Party or the People’s Party.

It was decided that the elections would be non-partisan, neither Republican nor Democrat.  Both parties would rely on posters, flyers and newspapers to get their message across to so many in so little time.

Election Day finally arrived on November 7.  After three votes to incorporate, the early residents finally had a say in who would govern them and how they would govern themselves.  Now the democratic process would help them shape their future.

The residents of Hoffman Estates would choose Ed Pinger as President, Marilyn Brading as Clerk, James Gannon, Bruce Berger, Ed Deerfield, Ed Cunningham, John Pickering and Roy Jenkins as Trustees.  The Good Government Party had won the election.

On November 12, 1959 the first village board meeting was held.  It was the first of many and the beginning of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian


October 30, 2016

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hoffman Estates, the Environmental Commission sponsored a contest to select an official Village flower and tree.  Many may not know that we have a Village flower and tree.  The announcement of the winners was published in the September/October 1979 Citizen newsletter.

Ginger Dickerson, who had lived in the village for 8 years, chose the daisy for the official flower of Hoffman Estates.   She said that the daisy “has always been a symbol of simplicity and durability.”  She also said that “the daisy was growing on the land long before there were people or houses in Hoffman Estates.” daisy

The daisy is one of my favorite flowers.  As children we always played the “he/she loves me, he/she loves me not” game as we picked off each petal to learn the truth.  I also learned that the daisy represents a new beginning.  It certainly is a flower that represents many new beginnings for all the residents of Hoffman Estates.

Dave Pivorunas, “ a senior honor student majoring in ornamental horticulture at Michigan State University”  felt that the Hackberry tree should be the village’s official tree.  The tree is native to the area and has a beautiful cork like bark as well as loads of purple berries that the birds love to feast on in the fall.   In doing some research on the tree I found that the berries are edible and have a high fat content  that helps birds survive the winter or their migration south.

Dave felt that the tree would be the best choice for village tree because, at that time, it was the oldest and largest tree growing on the old village hall property on Illinois Blvd., now the Children’s Advocacy Center.

I had to drive over to the old village hall and see for myself if the tree was still there, and it was.  It’s a majestic tree, hugging the front of the old Geiske/Hammerstein farm house, shading a majority of the roof and gracefully hanging over the front walk.  The farmhouse dates back to the late 1840s and the tree could be well over 150 years old.



Perhaps in the future, we can consider choosing a village bird since we have more than 4000 acres of park district and forest preserve land within our village boundaries.  I can’t even count the number of different bird species that I hear and see in my neighborhood, maybe for our 60th anniversary.

Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Historian


October 2, 2016

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

Ponds and lakes seem to be in every neighborhood in Hoffman Estates.  The very oldest areas of town in Parcel A & B are about the only areas that don’t have some kind of retention pond to gather runoff when we have heavy rains.  F & S Construction didn’t begin grading the other parts of town to prevent flooding until they developed the area around Lakeview School in Parcel C & D.  (You can see some of the lakes and ponds in this early map of Hoffman Estates from the Schaumburg Township District Library’s map file.)


The retention ponds became places for fishing in the summer, enjoying the ducks and geese and ice skating in the winter.  Eventually ice skating was limited to just a few ponds.  With warmer winters and safety issues it was best not to offer ice skating anymore.

I wondered how many of the ponds were actual lakes that the developer found when he began to build the homes in Hoffman Estates.  Looking at a National Geographic Survey map from 1953, I found the areas that did have ponds put in by F & S and other builders,  were already wetlands that were natural choices for retention ponds and flood control.    The only lakes I could find on the NGS maps were up north off Algonquin Rd:  Whispering Lake Park off of Huntington Blvd., South Ridge Lake Park off of Fremont Rd. and Westbury Lake Park off of Dresden & Westbury Dr..

When you look at the map of Hoffman Estates and surrounding towns, you find these marked as lakes.  All the other ponds shown on the Hoffman Estates portion of the map do not have names.  They are the ponds that the developers planned into the area they were building to provide control of excess rain water and provide proper drainage for the neighborhood.

It’s wonderful to have these ponds and lakes in our town.  The parks that are part of the lakes and ponds are great places to visit on warm summer days.  Some have playgrounds, others have walking paths but all are an asset to our village.

In researching the newspapers for stories about the parks, I found a very funny story about the ducks and geese that frequent our park ponds and lakes.  50 years ago, in the Nov. 24th, 1966 edition of the Daily Herald, it seems that eighteen white ducks “of the domestic variety” were to be evicted from Lakeview pond next to Lakeview School.  Lyle Button, Hoffman Estates Park Commissioner, was going to transport the ducks to Brookfield Zoo where they would be “happier”.  He revealed to board members that “he had his course of action planned”.  As parks Improvement committee chairman, he would buy several long handled chicken catchers.  Four boys would assist him with the project.  Did it really happen?  I would have loved to be standing on the shore watching “the project” completed by those four boys.  Was Mr. Button in the boat with them?  I’ve not found another story that answers these questions.


We know that a special variety of swans guard the ponds and lakes warding off unwanted ducks and geese.  Mr. Button would’ve liked that I’m sure.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian

Summer photo above, of the pond near Lakeview School, was graciously submitted by C. Blotteaux. 



August 7, 2016

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the June 2009 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

The early years for Hoffman Estates homeowners were filled with volunteer work at school, membership in the Women’s Club and work with the Hoffman Estates Homeowners Association.

A lot more happened on back yard patios than just having something cool to drink and watching the kids. On a summer afternoon in 1958 Jean Davenport and Edna Shore were sitting in Edna’s back yard when Jean suggested that Hoffman Estates needed a library. Since Edna was the Culture Chairman for the Lakeview P.T.A. Jean suggested that she could get things started.

The ladies talked with friends and neighbors and many agreed to help with establishing a Hoffinan Estates Library. Diane Woodhouse served as the first chairman of the library planning committee. Reverend Albert Harkins, Leonard Pecilunas, Bonnie Samuels and Bernice Suttle also served on that first committee.

The women began going door to door asking for book and monetary donations for the new library. They set a goal of $550 as the amount needed to start the new library.

Jean Davenport took over as committee chairman in January, 1959 and succeeded in raising $233 that month alone. The Hoffman Estates residents donated 4,000 books for the first library. There were many neighbors and friends who worked hard to raise the money and find a home for the new library. he-village-hallJack Hoffman of F. & S, Construction offered the basement of the Hammerstein Farm Community Center for the library. The volunteer group named the library the Arthur Hammerstein Library of Hoffman Estates. The plan was to ask each family to pay $2 to use the library.

Hammerstein library

More space was needed for the library materials and Mary Zimmerman, principal of Hoffman School, offered an empty classroom space for the growing library, but it was only a temporary home as the school enrollment was growing as well. When space and time ran out, Jack Hoffman came to the rescue and offered the library the use of an empty house on Roselle and Schaumburg Rd.

It was obvious that a larger public library was needed. The Hoffman Estates committee and the library committee from Schaumburg felt that neither Hoffman Estates nor Schaumburg was large enough to support a public library. Together they decided that a township wide library would best serve the residents of the area.

On September 8,1962 Schaumburg Township residents approved the referendum for the new Schaumburg Township Library by a vote of 430 to 69.

That first volunteer committee was responsible for encouraging their neighbors and friends to support a library for Hoffrnan Estates families. Fifty years ago Jean, Edna and Hoffman Estates volunteers planted the seeds and they grew to become not only our library but a library for all the Schaumburg Township residents.

Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Village Historian


July 24, 2016

When the Hoffman Estates Police Department was doing its patrols in the 1960’s, the village was divided into four area zones.

Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Historian, graciously passed on a list of the businesses that were located in each zone.

Based on the businesses I am familiar with and where they were/are located, I have come up with a rudimentary description of each Area.  I have also placed an asterisk (*) next to the businesses I am unfamiliar with.

If any of these businesses ring a bell, I would be happy to update the list.  Please leave a comment or contact me by the email listed below.  I appreciate any assistance you can provide!


Southwest corner of Higgins and Roselle Roads.  Hoffman Plaza.  East side of Roselle Road between Higgins and Golf.

Abco Job Center*
Barton Stull*
Burger King–on north side of Higgins Road, just east of Roselle Road.Burger King
Car Wash–on south side of Golf Road, just east of Roselle Road.
Clothes Basket*
Colonel Sanders–(KFC?) on south side of Higgins Road, just west of Roselle Road.  Correct?
Currency Exchange–in Hoffman Plaza.
Dog ‘N Suds–on west side of Roselle Road, just north of Bode Road.
Duco Engineering*
Guido’s–on west side of Roselle Road, between Bode and Higgins Road.
Hoffman Plaza–on east side of  Roselle Road, between Golf and Higgins Road.
Hunt Construction*
Irene’s Rainbow Inn–on west side of Higgins Road at Roselle Road.
Jerome Fabrics*
Jewel-Osco–in Hoffman Plaza.  See above.Hoffman Plaza
Jupiter Cleaners*
Kinney Shoes–on south side of Golf Road, just east of Roselle Road.
Neff T.V.–on west side of Roselle Road, just south of Higgins Road.
Pete’s Barber Shop–on west side of Roselle Road, just south of Higgins Road.
Plaza Shell–on the northeast corner of Higgins and Roselle Road.
Post Office–in Hoffman Plaza.  See above.
Ralston T.V.*
Ray’s Heating*
Rice Heating*
Robert Hall–on the southeast corner of Higgins and Roselle Road.
Russell’s Barber Shop*
Texaco–on the northwest corner of the Bode and Roselle Road intersection.
United Rent-All*
V & S Hardware*
Value Land*
Dr. Waxler*


West side of Roselle Road, north of Higgins Road.  Golf Rose Shopping Center.  [Are there other locations?]

American Loans*
B & K Realty*
B.P.A.A. (Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America)
Bakery*–I think this is the Golf Rose Bakery in the Golf Rose Shopping Center.  See below.
Baskin Robbins–in the Golf Rose Shopping Center.  See below.
Dr. Bennett–Dentist*
Brass & Glass*
Budget Rent A Car*
Century Towers*
Cherry’s Shoes*
Citgo–on the southwest corner of Roselle and Golf Road.
Deanna’s School of Dance*
Diamond Cue*
Drake’s Male Fashion*
Firestone Tire–on the west side of Roselle Road, between Higgins and Golf.
Golf Paint, Glass & Wallpaper*
Golf Rose Barber Shop–in the Golf Rose Shopping Center.  See below.
Golf Rose Plaza–on the west side of Roselle Road, between Higgins and Golf.
Grants–in the Golf Rose Shopping Center.  See above.
Heritage Trace Apts.–on the south side of Higgins Road between Roselle and Golf.  (Now known as Steeple Hill Condominiums)
Heathron Beauty Salon*
Ho Luck Chop Suey*
Hoffman Lanes–on the north side of Higgins Road just west of Roselle Road.Hoffman Lanes
Hoffman Rosner Corp.–on the west side of Roselle Road, between Golf and Higgins.  Across from Firestone.
Law Offices*
McMahon Real Estate*
National Foods–in the Golf Rose Shopping Center.  See above.
Omega Sports*
Orchid Cleaners*
Prairie Ridge Apts.*
Record Newspaper*
Sentiment & Sweets*
Shakey’s Pizza*
Snyders Drugs–in the Golf Rose Shopping Center.  See above.
Sorority House*
State Farm Insurance*
Suburban Bank–on the west side of Roselle Road, just south of Golf Road.
Thunderbird Theatre–in the Golf Rose Shopping Center.  See above.
Dr. Udesky–Optometrist*
Union 76 Gas Station–on the northwest corner of Higgins and Roselle Road.


Higgins Road on the north side, west of the intersection with Golf.

Dale House*
Enco Station*
Hilldale Village*–apartment complex on the north side of Higgins Road at Huntington Boulevard.


Higgins Road on the south side, west of the intersection with Golf.  Higgins Road on the north side, west of the intersection with Huntington Boulevard.  Central Road.  Algonquin Road.

Barrington Square–on the north side of Higgins Road between Governor’s Lane and Barrington Road.Barrington Square
Clayton Corp.*
Mobil Station*
Moon Lake Village–apartment complex on the south side of Higgins Road at Moon Lake Blvd.
Standard Station*
Thomas Engineering–at Central Road and Ela Road.
Winston Knolls–on the north side of Algonquin Road between Ela Road and Windemere Lane.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


July 3, 2016

Sunderlage SmokehouseThe Hoffman Estates Historical Sites Commission is sponsoring a free open house at the Sunderlage Farmhouse, 1775 Vista Lane on Sunday, July 24, from noon to 3 p.m.

Participate in the following events:

  • Take a tour of the historic 1856 Sunderlage Farmhouse and adjacent smokehouse which is registered on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Meander through the variety of vintage ’50s and ’60s cars on display by the Old Timers Cruise Night Club.
  • Enjoy a cool ice cream treat sponsored by the Schaumburg Township Historical Society.

For more information, call 847-781-2606.

Enjoy your step back in time!


June 12, 2016

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

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

Weiner roast

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


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

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

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

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian