Archive for the ‘Hoffman Estates’ Category


June 9, 2019

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

The back and forth of court fights to annex land for the development of Hoffman Estates seemed to occupy the first five years of the village’s history.

Last month I wrote about the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision to allow us to annex the land north of the tollway. The back and forth court decisions over this annexation made development of the area unusual.

Between 1962 and 1964 a story was unfolding that I would title “The Topsey Turvey Howie in the Hills development”. The development was located on the south side of Palatine Road, about where the Jewel is now presently located.

Believing that the land planned for the Howie in the Hills development was annexed to Hoffman Estates in September, 1962, their project went forward with all the appropriate approvals needed from the village board. Foundations were poured, a well was put in and plans were going forward for the sewer system. But then the results of the lawsuits against Hoffman Estates by three of our neighboring villages, South Barrington, Barrington Hills and Inverness , who believed that land could not be annexed across a tollway, was settled in their favor. It took the land away from Hoffman Estates and placed Howie in the Hills’ development under Cook County’s building requirements. Under the new Cook County rules only 8 of the 10 foundations that had already been poured met with the county’s requirements.

Sewerage plans weren’t going very well either. Howie in the Hills planned on building a sewage treatment plant for its proposed homes but Inverness and Palatine objected to water from the plant spilling into Salt Creek.  The Metropolitan Sanitary District did not have plans to expand and accept the Howie in the Hills development. Howie in the Hills’ request for connections to the sanitary district were voted down.

With on again, off again changes to how they would continue their development, Howie in the Hills’ costs for sewer lines, lawyers, lawsuits and other unexpected expenses eventually took its toll. The final blow came when City Savings and Loan, who was handling the financing for the development, collapsed. The entire Howie in the Hills development was abandoned. Homes that had been built sat empty for years and some said it looked like a ghost town.

It took close to 10 years to finally resolve the Howie in the Hills failure. The land reverted back to Hoffman Estates and Allister Construction purchased the land and built the Westsbury subdivision.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Historian


June 2, 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

  • Mel Bellairs, who had a weekend radio show on WBBM, advertised the new developments in Hoffman Estates. He talked about The Imperial, a four-bedroom ranch, the new Blackhawk School, the split-level Lincoln model and the new Hoffman Plaza with its Jewel, Walgreens, medical center and 350 parking spaces. Model homes were open for viewing at Higgins and Roselle Road Monday through Friday 9-8, Saturday 9-6 and Sunday 9-3. (Can someone tell us where the model homes were/are?)
  • Jewel announced that in its new 15,000 square foot store at Higgins and Roselle Road, they would feature an old-fashioned sausage shop with foods from 7 nations. (Does anyone remember this shop?)
  • A story in the Chicago Tribune on the development of outlying Cook County states that “Schaumburg Township to the northwest, was the last of the 38 townships to be completely rural. The line of the Northwest tollway changed that, attracting the builder of Hoffman Estates, and then bringing about the incorporation of Schaumburg Center.”

50 Years Ago In 1969

  • Martin Plate announced his retirement from Conant High School (pictured above) after serving as principal for the first five years of Conant’s existence. He announced he was returning to school to work on a doctorate in school administration. A painting of Plate was presented to the school by the Conant Student Council to hang in the foyer.
  • In a Chicago Tribune listing, Hoffman Estates’ median family income was $11,935 and the median home value was $26,400.
  • The True Value in Hoffman Estates was advertising an Arvin “Swing Along” 45 rpm phonograph for $24.88 with 10 45 rpm bonus records with your buy. “Insert a record and hear instant smooth sound (thanks to both solid state design and velvet voice speaker.”

40 Years Ago In 1979

  • Moon Lake Village at 1410 Volid Drive was advertising their closeout sale on garden homes. 5% down. No closing costs. No assessments until 1980. Mortgage money available. The garden homes were two-story and featured one, two and three bedroom units, ranging in price from $38,500 to $52,500. (They can be seen in the background of the photo below.)
  • The Stebbing Royal European Circus brought clowns, trained elephants, chimpanzees and poodles to Barrington Square Mall for a series of shows sponsored by the Hoffman-Schaumburg V.F.W. Post 8080. Admission was $4.50 for adults and $3.50 for children 11 and younger.
  • When seven firefighters from the Hoffman Estates Fire Department responded to the May 25th crash of Flight 191 of an American Airlines DC-10 at O’Hare Airport, it left the village with 11 firefighters to man three stations. This was five less than a normal crew and one below the department’s minimum. Mayor Virginia Hayter was concerned about the reduced staffing and expressed her concerns.

30 Years Ago In 1989

  • It was announced on Sunday, June 25, that Sears Roebuck & Co. had officially decided to leave Sears Tower in Chicago and had chosen Hoffman Estates as their location for the new home.
  • Dangerous Liaisons, the winner of three Academy Awards, was showing at the Barrington Square 6 theater.
  • Mass was said at St. Hubert Catholic Church on June 24 for Air Force Lt. Col. Robert J. Panek, Sr. who was declared missing in action 20 years ago in North Vietnam and whose remains were returned last year.

20 Years Ago In 1999

  • The Hoffman Estates Park District Board approved construction bids for Willow Skate Park. They also approved a design by Wright Architects for the Prairie Stone Community Center that  included three gymnasiums, indoor tennis courts, a 40-foot climbing wall, a 2,300-square-foot activity pool with zero- depth entrance, a lap pool and a whirlpool.
  • The Hoffman Estates Fire Department will sponsor their first Citizens Fire Academy to teach participating residents about firefighting and fire prevention.
  • Julie Hollister became the village’s first woman police detective after spending three years as a patrol officer. She was one of seven women on the force.

10 Years Ago In 2009

  • Plunkett Furniture announced that they were closing their four stores in the Chicago area and bringing their 78-year run to an end. Their location was at the northeast corner of Golf and Barrington Roads.
  • Fire Station No. 24 on Beacon Pointe Drive at Shoe Factory Road opened its doors and replaced the 17-year-old Pratnum Avenue station.
  • The Village sponsored its 10th Unity Day with a bigger entertainment lineup than ever before. The village’s Cultural Awareness Commission upped this year’s event as 2009 marked the village’s 50th anniversary.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

The factual items for this blog posting were taken from stories that appeared in the Daily Herald and the Chicago Tribune.

Credit for the photo of the Arvin Record Player is given to
Credit for the photo of Willow Skate Park is given to





May 5, 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 Women’s Club voted to enter their proposal for a Community Center in the national Community Achievement contest sponsored by the federated women’s clubs and the Sears Roebuck Foundation.
  • Scout Troops #94 and #100 decided to host a paper drive that would help recycle newspapers in the homes of Parcel A and B on the first and third Saturdays of the month. Their goal was to collect enough for funds to replenish their camping supplies that burned in the barn fire on the Hammerstein property.
  • Jupiter Cleaners opened May 16 in Hoffman Plaza and offered a special of 1/3 off of all cleaning as an introductory offer.

50 Years Ago In 1969

  • Model apartments opened at Hermitage Trace, a new 416-unit apartment complex on Heritage Drive. (These are currently the Steeple Hill Condominiums on Higgins Road between Golf & Roselle.)
  • The Schaumburg Township Memorial Day parade was scheduled to step off at 2:00 p.m. on Thacker Street. It would then move south on Roselle Road and east on Schaumburg Road to St. Peter Lutheran Cemetery where the service was to be held. (Sixty years later and the service is still being offered at the cemetery.)
  • It was reported that very few families were taking advantage of the reduced fares for family pool passes at the Community Pool. Family memberships were sold at a lower rate of $35 until May 31 when they went back up to $50.

40 Years Ago In 1979

  • The Village Board voted to approve creation of a new liquor license class in order to accomodate the sale of beer and wine in disposable containers at the Poplar Creek Music Theater.
  • The K-Mart hair salon at Barrington Square was offering a “Brush and Run ph Heat Activated Perm” for $19.95. “Brush it! Rough it! Twirl it! Fluff it! It falls into place!”
  • The “All New” Sante restaurant had clearly been updated and was advertising breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday through Thursday from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m., and all weekend starting at 6 a.m. on Friday and ending at 1 a.m. on Sunday. The restaurant was owned by three brothers, Nick, George and Denny and was the “home of excellent food, super service and family prices.”

30 Years Ago In 1989

  • State officials began pitching a site in Hoffman Estates as an alternative to a location near O’Hare Airport for the relocations of Sears, Roebuck & Co. The site was 1300 acres, just west of the Poplar Creek Music Theater.
  • Minnesota Fabrics was holding a big Mother’s Day sale featuring multiple fabrics, threads and ribbons. They were located in the Golf Rose Shopping Center
  • The Highland Superstore, on Roselle between Higgins and Golf, was selling various models of camcorders–including Roger Ebert’s Four Star Movie Guide, free, with any purchase!

20 Years Ago In 1999

  • The Hoffman Estates Park District was soliciting resident input on the park elements and amenities at Field Park at the Blackhawk Community Center on Higgins Road.
  • The results of a transportation survey elicited few surprises. (1) More than 92% said they drive alone to work and 14.4% use a Metra train to get to their job. (2) The top destinations for a regular PACE route would be Woodfield Mall, Metra and CTA stations, Golf Center, Hoffman Plaza and St. Alexius Medical Center. (3) Those 65 and older would most likely go to Woodfield and younger residents would be inclined to go to Harper College. (4) Respondents would prefer fixed routes, subsidized cab rides and Dial-A-Ride as the elements they would most like to see in services.
  • The Beth Tikvah congregation was holding a “Big Top” rummage sale as its last fund raiser of the year. Shopping would be held inside in case of rain. 

10 Years Ago in 2009 

  • Hoffman Estates was sponsoring a Memorial Day event at the Veterans Memorial outside the Hoffman Estates Police Department on Gannon Drive. It was hosted by the Hoffman Estates Veterans Memorial Commission at 11:00 on Monday, May 25.
  • The Village Board approved a future off-track betting parlor inside the Prairie Stone Business Park. It was to be part of the Saddle Room restaurant and bar.
  • The Village was offering residents the opportunity to purchase special license plates to celebrate Hoffman Estates’ 50th anniversary. The temporary plates cost $20 and featured the special 50th anniversary logo.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

The factual items for this blog posting were taken from stories that appeared in the Daily Herald and the Chicago Tribune.


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.

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.
  • 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.]


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


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

The factual items for this blog posting were taken from stories that appeared in the Daily Herald and the Chicago Tribune.


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


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


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


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

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