Archive for the ‘Hoffman Estates’ Category

THE FIRST JEWEL AT HOFFMAN PLAZA: VERSION 3

July 30, 2017

While the old Jewel in Hoffman Plaza is being reconfigured, we’ve been delighted to see remnants of it still visible as the outer facade was torn off.  We’ve seen the barrel roof and brick walls that have been uncovered.

And, just recently while traveling down Roselle Road, I noticed that the curved struts and braces of the interior are now visible.

Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian, noticed the same thing and was able to take the picture below that is even more up close. The condition appears to be quite sound.  It is amazing to us that the developers saw the worth in this part of the structure and incorporated it as part of the new building.

It’s fascinating to consider that this structure is now almost 60 years old.  This brief timeline of Jewel in Hoffman Plaza gives you an idea of the importance of this location.

  • Jewel opened Summer of 1959.
  • Osco opened in the Jewel in September 1964.
  • The Jewel-Osco relocated to its current location on April 14, 1973.

This is today’s Jewel, still in the 1973 location, with the 1955 water tower ever present in the background.  You can also see the water tank in the background that was built in 1962.  (For more information on these water storage facilities of Hoffman Estates, read Pat’s column from August 2010.)

Who knows if the old Jewel will ever be uncovered again?  We’re just glad that we got a glimpse of it before it was encased in the redeveloped Burlington Coat Factory.  It was nice to take the photographs when the opportunity presented itself!

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

AN UNKNOWN FARM HOUSE APPEARED RIGHT BEFORE OUR VERY EYES

June 24, 2017

Surprises come in all shapes and sizes and this particular surprise came in the shape of the house pictured above.  Last December, Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Historian, was contacted by Sue Gould, a local realtor, who was listing a home at 635 Lakeview Lane in Hoffman Estates.  According to the tax records she pulled, the home was built in 1879.  It is next to Lakeview School and the front of the house faces Evergreen Park and pond.  She wondered if we knew anything about it.  (Lakeview School is to the left in the photo below.)

The answer was no, we didn’t, because this house was a total surprise to us!  We know of only two houses in Parcel C that were here before the Hoffmans began development in the area.  One is the Hammerstein House on Illinois Boulevard that is now the Children’s Advocacy Center and the other is a private residence.

The realtor asked for a bit of background on the house so we got busy.  In looking at some of the old plat maps, Pat determined that the home was owned by the Bartels family.  I made a couple of calls and talked to Mr. Sporleder whose family farm backed up to the property.  He confirmed that, during his lifetime, the farm was first owned by Arthur Bartels and, later, by his son, Harvey Bartels.  He also mentioned that they lived in a big, two-story house.  Bingo.

In looking back at the many plat maps in our library’s collection, Arthur Bartels owned the property back to the 1920’s.  However, I suspected their ownership was earlier than that.  Mr. Bartels married Alma Hitzemann in 1915 at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Schaumburg.  An account of their wedding ran in the Palatine Enterprise and stated, “The happy couple were the recipients of many beautiful and useful presents and will start life under most favorable circumstances on the groom’s fine 160-acre farm, with good large buildings and everything to make them prosperous and happy.”  In fact, the obituary for Mrs. Bartels in 1945 confirms that, “after their marriage [they] made their home on their farm on Bode Rd. in Schaumburg twp.”

This clearly did not date the house though.  Prior to Mr. Bartels purchasing the property, the plat maps show that the farm was owned by the F. Gieseke family going back to 1861.  The property was split sometime in the following ten years and became two parcels, with houses built on both farms. (Note the fieldstones that make up the cellar walls of the house.)

According to the records collected by Larry Nerge, Friedrich or “Fred” Gieseke emigrated here in 1845 and died in 1891.   Friedrich or “Fred Jr.,” his son, died in 1911.  Both farms are listed on the maps under the name of F. Gieseke.  It’s a good possibility that the west farm passed from the Giesekes to the Bartels after Fred Jr. died in 1911.

Interestingly, Hattie Hitzemann, the sister of Mrs. Bartels, married William J. Gieseke who lived in another part of the township.  It is probably through Hattie and William that the Bartels heard that the Gieseke property was for sale.  Fred Gieseke Jr. was a first cousin to William’s father, Johann or “John” Gieseke.  So the property was kept in the family for all intents and purposes–though slightly removed from the direct line.

According to my contact, Mr. Sporleder, his best guess was that Harvey Bartels sold the property in the late 1950s.  The adjoining Gieseke property to the east had been sold in 1943 to Arthur and Dorothy Dalton Hammerstein.   After Arthur’s death in 1954, Dorothy sold the farm to the Hoffmans of F & S Construction.  It makes sense that the Bartels would have followed with a sale of their own farm in the next few years to F & S.

But the old Gieseke/Bartels house remained–as did the Gieseke/Hammerstein house.  For some reason F & S allowed both of them to stay in the midst of ongoing development. Somewhere along the line, though, the Gieseke/Bartels house dropped out of the local history consciousness.  Fortunately it resurfaced, thanks to Sue Gould’s attentiveness and concern.  And, just in time for Pat and me to take a look!

It was clear in the walk through that the house was added onto at some point.  There were two separate apartments with two separate kitchens and entrances.  Judging by the walls and the foundation in the cellar, it was also obvious here that at least one addition had occurred.  It is my feeling that the portion of the house in the middle and a fair portion on the east side, closest to Lakeview School, were the oldest parts of the house.  The chimney is another giveaway for that argument as is this bay in the center.  Notice the style of the trim around the window.

We are just grateful we were alerted to this piece of history we might have otherwise missed.  There are few farm houses left in Schaumburg Township and it was nice to have the opportunity to view this quiet masterpiece from days gone by.

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

 

CREATING BEAUTIFUL YARDS IN EARLY HOFFMAN ESTATES

May 21, 2017

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

Early residents of Hoffman Estates found that springtime was not what they had expected.  Many of us found ourselves surrounded by a yard that had an inch or two of topsoil and not a blade of grass anywhere.  In fact, with spring rains came the ugly muddy front & back yards.   Everyone was up to their elbows in dirt and a spring filled with landscaping chores of one kind or another.

Parcel A had ½ acre lots but the other homes that were going up quickly had smaller yards.  When they purchased their homes not everyone thought of the work that lay ahead once the winter snows had melted. Not only were the roads a nightmare to navigate that first year but now everyone had lawn work to keep them busy throughout the entire summer.

Those first neighborhoods didn’t have homes that came with trees, shrubs and lawns.  That was going to be a big undertaking for most.  Parcel A didn’t even have parkway trees since they didn’t have a parkway only a small sidewalk that went along the edge of the street.

Nothing could be done until you had the right equipment.  Wheelbarrows, rakes, shovels, seed and fertilizer spreaders and the list went on and on.  The salesman would always tell us that if you wanted to have a great lawn you needed the proper tools.  We had only one nursery and lawn equipment store in town and that was located between Higgins and Golf about where Dunkin Donuts is now.  In fact it was in Schaumburg not Hoffman Estates.   It was called Slattery’s Nursery.  They had land across the street on the north side of Golf Road where Ahlgrim’s Funeral Home is located, where they grew their stock of trees and shrubs.  Landscaping and a lawn was an expensive project for the homeowners.  Of course the salesman would want to sell you every blooming thing.

If you needed black dirt, gravel, stone or some sand for the kid’s sandbox, you were referred to Rose’s across the street on the north side of Golf just east of Valley Lake Dr.  He had everything else you needed for that beautiful lawn, especially the loads of black dirt to supplement what the builder had left behind once the house was completed.

The beauty of your lawn soon became the business of everyone on your block.  The men would compare notes on how they killed the dandelions or how they got the lawn so green.  But there were some who always enjoyed that beautiful sea of yellow and let Mother Nature take care of the lawn.

Now landscape materials are found at the big box stores or the few local hardware stores we have in our area.  The nurseries and greenhouses have moved away but what a necessity they were for the new and inexperienced home owners of early Hoffman Estates.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian
eagle2064@comcast.net

SHOPPING AT HOFFMAN PLAZA

May 7, 2017

Last week, in Hoffman Plaza, the brick outline and barrel roof of the first Jewel in Schaumburg Township was revealed during the demolition of a portion of the shopping center.  The interest was overwhelming!

This week, I captured a better photo of the building now that the western portion of the shopping center is gone.  You get a good idea of the outline of the building in this photo:

This photo, from a Hoffman Highlands brochure given to me by local realtor Larry Rowan, gives you just a small hint of the interior of that Jewel:

But, the interesting thing is that another mention of Hoffman Plaza came up in conversation last week when one of the staff said that he bought shelves at the Handy Andy in Hoffman Plaza when he moved to the area.  I only knew of the Handy Andys on Golf Road and on Irving Park Road in Schaumburg but wanted to make sure that was correct.

In doing a bit of research, I discovered that there was a Handyman store that opened in the summer of 1976 in Hoffman Plaza.  The ad from the July 24, 1976 issue of the Hoffman Herald even sported a caricature of a little “Handyman” similar to the little “Handy Andy.”  Handyman was a “super hardware center” that offered shelving, lumber, tools, cookware, electrical lighting and vanities, to name a few items.

In searching, I also came across an ad for Hoffman Plaza in the December 7, 1976 newspaper that invited shoppers to meet Santa and do their holiday shopping at the following stores.  It is a nice list that captures a moment in time for Hoffman Plaza.

  • Mr. Michael’s Hairstyling
  • Bowen Ace Hardware
  • Barb Fisher Dance Studio
  • Olympic Karate
  • Russell’s Barber Shop
  • ABCO Job Center
  • Ralston Electronics
  • Century 21 McMahon Real Estate
  • Gallo’s on the Plaza
  • Ruby Begonia Plants & Macrame
  • Fashions at Large
  • Vitamin House
  • Red Squire Fashions for Men & Young Men
  • Maxine’s Clothesline
  • Jewel
  • Osco
  • Valueland–Jewelry & Beauty Needs
  • Rosati’s Pizza
  • Electronic Game World
  • Woodfield Auto Parts
  • Bell Liquors
  • Denny’s Restaurant
  • Acorn Tire
  • Hoffman Estates Currency Exchange

Not too long after the above list ran in the Hoffman Herald, this photo, compliments of the former Profile Publications of Crystal Lake, appeared in the Northwest Suburban Association of Commerce and Industry Community Profile of 1982.  It is a great depiction of the Plaza, complete with the iconic water tower.

Because there seems to be an interest, I have begun a list of the businesses that were/are based in Hoffman Plaza.  What have I missed?

  • ABCO Job Center
  • Acorn Tire
  • Allen Awards
  • Barb Fisher Dance Studio
  • Barber Shop (Stan ______, proprietor)
  • BBQ Hut (Korean restaurant)
  • Bee Discount
  • Bell Liquors
  • Ben Franklin
  • Black Forest (German restaurant)
  • Bowen Ace Hardware
  • Burger King
  • Century 21 McMahon Real Estate
  • Crest Heating & Air Conditioning
  • Dania Furniture
  • Denny’s Restaurant
  • DeRamos, Dr.
  • Electronic Game World
  • Fashions at Large
  • Gallo’s on the Plaza
  • Giant Auto Parts
  • Gold’s Gym
  • Highland Superstore
  • Hoffman Estates Currency Exchange
  • Hoffman Home Values
  • Home Center
  • Hot Dog Place
  • Jet One Hour Photo
  • Jewel
  • Jockey (Asian restaurant)
  • Jupiter Cleaners
  • Lifesource
  • Maxine’s Clothesline
  • Mr. Michael’s Hairstyling
  • Midwest Outpost
  • North Beach
  • Olympic Karate
  • Olympic Torch
  • Peppermint Stick Lounge
  • Plaza Valueland
  • Ralston Electronics
  • Red Squire Fashions for Men & Young Men
  • Rosati’s Pizza
  • Ruby Begonia Plants & Macrame
  • Russell’s Barber Shop
  • Sally Beauty Supply
  • Syms
  • Thai House
  • Turpin Fabric & Drapery
  • Twinbrook Hardware
  • U.S. Post Office
  • Universal Painting Contractors
  • Valueland–Jewelry & Beauty Needs
  • Vazquez, Dr. Ivan
  • Viet House
  • Vitamin House
  • Wok ‘n Roll
  • Woodfield Auto Parts
  • Yu’s Mandarin  (First location)

The comments and nostalgia for this first shopping center have been a great addition to our local history.  Now, Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian and I wonder if, with further demolition, the outline of the Jewel letters on the front of the store might even be uncovered.  If that happens, our cameras will be ready!

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

 

WHAT THE DEMOLITION AT HOFFMAN PLAZA REVEALED

April 30, 2017

Hoffman Plaza came up twice this week in conversation.  The first mention revolved around the demolition at the shopping center.   Hoffman Estates Historian Pat Barch wrote about the Plaza’s plans in her January 2017 column in the Hoffman Estates Citizen.  As she mentioned, the south portion of the 58-year-old plaza is being demolished.  I’ve been tracking the progress as I make my commute each day and, one day this week, while driving by, I saw this:

 

When I looked closer I realized what I was seeing.  It was the roof and brick outline of the original Jewel that opened in Hoffman Plaza.  Hidden for all of these years behind the more modern facade of the plaza were the round barrel roof and brick walls of the first Jewel to make its way to Schaumburg Township.

This Jewel opened in the summer of 1959 and faced Higgins Road.  A line of shops extending to the west towards Roselle Road were connected to it.  Snyder Walgreen Drug Agency was one of those that opened at the same time.  As Pat said in her column, Ben Franklin, Twinbrook Hardware, Turpin Fabrics & Drapery, a beauty shop owned by Frank Vaccaro and a doctor’s office opened later in 1959 and on into 1960.

Maybe you can see something more in these photos:

If you spot anything, chime in and let me know.  And, for those of you who do not live in the area, just a heads up that a Burlington Store is planned for the shopping center. (Click on the photo below and you can see the sign off to the left.)  According to a Daily Herald article from April 19, 2017, a 50,000 square foot store will open in the location of the former Dania furniture store.  With a light now at the entrance to the shopping center on Roselle Road, it should make for some easy shopping!

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

Many thanks to Pat Barch for jumping in her car to take the photo of the Jewel in the early morning hours and some of the others you see here.  Teardowns can happen so fast that it’s necessary to get there as fast as we can.  I appreciate her alacrity!

Look for another column on Hoffman Plaza next week…

THE FIRST HOFFMAN ESTATES VILLAGE HALL

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
eagle2064@comcast.net

THE EARLY DAYS OF HOFFMAN ESTATES

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
jrozek@stdl.org

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

 

 

 

CHANGE IS COMING TO HOFFMAN PLAZA

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
eagle2064@comcast.net

THE FIRST ELECTION IN HOFFMAN ESTATES

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
Eagle2064@comcast.net

THE OFFICIAL FLOWER AND TREE OF HOFFMAN ESTATES

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.

hackberry-tree-2

 

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
eagle2064@comcast.net