Archive for the ‘Hoffman Estates’ Category


June 17, 2018

She was an actress in Chicago stock companies in 1910.  She moved to Hollywood to become a silent film star in 1914 and starred in over 50 silent films and co-starred with greats such as Rudolph Valentino and William S. Hart. She has a star on the Grauman Theater Hollywood Walk of Fame.  She was the Ingrid Bergman of her day.  In 1924, she married Arthur Hammerstein, the uncle of Oscar Hammerstein II and became Dorothy Dalton Hammerstein.  (The Hammersteins are on the left in the photo below.)

Dorothy retired from films when she married Arthur and never returned to her busy life in Hollywood.  She was destined to fulfill her lifelong desire to live on a farm.  That farm would be located in what would be the future Village of Hoffman Estates.

In 1943 she and Arthur purchased the Gieseke Farm, located just south of Bode Rd. and west of Roselle Rd, from John and Edwin Gieseke.  They called the farm Cardoa Farm.

Anton Remenih , reporter for the Chicago Daily Tribune,  interviewed Dorothy and Arthur in their unassumingly  simple yet cozy farm living room.  It was Aug., 11 1946, a busy time on the Hammerstein farm.  Dorothy was raising a herd of prized Holsteins and Duroc Jersey hogs.  “Dorothy was content.”  But Arthur said “It is I who named the place Headacres.  This is “Mrs. Hammerstein’s project” he said. He would have much preferred to be back working on Broadway.  Having been a successful writer of light opera on Broadway, he found it hard to be retired and living a quiet rural life.

Dorothy loved working with her beef and dairy herds.  Remenih reported that “She was also an accomplished equestrian and enjoyed riding her favorite mount Star.”  Dorothy always rode Star as she inspected the 275 acre farm.”

Dorothy enjoyed remodeling their 100 year old farm from a small house to a 5 bedroom, 7 bath home with servant quarters and surprisingly, a kitchen in the basement along with the wine cellar.  She brought along her lifetime collection of antiques as well as autographed pictures of Victor Herbert and others who starred with her during her silent movie career.

In addition to remodeling the farmhouse, Dorothy and Arthur added several barns and new silos to house and feed the cattle, hogs and horses.  Feed for the animals were grown on their 275 acres.  It was a beautiful and well maintained farm that would soon be sold to F & S Construction upon the death of Arthur on October 12, 1955.  It had been just 12 short years that Dorothy had lived her dream of being a farmer.   She moved back to New York to be with family and friends until her death in April of 1972 at the age of 78.

The farm that Dorothy loved so would become our most historic piece of property–our first village hall, police department and public works department.  It is now the Children’s Advocacy Center on Illinois Blvd. in Parcel C.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian


April 7, 2018

What:  Hoffman Estates Historic Sites Bus Tour.  The free, guided tour will visit a number of significant sites in Hoffman Estates.

When:  Sunday, May 6, 2018.  Tours will be offered at 1:00 and 3:00.

Where:  Tours will leave from the Sunderlage House at 1775 Vista Lane, Hoffman Estates.

Who:  Hoffman Estates Historical Sites Commission

Details:  Reservations are required.  Call Sue at 847-781-2606 before Monday, April 23, to reserve your seat.


March 25, 2018

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

Fifty eight years ago, on March 17, 1960, Hoffman Estates installed its first police chief.  The new police department would be headed by Mark Orlick, a 24 year veteran of the Highland Park, Michigan Police Department.

His first order of business would be to hire new police officers.  Starting salary for the new police officer/officers would be $4,800 for the first 6 months.  It wasn’t certain that more than one officer could be hired due to budget restraints.  New officers had to reside in Hoffman Estates for 1 year, pass all the physical exams, be between 5 ft. 9 inches and 6 ft. 2 inches tall and not be underweight according to the weight charts.

Chief Orlick was prepared to get right to the business of serving the residents of Hoffman Estates.  He brought police forms from the Highland Park, Michigan Police Department and a month’s supply of traffic tickets to see him through until he’d be able to print his own.  He needed to purchase a Ford heavy-duty police interceptor cruiser with a special police interceptor V-8 engine.  He had a Detroit dealer in mind but would also ask for a competitive price from a local dealer.  Until the new squad car arrived, officers would drive their own car or a rental.

Mark Orlick came to Hoffman Estates with an excellent background.  He had organized the Hazel Park, Michigan Police Department, taught classes for the FBI, received 2 citations for bravery and completed a course in police study at the Northwestern Traffic Institute.  He held the rank of Lt. Col. Infantry in the Michigan National Guard.

One of the requirements for his position as Police Chief was to reside in Hoffman Estates.  Until he sold his home in Michigan he decided to live at village hall.  At that time it was the old Hammerstein Farm House that had just become our village hall. It’s not known how long he lived at village hall but he certainly was always available for any emergency situation and was working around the clock to get the new police department up and running.

Mark Orlick was Hoffman Estates Police Chief until June of 1963.  He could have never foreseen the tremendous growth in our village.  He would be so impressed with the beautiful police department building located on Springmill and Higgins.  His early work was just the simple beginning of a police department for the young Hoffman Estates, a village that continues “Growing to Greatness”

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian



January 28, 2018

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

When Hoffman Estates was developed, it sprang up from corn and wheat fields.  Driving home from the city, back in 1965, it seemed as if you could smell the corn growing.  It was so different from the bright lights and busy traffic of the city.  It was very quiet and dark, something we had to get used to.

On summer nights we loved to look for the Big and Little Dippers. (See photo above.)  The Big Dipper seemed to hang over our house.  You’d see an occasional shooting star if you really took the time to stare up at the night sky for a good part of the night.  When the Perseids Meteor showers came in August, we’d have to lie on a blanket and try to count how many meteors we’d see.  It was wonderful.

Viewing the night sky was easier then since we had no street lights in Hoffman Estates.  We still don’t have them.  Not in the parts of town that F & S Construction, and later, Hoffman Homes built.

Up and down our streets you’d see everyone with a porch light on.  Many home owners installed gas lights at the end of their driveways.  Many porch lights were turned off when they went to bed.  It saved on the electric bill.

The highways were only two lane roads and the street lights were only at major intersections.  It was dark at night with light only where necessary.

Times have changed so much since then.  As years have gone by and the town has developed into a busy and active community, we find lights everywhere.  (Barrington Square below.)

The addition of businesses, restaurants, car dealerships, and new highways added lights and more lights.  Lights were needed for security and to light up every shopping area in town.  It is so bright that you may not see the stars anymore.  I miss that and the darkness that was a part of the early years of the village.  Only us old timers remember the star filled skies.  Even the fireflys were easier to see and catch.

As new neighbors moved from the city to the suburbs, they missed the lights of the city.  It’s very popular to have solar lights in the garden and across the front of the house.  I love the look of them and recall the gas lanterns that many had in their front yards.

Over the past 50 years we have grown from a sleepy suburb to a busy well lit Hoffman Estates.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian

The photo of the Big Dipper and Little Dipper at the top of the blog posting is used, courtesy of Jerry Lodriguss, a professional astrophotographer.


November 26, 2017

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

The Hoffman Estates Homeowners Association was the only governing body during the early years of the village. The homeowners who joined paid a small amount for membership and the village was divided into blocks that had a representative on the Homeowners Association Board.

Their Safety Committee held a meeting on December 6, 1956 with the intention of establishing a volunteer fire department. Volunteers came forward and that night a brigade was formed. The Roselle Fire Department had weekly training for the men and the volunteers obtained a long-term lease from the Home Owners Association for a barn at 640 Illinois Blvd. The barn was one of the barns on the Hammerstein property that served as the Community Center for Hoffman Estates. The volunteers converted the barn into a fire station by installing heat, sewers, facilities, concrete flooring and electricity. It was the beginning of fire protection for the village.

It wouldn’t be until April 3, 1958 that the Hoffman Estates Fire Protection District was created. It took a special Hoffman Estates Fire Department Campaign that began on Sept. 6 and ran through Sept. 14, 1957 to put forth the need for our own fire department and asked homeowners to donate $25 to help raise funds for a fire house and new equipment. Contributors received a red poster to place in the front window. It read “We Contributed to the Hoffman Estates Fire Department Campaign Fund”.

Unfortunately, a tragic fire started on the evening of Dec. 3, 1958. The fire of the historic barn and the other barns and out buildings raged for close to 2 hours. The volunteer fire department valiantly fought the flames but other fire departments were also called to fight the huge fire. They came from Roselle, Palatine and Mount Prospect. Once it was struck out, the firefighters remained throughout the next day to make sure none of the embers would flame up again.

The wind had carried vast showers of sparks onto the homes along Evanston Street, Flagstaff Lane and Forest Park Lane. Residents said it was almost like daylight several blocks from the fire. The neighbors brought hot strong coffee to the firemen. They were so afraid the fire would spread to their homes. The fire engulfed all of the other barns and the large silo.

They were completely destroyed. Due to the valiant efforts of the Hoffman Estates volunteer firemen, the barn that had become their new fire station that spring had been saved. The fire equipment had been pulled from the barn and water was constantly being directed onto the fire station to prevent it from going up in flames.

Thanks to Art Hagstrom, (now deceased) a Hoffman Estates resident, for taking fantastic pictures of the fire and the heroic efforts of the firemen as they fought to save the Hoffman Estates Home Owners Association Community Center and our first fire station.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Historian

Photos are used, courtesy of the Hoffman Estates Museum.  


October 22, 2017

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

Barrington Square Mall, located on the north side of Higgins Road east of Barrington Road, was so different when it was first built in the early 70s.  The main store was Robert Hall Village which was originally located on the southeast corner of Roselle & Golf Roads.  That location has also seen many changes.  The Robert Hall Village store in Barrington Square became K-Mart and later the Menard’s store that was torn down and that we all miss.

Shopping at Barrington Square Mall back in the 70s gave the flavor of town and country.  Across Higgins Road, you could clearly see the beautiful large Steinmeyer farmhouse.  George Steinmeyer still kept a herd of Black Angus steers out in the fields as well as hay and oats that you could see being harvested each fall.

There was a Dominick’s store with Garibaldi’s Pizza on the corner and Flip Side Record store in between.  GiGi’s Playhouse is where Dominick’s used to be and the Poplar Creek Bowl is still there.

An AMC sixplex movie theater was so popular with my family.  Set to the rear of the mall, it only cost $3 for adults and 1.50 for children’s tickets.  First run movies were shown then, but AMC sold the theater to Classic Cinema who showed second run movies for only $1.00.  One of the favorite afternoons for my kids was to take in a movie and still have money enough to buy a slice of pizza and a cold drink at Garibaldis.  The hobby shop was also a favorite with remote control race cars, trains and rockets.  A stop in Baskin Robbins was also a frequent activity.

Of all the merchants that called the Barrington Square Mall home, the most noteworthy was the Flip Side record shop.  In 1978, the Village of Hoffman Estates passed an ordinance that banned the sale of drug paraphernalia and required the merchant to apply for a license to sell such goods at a cost of $150. They would have to keep a record of the customer’s names who bought his merchandise.  Flip Side was a very popular record store and the place where the kids lined up to get their concert tickets but were also able to buy drug paraphernalia from a very prominent display of all of these items.  Not wanting to obey the ordinance, Flip Side, Inc. sued Hoffman Estates.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Flip Side but the Village took the fight to the highest court, the United States Supreme Court.  Our lawyer, Richard Williams, argued the case before them on Dec. 9, 1981 and on March 3, 1982 Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall read the unanimous decision stating that Hoffman Estates did have a valid & constitutional ordinance.  We had won the case that made a difference all around the country.  Small shops and stores could see that other villages were writing their own ordinances.  Many closed knowing that they had been legislated out of business.

Flip Side closed long ago.  We also lost Burger King to a larger one at the southeast corner of Barrington & Higgins.  The old McDonald’s closed also with a bigger and better restaurant just west of the old one.  Stop by Barrington Square Mall and see what’s new.

Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Village Historian

*The photo of the mall at the top of the blog is used courtesy of of the former Profile Publications, Inc. of Crystal Lake, IL.

**This column gives us a wonderful opportunity to start a list of all of the businesses located in the shopping center.  We’ll begin with those that Pat mentioned:

  • America’s Bar
  • Associated Wallcoverings
  • Barrington Square Barber Shop (Jim Gerz, owner)
  • Barrington Square Cards, Coins & Comics
  • Barrington Square Theaters  (1979-2000)
  • Baskin Robbins
  • Burger King  (outlot)
  • Buona Beef (outlot)
  • Cherry Shoes
  • Citadel Realtors
  • Dairy Queen
  • Dominick’s  (Closed in 1988)
  • Edie Adam’s Cut & Curl
  • Eye Opener
  • FlipSide Records
  • Garibaldi’s Pizza & Pasta House
  • Gigi’s Playhouse
  • Golden Bear Restaurant (outlot)
  • Hair Pros
  • Maloney’s Hallmark
  • JoAnn Fabrics
  • K-Mart  (1978-1992)
  • McDonald’s  (outlot)
  • Magic Year Children’s Wear
  • Menard’s
  • Official’s Time Out (restaurant)
  • Peter Pan Cleaners
  • Pizza Hut  (outlot)
  • Poplar Creek Bowl
  • Robert Hall Village
  • Shanghai Restaurant
  • Sportsplex (After Dominick’s and before Poplar Creek Bowl)
  • Thumka Indian Bar & Grill
  • Tub N Towel

If you have any to add, send a comment to the blog or an email to me.  Thank you!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


September 17, 2017

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


In August of 1965 Hoffman Estates annexed 3,700 acres bounded by Barrington on the east and Sutton Rd  (Rt 59) on the west with Bode Rd on the south and Interstate 90 on the north.  The land was purchased by the Rossmoor Corporation of California who had plans to develop the area into a 50,000 resident senior complex with a huge shopping center that would be the largest in the northwest suburbs.

Mayor Jenkins and the village trustees were looking forward to the taxes that would be generated by the huge project.

Rossmoor had financial problems in 1966 that prevented the corporation from moving forward with their plans.  They had already built a sales office on the north side of Golf Rd. west of Barrington Rd. The building is still there. For a time it was a newspaper distribution site.  They also had a sales trailer located at the Hoffman Plaza parking lot.

Rossmoor Corporation has been very successful with senior retirement communities throughout the country.  The majority of their communities are in California.  There are other senior communities in Arizona, Marilyn and New Jersey.

If the Leisure World project would’ve gone forward it would have made a big difference in the growth of our village.  Hoffman Estates was not happy about the loss of the 3,700 acres.  It had always been planned for development to increase the village tax base.   Due to its failure, we gained forest preserve land which is more than any other town in Illinois has within its boundaries.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian

The photo of the building is used courtesy of Google Maps. 


September 11, 2017

Join the Hoffman Estates Museum for another upcoming “living history” presentation.  Learn about the one-room schoolhouses in the township as well as the early schools of Hoffman Estates.  (The Lindbergh School on Shoe Factory Road is pictured above.)

When:  Saturday, September 23, from 1:00 – 3:00

Where:  Hoffman Estates Village Hall

Who:  For more information, contact Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Historian at 847-755-9630 or eagle2064@comcast. net

It is also the Village’s 58th birthday, so come out and enjoy a piece of birthday cake!


August 20, 2017

Do you live in or near Hoffman Estates?

Are you interested in the ongoing history of your town?  Have you been to the Sunderlage Farm?

Have you seen the Sunderlage Farm smokehouse that is on the National Register of Historic Places?

Have you taken a tour of the Greve Cemetery?

If any of these sites interest you and you’d like to get involved, the Hoffman Estates Historic Sites Commission is looking for some enthusiastic volunteers to join their group.  Take a look at this video to find out more:

And, if you’re properly enticed, contact Sue Lessen at the Village of Hoffman Estates for additional information.  847-781-2606

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


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