Archive for the ‘Hoffman Estates’ Category


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


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



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


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 Liquors
  • 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