Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category


December 22, 2019

Last week the blog featured this ornament that Miss Anne Fox, herself, gave to Laura J. McMahon, one of her students at Blackhawk School in 1959.

The ornament inspired a request for others to send photos of ornaments or holiday decorations from their days at District 54. Two former students answered with the following lovely contributions.

This crafted ornament is from Randee (Galuszka) Pollock. She was in Mrs. Johnson’s first grade class at Campanelli School in 1985. She remembers her as a very nice teacher.

She also received this book from Ms. Fussell, her kindergarten teacher in 1984.  Randee said “She was very sweet, kind, and patient. Any time I saw her outside of school as I got older, I was amazed that she always remembered me.”

These two pink blush ornaments were sent by Kristin Antonio. They are plaster ornaments that were purchased from the Sears catalog by Mrs. Sampolinski for her second grade class at the formerly named J. Edgar Hoover School in 1974-75. (It is now Herbert Hoover School.)

These ornaments are obviously beloved and find their way onto their owners’ trees year in and year out. If you have anything to contribute, it’s not too late. I’d love to be able to add them to this blog post. ‘Tis the season!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


October 27, 2019

Halloween has always been a holiday for kids. Candy, pumpkin-carving, trick-or-treating. What’s not to like?

With a township full of young kids in the 1960s, the Jaycees and the park districts decided to add some other pieces of enjoyment to the holiday. According to a Daily Herald article from October 25, 1972, the Schaumburg Park District had been operating a haunted house for three years (1969) and it was the sixth year since the Jaycees had held a parade (1966).

The parade was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, October 28 at Campanelli Park, with prizes being awarded for the best costumes in four different age groups ranging from preschool to 10-year-olds. Everyone who had created a jack-o-lantern was welcome to bring it to the park for a contest for the best carved pumpkin. Once the parade began, led by the Rotary Club Clowns, it wound its way on Weathersfield to the Jennings House at 220 S. Civic Drive, site of the Park District’s haunted house, which is seen below. There was an expectation for a high attendance of 1000 children!

Fast forward a few years and an article from the October 18, 1975 paper noted that the Schaumburg Park District was still the sponsor of the haunted house at the Jennings House. This year, though, the Hoffman Estates Park District was sponsoring their own haunted house at the Community Pool on Grand Canyon Boulevard. Admission was .25 on October 29 and 30 and included a tour with complimentary cider and a donut.

The following year, in 1976, not only was the Hoffman Estates Park District sponsoring their third annual “Spook House” (1973) at the Community Pool, the Hoffman Estates Jaycees had stepped in and was sponsoring their own haunted house. With the proceeds going to the Poplar Creek Historical Society, the Jaycees held their “Scare The Yell Out Of You” themed event at the Sunderlage House, at Vista Lane and Volid Drive. Keep in mind, this was before the house was purchased by the village and any restoration work was done. You can see in the picture above, at the top of this blog post, and below, how it would have made an excellent haunted house.

Also, in 1976, both the Schaumburg Park District and the Schaumburg Jaycees were now sponsoring their own haunted houses. The Park District was continuing to hold their event at the Jennings House Youth Center and the Jaycees, having abandoned their parade, was holding their haunted house across Civic Drive at the Great Hall in The Barn.

By 1995, only the Schaumburg Jaycees was still holding a haunted house. They were continuing to do so at The Barn which was now the Teen Center. The theme was “Fabulous Monsters of Film Land” and was held on four different days. According to a Herald article from September 21, “new frights this year include Terror in the Park and the Haunted Riverwalk, as well as old classic creeps, like Frankenstein.”

Two years later, in 1997, the Jaycees held their final haunted house at The Barn. The theme was “The Final Chapter” and, as Bonnie Palmer, the publicity chairwoman said, “It’s our last haunted house at 231 Civic Drive, so we’re making this year’s event extra scary.” By this time, the Jaycees’ haunted house had been ranked best in the Jaycees’ North region for three years in a row.

From that point forward, the Schaumburg haunted house moved around the area, with the Jaycees finding it necessary to rent their space each year. The following year, in 1998, we know it was held somewhere on Walnut Lane because a press release notes that it was themed “A Nightmare on Walnut Lane.”

In 2002, the Schaumburg Jaycees teamed up with the Hoffman Estates Jaycees and were holding their combined haunted house at a vacant store in the Hoffman Village Shopping Center at the intersection of Golf and Barrington Roads. Interestingly, the October 24, 2002 article from the Herald mentions that, for lack of a location, the event had not been held for the past three years.

Going forward, it appears 2002 was the last hurrah. Consequently, for a solid thirty years, from 1969 until 1999, a haunted house was a staple in Schaumburg Township–whether it was sponsored by the  Hoffman Estates or Schaumburg Park Districts or the Hoffman Estates or Schaumburg Jaycees.

Were you one of the lucky ones who took advantage? Is there something special you remember from one of those haunted houses? Can you help fill in some of the gaps with forgotten themes or details? If you have any clues, it would be great to investigate!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

Photo at the top is courtesy of the Hoffman Estates Historic Sites Commission.


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.



October 19, 2016

halloweenEven though it’s not a historical event in Schaumburg Township, Halloween is still an important day in our area.

For that reason, we’ve posted the Trick or Treat hours for the villages in Schaumburg Township for 2016.

Halloween, Monday, October 31:

  • Elk Grove Village         1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Hanover Park               3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Hoffman Estates          3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Schaumburg                 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Stay safe and have fun!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library



December 7, 2014



Woodfield Christmas

If you’ve spent any time at all in the Schaumburg Township area during the holiday season, Woodfield Mall is a must visit.  Center Court is always completely bedecked with lavish decorations, the various wings are full of shoppers  and Santa can be found in his chair during most of the hours the mall is open.

Recently one of my fellow librarians found this commercial  on the website of the Museum of Classic Chicago Television.  The commercial advertises Woodfield Mall at Christmastime and aired on November 14, 1984.  It featured a number of items that were ideal gifts for their shoppers and is a true 1980s theme with Izod shirts, boom boxes and square-faced watches.  (Which of the perfume bottles do you recognize??)

Please take note, too, of the “We Have It All” theme running through the commercial.  And, of course, they always recognize their anchor stores.  Note how they flash past you at the end–J C Penney, Sears, Lord & Taylor and Marshall Fields.

What are your favorite Christmas memories of Woodfield Mall?  Sitting on Santa’s lap?  Madly rushing around to find the perfect gift(s) on Christmas Eve?  Going to the theater on Christmas Day?  Or, something so simple as finding the perfect parking place up close?  We’d love to hear.  Or, maybe, tell us your favorite gift from Woodfield Mall.  Don’t we all have one?!?

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library



January 2, 2011

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the December 2010 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

Everyone is busy with holiday shopping and decorations.  Some may have already put up the Christmas tree.  As the years go by, the traditions may change or are forgotten.  Some families remember the little things they use to do when the children were small or recall what they did at Christmastime as children. 

One of the biggest chores connected to Christmas was dragging out the boxes and boxes of decorations.  Why did we ever save all that stuff?  I still have handmade ornaments I wouldn’t part with even if they do look a bit faded, but many of the other decorations could easily go in the trash.  Did we ever put things back in the right box?  I still have the original boxes that the ornaments came in and I can waste a lot of time when it comes to undecorating the tree. 

When the first residents of Hoffman Estates moved into Parcel A & B in the mid 1950s, they may have been putting up a different kind of tree.  Do you remember the aluminum tree?  Some people thought they were the most beautiful trees.  You couldn’t put strings of lights on them because you might electrocute yourself.  A spotlight with a rotating color wheel was used to light the tree.  Almost everyone put the same colored ornaments on it.  I never had one because I really love the traditional green tree. 

Even the fresh green trees suffered from fads of the time.  Flocking trees was one of those fads. To have the latest fashionable tree, white or pink or blue snow was sprayed on the tree to make it look more festive.  A florist could do this for you or you could do it yourself with a box of Ivory Snow laundry soap.  The recipe was part of their ad in all the women’s magazines.   I’m sure there are many horror stories about this do-it-yourself project.  Another fun decorating project was putting holiday stencils on the windows with glass wax.  It looked beautiful until the day you tried to get it off the windows. 

Christmas lights are a story in themselves.  As children we remember stories our grandparents told of having lit candles on the tree.  A bucket of water was always at hand.  Thank goodness for electricity and those large beautiful lights of many colors that made our eyes sparkle.  Those big bulbs from years gone by were very hot.  Everyone was careful not to leave the tree lit all day for fear of starting the tree on fire.  Now we have small cool lights, known as Italian lights.  Sorry I’ve dated myself.  They are LED lights, for indoors or outdoors.  The lights and the tinsel are the best part of Christmas for me.  I have memories of the tinsel sparkling in the light of the outside street lights streaming in the windows at 3 in the morning when my brothers and I would be looking to see what Santa had brought for us only to hear my mother say “What are you kids doing up, get back to bed”.

All of our Christmas memories come back to us at this time of year.  Many of us celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ashura and the coming New Year.  May you all enjoy your special days with family and friends and  I wish you all a  Happy and Healthy New Year . 

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian