Archive for the ‘People’ Category

FRANK LENGL TOURS EUROPE

September 11, 2016

lenglsFor years Frank Lengl owned and operated Lengl’s Schaumburg Inn on Roselle Road.  This is the building that is now known as the Easy Street Pub.  Lengl purchased the business and surrounding property in the late 1910’s and owned it until his death in 1965.

Born in Germany, Mr. Lengl immigrated to the United States in 1914 according to the 1930 census.  He never forgot his homeland and it was evident in the menu and the atmosphere of Lengl’s Schaumburg Inn.

In a 1959 issue of the now defunct, The Higgins Herald, an article was written about a trip Mr. Lengl, who was in his 70’s at the time, took to Germany to visit his birthplace and his relatives.  It is reprinted here in its entirety as it was written and is an interesting perspective of post World War II Germany and Europe.  For instance, rather than renting a vehicle while he was there, he bought one instead and resold it when he left!  Enjoy his take on the parts of Europe he visited.

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Frank Lengl of Quindell rd. in Schaumburg Center recently returned from a trip with his niece, Hanna Heinle, to Europe.

They left Schaumburg March 12 for New York where they sailed on the S.S. America for Bremerhaven, Germany.  In route they stopped ove[r] in Ireland, Le Havre, South Hampton, and finally in Bremerhaven.

The two took a train to Augsburg where Mr. Lengl bought an Opel automobile.  This transaction took one day.  They arrived in Augsburg on Monday and owned an Opel on Tuesday, with license plates and full insurance.Opel

Mr. Lengl was born near this Bavarian city 73 years ago.  He lived and grew up there to become a butcher.  He continued this trade as a sausage maker when he came to America in 1912.  In 1922 he move to Schaumburg Center and has lived in his large brick house on Quindell rd. since then.

Lots has happened to his home town since he left it many years ago, Mr. Lengl said.  “It looks just like it does around here,” he said.  “There is a lot of new industry, a new depot, a new subdivision like Hoffman Estates, and even a 30-story building.”

He calls the change the “difference between night and day.”  The big industry going on is the textile industry.  Other industry in the city that is new since he left is a Messerchmidt airplane factory and the Maschineenfabrik Augsburg-Nurnberg factory which built the engine that powers the Hanseatic, the ship which brought them home again.  This factory makes the Deisel engines, and was started by the man who invented the Deisel engine that bears his name.

Mr. Lengl was especially pleased with the new highways.  He said that he considered the Autobahn as fine as our turnpikes.  As he drove all over Europe he was glad to have such fine roads.

They also travelled in Austria, Switzerland, and France in their car.

He said that there were many soldiers stationed in Augsburg but that they were nice to the people and brought in a lot of money with them, so were well accepted.  Apparently, he said, the military police are quite strict.

The Lengl home is still standing but quite different from the building that Mr. Lengl knew as a young man.

The war hit all of the neighborhood but it is still built up again now and town is in fine shape.  He said that many of the people were prosperous and unemployment is nil.  Property is very expensive for this reason.  Everyone has money and some hold land as well.  The land is valuable with the post-war growth and the land owners can ask a very high price.

Mr. Lengl commented on the large number of displaced persons in Germany.  He said the persons from Checoslovakia [sic] who owned a business in their home land valued at 200,000 marks would be set up in business by the German government at the same cost.

Both Mr. Lengl and his niece were amazed to see snow on the ground in the Bavarian mountains on May 1.  The valley was all green and warm and the mountains [sic] top were white with snow above 1200 meters.

Prices compared quite favorably with Americans [sic] prices.  A dinner, for example, that would cost $3.00 here would run $1.00 there.  A good men’s shirt there would be about $3.00, and a pair of Italian impored [sic] woman’s shoes was only $15.00.  His niece bought a Dendel for about $15 and a camera priced at $300 here for $150.

They visited with relatives on the trip who are still in Augsburg.

After completing their round trip tour of Europe they came back to Augsburg and resold the Opel.  Then they took a train to Hamburg and sailed for home on the “Hanseatic.”

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Other articles on the Easy Street Pub may be found here and here.

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

Gratefully reprinted from The Higgins Herald.  Higgins Publishing Corp., Hoffman Estates.  P.O. Box 295, Roselle, Illinois.  July 16, 1959.  Vol. 1, No. 24.

The Opel photo is gratefully used from Wikipedia’s page on the Opel Olympia Rekord P1.

WILL THE REAL WAYNE KING PLEASE STAND UP?

July 31, 2016

To Tell The Truth is a television game show that began in 1956.  It featured a panel of four celebrities who, through the questions they asked, tried to determine the correct identification of one of the three guests who was appearing because of their unusual occupation or because of an interesting experience they had had.  The two impostors could lie if they wanted but the real celebrity was required “to tell the truth.”

The show aired in the evening on prime time television and, two years into their run on Tuesday, January 14, 1958, Wayne King, “The Waltz King” appeared.

Wayne King was a nationally known orchestra leader who was renowned for his saxophone playing and the waltzes his orchestra performed.  The orchestra had a Chicago-based radio show and television show at various times after World War II but was most renowned for their performances at the famous Aragon Ballroom in Chicago.  In fact, his orchestra performed “The Last Waltz You Save For Me” on the final day of the Aragon’s long run.  In addition, he put out a number of LPs highlighting his waltzing, orchestral sound.Wayne King 2

But, in Schaumburg Township, Mr. King was known personally.  He purchased a weekend, get-away farm along Roselle Road in August, 1951 where the Mennonite Church is today.  In fact, their barn-like church was the barn that housed his animal stock back in the day.

During his years here, Mr. King endeared himself to the people of Schaumburg Township with his quiet, unassuming ways.  A number of the oral historians on the library’s Local History Digital Archive speak fondly of him and remember him going to Lengl’s (now the Easy Street Pub) for a bite to eat and even serving as Master of Ceremonies at the Fall Dance Frolic at the Roselle Country Club (now the Schaumburg Golf Club.)

Mr. King sold the farm in 1957 and the following year appeared on “To Tell The Truth” to try and fool the panel made up of Polly Bergen, John Cameron Swayze, Kitty Carlisle and Hy Gardner.  You can watch it here on YouTube at 15:56.  See if you can tell who the real Wayne King is before the panel casts their vote!

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

A TRIBUTE TO ADOLPH LINK AND THE SCHOOL THAT BEARS HIS NAME

March 27, 2016

In December 2015 I wrote two blog postings about the beginning of School District 54 and the variety of names given to the schools within the district.  One of the schools is named for Adolph Link, who was active in the formation of the school district.  Papers on the naming of the school were recently passed on to me by Sandy Meo who is a long time volunteer with Spring Valley and the Volkening Heritage Farm.  They were given to her by Mary Lou Reynolds, the daughter of Adolph Link.3310

Mr. Link and his wife, Estelle, moved to Schaumburg Township in 1932 with their two children.  They lived on the southeast corner of Schaumburg and Plum Grove Roads, near the Redeker farm–all of which is now part of Spring Valley.  Both his children and grandchildren all attended schools in the township.

 

 

 

 

 

Following his retirement as a commercial artist, Mr. Link continued his artwork.  Not only did he like to paint but he was also did “chalk talks” in District 54 schools and became known for creating drawings of local churches that were comprised of the names of the parishoners.  Note St. Peter Lutheran Church as such an example.  Quite clever, isn’t it?1510

 

 

 

 

Mr. Link passed away in 1971 at the age of 86.  At the time of his death, his family had lived in Schaumburg Township for almost 40 years.

Two years later School District 54 honored him by giving his name to a new school on Biesterfield Road.

Link School

 

At the dedication, Maynard Thomas, the first principal of the school, served as master of ceremonies.  Posting of the colors was performed by Cub Scout Pack 395, Den 3 of Elk Grove Village.  The invocation was also conducted by an Elk Grove Village resident– Reverend James E. Shea of St. Julian Eymard Catholic Church.  The 5th and 6th grade chorus performed a medley from “Fiddler on the Roof” and the First Grade classes sang “Skip To My Lou.”

S. Guy Fishman, the architect then presented the building to  Donnie Rudd, President of the District 54 Board of Education and Wayne E. Schaible, Superintendent of Schools.

Robert Link, son of Adolph Link, was then honored to give the dedication response.  As part of his comments he read the following poem written by his father at the age of 83 in 1968.

It is titled “After Being Shut In All Winter

It really is a big treat
To sit in my wheelchair seat,
Out in our spacious lawn
To watch the goings on
Seeing the trees swing to and fro
As the gentle breezes blow,
And hearing the planes flying high,
Going here and there through the sky,
And watching the autos passing by
With an occasional rider shouting “Hi.”

The landscape is a beautiful green
As pretty as any I have seen.
All nature seems exuberant now
As I feel she should take a bow.
A cardinal alights on a limb
He looks at me and I look at him.
He was born a bird, his mission to fill
To flutter about and give me a thrill.

Glancing down Chicago way
Some twenty five miles away,
Seeing the Hancock building standing high
Into distant horizon’s clear blue sky
I wonder why they build so high
With so much vacant land nearby.

A transistor radio by my side,
Brings me the latest news from far and wide.
And the speeches by office seekers,
Who are eloquent public speakers,
Telling what they will do if they get in,
And admonishing us to help them to win.
While I am a crippled old resident,
I can still vote for a president.

And while I find it hard to walk
Thank God I can still think and talk.
Though I’m old and semi-retired,
Never more have I admired
The  way all nature takes a hand
Seemingly, to make living  grand
And my many, many loving friends
Upon who much of my joy depends.

Mr. Link wrote this from his home where he could see the Hancock building on a clear day, listen to a transistor radio and wave to people as they drove by.  It was the spring primary season of 1968 and even though he was wheelchair bound and semi-retired(!) at age 81, it was clear he appreciated his health and beautiful surroundings.  In a District 54 Board-O-Gram from February 9, 1972 it was fittingly stated “His spirit was an inspiration to all who knew him.”

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

My thanks to Sandy Meo for passing on the dedication program as well as a copy of the poem, typed by the Link and Reynolds families.  It is wonderful to share Mr. Link’s legacy.
The photo of Mr. Link is used courtesy of the Link and Reynolds families.
The photo of Link School is used courtesy of wikimapia.org.

LOOKING FOR ORAL HISTORIES DONE IN THE 1970S

August 17, 2014

If you were in Schaumburg, Conant or Hoffman Estates High Schools in the 1970s, I’d like to pick your brain.

I recently stumbled across a newspaper article from a 1979 issue of the Voice that discussed an oral history project that was happening at Schaumburg High School.  In this particular article, students–and sisters–Cathy and Mary Edlemann were interviewing Herman Redeker who was descended from the family who owned a good portion of the Spring Valley property.oralhistory

I know there were other oral history projects done in the area because William Thies, another long time Schaumburg Township farmer was also interviewed.  His daughter is aware of the project and has told me about it.

The library is trying to track down the schools that did the projects and any of the students who participated.  Ideally, we would like to have a copy of the cassette tapes that hold the oral histories.  It would be a great addition to our collection and provide us with insights we may not be aware of.

If you can help, please contact Jane Rozek, Local History Librarian at jrozek@stdl.org or 847-923-3331.

THE AUTOGRAPH BOOK OF BEN MEYER

April 28, 2013

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the April 2013 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

Jane Rozek, who is the Schaumburg Township District Library’s local history librarian, posted a wonderful blog on the library’s history website detailing the entries in young Marie Quindel’s autograph book that dated back to 1899.  It only seems fitting that I should share our Hoffman Estates Museum’s autograph book with you also.  After reading Jane’s blog, I knew I wanted to tell you about young Bennie Meyer’s book.  You see Bennie Meyer grew up to become Marie Quindel’s husband and their farm was on Higgins Rd. just west of Gannon Dr.  His little book was dated 1901. Bennie Meyer’s autograph book was filled with school chums, neighbors, relatives and friend’s greetings and best wishes.Meyer album

Page after page reads like a who’s who of the young children who grew up to become the well know farmers of the area.   Greve, Volkening, Gieseke, Fasse, Fenz, Nerge, Springinsguth, Hattendorf, Lichthardt, Hartman and Kastening are some of the more than 41 autographs in Ben Meyer’s elaborately imposed ivory covered book that’s still protected by the original box stamped “Made in Germany”.  The children dated their sometimes humorous or serious saying, ranging from 1901 through 1912 beginning with Ben signing “Bennie Meyer, 1901” on the first page.  His sisters, Martha and Matilda were the first to sign his book. The last autographs were written on February 3, 1912 by his nephew and nieces, Bennie, Emma and Amelia Volkening.

Meyer album 2The penmanship was absolutely beautiful.  The little book was filled with added decorative stickers of flowers and one cute little black and white dog that Willie Volkening added to his page.  He wrote “Remember me dear Bennie, when on this line you look, remember it was Willie who wrote this in your book, Your friend and schoolmate, Willie Volkening.”

Hermine Fenz wrote “Dear Bennie, May your virtues ever spread like butter on hot ginger bread.  I’ve looked these pages o’er and o’er to see what others wrote before and in this little lonely spot, I’ll here inscribe forget me not.  Remember your friend, Hermine Fenz.”  It was dated Jan. 27, 1902.

The 112 year old autograph book came to our museum from Marie and Bennie Meyer’s son Roger.  It’s an irreplaceable treasure of sentiments from the children who grew up on our local farms.  They became local leaders in the Schaumburg Township community. As you drive through the area, you’ll see many of their names on our road signs. Meyer album 3

Roger Meyer moved away to a new farm.  He lets others do the farming and now enjoys the peace and quiet of the countryside. His donations to our museum include the beautiful spinning wheel used by his grandma Greve and a photo of her sitting at the spinning wheel.  But what I love the most is his dad’s (Bennie’s) autograph book.  It gives a look into these happy childrens’ lives more than 100 years ago.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian
eagle2064@comcast.net

MARTYL LANGSDORF, 1918-2013

April 7, 2013

Martyl photoOn Tuesday, March 26, 2013, Martyl Langsdorf, a long-time resident of Schaumburg passed away.  Martyl, however, wasn’t just a resident.  She was also an internationally acclaimed landscape artist whose works appeared in many exhibits, galleries and museums.  She was the wife of Alexander Langsdorf who worked on the Manhattan Project that was headed by Enrico Fermi.  She was the designer of the Doomsday Clock.  And, most importantly for Schaumburg, she was the enthusiastic owner and caretaker of the Schweikher House that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Martyl was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1917 to Martin and Aimee Schweig.  Martin was a well known local photographer and Aimee was very much involved in the St. Louis art world.   The early summers of Martyl’s life were spent in Provincetown, MA studying and working in an artist’s colony run by Charles Hawthorne.  Martyl eventually graduated from Washington University in St. Louis and studied with Arnold Blanch at an artist’s colony called the Colorado Springs Arts Center.

From 1932 to 1941, Martyl’s mother, Aimee, was the central figure in the Ste. Genevieve Art Colony in a town by the same name that is down river from St. Louis.  Martyl was very much engaged in this colony’s work and inspired by their desire to paint the real effects of the Great Depression.  One of her contributions can be viewed today in a mural called “La Guignolee” that still hangs in the local post office.Martyl mural

In 1941 her life took a different turn when she married Alexander Langsdorf, Jr., a nuclear physicist.  They moved to Chicago in 1943 when Alexander was asked to work at the Argonne National Laboratory.  Shortly after, their daughters Suzanne and Alexandra were born in 1945 and 1948.

Doomsday clockIt was during this time that Hyman Goldsmith of the Universty of Chicago and the founder of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, asked Martyl to design a cover for the Bulletin.  Martyl responded with the familiar representation of the Doomsday Clock that has been on the cover of every Bulletin since its inception in June 1947.  Though she is known in the art world as a landscape artist, this is her most famous work of art.

In the early 1950s the Langsdorfs began looking for a more permanent home.  They discovered a gem of a house that was built by Paul Schweikher, a noted Chicago architect who headed the firm Schweikher and Elting.  Mr. Schweikher had recently been asked to join Yale University as chairman of the School of Architecture and it had become necessary to move his family.  The sale was made in 1953 and the Langsdorfs moved to Schaumburg Township.Schweikher

Not only was the house a gem, but it was a hidden gem as well.  Mr. Schweikher acquired the property around 1936 when he remodeled a barn into a house for a landowner in rural Schaumburg Township.  On a lovely, remote piece of land that abuts Salt Creek off of Meacham Road, Schweikher proceeded to design and build a house from 1937 to 1938 with the Japanese influences that he loved.  The Langsdorfs continued the love affair after they purchased the home and worked zealously to maintain its originality and condition.  Their respect for the house and its architect is to be noted in the way that the house is known as The Schweikher House.

Martyl painting 1For the next 60 years Martyl continued to pursue her art and, as the Chicago Art Institute says, “embraced painting, printmaking, drawing, mural and stained-glass design.” Her world travels influenced her work and it was reflected in a steady stream of solo exhibits in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and her hometown of St. Louis to name a few.  Her works are part of the collections of the “Art Institute of Chicago, Brooklyn Museum, Illinois State Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C. and Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.” Locally, you can see a collection of her paintings near the Rasmussen Meeting Room at the Schaumburg Township District Library.

In the late 1980s she and her husband faced their biggest challenge when the Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater Chicago threatened to condemn their property and their unique home.  Fighting for its life, the Langsdorfs were able to obtain National Register in 1987 before the house was purchased by the District in 1989.  As part of the negotiated contract with the District, the Langsdorfs were granted life tenancy in the house.  With foresight and appreciation for this local landmark, the village of Schaumburg purchased the home in 1996–the same year that Alexander died–and allowed Martyl to maintain the house as her residence in between her travels.

Her love for her home was strong, tenacious and palpable.  She enjoyed giving tours and insisted on shoeless feet moving across the floors.   The Japanese garden on the side and the unique peonies in the backyard were an easy enticement to leave the house.  She knew every intricacy and detail of the home and was insistent about the care and upkeep.  Her amazing memory and recall allowed her to regale visitors with stories of others who had come before to tour her home.  It is fitting that she passed away still attached to the house that she enthusiastically embraced for so many of her 96 years of life.  As so often happens with the ebb and flow of life, Schaumburg lost a gem and gained a gem all in the same day.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian

From a personal point of view, I’d like to add—

“I met Martyl in 2007 when the library sponsored a program to honor the oral historians of SchaumburgTownship.  Not only did she participate in the program but she also invited me to her home for a personal tour.  For an architectural neophyte like myself, she was very patient and answered every naive question I threw her way. 

One day I spent the morning with her in my favorite room of the Schweikher House. We had tea in the sunny kitchen with its open shelves stocked with so many unique bowls, platters, pitchers, dishes and crockware that I wanted to examine.  We talked about our enjoyment of St. Louis and how my husband and I had recently taken our daughters to Ste. Genevieve for spring break.  We talked about how we both loved to shop for clothes when we travelled and that it was a great excuse to indulge when we did.  And, of course, we also discussed Schaumburg–the old and the new.  She talked about Alma Panzer who served as a housekeeper for the family and what it was like to live in such a remote, quiet area for so many years.  We also spoke of the goings on in Schaumburg as well as the restaurants she liked to take her visitors to. 

I loved her no nonsense attitude, her sly sense of humor and the way her artistic side found its subtle way into the clothes she wore.  She seemed to effortlessly envelop people into her circle.  And what a circle it was!  Her confidence and easy laugh were a delight and it was just a pleasure to know her.

I will miss her.”

This blog posting was written with the assistance of the following websites:
http://www.martyl.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doomsday_Clock
http://www.greatriverroad.com/stegen/sgattract/stgart1.htm
Jeff Whyte, ALA

For Martyl’s online tour of the house, please go to the library’s Local History Digital Archive at http://archives.stdl.org/digitalarchive/digitalarchive.asp
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>Oral Histories
>Schaumburg Township Landowners 1935-1959
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