Archive for the ‘People’ Category

PAUL SCHWEIKHER COMES TO SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP

July 8, 2018

It was a farmhouse that drew Chicago architect Paul Schweikher to Schaumburg Township but it was the countryside that kept him here. Today, the home he built on the banks of Salt Creek is on the National Register of Historic Places and belongs to the Village of Schaumburg. It is a masterful combination of Japanese, modernist and prairie elements all rolled into a striking house and studio.  Schweikher built it when he was working in Chicago where architecture is, most assuredly, a veritable feast for the eyes. How amazing then, that he intentionally chose remote, rural Schaumburg to build this most unique structure to be his personal residence.

He had arrived in Chicago in 1922 as a young man of 19 and studied at both The Art Institute of Chicago and the Armour Institute of Technology, while also working with noted architect, David Adler.  Eventually moving on to Yale University, he completed his degree in 1929. He returned to Chicago in 1930 and worked with a number of local architects before settling in as principal and senior partner at the firm of Lamb & Elting in 1934.

Schweikher came to Schaumburg Township in 1936 to study a farm that had recently been purchased by L.D. Kern and his wife, Dorothy. The farm was on the east side of Meacham Road and the Kerns invited him with the hopes that he could renovate the house on the property.  After walking through the farmhouse and most likely deeming it too small for the Kern’s growing family, he turned his attention to the barn.  It showed much more promise and potential–both for the family and for his architectural skills.  He had to have been intrigued because he accepted the commission and rolled up his sleeves to begin work on the design.

In conjunction with local builder Emil Sporleder, the house was built and ready for the Kerns by December 1936.  During that time Schweikher likely became intrigued with the farm because, on February 1, 1938, (according to a Cook County title record) Schweikher obtained seven acres from L.D. and Dorothy Kern.

It has never been determined whether Schweikher purchased the property from the Kerns or received it as payment for the work on their house. Martyl Langsdorf, a later owner, always said it was an in kind payment for the work he did for the Kerns. The Kern’s son, Jerry, said it never came up in conversation while his parents were alive. Consequently, we are still left wondering.

Nevertheless, the plans for purchase must have been happening for some time because earlier, in 1937, he had begun the design of his house on a return voyage from Japan. Having visited the country with his wife, he was powerfully influenced by the architecture he encountered on the trip and included a number of Japanese elements in the design.

Construction began in 1938 with Emil Sporleder once again serving as the main contractor. An October 7, 1938 mention in the Roselle Register states that “Mr. Sweitzer [sic], a Chicago architect is beginning construction of a home on Meacham Road, a few blocks south of Schaumburg road. The ground formerly belonged to L.D. Kern’s Willow Brook Farm.” We do not know when the house was finished or when he and his wife moved in, but we do know that he eventually named it the Willow House. This name was reflective of both the willows that grew along the banks of Salt Creek and of a particularly striking specimen that grew in the front yard. The willows were clearly a powerful influence for both the Kerns and Schweikher.

Once the house was completed, Schweikher commuted back and forth to Chicago for work until after the outbreak of World War II.  His architectural firm dissolved in 1942 as a result of the war and Schweikher joined the Naval Reserve, serving as a Naval Lieutenant Commander. For a time, he served locally but, by 1945, he was based in Monterey, CA. According to a July 6, 1945 Daily Herald mention, Schweikher came home for a 15 day leave because, in June of that year his wife gave birth to their son, Paul Jr. in Chicago.

After the war, Schweikher and Winston Elting opened a firm in 1946 under the name of Schweikher & Elting. It was based in the studio at his home in Roselle, which was the legal address and nearest incorporated village. (Theodore Lamb, who had been the first partner in Lamb & Elting, was killed during the war in 1943.)

The majority of the design projects undertaken by the firm were private family residences, with most of them developed in the Chicago area. Various draftsmen and architects were employed such as Edward Dart, who went on to be part of the firm of Loebl, Schlossman, Bennett & Dart and designed Water Tower Place.  Hired for secretarial purposes was Doris Klausmeyer, the wife of architect Thomas H. Klausmeyer who worked for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

Schweikher was also asked to take on a couple of local contracts.  Considering he did most of his local business in Roselle, it is no surprise that during the school referendum process in December 1951, the Roselle School District commissioned the firm to do the design. After the referendum passed Schweikher designed a school that was built into the side of a gentle slope at the corner of Maple, Howard and Pine. Roselle School (later Parkside School) consisted of four classrooms, a play assembly room, a health and staff room and, on a lower level, bathrooms and a boiler room.

In 1953, Schweikher was called on by the newly formed District 54 in Schaumburg Township to design a school on Schaumburg Road, just west of Plum Grove Road. At the time, his own 7-year-old son was attending Schaumburg Center School, the one-room schoolhouse in the heart of Schaumburg Township.  It had to have been obvious that a new school was definitely needed. You can see the school off to the right in the distance.

Schweikher put the plans together during his last months in Schaumburg. The design for Schaumburg School was somewhat reflective of Roselle School, although the stones on the chimney and the east and west walls are certainly distinctive. This school, too, had four classrooms, as well as an office that was part of a large assembly area. It was certainly unique for rural Schaumburg Township.

Around this same time George Howe, Chair of the Yale University Architecture department, who had earlier visited the Schweikher home with architect Mies van der Rohe, was actively recruiting Schweikher to succeed him at Yale. After some consideration he decided to accept the post.

The career move made it necessary to find buyers who would truly appreciate both the house and the surrounding acreage that was so much a part of the design. In 1953, Martyl and Alexander Langsdorf visited the property. They were, respectively, an internationally acclaimed landscape artist and a physicist who worked with Enrico Fermi at the University of Chicago. Both appreciated the special house and agreed to the purchase. They, in turn, became faithful, passionate owners of the property for many years and worked successfully to place the house on the National Register of Historic Places. After Alexander’s death, Martyl eventually sold the house to the Village of Schaumburg who maintains it to this day as the Schweikher House Preservation Trust.

Schweikher stayed at Yale until 1958 when he left to become Chairman of the Carnegie School of Agriculture at Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie–Mellon) in Pennsylvania. While there, he continued to design a variety of buildings. He retired in 1970 and, with his wife, subsequently moved to Sedona, Arizona where he, once again, designed and built his own residence. He is pictured outside of the home in the photo below. Even with this small view, it is possible to note some similarities between the two houses. He lived there until his death in 1997 at the age of 94.

In his oral history, Schweikher was asked “Of all the buildings that you’ve built, which ones do you think come closest to expressing who you are?” His response: “I feel that one of the most successful still, was my Willow house in Roselle… It seemed to handle the material most knowingly of anything that I did before or after. It was knowledgeable, it was plain spoken, it fits the site, adapted well to human use.”

How fortunate we are to have his own, self-ascribed gem still in existence in Schaumburg Township. If you get the chance, take a tour. It will be an experience you won’t forget.

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

My thanks to Susan Benjamin for contributing the photo of Paul Schweikher outside of his home in Arizona.  Photos of him are rare and it is nice to be able to include this one!

In the next two weeks you can find blog postings on the Roselle and Schaumburg schools that he designed.  

DOROTHY DALTON HAMMERSTEIN, THE SILENT FILM ACTRESS WHO CAME TO HOFFMAN ESTATES

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
eagle2064@comcast.net

TWO FARMING GENTLEMEN OF HOFFMAN ESTATES

April 22, 2018

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

In the latter part of 2017, two of the gentleman that I enjoyed talking to and visiting passed away.  Harold Bergman and Vernon Frost won’t be able to tell me their stories about the farming world that they lived in.  I will greatly miss both of them.

Vernon loved to talk about his early years growing up on his parents’ farm that was located at Central and Ela Rd.  He lost his father at an early age and went to stay and work on his Grandmother’s farm that is now the Highland Golf Course and was right across Ela Rd. from his parent’s farm.  He and his mother moved to Palatine but he continued to earn some money by working on other relatives’ farms in the area.

He had stories of his days attending the Highland Grove School on Ela Rd. and how Harold Bergman was his confirmation teacher at St. John’s Church.

He loved tractors and could keep them repaired and running for the daily work in the farm fields.  He told stories about the farms that formed their harvesting circle that shared the large combines to get the crops into the barns and silos.  He was always there when I’d call him for confirmation of information I was trying to pull together about the farming days before development began with F & S Construction.

Harold Bergman was a special friend who was always willing to sit down at his kitchen table and share the stories of what it was like to grow up on his parent’s farm at Ela and Algonquin Rd.  I’d ask question after question about his daily routine as a young boy.  He seemed to love remembering back to those early days.  I learned so much.  He also shared pictures from his life on the farm.

He told how the cans of milk would be put into a large tub of well water to keep it at 55 degrees until the dairy came by for pick up each morning.  When there wasn’t enough wind to drive the wind mill and pump the well water into the tub, he told of the series of Delco batteries that powered the pumps as well as his farm house.  The batteries gave enough power to last until shortly after sunset.  When the house went dark, everyone would go to bed.   When electricity came down Algonquin Rd. in the mid 1930s, he recalled how excited his mom was because she’d buy a new refrigerator and get rid of that old ice box.  All the light bulbs in the house had to be changed with the new “off the line” power as they called it.  Harold recalled how expensive those new bulbs were.

Harold was the oldest farmer still farming in Cook County.  He retired at the age of 100 moving to live with his son.  He passed away in December of 2017 at the age of 102.

These two men helped save our farming history by sharing their stories and photos of a time long past. I’ll always fondly remember them and be grateful for the time I spent with them.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian
eagle2064@comcast.net

Thank you to the family of Vernon Frost for providing the photo of him for his obituary and to the Daily Herald for the photo of Harold Bergman near his familiar farm house on Algonquin Road.  

THE OBITUARY OF JOHN HOMEYER

April 8, 2018

“JOHN HOMEYER, 91, DIES LEAVING 18 DESCENDANTS”

The name on the obituary caught my eye.  But, what really got my attention was this line in the obituary.  “Mr. Homeyer was born November 19, 1847 in Schaumburg township and has lived at the place where he passed away all his life.”

Considering the 1847 date, it was likely that his parents were original land patent owners.  During the years 1846-1848 the government sold cheap land to anyone who was interested in buying it.   And, sure enough, John’s father, Henry Homeier (as it was recorded), is listed as having purchased his 40 acres on March 1, 1848.  His property was in section 34 in the southern part of the township along what is now Roselle Road.  You can see his name in the center at the bottom of this plat map.

The other notable thing about the date is that he was born just as the original St. Peter Lutheran Church building, as shown below, was being built and dedicated.  The chances are very good that he was baptized at this church but we can’t say for sure because baptisms were not officially recorded until 1858.

So, think about that.   It was 1847.  At some point prior, John’s parents, Henry and Sophia (Thies) Homeyer, who had married around 1840 in Schaumburg, Germany, made the difficult decision to leave their family and friends, likely forever, to come to the United States.  They made the long, harrowing journey across the Atlantic on a sailing ship with a number of other people from their Lutheran church.  Travelling overland to the wilds of Illinois, they settled in an open space west of the recently incorporated town of Chicago in a township that was laid out but not yet named.

Within a year or two of arriving they discovered that Sophia was pregnant.  Their oldest son, Johann or John, was born November 19, 1847 just as a church was being formed for the rather large German Lutheran contingent that was making their home in the township.  In the following spring, on March 1, 1848, after having occupied their land for a year or two, Henry made the trip into Chicago to finalize the purchase of their forty acres.

Eight years later, in 1855, Henry and Sophia had their second child, Henry.  John was later confirmed at St. Peter’s on April 13, 1862 at the age of 15.  He helped his father on the farm that had expanded to include acreage on the northwest corner of Roselle and Wiese (Wise) Road.  By 1878 he had met Caroline “Lina” Baumann who emigrated in 1874 from Mekelburg in Schwerin, Germany.  They married on July 3 at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church with Reverend Henry Schmidt officiating the service. They are pictured below.

In May of 1879, they had Sophia, their first daughter.  Two years later, on May 5, 1880, Henry Sr. died and was buried at St. Peter Lutheran Church.  John and Henry subsequently inherited the farm.  Judging by the 1880 census–in which Henry Sr. was still listed–the farm contained two households.  Henry, Sophia and Henry Jr. were listed as one household and John, Lina and Sophia constituted another.

Sophia, his mother, died in 1888 and was buried beside Henry as noted in the tombstone above. In the 1900 census, their son Henry Jr. was listed as unmarried and was living with John, Lina and their family, in the same household. Other children had followed for John and Lina and were born through 1895.  They included Wilhelmina, Emma, John, Henry, Martha, Caroline, Herman and Emil.  Unfortunately, Martha and Herman died when they were five and one, respectively.

Around 1913 John and Lina built a new two story home for their big family.  Three years later in May 1916, John’s brother, Henry Jr., passed away and came to the end of his farming days.  By the 1920 census John and Lina were listed as their own household and lived in the farmhouse with their oldest son John, his wife, Martha and their young daughter Viola.  Then, in February 1922, Lina died at the age of 67.  Unfortunately, their daughter Emma died the following year in 1923.  After the death of Lina, John continued to reside with John Jr. and his young family which had grown to include another daughter, Esther.

John lived another 17 years and died at the age of 91 on October 25, 1939.  It is an amazing feat to have been born in 1847, in what was probably a rudimentary shelter, marry, have children and prosper.  And–and–to have it all begin in the same year that St. Peter’s, the crux of this loose community, was forming.

Would I have ever taken note of John Homeyer and his remarkable life if I’d not seen that obituary?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  It reinforces how vital an obituary is in recording a person’s history.  They are a wonderful way to track people and the life they lead, whether brief or long–because everyone deserves to have their story told.

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

Many thanks to Larry Nerge for the work he did in putting together genealogies of the German farm families of Schaumburg Township.  They are invaluable and many of them are available in the Document section of the Schaumburg Township District Library’s Local History Digital Archive.

I am pleased to share the photo of John and Lina Homeyer that comes to us, compliments of Pastor John Sternberg, who was the pastor at St. Peter Lutheran Church for many years.  Because he came at a time when many of the German families were still in the township, he crossed paths with them and he, too, became interested in their history.  As a result he actively tried to obtain photos, documents and archive items from them and their farms.  After he passed away, his daughter graciously gave us his collection.  This photo was part of it and reinforces how saving your photos is a good idea too!

 

 

 

DRUMS WERE ONLY A PART OF IT: THE SLINGERLANDS OF SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP

March 4, 2018

When you are Gene Krupa and you’re the drummer for Benny Goodman’s band in 1936, it’s important that your drum kit is the best.  And if you’re Gene Krupa and you’re from Chicago, who do you turn to for a well made set of drums?  That would be the Slingerland Banjo & Drum Company.  But, you ask, what does that have to do with Schaumburg?

It begins with Walter Robert Slingerland who was born in Manistee, Michigan on March 30, 1889 to Samuel and Amalia Slingerland. One of eleven children, he left the farm and his family and moved to Chicago where he went to work for Armour & Co., the big meatpacking firm.  Eventually, he was transferred to South Bend, IN and later, Detroit.  On June 5, 1917 he registered for the World War I draft and was called for enlistment almost a year later on April 26, 1918.  He served with the 85th division U.S. Army and was released the same year on November 27.

He went back to work for Armour and, while working there, his oldest brother Henry convinced him to move back to Chicago.  Once there, he joined him at the Slingerland Correspondence School of Music, where they offered a free, Slingerland-manufactured ukelele and twelve lessons.  As stated in The Slingerland Book by Rob Cook, “H.H. was considered the money man while W.R. was in production and day-to-day operations.”  They eventually moved into producing banjos and guitars and were well on their way with drums in 1929 by the time their second drum catalog came out.

On January 12, 1924 Walter married Helen Rittenhouse of Hillsboro, Ohio in Chicago.  They had their first child, Robert, in 1925 followed by Walter Jr. in 1927.  The family lived on Belden Avenue on Chicago’s northwest side but, like his older brother, Henry, Walter was eager to get back to his farming roots. According to a 1959 article in the Daily Herald, “in 1941 they [Walter and Helen] purchased the 160 acres on Schaumburg Road where they still make their home.”  This land (where the Schaumburg village offices are today) was originally purchased from the government by Conrad Salge in 1847 and eventually sold to a group of investors in the 1920s who created a golf course on the property. According to Wayne Nebel, one of our oral historians, the Slinglerlands converted the property back to its farming roots and paid tenant farmers to work the land.

In 1945, during the final war year, their son Walter Jr. joined the Navy. According to the same Daily Herald article mentioned above,  the Slingerlands moved their household to Schaumburg Township the following year and lived in “the house which was built over 100 years ago [and] was remodeled by Walter and Helen soon after they bought the property.”  It was a pivotal year for Walter Slingerland because, not only did he move his family but his brother Henry died on March 13. Walter subsequently became president of the company that was now simply called the Slingerland Drum Company and commuted into the city for work.

In 1951 Walter Jr. married his own Helen who was part of the Siems family of Roselle.  The elder Slingerlands gave a parcel of land to the young couple on the edge of Schaumburg Road.  This is the building permit from Cook County that was signed on December 11, 1950 by Walter Slingerland Sr. who owned the property.  It appears Walter split his 160 acres and denoted this as an 80 acre farm/tenant parcel.  Note that a fair amount of the fees were for the septic field that would be added to the property.

Walter and Helen then built and moved into this ranch house in the same year they married.  The ranch was designed by Elmer Gylleck, Architect of Elgin, Illinois.

You’ll notice that the breezeway was closed in at some point and a second garage was added.  A third bedroom was also added on in the back of the house in the 1970s.

Three years later, in 1954, Walter Sr retired from the Slingerland Drum Company. Having lived in rural Schaumburg Township for eight years, it must have been apparent to Walter that change was coming. Given the small population, his business background and his farm’s prominent location on Schaumburg Road, he was familiar with others who were just as concerned about the coming growth.  As a result, Mr. Slingerland was placed on the ballot for village trustee in 1956.  He was successfully elected as one of the village’s first six trustees and served in that position for twelve years until 1969.

During those years he served primarily as Building Commissioner.  This was a position that oversaw the entire building process from permit to construction to signing off on the completed structure.  The village now has multiple people to handle this process so we can imagine how, in the early years, Mr. Slingerland’s personal involvement was so crucial.  Below is a sample building permit that Mr. Slingerland signed with a stamp of his signature.

He also served on the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Plan Commission, in the Public Works Department, twice on the Township’s Quadrennial Land Assessment Committee which evaluated land values, and was the trustee who pushed to change the village’s name from Schaumburg Center to Schaumburg.  In addition, his wife Helen served as the village’s first treasurer and was a charter member of the Schaumburg Historical Society.  Their involvement was key at such a dynamic period in village history.

Prior to his retirement, the Slingerlands sold their property in 1962 and built a new ranch home at 400 Columbine Drive in Lexington Fields.  They sold their portion of the farm to William Lambert who intended to develop a large scale, high density apartment complex in the area.  He also planned to donate 40 acres of the property to the Village of Schaumburg with the intent that it would be the site of a civic/culture center.  The Heritage Center complex never did get built but the village opened their Municipal Center in 1974 on the lovely spot we find it today.

Amazingly enough, the old home that the Slingerlands bought in 1941 survived the development.  During construction of the Municipal Center in 1973 or 1974, the home was moved across the street to the St. Peter Lutheran Church property and can still be found there.

If the dates are correct, this makes that home one of the oldest structures in the village. As you can see in the 1978 photo above, the home was a bit worse for wear but new siding was added around 1982.   Thirty years later in 2012, the house was resided once again and remains in good condition.

When the elder Slingerlands sold their property, the younger Slingerlands opted not to sell and remained in their ranch home.  They were very active at St. Peter Lutheran Church and Walter served as one of the first presidents of Schaumburg High School’s parent group, the VIP’s.  As the village property grew to include the Prairie Arts Center for the Arts, the Slingerlands sold their house to the Village in 1989.  They worked out an agreement that allowed them to stay in their home until a time when they were ready to move.  The home would then revert to the village. This happened in 1994 when the Slingerlands moved from the area.

The house was remodeled and the Nursing and Senior Services Division of the village opened in 1995.  This past summer, in 2017, the village board voted to move the Division out of the house and into the Market Square shopping center at Plum Grove and Schaumburg Road.  This paved the way for future destruction of the house which will occur sometime after the move in July or August of 2018.

We are fortunate that we still have the original house on the St. Peter property, close to the final resting place of Walter and Helen Slingerland Jr. at St. Peter Lutheran Cemetery. Both generations of Slingerlands definitely left their mark on the area, whether it was their houses or their time. In commemoration of all they gave, Slingerland Park in the Pheasant Walk subdivision and Slingerland Drive off of Weathersfield are named for the family.  Do take a moment and think of them the next time you are there.

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

Many thanks to Mary Helen Slingerland Owens, daughter of Walter and Helen Slingerland, for discussing details in this blog posting.  She was most gracious with her quick responses and also passed on the building permit and architectural sketch of her parents’ home.  

Details for this blog posting were derived from the obituaries of the Slingerlands, war records on Ancestry.com, various articles from the Herald and The Slingerland Book which the library owns.

The photo of the Slingerland Drum Company comes from coopersvintagedrums.com  We thank them for the photo.

 

 

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.

*************************************************************************

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.”

************************************************************************

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