Archive for the ‘Schaumburg Township’ Category

HENRY MEYER PURCHASES LAND PATENTS IN 1848

September 10, 2017

Horace P. Williams. Johann Sunderlage. Frederick Nerge. Charles Meacham. Ebenezer Colby. Henry Myers.

All of these gentlemen have one thing in common. They were all original settlers of Schaumburg Township and purchased the first land patents sold by the federal government.

But one of the gentlemen is unique.  Henry Myers made the trip from New York City to purchase land on behalf of the Jewish Settlement Society. (Henry’s name is noted as both Myers and Myres in the federal land patents but every other document, including future census, have his name as Meyer.  That is the spelling we will use.)

He was sent by William Renau who was one of the founders of the Independent Order of B’nai B’rith in New York.  Mr. Renau encouraged his fellow members to lift them themselves up from “the low plane they occupied in economic and social life as peddlers.”  He felt that purchasing land and engaging in farming was the key to a better life.  [History of the Jews of Chicago; Meltes, 1924]

Mr. Meyer set out for the Chicago area and after scouring the vicinity for a few weeks, chose two parcels of land that he felt were most favorable.  The property was in Sections 9 and 10 of Schaumburg Township.  Those parcels today would be near the intersection of Roselle Road and State Parkway and extend westward towards Jones Road.  In his report to the Society, he stated that “this part of the land, especially the town of Chicago, opens a vista into a large commercial future.”

He wasn’t far off.  Find Sections 9 and 10 at the top of this 1935 topographical map.  You will notice the land at this point is rolling and that there is even a stream flowing through the area.  It would have been perfect to have such a nice vantage point and water close by.

Mr. Meyer purchased 160 acres in both sections, bringing the total to 320 acres.  Land was going for $1 to $1.25 an acre.  Both parcels were issued on June 1, 1848.  This simple but significant purchase made Mr. Meyer the first Jew to purchase property in Cook County.  [History of the Jews of Chicago; Meltes, 1924]

His enthusiasm for the site drew other members of the Jewish Settlement Society to follow him to Schaumburg Township, including his brother-in-law, Moses Kling.  Only a couple of the members eventually bought land nearby.  Most either chose to return east to Chicago or went further afield in Illinois and points westward.

Mr. Kling and his wife, Regina, settled in Palatine in Section 29 for a number of years.  This was both due north of Mr. Meyer’s property and of Algonquin Road.  According to the 1884 History of Cook County by A. T. Andreas, the Klings house served as a post office for Palatine Township in the mid 1850s.

The Klings are also listed in Palatine Township as of the 1860 census.  Mr. Meyer, though, had already sold his property and moved to Chicago. According to History of the Jews in Chicago, Meyer continued his land purchases and began investing in real estate.  In fact they list him as the first Jewish real estate dealer in Chicago.

Unfortunately, we lose track of Mr. Meyer after this point.  However, it IS possible to follow the Klings.  They were living in Chicago by the 1870 census.  According to findagrave.com, Moses died in 1872 and Regina died in 1885.  Both are buried in Zion Gardens Cemetery.  Is it possible Mr. Meyer is buried there too in an unmarked grave?

Despite the difficulties in tracking Mr. Meyer’s life past Schaumburg Township, it is good to know of his importance to both our township and Cook County.  Of all of the areas he scouted in the larger Chicago area, it was Schaumburg Township that caught his eye and captured his imagination.

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

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THE BOTTERMAN GARAGE AND THE HATTENDORF STORE IN THE HEART OF SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP

December 25, 2016

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Over the years, we have obtained cookbooks from various churches, schools and organizations of Schaumburg Township.  They are an interesting snapshot of the home culture of the day and also provide us with names of the local cooks.  This cookbook from Trinity Lutheran Church in Roselle was passed on to me not too long ago and was published sometime between 1936 and 1942.

While it has interesting recipes like Spinach Mold, Creamed Kohlrabi and Ham Tiffle, there were a fair amount of recipes from some of the German farm families of Schaumburg Township.  The names were recognizable and it was interesting to note the variety of recipes and ponder how many of the dishes are still in the cooking repertoires of those families.

Also included in the pages of the cookbook are ads from various local businesses–most of which were Roselle-based businesses. However, two Schaumburg Township businesses were also listed and, not surprisingly, both were located at the intersection of Roselle and Schaumburg roads.botterman-garage

The first was Schaumburg Garage, owned by Al Botterman.  In the book Genesis of A Township, Marilyn Lind notes that in 1936, “The garage at Schaumburg Center was now being operated by Albert Botterman” and then in 1942, “In March, Albert Botterman decided to sell his garage because rationing of tires and gas would cut down his business.”  She derived these details from The Herald and they help confirm the time frame of the cookbook itself.  The 1940 census also confirms Mr. Botterman’s employment by stating that he was “manager of service garage.”

Botterman’s Garage (as it was known by the locals) was directly to the south of the current Lou Malnati’s on Roselle Road.  According to an article from the Roselle Register (May 14, 1959), the building was dated as a “45-year-old garage.”  We can then derive its origin as circa 1914.  This photo of the garage was taken around 1928 during an earlier ownership.  Roselle Road is in the foreground.

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Mr. Botterman did auto repairs at the garage but never sold gasoline even though the above quote from The Herald implies that.  (Not only were there were not visible gas pumps outside of the garage, but this fact was also noted by a few of our oral historians.)

Part of the building must have been parceled off to Lake Cook Farm Supply around 1938 when they came to Schaumburg Township.  The Daily Herald states the Farm Supply’s location thusly: “The building was an old barn where Botterman did auto repair work.  Lake Cook supplied farms with bulk feed, fuel oil and gasoline.”  (Daily Herald, November 10, 1938)
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In 1957 Lake Cook Farm Supply built this low building for their retail location.  If you remember this building next to today’s Lou Malnati’s, it is a bit confusing to imagine a garage in between the two.  It is important to keep in mind that in 1957 the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads was much smaller, with only two lanes in both directions.

The garage remained in between the Farm Supply and Niemann’s Tavern (Lou Malnati’s) on the corner until May 1959 when it burned down.  The Roselle Register article states that the “two-story frame garage” was “two doors away from the intersection of Roselle and Schaumburg rds.”  The fire leveled the garage in an hour.  With the open space created, this is what made it possible to move today’s Lou Malnati’s when the intersection was widened in 1980.  The tavern was then moved 35 feet to the south and east.

A few doors down from Bottermans was the other business mentioned in the cookbook–Hattendorf’s Grocery.

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Herman Hattendorf opened a small grocery store on Roselle Road in 1932 in a house that had been owned by Alma and Frank Lengl.  Mr. Lengl was the nephew of Frank Lengl who was the proprietor of Lengl’s Schaumburg Inn, which is today’s Easy Street Pub.

When opened, the grocery store was small in scope but carried enough basic products to satisfy the farmers who were the main shoppers.  As one of our oral historians mentioned, the locals would often bring in eggs to barter with.  If she brought in one extra above the normal dozen, she was allowed the delight of picking out a piece of candy.

It is also interesting to note that, in Genesis of a Township, Mrs. Lind also notes that Herman and Clara Hattendorf delivered groceries by truck throughout the township.  In essence, it was an early Peapod!

Considering that this was the height of the depression, Mr. Hattendorf managed to stay afloat and even had the store repainted “a combination of white and green.” [Cook County Herald, September 30, 1938]  Because it was a brick building, the story must have been referring to the interior.  You can get an idea of the size of the store from this rear view photo that shows the store being torn down in 1982.

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In 1940 though, Mr. Hattendorf was prosperous enough to buy the former Schaumburg Bank building that was on the northeast corner of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads as a new location for his store.  The sale was announced in the January 19 issue of the Cook County Herald and said that Mr. Hattendorf planned to spend $3000 to remodel the interior of the building and even purchased additional ground to provide parking.  The grand opening was set for March 1 and 2.  Interestingly, the article also states “the store at that time will be converted to the self-serve type.”  This implies that in the old store, prior to the move, a list was given to Mr. Hattendorf and he collected the goods for the shopper–in an old-fashioned general store sort of way.

And, on March 1 and 2, the new version of Hattendorf’s Grocery opened.  Included in the new store was a “complete, fresh meat department…  Goods are being attractively and conveniently arranged so that you will find it delightful to serve yourself.”   [Cook County Herald, March 1, 1940]

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The grocery store was in existence through at least 1943, but it has been difficult to determine when it closed.  Suffice to say, it was a draw for the locals of Schaumburg Township and, obviously, a convenient store to have in the area.  If you can provide any details, please provide a comment or send me an email.

You never know what can be found in an old book and how it can trigger an investigation into our local history!

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

THE ARNOLD PHOTOS: A SMALL TREASURE COMES TO LIGHT (PART TWO)

October 9, 2016

As mentioned in a blog posting from August 28, 2016, the Schaumburg Township Historical Society received a phone call from the Arnold family last fall.   They had a collection of photos of Schaumburg that Mrs. Arnold took in the early 1970s.  The pictures had sat in a drawer for the past forty years and they were hoping to pass them on to someone who might be interested.  The Historical Society gladly accepted the photos and then kindly donated them to the library to add to our Local History Collection.

The story of these photos begins in 1971 when the Arnold family moved to Schaumburg from southern California.  They were surprised at the amount of open space in Schaumburg Township still occupied by farm fields and undeveloped acreage.  Mrs. Arnold said, “We were amazed at all the open field but knew that wouldn’t last long.  I decided to take pictures of the ‘before’ of Schaumburg.”  She then began to drive the roads of Schaumburg, taking photos of various buildings and intersections.  This is some of what they saw…

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Taken from Walnut Road, looking west towards Barrington Road. 

The McNaught-Odlum farm is in the distance with its big white dairy barn and silo.  The house is hidden in the trees.  The acreage of this farm was adjacent to Barrington Road to the west.

The property was part of the Gertrude and Norris McNaught farm that was called Rolling Acres.  It was purchased from William Schuneman in 1937 by Gertrude and her husband Norris, who co-founded Duro Metal Products in 1916.  Mr. McNaught died in 1942 and his widow later married his business partner, William Odlum.   It  became known as the Odlum property and was eventually sold for development in 1986.

According to Ruth (Volkening) Clapper whose family’s farm was to the east of the McNaught-Odlum Farm, the portion of the property that was on the corner of Barrington and Schaumburg Road  was leased “from the McNaughts during the war [by the Navy] and had a pilot training area with small shed type buildings on the property.  The sheds on the navy property were about 20 x 20 ft. and used for residences for the men working on the property… The buildings were quickly built with no inner walls so they were cold in the winter and hot in the summer. We used that Navy building for storage and, in the summer, part was my playhouse for my dolls and all their furniture including a child size kitchen.”

You can read about the Navy’s use of the property for pilot touch and go training here.

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McNaught-Odlum farm from Schaumburg Road.

This photo looks south from Schaumburg Road at the McNaught-Odlum farm that was adjacent to Barrington Road.  It is a better vantage point of the farm and it is possible to note that the lane off of Schaumburg Road separated the barn from the house.  In fact, there seems to be quite a distance between the two.

Mrs. Clapper said “the barn had a residence over the right extension of the barn. Two families lived on the farm – one in the house and one above that portion of the barn.”

It is also interesting how many trees and evergreens surround the house, providing shade and a wind break.  What appears to be missing–or obstructed from view–are the many outbuildings that can be found on a farm, i.e. the machine shed, a chicken house, equipment shed, etc.  Maybe they are tucked in amongst the trees or over the rise of the hill?

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Looking southwest from the intersection of Schaumburg and Walnut Lane.

 The brown building on the corner is Christ the King Lutheran Church (then Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, now Salem Korean United Methodist Church) which was built around 1971.  According to Mrs. Clapper, the church was initially intended to be an outreach center for St. Peter Lutheran Church.  In the middle background are some of the buildings of the farm belonging to Mrs. Clapper’s parents, Herman and Edna (Greve) Volkening.  You can see the large barn with the silos to the right.  The white building to the left is the corn crib.

The Volkenings sold the corner to the church and according to Mrs. Clapper, “the parsonage is my family home since my parents had it moved there so it would not be demolished. They were one of the last to sell their land.  The church was built without a parsonage and Pastor Borhardt (sic) rented a house in Weathersfield until my parents sold their farm and moved the house.”

In the far background are the Hanover Highlands homes.

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Schaumburg Road and Pleasant Drive looking northeast.

As we look northeast, we can see the back of the strip mall that was on the NW corner of the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads.  This strip mall–that was never named–was built  around 1966 and remained on the corner until 2010 when the village bought the property for development purposes.  The property is now the home of Pleasant Square–a residential development that includes row houses, townhouses and single family homes.

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Town Square sign at the intersection with Schaumburg Road.

The Town Square sign on Schaumburg Road at Pleasant Lane notes the turnoff for the shopping center that opened in 1970.  The homes of Timbercrest are in the background.

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Looking across Schaumburg Road near Branchwood Drive at the property that became Friendship Village.

In July 1972 the Village of Schaumburg and Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center North announced that they were beginning negotiations to bring a hospital to Schaumburg.  Their potential site was the home of today’s Friendship Village and, at that time, was owned by A. Harold Anderson of J. Emil Anderson & Son, a large Chicago area development company.  The sign notes their potential development of the space.  The project was disbanded in 1975 when the costs became too high to bring a hospital to Schaumburg.
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Looking northeast across Schaumburg Road at Hilltop Drive.

The cars across the street are parked at Blackhawk School which opened in 1958.  To the right is the property that would later be used for the Schaumburg Post Office.

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Looking west down Schaumburg Road at Hilltop Drive.

One of the Hoffman Estates Parcels is to the right off of two-lane Schaumburg Road.  Note the tall oak trees on the right side of the road.  They are remnants of the original Sarah’s Grove.   The distinctive Episcopal church sign, also on the right, is there to point out the Church of the Holy Innocents that was on Illinois Boulevard for many years.
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Looking across Barrington Road at the Schaumburg Road intersection.

Notice that Schaumburg Road ended at Barrington Road at that time.  Even so, Barrington Road was a four lane road with a stop light.

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Schaumburg Road near Walnut

The open spaces, undeterred by development in these photos, were abundant and definitely carried a rural feel.  Schaumburg Township in 1973 still had an awful lot of growing up to do!

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

My thanks to Ruth Volkening Clapper for providing the necessary details that allowed me to complete this blog posting.  Her personal memories and knowledge of the area were a wonderful addition to the photos taken by Mrs. Arnold.  

THE THISTLE COMMISSIONER OF SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP

November 22, 2015

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See that purple ball in the middle of the photo?  It’s on the edge of a corn field and is really a beautiful little plant.  But, then, most weeds are.  It’s a thistle and is one of many varieties in the United States.  Thistles are considered a problem plant and can be difficult to control.  In fact, they were so rampant in Illinois in the early 1900s that many counties–including Cook–created a post in their township governments for Thistle Commissioner.

It was the job of the commissioner to make sure the farmers and landowners kept their thistles and other “noxious weeds” under control.  When one farmer let the situation get out of hand, the weeds could wreak havoc on neighboring farms.  Thus, the Thistle Commissioner would tour the township’s roads, take note of large infestations and notify the offending landowner.  If they failed to comply, a crew would be hired to take care of the problem and the bill would be handed over to the landowner.  Obviously, it would be in the farmer’s best interest to stay on top of the situation and keep his fields clean.

According to Schaumburg Township Officials 1850 to Present, compiled by L.S. Valentine, the first mention of a Thistle Commissioner for Schaumburg Township was in 1915 when Fred Springinsguth took on the job.  By 1924, August Geistfeld had the job and was being paid $5 a day to make sure the fields, pastures and roadsides were tidy.  Others followed in their footsteps over the years.

Walter Fraas, who lived in the south side of the Township served in the 1940s and, according to his son, Donald, took the job very seriously.  Below is a letter he would send out to offending landowners.

Fraas letter

 

The task of actually controlling the thistles often fell to the farmer’s children and they did NOT like the job.  In her oral history on the library’s Local History Digital Archive, Esther Mensching spoke of how her father would send them out to the field, clad in leather gloves, and they would pull the plants by hand.  The thick, impermeable gloves prevented them from being stuck by the thistle’s spines.

It was necessary to do the job before the plants flowered and after a rain when pulling the taproot was easier.  As the thistles were yanked, they were thrown on the field.  The children moved through the fields, row by row, from 8:00 to noon, taking an hour or so for lunch and then returning until 4:30 when it was time to come back in for the milking.  This was not a job for the faint of heart!

The Thiemanns spoke in their oral history about each person taking 2-4 rows in the corn and oat fields and tackling the thistles with a hoe.  The intent was to get to the thistles by the time the corn was 3-4 feet high and the oats were around a foot high.  They, too, disliked the hot, sweaty, boring job.  Their job, however, didn’t end with the fields because they would also use a scythe to cut down the thistles and all other weeds in the fence rows.

In yet another oral history, Mary Lou (Link) Reynolds, daughter of Adolph and Estelle Link, talked about how her father lost his job as a commercial artist in Chicago during the Depression.  Through a friend, he obtained free housing on Minna Redeker’s farm (now Spring Valley) in exchange for keeping the thistles under control on the property.  It was obviously a win/win situation for both landlord and tenant at a difficult time, but it is also clear that thistles were a difficult issue for the farmers of Schaumburg Township.

Due to continuing infestations, the office of Thistle Commissioner remained in effect until the early 1970s.   Around 1972 Cook County eliminated the position and turned the job’s responsibility over to the Highway Department.  By that time development in the township was beginning to overtake the farm fields that were left and the job became obsolete.  Thistles, though, are still considered “noxious weeds” and if you come across any in your yard, just take your leather gloves or hoe to them.  It’s a lesson learned from yesterday’s farmers!

 

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

 

 

 

WHEN OUR TOWNSHIPS WERE BORN…

February 1, 2015

On January 4 we should have had a birthday party.  It was 173 years ago in 1842 that Schaumburg Township was born.  Papers were filed in St. Louis with Jos. C. Brown, Surveyor of the public lands for the District of Illinois & Missouri, laying out the 36 sections of our township.  At the time the township was known as “Township 41, North of the base line, Range 10 East of the 3° principal Meridian.”  The official name, Schaumburg Township, had yet to be adopted.  That would happen at the first annual town meeting on April 2, 1850 when Frederick Nerge pounded on the table and insisted that the township be named “Schaumburg” after his homeland in Germany.

Thanks to local resident, Linn Beyer, who graciously lent me a variety of old, township maps, you can take  a look at the hand drawn townships of Schaumburg, Elk Grove (1842), Hanover (1842), Palatine (1840) and Barrington (1839).  The maps are quite a marvel, given their age and the number of physical geography elements that were there in the 1800s that are still evident today.

Each township is made up of 36 sections that are one square mile in area.  The sections were then divided into quarters.  Because it is impossible to make each township perfectly square in the entire state of Illinois due to the curvature of the earth and the uneven boundaries of the state and therefore, the counties, adjustments had to be made to the township lines.  In the townships shown here, the adjustments were made on the north and west boundaries of the township, often resulting in smaller sections on those edges.  Perfect section lines always began on the south and east sides and expanded to the north and west sides where the adjustments were made.  The township system is what the legal description of your property is based on today.

Let’s take a look at what Schaumburg Township was like in 1842…

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The first noticeable thing on the map is Sarah’s Grove, smack dab in the middle of the township–and parts of it certainly exist today.  Other than that, the only distinguishing characteristics drawn in  by the surveyors were a series of marshes, sloughs, a few fields on the northern, southern and eastern borders  and a portion of Salt Creek flowing into Elk Grove Township.  Maybe you recognize some of the lower spots today in the township that were marshes and sloughs back then?   In the upper right corner, you can even note the “Road from Missionary on Fox river to Chicago.”  This road came out of Palatine Township and is essentially Algonquin Road today.

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Moving on to Elk Grove Township, one of the most prominent, distinquishing characteristics is the large light bulb-shaped area noted as “Timber.” This would later come to be known as Busse Woods.  The next thing your eye goes to are the fields in the shape of a “t.”  It’s amazing that this acreage was already planted on such a large scale at such an early time in the history of the county.  Salt Creek is also distinct and already named as it runs north to south through the western side of the township.

A couple of written notations also mention “witness points” in both the lake at the top of the map and Salt Creek at the bottom.  “Witness points” were survey marks set in place by the surveyor to note part of the section lines.  It would have been impossible for the surveyor to establish such a point in bodies of water; hence, it was written on the map.

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Moving west from Schaumburg Township to Hanover Township, fields, sloughs and marshes are very evident.  This is the first indication of Poplar Creek which is also already named.  It runs east to west through a good portion of the central part of the township.  There is even a saw mill near noted hills along the banks of the creek.  The sawmill also had a dam on the creek that must have been built to power the mill.  Clearly this township was on its way to being settled.

The large  fields are scattered and one in section 20 even has a house built in the middle.  Other houses can be found in Section 8 at the top of the map and Section 34/35 at the bottom.  Based on the same type of lines on other maps, the squiggly lines are drawn to make note of a wooded area of the township.  As with the future Busse Woods, this area is unnamed unlike similar groves on the next map.

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Compared to the other maps, Palatine Township is simply littered with groves of trees.  Missionary Grove and Plum Grove are in the southern part of the township near its boundary with Schaumburg Township, English Grove is in the center and Deer Grove takes up much of the northern part of the map.  Parts of Plum Grove are still in existence today–as well as the similarly named road.  Missionary Grove is now the Paul Douglas Forest Preserve.  English Grove is part of Inverness and, well, Deer Grove, is still very much a large part of Palatine Township.

There are a number of fields scattered throughout the township with a couple of houses noted too, including one that is mentioned as a “frame house.”  Given that the year was 1840 and it was very much an unsettled area, a frame house must have seemed so unusual that the surveyor felt it was worthy enough to note it on the map.  In addition, the “Road from Fox River to Chicago” can also be seen traversing the southern part of the township.  This is the early version of Algonquin Road.

The other distinctive notations on the map are the water patterns in the township.  The North Fork of the Salt Creek, along with its “over flown bottom,” drains in a fairly north to south line along the eastern boundary.  The West Fork of the Salt Creek flows through Plum Grove and converges with the North Fork in the very southeast corner of the township.  In addition to the fairly large swamps in the center and in the northwest corner, there are also two large “grass lakes” shown on both the west and north boundaries.  The one on the west boundary with Barrington Township is now known as Baker Lake and is now part of the Baker’s Lake Forest Preserve.  The one on the north boundary with Lake County is known today as Deerpath Lake.

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When we move to Barrington Township, it is clear that what isn’t identified as “Prairie” consists of three substantial “Timber” patches on the west and northern boundaries.  All of it is now part of the Spring Creek Valley Forest Preserve and parts of Barrington Hills.  Goose Lake is identified in the middle of it and still exists as that name.  Two roads move through the township.  One comes in from the northwest and traverses through to the southeast border.  Again, this is Algonquin Road.  The other road moves north to south and crosses Algonquin Road on the eastern side of the map.  It looks like it could be the early vestiges of Barrington Road.  The interesting thing is there is an “Indian trace” on the southern border.  This is another name for a trail.  There are also a few fields and marshes but the area appears to be unsettled.

After exploring these maps, it’s fairly easy to see why Schaumburg Township remained a quiet enclave for such a long period of time.  It was perfect for farming but, due to the lack of waterways or early roads where communities often form, it was destined to be a perfect location for the German farmers who found it in the late 1840s and 1850s.  They quickly established St. Peter Lutheran Church in 1847 and created a tight community within the boundaries of the township.  It wasn’t until after World War II that the township moved from rural to suburban but, even so, many of the identifiable spots on these old maps remain to this day.  It’s hard to fool with Mother Nature!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library