Archive for the ‘Schools’ Category


March 11, 2018

The fifth public [one room] school in Schaumburg Township was located at the northeast corner of the intersection of Rodenburg Road with Wiese (Wise) Road [as seen on the topographical map above.]  The approximate one acre of land was taken from the southeast corner of the Hartmann farm, which was previously a Kruse farm.  This school was also referred to as the Straub School, but the reason is unknown.  The school closed its doors in [1940.]  It fell into disrepair with vandalism and an unkempt school yard.

An article, Only Two Public Schools Remain in Schaumburg, from the May 17, 1940 issue of the Cook County Herald states “…According to G.C. Butler, assistant county superintendent of schools, in charge of division one, school district 55, known as the Hartmann School, will not open next year.  There is one family in the district which will have children of school age, who would attend the school.  Other children of school age attend an adjoining Christian day school.  District 52 has been closed several years.  The two remaining schools in the township are district 51 with ten pupils and district 54 located in Schaumburg center…”

[The photo above shows the teacher and her students outside of the school around 1922 or 1923.   In the back row the two boys are Erwin Stump and Henry Busche; the second row middle boy is William Busche and the boy on the right is Emil or Art Hartmann.  The bottom left girl is Florence Catherine “Kate” Bell who lived on Stratford Farms at Wiese (Wise) and Roselle Roads.]

Richard Gerschefske purchased the school building after 1954.  He dismantled the structure and recycled the useable wood to build an addition on the District 51 School that he purchased and moved to Schaumburg Center.  This extension to the Meyer/Sunderlage School became the kitchen and dining room for the house.  The combined salvaged schools became a comfortable private residence that is still located in Schaumburg Center…

The text for most of this blog posting is an excerpt from Schaumburg of My Ancestors by LaVonne Thies Presley, published in 2012.  The book is an in-depth look at Schaumburg Township around the turn of the nineteenth century.  

Her particular focus was the farm off of Meacham Road where her father grew up.  However, LaVonne also took the opportunity in the text to create a detailed examination of the formation of the public one-room schools of Schaumburg Township.  In the upcoming months a posting will be shared on each of those five schools.  But, first, an introduction to the formation of Schaumburg Township public schools

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library




December 31, 2017

Talking local history with the locals is always a learning experience.  I discovered that once again when I was recently speaking to Schaumburg Village trustee Jack Sullivan.  In the course of our discussion, he talked about attending Frost Junior High School in the 1960s and how the students could buy their lunches from a series of vending machines.  With what I’m sure was a puzzled expression on my face, I said, “Do you mean like an automat?”  Turns out, that’s exactly what he was talking about.

Having never heard that story before, I did some research and found a great article in the Hoffman Herald on August 6, 1964.  Interestingly, Robert Frost Junior High was actually the testing ground in the Chicago area for this style of lunch.

When it opened for the school year in 1964, Robert Frost Junior High on Wise Road was the first school built specifically as a junior high for the fast-growing, burgeoning District 54.  One of the challenges for the new school was serving several hundred students during relatively short lunch periods.

Of course, many students inevitably brown bagged their lunches, but the school district was looking for other options as well, and that’s when Barrington Vending Machine Co. stepped in to offer them an interesting solution.

The company agreed to install machines that would include “coffee (!), hot chocolate, tea and soup, a cold drink machine, an ice cream unit, a candy and pastry unit, a hot canned foods unit, a cold sandwich and salad unit, a hot sandwich unit and serving units with spoons, napkins and condiments.”  Milk would be provided by a dairy that supplied the other schools.  Frankly, for young students in 1964, this had to have seemed pretty cool.

The article noted–and remember, this was August before school started–that they were still considering the rationale of making coffee and candy available for the students.  This would have been especially pertinent given the fact that the purpose was to make a balanced meal available to the students for less than .50 a day.

Frost Junior High was expecting 800 students in the new school and they were planning to incorporate four lunch periods into the day.  The food would be fresh every day according to the contract with Barrington Vending, and a part time staffer would make sure that all of the machines were kept stocked during those lunch periods and make change for the students.

During the writeup of this blog posting, it was not possible to determine how long this vending machine food service ran but in a January 27, 1966 article it was mentioned that milk, candy and soft drinks were being dispensed through vending machines.  Further, it says, “…vending machines were placed in Schaumburg and Robert Frost Junior High Schools as a service since students remain in both schools during the lunch period.”

According to Ray Hallett however, who was a long time teacher at Frost Junior High, the school was doing split shifts of 6 a.m.-noon and noon-6 p.m. in the 1969-70 school year so there would have been no reason for a lunch period.  He and another commenter, Diana Dobrovolny, also thought they did split shifts a year or two prior so it seems that the vending machine lunches lasted only a couple of years.  This was confirmed by commenter, Marty Oliff, who said that the Frost/Keller split shift happened in the 1966/67 school year so lunch would not have been necessary for that school year either.

Thus, it appears that the Automat-style vending machine experiment lasted from the time Frost opened for the 1964/65 school year until the end of the 1965/66 term.  Because of the massive influx of students, lunch was essentially unnecessary in the junior highs until the split shift years were over.

In yet another Hoffman Herald article from September 16, 1969, it appears a company called Mass Feeding Corp. had taken over the contract and was supplying “the pre-packaged, pre-frozen hot lunch program” at District 54 and other school districts.  So, some type of vending machine service was still being used in some of the schools.  One has to suppose this was the junior highs but maybe other readers might be able to confirm this for sure.

If you’re one of those who attended Frost Junior High and took advantage of the vending machines that supplied your lunch, we would love to hear the types of food they had, how much you paid for various items and how long the program lasted.  District 54 was not only on the cutting edge in education but in lunch services too!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


December 17, 2017

The District 54 School was [built sometime between 1870 and 1872] and located in Schaumburg Center on the north side of Schaumburg Road just west of Roselle Road.  [The address was 8 W. Schaumburg Road.]  Today a small shopping center named Schoolhouse Square is located on the original site.  The school was build on land that had belonged to Ernest Schween.

[Over the years, the school was called Sarah’s Grove School, Schween’s Grove School and, lastly, Schaumburg Center School.]

For the reason that many of the teachers in the one-room schools were young women with little experience, the challenges of teaching farm boys in the upper grades was daunting.  If parents deemed the learning environment in a township school was not in the best interest of their child or children, they could appeal to the Schaumburg Township Board.  The board had the authority to allow the children to attend a different township school.  If the board did not approve the transfer, the parents were responsible for tuition to a school outside of Schaumburg Township.


…Miss Anne Fox was a long time teacher at the District 54 School.  In 1953 she was teaching the primary grades at the school while Robert Flum was teaching the intermediate students at the District 51 School on Higgins Road.  Miss Fox continued to teach in Community Consolidated 54 Schools for many years.  In recognition of her dedication to District 54, a school in Hanover Park was named Anne Fox School.

[The school stayed in operation–probably because of its centralized location–for many years.]  After the township consolidated the public schools in 1954, the school building was used by private businesses for several years.  The interior of the building was remodeled and adapted for use as a retail store.   Five of the businesses that used the building were the R.I.C. Delicatessen (until 1971), a wrought iron store (1971-73,) Kole Real Estate, followed by FBK Realty that was owned by Jack Keller and, lastly, Koenig and Strey who were the final owners before the building was moved in 1979.]


[This is the school’s temporary location on the Town Square property across Schaumburg Road.  It can be seen in the middle foreground of this 1970 photo above.] It was later moved in September 1981 and restored at its current site on the St. Peter Lutheran Church property on East Schaumburg Road.  [The rededication ceremony was held as part of the Memorial Day service in 1985.]


Although the school was painted red for a few years, in 2010 it was restored to the original color of white.  In 2013 the school building is owned by the Village of Schaumburg, but is is leased to the Schaumburg Township Historical Society.

The text for most of this blog posting is an excerpt from Schaumburg of My Ancestors by LaVonne Thies Presley, published in 2012.  The book is an in-depth look at Schaumburg Township around the turn of the nineteenth century.  

Her particular focus was the farm off of Meacham Road where her father grew up.  However, LaVonne also took the opportunity in the text to create a detailed examination of the formation of the public one-room schools of Schaumburg Township.  In the upcoming months a posting will be shared on each of those five schools.  But, first, an introduction to the formation of Schaumburg Township public schools

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


October 1, 2017

Do you recognize this school?  If you’re familiar with historic buildings in Schaumburg Township or you grew up here before 1980, you probably know about this one room school house that was near the northwest corner of the Schaumburg and Roselle Roads.  It sat essentially where El Meson is today and it is why that small shopping center is called Schoolhouse Square.

The school was built in 1872 on property that belonged to Ernest Schween.  As one of five public schools in Schaumburg Township, it went under a number of different names over the years: Sarah’s Grove School, Schween’s Grove School, Schaumburg Center School and District 54 School.

When Florence Catherine Bell attended the school in the 1920s and 30s she lived on Stratford Farms on Roselle Road, close to today’s intersection with Wise Road. (Her first year was spent at the District 55 School or the Hartmann School on Wiese (Wise) Road with her friend Mildred.)

At the time the District 54 school was a vibrant, busy place as we can tell by the number of students in this photo.  The first row from the right is:  Unidentified, unidentified Botterman girl, unidentified, possibly Johnnie Bell.  The second row from the right is:  Bethella Haffner (Florence Catherine’s cousin), unidentified, Florence Catherine, unidentified Botterman girl, unidentified.  Florence Catherine’s younger sister, Edwina, is standing at the back with the bow tie on her blouse.  The tall girl behind her is one of  the daughters of Gottlob Theiss, pastor of St. Peter Lutheran Church.  To her left is Esta Haffner (Florence Catherine’s cousin), unidentified male Haffner cousin, unidentified Botterman girl, unidentified male Haffner cousin.  The boy in the second seat of the far left row was a boy with handicaps.

I recently had the opportunity to pose the following questions to Florence Catherine through her granddaughter.  It was a great opportunity to hear what it was like to attend this school during its busy days.

  • Do you remember the names of any of your teachers?
    1st grade:  Miss Mary Hammond
    2nd grade:  Miss Robinson
    3rd-5th grade:  Miss Dewey, Miss Marie Fox*
    6th-8th grade:  Miss Hamill
  •  What subjects were taught?
    “Reading, writing, arithmetic and spelling.”  Spelling was her favorite.
  • What were the hours of your school day?
    “9:00 to 3:00, five days a week”
  • When did school start for the year and when did it end?
    “It started the Monday after Labor Day and ended a few days after Memorial Day.”
  • How did you get to school?
    “We walked to school even in the winter.  Once we got to school on the cold days, we huddled around the coal burning furnace.”
  • What did you eat for lunch?
    “We took our lunch.  We didn’t have a soft drink dispenser or anything like lunch meat.  A typical lunch was peanut butter and jelly with bread home baked by Mom.  Sometimes lunch was leftovers from supper.”
  • Did they bring their own drinks?
    “No, they had a well at the school with a pump.  It was located right outside the door of the school house.”
  • Were the kids well behaved?
    “Yes, there were no problems.”
  • Were she and her siblings ever picked on?
    “No, we didn’t have any of that.  If so, it was minor and didn’t amount to anything.”
  • Did the teachers have good control of the classroom?
    “Right.  They didn’t have any problems.”
  • Who cleaned the school and the outhouses?
    The teacher assigned students to sweep the floors.
  • Did you have a best friend at school?
    “Her best buddy was Sadie Botterman who was in the same grade.”
  • Did you get a good education at the school?
    “I can read, write and do arithmetic now and I don’t have a computer.  My dad wouldn’t let us have an eraser on our pencils.  He would say, ‘Don’t make mistakes.”  Her granddaughter asked if he was joking with them and, with a little laughter in her voice she said, “Both.”
  • Where did you attend school after 8th grade?
    She went to Austin High School in Chicago.
  • She also mentioned that there was a County Life Director (employed by the Cook County Superintendent) who would travel around checking on the schools and visit with the teachers to see how things were going.  Florence Catherine remembered Homer J. Byrd and Noble J. Puffer coming to visit their school.
  • Other items mentioned were that they said the pledge of allegiance every morning and that if someone had a good report or did good work, the teacher would post special posters on the wall.
  • Toward the end of the school year, the 8th grade students who attended and went through confirmation at the St. Peter Lutheran Schools transferred to the one-room schools to finish their year.  This allowed them to graduate from a Cook County public school.
  • In another conversation, Florence Catherine also stated that, the Schaumburg Center School and other one-room schoolhouses in the area would hold an end of the school year “festival” at Beverly Lake near West Dundee.  This is now part of the Cook County Forest Preserve and is about 10 miles from the center of Schaumburg Township.   They got there by horse and wagon so it would have taken some time!
  • Graduations from the school were held at Lengl’s Schaumburg Inn (the Easy Street).  Mr. Lengl was kind enough to lend his dining room space for commencement exercises.
  • The local school board members at the time who oversaw the maintenance and running of the school were Mr. Botterman, Mr. Sporleder and Herman Hartmann.  These gentlemen all lived near the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads.


  • This is a photo of the west side of the school.  Edwina, the sister of Florence Catherine is the second little girl to the left.

The Schaumburg Center School was one of the last two one-room schools that operated in Schaumburg Township.  In 1981 the school was moved east down Schaumburg Road to the St. Peter Lutheran Church property where you can find it today.

Not only are we fortunate the school still exists but we are doubly so because of all of the nice details Florence Catherine Bell was able to contribute to the conversation of our local history.  Thank you Kate!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

* Marie Fox was a sister to Anne Fox who also taught in this school, and for whom the District 54 school in Hanover Park is named.


September 11, 2017

Join the Hoffman Estates Museum for another upcoming “living history” presentation.  Learn about the one-room schoolhouses in the township as well as the early schools of Hoffman Estates.  (The Lindbergh School on Shoe Factory Road is pictured above.)

When:  Saturday, September 23, from 1:00 – 3:00

Where:  Hoffman Estates Village Hall

Who:  For more information, contact Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Historian at 847-755-9630 or eagle2064@comcast. net

It is also the Village’s 58th birthday, so come out and enjoy a piece of birthday cake!


August 6, 2017

The case began when I examined this wonderful photo that was taken by James Austin Bell whose local photos formulate the Stratford Farms collection donated by the Bell family.  This one room schoolhouse sat on the north side of Schaumburg Road, just west of Roselle.  It went by various names over the years.  Sarah’s Grove School.  Schween’s Grove School.  Schaumburg Centre Public School.  And, amazingly enough, the school still exists on the St. Peter Lutheran Church property.

The photo was taken around 1930 and shows us multiple aspects of the building that we weren’t aware of.  The playground on the west side of the building features a maypole swing.  Children would hold onto the boards, run in a circle and then lift up their feet to capture the feeling of flying through the air.  The multiple trees scattered around the schoolyard are a sure indication that shade was definitely appreciated in a school that wasn’t air-conditioned.  They also sheltered the separate boys and girl outhouses in the background.

The thing that really caught my eye, though, was the windows of the school.  You see, there is an earlier picture of the school from 1916–and it’s different.  Take a look for yourself.

Both photos give us the western perspective of the school.  In the 1916 photo, there are three windows.  In the 1930 photo there are five.  What happened?   Why would the school make such a dramatic change and what would propel them to do so?  And, did the same thing happen on the east side of the building?

Not having a clue, I touched base with LaVonne Presley who included histories of all of Schaumburg Township’s one-room schoolhouses in her book Schaumburg Of My Ancestors. We considered the possibility that maybe it wasn’t the same school in both photos–that maybe it was torn down and a new school was erected on the same spot.  But, that just didn’t seem likely.  Still puzzled, I decided to investigate later photos we have of the school that might indicate any possible clues.

This photo shows the school shortly after it was moved to the St. Peter property.  The east side of the building has two windows with awnings and a white door.  It appears, then, that the three original windows in the 1916 photo were likely kept but, at some point, a door took the place of one of the three.  It is my supposition that the door was added after the school closed when the building was used for business purposes.  (Also, you’ll notice an addition was added to the front and features two windows and a door.  This was done before the school closed as we have a photo from the 1940’s in our collection showing this arrangement.)

Fortunately, LaVonne didn’t let the window issue go either. She speaks regularly to a cousin who was involved in the rehabilitation of North Grove School in Sycamore.  According to her, they discovered during the renovation that Illinois dictated regulations on everything in schools from desks to heating to sanitation–including in one room schools.

Upon doing a bit of online research I discovered the 1917 Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for Illinois.  And, lo and behold, it addresses how Cook County Schools stipulated how the number of windows came to be changed from 3 to 5 on one side of the school.  It states:

“In buildings in use before July 1, 1915, all windows in the wall which the seated pupils face shall be permanently walled up so that no light may enter from that direction.  (This would have been the north wall in our school where, to the best of our knowledge, there never were any windows.)

If there are full length windows on the right of the seated children, the lower sash shall be shaded so as to completely shut out the light from that part.  (This would have been the east wall in our school.)

If this makes the light insufficient, additional windows shall be provided to the left.”

And, there it is.  At some point, in the 14-year time span between 1916 and 1930 (the dates of our photos), Cook County complied with the regulations.  They provided an allocation in their annual budget for the modification of the building from three windows to five on the west side.

Puzzled about why these changes would be necessary, I put the question out to an Illinois museum listserv I am on.  Roger Matile, Director of the Little White School Museum in Oswego, Illinois shared this information with me:  “Schools were required to have a certain amount of window area, based on the schoolroom’s square footage, on one side of the building. That was so that the teacher, standing in the front of the room, would not be back-lighted and so that the desks could be arranged to have light shine over the students’ left shoulders so shadows didn’t interfere with handwriting. Of course, that assumed all students were right-handed. The one-room school I attended only had windows on one side, and our desks were positioned so that light from them shown over our left shoulders.” This truly did solve the case of the schoolhouse windows!

Interestingly enough, after the building was moved to its current location, another renovation was done.  As you can tell in this Daily Herald photo, five windows were added to the other side of the school to create a more symmetric building.  To view this nice touch of harmony, take a tour of the school on Labor Day weekend.  It will be open Saturday, Sunday and Monday (September 2-4, 2017) from 9-4.  The Schaumburg Township Historical Society would love to have you there.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

My thanks to LaVonne Presley and her cousin, Bernice, for sending me in the right direction to get this mystery solved.  It would have been tough without them!

My thanks to Roger Matile for giving me the real reason for the windows going from three to five.  It’s wonderful to have his professional and personal knowledge of one room schools in Illinois.



March 26, 2017

The District 52 School was located on the west side of Plum Grove  Road and south of the Jane Addams toll road.  This school was referred to as the Maple Hill School or the Kublank School.  It was located on farmland once owned by H. P. Williams and later by Henry Freise.

[In this USGS topographical map from 1935, you can see School No. 52 to the left, in the middle.  It is just north of Golf Road.] 

Since the Kublank farm was nearby, Rose Kublank taught at this school for nine years.  Was she the first person from Schaumburg Township to teach in a Schaumburg school?  [This photo of Rose is courtesy of  the Schaumburg Township Historical Society.]

Norman Freise [who was part of the German farming contingent] recounted his mother’s concern about his weakness in speaking and understanding English.  When he was five years old, she sent him off through the field to the English school (Maple Hill.)  He spent the year learning English with several of his cousins.  Was his mother’s concern influenced by World War I?

The next school year when he was six years old, Norman attended St. Peter East District School where they did their morning lessons in German and afternoon lessons in English.  Norman’s mother was pleased that he had a solid foundation of the English language.

Since this school was surrounded by German Lutheran families, it struggled to keep the attendance numbers high enough to warrant keeping the school open.  When the school was closed around the mid-1930s, the children in the attendance area were sent to the District 54 Schaumburg Center School.  The District 52 school deteriorated from lack of maintenance after the school was closed.

[It was still usable in 1952 though, when a legal notice was published in the May 30 issue of the Daily Herald, notifying the locals that an election would be held “in the Maple Hill School located on old Plum Grove Road, north of its intersection with Golf Road in Schaumburg Township, Cook County, Illinois, for the purpose of electing three school directors for the newly reestablished district known as Common School District Number 52, Cook County, Illinois.”  This was in preparation for the future consolidation that occurred later in the year.]

[When the one room schools were consolidated in 1954, they were sold at public auction.  The District 52 School, with attached property, was sold to Charles F. Beranek of Merry-Hill Farm, whose land adjoined the school.  Daily Herald, December 23, 1954]

Given that it was located on Plum Grove Road which ended at Wiley Road, it was vulnerable to vandalism.  In 1962 the school was destroyed by a fire of unknown origin.  This is the only Schaumburg Township one-room school that was razed by fire.  It is unknown if the school equipment burned in the fire or if desks, books and piano were removed after the school closed its doors.

The text for this blog posting is an excerpt from Schaumburg of My Ancestors by LaVonne Thies Presley, published in 2012.  The book is an in-depth look at Schaumburg Township around the turn of the nineteenth century.  

Her particular focus was the farm off of Meacham Road where her father grew up.  However, LaVonne also took the opportunity in the text to create a detailed examination of the formation of the public one-room schools of Schaumburg Township.  In the upcoming months a posting will be shared on each of those five schools.  But, first, an introduction to the formation of Schaumburg Township public schools

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


February 19, 2017

The District 51 school was located on the south side of Higgins Road between Roselle and Barrington Roads.  In 2017 the location is slightly west and south of the intersection of Huntington Boulevard and Higgins Road in Hoffman Estates.  This school was alternately called the Sunderlage School and the Meyer School.  The latter name referred to its location on the Meyer farm.

[The USGS topographical map from 1935 below shows the school listed as Meyers School.]


[The USGS topographical map from 1953 shows it listed as the Sunderlage School.]


Both Ester (Steinmeyer) Bierman and Erna (Lichthart) Hungerberg remembered walking to the Meyer School as students.  Erna arrived at school with potentially frost bitten hands one bitterly cold winter day.  The teacher had Erna put her hands in a wash basin full of snow, and the hands suffered no ill effects.  Miss Laura Williamson was one of the teachers that the ladies recalled.  Miss Williamson did not board with a farm family, but she drove a car (coupe) to school each day, because she lived in Norwood Park with her family.

[The school closed for the first time in 1943.  In a September 5, 1952 article from The Herald, it was mentioned that the school was reopened and used as a location for the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders of Schaumburg Township after being closed for the previous nine years.]

The District 51 School was closed in 1954 after the consolidation of the five township school districts and the opening of the new 4-room Schaumburg School.  Richard Gerschefske purchased the school building for his personal use.  [An auction was held for the one-room schools in December 1954.  Daily Herald, December 23, 1954]  The roof was carefully removed to aid in moving the school down Higgins and Roselle Roads to Schaumburg Center.  Richard placed the school on a portion of his farm southeast of the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads.  The school is shown below during the moving process.


He also purchased the Hartmann School (District 55), which was located at the northeast corner of Wise and Rodenburg Roads.  Because this school was closed for many years, the building was in poor condition.  Richard dismantled it for the lumber that he used to add on a kitchen and dining room to the District 51 School.

[An article in the December 23, 1954 issue of The Herald confirms this:  “Meyer School on Higgins Road was purchased by Richard Gerschefske and will be made into a residence.  Mr. Gerschefske also won the bid on the Hartmann School of Wise Road… All associated buildings on the school property was sold along with the school houses, in all four cases.  The buildings were sold due to the fact that they were no longer being used since the erection of the new consolidated school on Schaumburg Road.”]

The District 51 School on Higgins Road and the District 54 School in Schaumburg Center were the last two one-room schoolhouses used in Schaumburg Township.  Robert Flum was teaching the intermediate students at the Meyer School when it closed in 1954.  He went on to be a teacher/principal of the new 4-room Schaumburg School and, later, Community Consolidated School District 54’s first superintendent of schools.

The text for this blog posting is an excerpt from Schaumburg of My Ancestors by LaVonne Thies Presley, published in 2012.  The book is an in-depth look at Schaumburg Township around the turn of the nineteenth century.  

Her particular focus was the farm off of Meacham Road where her father grew up.  However, LaVonne also took the opportunity in the text to create a detailed examination of the formation of the public one-room schools of Schaumburg Township.  In the upcoming months a posting will be shared on each of those five schools.  But, first, an introduction to the formation of Schaumburg Township public schools

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library



January 22, 2017

LaVonne's bookThe text for this blog posting is an excerpt from Schaumburg of My Ancestors by LaVonne Thies Presley, published in 2012.  The book is an in-depth look at Schaumburg Township around the turn of the nineteenth century.  

Her particular focus was the farm off of Meacham Road where her father grew up.  However, LaVonne also took the opportunity in the text to create a detailed examination of the formation of the public one-room schools of Schaumburg Township.  In the upcoming months a posting will be shared on each of those five schools.  But, first, an introduction to the formation of Schaumburg Township public schools

“At some point after the establishment of Schaumburg Township in 1850, the township was divided into five local elementary or public school districts.  Each attendance area was assigned a district number.  The exact date of the construction of each one-room school is not known.  There is little reliable written documentation about early public education in Schaumburg Township.  It appears that minutes from the districts have been misplaced, lost or destroyed.  The numbering for these five districts was changed sometime after 1900 by the Office of the Cook County Superintendent of Schools.

In 1829 Illinois established the Office of School Commissioner which was responsible for the sale of public school land.  The money from the sale of section 16 in each township was designated for the public (common) schools.  By 1882 most land assets for school used had been sold.  Though no written documentation has been found, it is assumed that there was enough money to cover some or all of the construction costs of Schaumburg Township’s five schools.  The Schaumburg Township public schools were typically built on an acre of land.

The minutes from School District 53 public school note that it was an active school in 1860, which was ten years after the township system was put in place in Illinois.  No records for the other four districts in Schaumburg Township have been found.

As seen in the Cook County Biennial Report of the County Superintendent of Schools from July 1, 1894 to June 30, 1896, …the one-room schools were listed as “country schools.”  The assumption is made that the country school designations came about because the schools were not located in an incorporated village and were small districts that did not have consolidation with a central school board.

This map from the Biennial Report makes note of the locations of the schools with the abbreviation S.H. that, presumably, refers to “School House.”

The number of yearly attendance days varied in these districts as children were needed on the farm during the planting and harvesting seasons.  In the report from 1894-1896, the average number of months taught was six.  Each of the one-room schools had its own school directors.  In 1898 the Cook County Superintendent reported that the number of pupils enrolled in Schaumburg Township Public Schools was 86; however, the private school’s enrollment was 150 pupils.  The Illinois School Board of Education reported in their timeline for 1890 that female teachers in Illinois earned an average of $44 per month while the male teachers made about $10 more.  (At the time of the report, the schools in Schaumburg Township were numbered 1-5.  These were later changed to numbers 51-55.)


…At the conclusion of the 1895-96 school year, the five Schaumburg Township public schools had an enrollment of 76 students while the three Lutheran schools in the township had an enrollment of 146 students.  Also, the superintendent’s report noted that the libraries of the five public schools had a combined total of 374 books.  A list of suggested book titles for the school libraries was included with the cost of each book ranging from 18 to 45 cents.  It is not known if the superintendent visited the graded and country school in each township yearly or if they submitted a written accounting to him.

Between the 1890s and 1940s the population of each Schaumburg public school district fluctuated as children stared and completed their schooling.  Moreover, non-German families moved in and out of the township for various reasons.  A few German families sent their children to the English school for their primary education, but the children attended a Lutheran school for middle and upper grades.   At times, when a school’s enrollment was too low to keep it open, the local farmers would send their 4 and 5 year old children to the public school.  This raised the enrollment numbers sufficiently to keep the school open.   Another farmer simply bought the school to insure it was kept open.

In the 1940s and 1950s only two schools were in good repair and remained open–District 51 and District 54.  (District 51 is in Section 9 of the map and District 54 is in Section 22.)  As people from the city moved to Schaumburg Township and built homes, the school enrollment numbers increased.  If the number of children was too high for the two schools, Schaumburg Township had agreements with surrounding school districts to bus children to their schools on a tuition basis.  Some of the districts included:  Elk Grove, Bartlett, Palatine, and Barrington.  This arrangement ended with the consolidation of the schools in Schaumburg Township in 1952 and the erection of a new four-room Schaumburg School on east Schaumburg Road in 1954.”

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


October 31, 2016

The Schaumburg Township Historical Society will sponsor an open house of the Schaumburg Centre School on Sunday, November 13, 2016.  The open house will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  The schoolhouse is located on the St. Peter Lutheran Church property.

Constructed in 1872–and first called Sarah’s Grove School, it is believed to have been the first of five public schools in Schaumburg Township. It was later renamed Schween’s Grove School and called Schaumburg Centre Public School until 1954. For 82 years, the building served as a one-room schoolhouse, and was the last active one room schoolhouse in District 54.

With the widening of Schaumburg Road, the building was saved from demolition and temporarily placed on the grounds of the Town Square Shopping Center in 1979. It was permanently relocated to the St. Peter Lutheran Church property in September, 1981. It has been fully restored as a museum and is under the auspices of the Schaumburg Township Historical Society.

You can check out the Historical Society’s website here.