Archive for the ‘Schools’ Category

ATTENDING SCHOOL IN THE DISTRICT 54 ONE ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE

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
jrozek@stdl.org

* 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.

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ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF EDUCATION, 1870 TO 1970

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!

THE CASE OF THE SCHOOLHOUSE WINDOWS

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
jrozek@stdl.org

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.

 

SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP PUBLIC SCHOOLS: DISTRICT 52

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
jrozek@stdl.org

SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP PUBLIC SCHOOLS: DISTRICT 51

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.]

meyer-school

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

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.

district-51-school

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
jrozek@stdl.org

 

SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP PUBLIC SCHOOLS: AN INTRODUCTION

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.”
schools-of-schaumburg-township

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.)

school-teachers

…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
jrozek@stdl.org

SCHAUMBURG CENTRE SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE

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.

SCHAUMBURG CENTER SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE

June 4, 2016

The Schaumburg Township Historical Society will sponsor an open house of the Schaumburg Center School on Sunday, July 10, 2016.  The open house will be held from 9 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.

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.

THE DIVERSE NAMES OF DISTRICT 54 SCHOOLS

December 27, 2015

When the District 54 school district was created in 1952, the board immediately began the process of consolidating the existing one-room schoolhouses into one brand new school.  As a result, Schaumburg School was built two years later, in 1954, on East Schaumburg Road.  At the time it was assumed this school would suffice for township students for years to come.  That presumption lasted for about a year until F & S Construction came to the area and development began to explode in the future village of Hoffman Estates.

The fast-paced development would continue through 1980, and during that time thirty more schools were built in Schaumburg Township.  This amazing number created the largest elementary district in the state of Illinois.   One of the small, but hardly insignificant details involved in the  building process, was putting a name to each school.  If you take the time to notice, the unique and creative names the schools were given by the school boards, administrations and builders during that time period were truly something special.

Many school districts name a school for a location or by sticking with the tried and true like Lincoln, Jefferson or Washington.  Not District 54.  Most of their names are derived from famous people–either local or national–and the sheer variety is quite interesting to explore.

The name origins for the schools can be divided into 10 broad categories.  Listed below are the categories, the schools and a description of who the school is named for.

  1. LOCATION
    A.  Hanover Highlands School.  Named for the Hanover Highlands subdivision of Hanover Park.
    B.  Hillcrest School.  Has been renamed Lincoln Prairie School but was originally named for Hillcrest Boulevard that the school is on.  Lincoln Prairie is named both for President Abraham Lincoln and the prairie ecosystem that was prevalent in this area before any settlement began.
    C.  Twinbrook School.  Named for the area’s first local telephone exchange that was later considered as a name for the future village of Hoffman Estates.  So named because Hoffman Estates was located between Poplar Creek and Salt Creek.Anne Fox005
  2. LOCAL HISTORY
    A.  Anne Fox School.  Named for an early, much beloved teacher of District 54.  (Her photo is to the right.)
    B.  Adolph Link School.  Named for the gentleman who was a local artist, education advocate and a long-time owner of property close to the school.
    C.  Frederick Nerge.  Named for the German farmer/gentleman who is responsible for giving Schaumburg Township its name in 1850.
    D.  Hoffman School.  Named for Sam Hoffman, president of F & S Construction, the developer of Hoffman Estates.
    E.   Francis Campanelli School.  Named for the father of Alfred Campanelli, developer of the Weathersfield subdivision in Schaumburg.
  3. ILLINOIS HISTORY
    A.  Black Hawk School.  Named for the famous Illinois Sauk Indian chief.
    B.  Jane Addams School.  Named for the American settlement activist/reformer who founded Hull House in Chicago.
    C.  Everett Dirksen School.  Named for the Illinois politician who served in both the US House of Representatives and in the US Senate.
    D.  Adlai E. Stevenson II School.  Named for the Illinois politician who served as both governor and ambassador to the UN.
  4. SCIENTISTS
    A.  Albert Einstein School.  Named for the physicist who developed the general theory of relativity.
    B.  Elizabeth Blackwell School.  Named for the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States and to appear on the UK Medical Register.enders and salk
    C.  Enders-Salk School.  Named for John Franklin Enders who won the Nobel prize for developing in vitro culture of the poliovirus and for Jonas Salk who applied the technique to develop large quantities of the virus and, subsequently, the vaccine to fight the virus.  (Enders is on the left and Salk is on the right in the photo.)
  5. POLITICIANS
    A.  Winston Churchill School.  Named for the Prime Minister of England during World War II.
    B.  Dwight D. Eisenhower School.  Named for the World War II general and president of the United States.
    C.  Herbert Hoover School.  Named for the President of the United States.  (Originally named for J. Edgar Hoover, the long-time director of the FBI, the school’s name was changed in 1994.)
  6. MILITARY
    A.  Douglas MacArthur School.  Named for the World War II general.
    B.  Nathan Hale School.  Named for the Revolutionary War patriot who served as a spy and was later executed by the British.
  7. ASTRONAUTS
    A.  Neil Armstrong School.  Named for the first man to walk on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission.astronauts
    B.  Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin School.  Named for the second man to walk on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission.
    C.  Michael Collins School.  Named for the Command Module pilot of the Apollo 11 mission.
  8. ACTIVISTS
    A.  Thomas Dooley School.  Named for the Navy physician whose humanitarian efforts were prominent in South East Asia.  (In the photo below.)thomas dooley
    B.  Helen Keller School.  Named for the woman rendered deaf and blind as a result of a childhood illness who rose above these disabilities to graduate from college and campaign for women’s suffrage and labor’s rights.
    C.  John Muir School.  Named for the naturalist and early environmentalist whose work to preserve wilderness areas led to the creation of  Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks and organization of the Sierra Club.
    D.  Margaret Mead School.  Named for the American cultural anthropologist who wrote Coming of Age in Samoa.
  9. POETS
    A.  Robert Frost School.  Named for the poet who was a four-time Pulitzer Prize winner and was known for reading his poem, “The Gift Outright” at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy.
  10. OTHER
    A.  Fairview School and Lakeview Schools.  Named by F & S Construction Company, the builder and developer of Hoffman Estates.

What an incredible amount of diversity.  I’m quite sure, after a bit of research, that there is no other school district in the United States that has schools named for the first three astronauts to reach the moon.  Who would have thought that two years after the moon landing, Schaumburg Township’s rampant development would create such a neat opportunity?

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library