Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian. This column originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter. The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.
The old telephone book from 1956-57 has a history of its own. It has only 91 pages, the left side page was advertising and the right side had the names, addresses and phone numbers. Pages 64 to 91 were advertising. Not anything like the larger fatter books that followed with the growth of our suburban population.
As you flip through the pages you notice notations in the margins and names that are underlined or perhaps marked with an X. The phonebook was donated to the village by the Davey family. The markings were for special friends or neighbors or members of the organizations they belonged to. I started looking at the book page by page not wanting to miss any interesting notes that may have been added to the book.
On page 3 was a list of the important phone numbers to have at hand in an emergency, Fire, Police, Ambulance & Oxygen and a blank line for your Physician’s phone number. The schools were listed on this page also, “New Parcel “B” School” that hadn’t been named yet in time for the printing of the phonebook. It would be named Fairview School. The other schools were Twinbrook School & Schaumburg School. No High Schools were listed. We didn’t have Conant High School until 1964.
Page 5 gave the list of officers and district representatives of the Hoffman Estates Home Owners Association along with a history of its founding and accomplishments. The homes were divided into 15 districts. This group brought order and organization to our new town of Hoffman Estates.
The Woman’s Club information was on page 7. “A new organization dedicated to the interests of women, has been organized in this community.” This sentence was followed by the plans for the future of this new group.
Only three religious groups were listed on page 7 and 9, Countryside Universalist Fellowship meeting in a school in Roselle, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church meeting in Twinbrook School and the Twinbrook Hebrew Center meeting in the parcel B school as yet unnamed (it would be Fairview School).
The advertisements in the book tell a story of their own. Many men and women did business from their homes such as electrician’s, carpenters, beauticians and insurance agents. The local drug stores, Rexall and Walgreens were in Roselle. Grocers, such as Pik-Wik Food Store, Harve’s Food Mart, and French’s Super Market were also in Roselle. The two dairies that delivered milk in Hoffman Estates were Ludwigs Milk Company in Elgin and Hedlin’s Richer Milk in Chicago. The one restaurant and bar that was located in town at Roselle & Higgins was the Rainbow Inn. Their ad promised mixed drinks, Schlitz on tap, Sam’s Pizza and Italian dinners & sandwiches. The McArthur Bros. were the proprietors.
There were no area codes, just 4 numbers. The Allen family’s phone number was 3383. How easy was that to remember unlike our 12 digit numbers of today? Only the businesses had numbers beginning with Twinbrook 4. Lawrence 9 was a Roselle phone number and Flanders 8 was a Palatine number. The phone book had all the original addresses before they were changed in the early 70s.
It was fun to look into the past.
Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Village Historian