Archive for the ‘Woodfield Mall’ Category


March 6, 2016

Happy Birthday Schaumburg!  You’re turning 60 this year on March 7, 2016 and we’re happy to celebrate with you!

In honor of your birthday year, we’re doing a monthly blog posting based on some of our favorite things about you.

During the month of March we’re asking the readers of this blog to share their favorite memory about Woodfield Mall.  The shopping center opened in 1971 and has been one of the cornerstones of the community.  People have flocked to the mall for the variety of stores, the restaurants and the various events that have been held in the stores and Center Court.  woodfield main atrium 1971

If you have a favorite memory about Woodfield, please do share it in the comments below.  Maybe it’s a restaurant that is gone but not forgotten?  Or a store that carried your favorite brand of clothes?  Or you were one of the lucky ones who saw John Travolta in his appearance at the mall?  Whatever that memory may be, we’d love to hear from you!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


April 26, 2015

Of all the postings on this local history blog, it is Woodfield Mall that has generated the most comments.  It is a shopping center that was ahead of its time and, certainly, of its place.  And it is obviously much loved by those who grew up or lived in Schaumburg Township.  Woodfield

It is sad to report, therefore, that Alfred Taubman, president of the Taubman Company that drove the actual development of the building, died on Friday, April 17, 2015 at his home in Bloomfield Hills, MI.

From all accounts, Mr. Taubman was very engaged in the development of his company’s malls.  After serving in World War II, he returned to his home state and the University of Michigan to study architecture, and later transferred to Lawrence Institute of Technology.  Leaving that institution, he went to work as a draftsman for noted Detroit architect, Charles N. Agree.  In 1950 he started a real estate development firm that began specializing in the building of strip malls and, later, enclosed malls.  [“A. Alfred Taubman’s Life Through The Years.” Detroit Free PressApril 18, 2015.]

It was his architecture background that influenced the malls he built.  According to an article from the April 18, 2015 edition of Women’s Wear Daily, he “pioneered regional, upscale centers with skylights, terrazzo floors, brass railings, landscaping and split-level parking as well as food courts and movie theaters.”  Sound familiar?

The article also says, “He could be daring.  In 1971, Taubman, anticipating the great growth that would come to the northwest suburbs of Chicago, opened the mega two-million-square-foot Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Ill., which at the time had a population of only 18,000.” He was clearly progressive and bold, seeing that people were ready for one-stop shopping.  It was also apparent to him that shoppers were eager to make purchases in their own backyard instead of making a trip to a downtown location that required planning and much walking outside.

Woodfield Mall began its own journey in the early 1960s as Schaumburg Mayor Robert Atcher, the Village Board and Zoning Board began designating the area near the Northwest Tollway and Route 53 as a locale for commercial development.  The Homart Division of Sears Roebuck gradually became interested in the property and the village encouraged that interest by annexing the land in 1964.  Taubman Company became part of the mix when they entered a joint venture in 1967 with Sears’ Homart, calling themselves Woodfield Associates.  Construction began in 1969 and on September 9, 1971, the multi-level, largest-of-its-kind mall opened.  It continued to hold that distinction of biggest mall in America for a number of years to come.

Mr. Taubman, himself, was engaged in many ventures and was quite a diverse investor.  He was the lead owner of the former USFL Michigan Panthers football team.  He also bought the Woodward & Lathrop and Wanamaker’s Department Stores.  In 1982 he bought the A&W Restaurants chain and, a year later, Sotheby’s auction house.  His philanthropic generosity was sizable and included, but is not limited to:  Brown University, Harvard University and the schools he attended–Lawrence Institute and the University of Michigan where he still holds the distinction of being their largest donor in history.

We are fortunate that Mr. Taubman was part of the vision that is Woodfield Mall today.  In September 2015 it will be 44 years since the debut of a shopping center that was, at the time, largely surrounded by farm land and a few connecting roads.  Today it is a hub in the northwest suburbs, if not all of Chicagoland.  It is quite a long-standing testament to such a unique individual.  Thank you Mr. Taubman.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

An undated article entitled “1971:  Dream, Plan Take Shape in Concrete”  by Drew Davis from the Schaumburg Voice assisted me in the writing of the paragraph on the history of Woodfield Mall.



March 29, 2015








With the renovation of Woodfield Mall starting soon, an interesting thought occurred to some of us.

To all of the readers of this blog and/or former shoppers and employees of Woodfield, my question is:  Outside of the three anchors of J C Penney, Sears and Marshall Fields/Macy, what is the oldest store/restaurant/business in Woodfield Mall today?

I have some guesses about these long-lived establishments but it would be nice to see what you think.  And know.  Maybe you worked as a teenager in a business that’s still going strong?  Or have been eating there for a long time?  Or stop in every time you go to Woodfield?

Leave a comment and let’s see if we can come to a consensus…

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


January 11, 2015


In case you haven’t heard, Woodfield Mall is scheduled to be renovated this year for the first time since 1995 when Nordstrom’s  and 49 other stores were added.

For those of you interested in looking at the Woodfield of your childhood, you might want to take a look at the Chicago Tribune’s story here.   The story includes a nice slideshow of photos of Woodfield during construction and over the years.

There are a couple of great photos of Center Court during Christmas and of the designer home that was set up every year.  There are even stores seen that haven’t been mentioned on this blog (J. Riggings anyone?)  Maybe you’ll recognize some of the kids in the photos too. Best of all, you can even find a photo of the beloved waterfall!

Lastly, the aerial photo at the end that shows the mall in the early 1990s when the Pure Oil property with its circular configuration to the north had yet to be transformed into Woodfield Village Green, really brings home what an amazing feat it was to develop this mall in the middle of the fields of Schaumburg Township.

Take a look and report back!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library



December 7, 2014



Woodfield Christmas

If you’ve spent any time at all in the Schaumburg Township area during the holiday season, Woodfield Mall is a must visit.  Center Court is always completely bedecked with lavish decorations, the various wings are full of shoppers  and Santa can be found in his chair during most of the hours the mall is open.

Recently one of my fellow librarians found this commercial  on the website of the Museum of Classic Chicago Television.  The commercial advertises Woodfield Mall at Christmastime and aired on November 14, 1984.  It featured a number of items that were ideal gifts for their shoppers and is a true 1980s theme with Izod shirts, boom boxes and square-faced watches.  (Which of the perfume bottles do you recognize??)

Please take note, too, of the “We Have It All” theme running through the commercial.  And, of course, they always recognize their anchor stores.  Note how they flash past you at the end–J C Penney, Sears, Lord & Taylor and Marshall Fields.

What are your favorite Christmas memories of Woodfield Mall?  Sitting on Santa’s lap?  Madly rushing around to find the perfect gift(s) on Christmas Eve?  Going to the theater on Christmas Day?  Or, something so simple as finding the perfect parking place up close?  We’d love to hear.  Or, maybe, tell us your favorite gift from Woodfield Mall.  Don’t we all have one?!?

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library



July 20, 2014


Woodfield Mall has never had a formal food court.   In the early 1970s, though, there was a restaurant that came mighty close to the real thing.  It was called International Park and was owned under the auspices of International Cafes Inc.

As a result of a bit of give and take in the comments on the Woodfield Mall Opening Day posting, a couple of posters provided us with additional information.  Kassie said that stepping into the International Park restaurant on the lower level next to the ice skating rink gave you many dining choices.  A Coney Island section enticed you with a selection of hot dogs and cotton candy.  There was a hamburger grill, a counter for Chinese food, another area for standard American fare and yet another spot that gave you the chance to indulge in Italian favorites.

Peggy said the restaurant was owned by Don Linn.  Both women are former employees and, between the two of them, mentioned that he owned other stores at the mall including The Alley, Luv Is and Rags to Riches.  Cindy, who also worked for Mr. Linn, said he owned a candle store next to the The Alley called Light My Fire.  She said that as an employee in the early 70’s, they were required to work The Alley, Luv Is and Light My Fire on a rotational basis.

The chef was Joe Trocolli and he was in charge of the kitchen.  The restaurant opened in August or September 1971 and, according to their ad in the Daily Herald, International Park was their “new concept operation.”

Peggy also shared these photos with us from the International Park.  The first shows a group of employees relaxing after a long shift at the restaurant.  Clearly, red and white striped shirts and aprons were part of the uniform.

This is a scan of her pay stub.  She was paid $1.70 an hour and managed to get 34.75 hours during the pay period.  This was in January so the mall was doing well during the long winter months.  image (2)The store endured until late 1976 or into 1977.  The last mention I could find was in a November 1976 classified ad looking for new employees.  Maybe someone else can contribute more information to the story of this early food court-styled restaurant at Woodfield Mall?

Many thanks to Peggy and Kassie for sharing their memories and photos from their days of working at International Park.  Contributions such as theirs make this blog fun and valuable to the Schaumburg Township memory bank.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library



May 11, 2014

4093A while back I did a blog posting on the Woodfield Water Tower.  Johnny Kunzer, one of the readers of the blog, found it and wanted to update it with this photo he took in August, 1985.

By this time, the tower was 14 years old, having been built in 1971 at the same time Woodfield was under construction.  This paint job, with its 1970s earth tone colors, was the first incarnation.  This was also ten years before it was completely renovated in 1995.

The photo clearly shows some wear and tear on the tower so it has to be considered that there was either an interim paint job or some patching work that was done.

Johnny also pointed out that the Schaumburg Corporate Center at Higgins and Meacham is also under construction in the background.

This photo is a great indication of the treasures people have.  Not only is it a great photo of the water tower, but the background also supplies us with details that we might not have.  Please keep the library in mind when you’re going through your old photos and documents.  I am always happy to incorporate them into the library’s archives or make use of them on this blog.  Sharing them with everyone can bring forth a lot of good memories and details that might otherwise not be recorded!

Thank you Johnny!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


April 20, 2014

Recently I was asked if I have a list of the famous people who have appeared at Woodfield Mall over the years.

Of course there were these celebrities that kicked off the opening of Woodfield on September 9, 1971.

Woodfield mallThey were Vincent Price and Carol Lawrence.

And then there was the rock group KISS that I recently wrote about.  They were here for the great Kiss-off on June 8, 1974.

That same year on October 2, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra also gave a performance.  I wrote about that one too.

The other two appearances that I’m familiar with and have yet to write about happened in 1976.  John Travolta paid a visit to an absolutely jam-packed Woodfield Mall on May 6.  Later in October, President Gerald Ford made a campaign stop during the presidential election.

Then, in a 20th anniversary special issue of Woodfield that was done by the Daily Herald, it was mentioned that Rick Springfield appeared at the mall in 1981.  Other appearances in the article include Ernie Banks, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Imogene Coca and the New Kids on the Block.     

Who am I missing?  Was there someone you paid a visit to see at one of the stores?  Or that the mall sponsored in Central Court?  If you know of someone who hasn’t been mentioned, I would really appreciate your comment.  Thank you for any assistance you can provide!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


March 9, 2014

After more than 114 hours Woodfield Mall finally had a couple of winners. Vinnie Torro and Louise Heath, the kissing couple, successfully locked lips as part of the Great Kiss Off of 1974—and the rock band, KISS, for whom the event was named, was happy to play a part.

Kiss albumIt all started as part of a nationwide promotion for the first album by KISS that was given the same name.   Local radio station, WCFL and Warner Bros./Casablanca Records were in on the promotion. According to the website, radio station WHSE in Ft. Lauderdale, FL started the contests on May 10 and they began to spread. Woodfield picked up on the gimmick but also developed it as “a fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital, Memphis, Tenn.” (The Herald, June 10, 1974)

The contest began June 8 at noon with 11 couples from across the country competing. These couples had already participated in a preliminary round for radio stations near their homes and were ready to win the big prize. At stake was an eight-day cruise to Acapulco and a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Each couple was given a five-minute break every hour. They were also given some incentive with a big kickoff for the event led by WCFL’s superjock, Larry Lujack. According to the book, And Party Every Day: The Inside Story of Casablanca Records written by Larry Harris,KISS came too, and they walked around the mall in full regalia.” The photo below is from their visit.kiss

The Casablanca leadership of Neil Scott, the founder, and his partners, Buck Reingold and Larry Harris were on hand. Joyce Biawitz, one of KISS’ manager was also there. According to Mr. Harris, “a stage had been erected in a large open area in the middle of the mall.” Mr. Scott began asking the crowd for donations to St. Jude’s. With little response from the crowd, “he had Buck go up to the next level of the mall, stand at the railing where he could see the stage below, and wait for a cue. Again Neil, addressed the respectably large crowd that had gathered on both levels, but this time he made it about the children: ‘C’mon folks, the children really need your money.’  At that moment, Buck released a big stack of one-dollar bills into the air, and suddenly it was raining money.”  People soon got the hint and began throwing down their own money from the upper level.  “People on the lower level were picking up the bills, crumpling them, and throwing them toward the stage.” According to The Herald they wound up raising around $5000 for the hospital. Quite a stunt!

According to the book, Nothin’ to Lose:  The Making of Kiss, 1972-1975 by Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons and Ken Sharp, one of the furniture stores in the mall loaned love seats for the couples to use while they were kissing.  By the end of the first day of the kiss-off however, three couples were already out. On Wednesday at 4 p.m., after  100 plus hours, two couples from the original eleven were left. One couple had dropped out because of cramps, another because of an upset stomach, and others because they fell asleep. Not a surprise.

Finally, Thursday morning at 6:01 a.m. after 114 hours and one minute, the second-place couple agreed to bow out. They didn’t just walk away. Their take home prize was $500. Vinnie and Louise, the first-place couple from Florida, accepted the $1000 cash equivalent of their trip and donated it to friends who had recently lost their home in a New Jersey fire. Because of this generous response, WCFL donated another Acapulco trip. Winners all around!

If you were there for the Great Kiss-Off, send us a comment.  Or, if you were lucky enough to see KISS as they walked Woodfield Mall, that’s even better.  We’d love to hear what your first impression was of the band members fully outfitted in makeup and black costumes!

Album cover photo is from Wikipedia.  

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library



October 20, 2013

Woodfield Mall Center Court

This is a photo of the court near JC Penney’s that was taken from a local magazine.

Several of the stores are easily visible:  The Wild Pair (Shoe Store), Singer (Sewing Machines), Bakers, Madigans for Men, Dutch Mill Candies, Albert’s Hosiery and Flagg.

Take a guess and tell me what year this photo was taken.  And, if you can, tell us what that mysterious Flagg store was on the lower level.

***** This photo appeared in a November, 1978 issue.  Good job to those of you who guessed the late 1970’s!

*****  Also, thank you to those of you who helped identify Flagg as a shoe store.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library