SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP HISTORICAL SOCIETY OPEN HOUSE

July 1, 2017

Schaumburg Center schoolThe Schaumburg Township Historical Society will sponsor an open house of the Schaumburg Center School on Sunday, July 9, 2017.  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.

AN UNKNOWN FARM HOUSE APPEARED RIGHT BEFORE OUR VERY EYES

June 24, 2017

Surprises come in all shapes and sizes and this particular surprise came in the shape of the house pictured above.  Last December, Pat Barch, Hoffman Estates Historian, was contacted by Sue Gould, a local realtor, who was listing a home at 635 Lakeview Lane in Hoffman Estates.  According to the tax records she pulled, the home was built in 1879.  It is next to Lakeview School and the front of the house faces Evergreen Park and pond.  She wondered if we knew anything about it.  (Lakeview School is to the left in the photo below.)

The answer was no, we didn’t, because this house was a total surprise to us!  We know of only two houses in Parcel C that were here before the Hoffmans began development in the area.  One is the Hammerstein House on Illinois Boulevard that is now the Children’s Advocacy Center and the other is a private residence.

The realtor asked for a bit of background on the house so we got busy.  In looking at some of the old plat maps, Pat determined that the home was owned by the Bartels family.  I made a couple of calls and talked to Mr. Sporleder whose family farm backed up to the property.  He confirmed that, during his lifetime, the farm was first owned by Arthur Bartels and, later, by his son, Harvey Bartels.  He also mentioned that they lived in a big, two-story house.  Bingo.

In looking back at the many plat maps in our library’s collection, Arthur Bartels owned the property back to the 1920’s.  However, I suspected their ownership was earlier than that.  Mr. Bartels married Alma Hitzemann in 1915 at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Schaumburg.  An account of their wedding ran in the Palatine Enterprise and stated, “The happy couple were the recipients of many beautiful and useful presents and will start life under most favorable circumstances on the groom’s fine 160-acre farm, with good large buildings and everything to make them prosperous and happy.”  In fact, the obituary for Mrs. Bartels in 1945 confirms that, “after their marriage [they] made their home on their farm on Bode Rd. in Schaumburg twp.”

This clearly did not date the house though.  Prior to Mr. Bartels purchasing the property, the plat maps show that the farm was owned by the F. Gieseke family going back to 1861.  The property was split sometime in the following ten years and became two parcels, with houses built on both farms. (Note the fieldstones that make up the cellar walls of the house.)

According to the records collected by Larry Nerge, Friedrich or “Fred” Gieseke emigrated here in 1845 and died in 1891.   Friedrich or “Fred Jr.,” his son, died in 1911.  Both farms are listed on the maps under the name of F. Gieseke.  It’s a good possibility that the west farm passed from the Giesekes to the Bartels after Fred Jr. died in 1911.

Interestingly, Hattie Hitzemann, the sister of Mrs. Bartels, married William J. Gieseke who lived in another part of the township.  It is probably through Hattie and William that the Bartels heard that the Gieseke property was for sale.  Fred Gieseke Jr. was a first cousin to William’s father, Johann or “John” Gieseke.  So the property was kept in the family for all intents and purposes–though slightly removed from the direct line.

According to my contact, Mr. Sporleder, his best guess was that Harvey Bartels sold the property in the late 1950s.  The adjoining Gieseke property to the east had been sold in 1943 to Arthur and Dorothy Dalton Hammerstein.   After Arthur’s death in 1954, Dorothy sold the farm to the Hoffmans of F & S Construction.  It makes sense that the Bartels would have followed with a sale of their own farm in the next few years to F & S.

But the old Gieseke/Bartels house remained–as did the Gieseke/Hammerstein house.  For some reason F & S allowed both of them to stay in the midst of ongoing development. Somewhere along the line, though, the Gieseke/Bartels house dropped out of the local history consciousness.  Fortunately it resurfaced, thanks to Sue Gould’s attentiveness and concern.  And, just in time for Pat and me to take a look!

It was clear in the walk through that the house was added onto at some point.  There were two separate apartments with two separate kitchens and entrances.  Judging by the walls and the foundation in the cellar, it was also obvious here that at least one addition had occurred.  It is my feeling that the portion of the house in the middle and a fair portion on the east side, closest to Lakeview School, were the oldest parts of the house.  The chimney is another giveaway for that argument as is this bay in the center.  Notice the style of the trim around the window.

We are just grateful we were alerted to this piece of history we might have otherwise missed.  There are few farm houses left in Schaumburg Township and it was nice to have the opportunity to view this quiet masterpiece from days gone by.

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

 

CAN YOU EXPAND ON THE HISTORY OF THIS BUILDING?

June 18, 2017

It was recently brought to my attention that the Carpet One business at 26 W. Golf Road, just west of the Roselle Road intersection, on the north side of the street had moved.  Knowing the business and the building had been there for a long time, I was curious as to how it got its start.

As far back as the October 22, 1969 edition of The Herald, it was possible to find the 26 W. Golf Road address.  An article from that date refers to “Pat Griffin, manager of the new Schaumburg Hardi-Garden Center.”  The phrasing seems to infer that the building was possibly constructed by Hardi-Garden Center.

Searching further afield, a 1968 article in Grower Talks, references the new Hardi-Garden Center franchise.  “This (Nashville, TN) is the home of the new Hardi-Garden Center franchise operation.  This is a new operation that provides garden centers retailing know-how and designs for the garden center layout.”  It’s interesting that only one year later, they recognized the potential growth for our area and opened a franchise in Schaumburg.

Judging by the ads in the paper, Hardi-Garden Center offered everything from bird feeders, bird houses, vegetable and flower seeds, fireplace logs, bushes, trees, fertilizer and gardening tools and flower pots.  They also carried seasonal Christmas items, decorations and, not to mention trees.  Plus, they carried pet supplies, tropical fish and aquariums.   They were a one-stop shop, just down the street from Slattery’s Garden Center and Nursery that closed in 1970.

It is difficult to know how long they lasted in this location but, by June 24 1977, a new business had taken its spot.  Lighting Creations and Carpet Creations were now occupying the building and advertising in The Herald.  They also obviously  recognized the amount of growth going on in the area and hoped to fill a need.

This is where it seemed a good idea to contact the store to dig a little deeper.  That’s when I found some good information from Carpet One’s owner, Mike Ryan.  He confirmed that the building was built for the Hardi-Garden Center by a local contractor.  When Hardi left the area, there was an attempt to continue as a garden center and that only lasted a brief time until it became the lighting/carpet store.

Mr. Ryan bought the business from the owner of Lighting Creations/Carpet Creations and opened his carpeting/flooring business on October 1, 1979.  He named it Carpet Creations which is what it remained until 1997 when they changed their name to Carpet One.   They are currently located around the corner at 1234 N. Roselle Road, on the west side of Roselle Road, just north of the Golf Road intersection.

I still have a few questions though.  Does anyone know the name of the contractor who built the building?  Or what the garden center was called after Hardi left the area?  Is there any other ongoing business in the village of Schaumburg that has been in operation longer than Carpet One?   If you can help solve these mysteries, it would be appreciated!

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

THE CASE OF THE FOUND TOMBSTONE

June 11, 2017

The tombstone simply read:

WILSON
December 20, 1856
7 Yrs. 8 Mos.

The case began when a local lady found a tombstone while cleaning out her mother’s house in Schaumburg Township.  The family moved here in 1965 and, in those early days, her mother enjoyed antiquing in the area.  Along the way, she must have added the tombstone to her collection when it piqued her interest.  Her daughter called Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian, and asked if it could be determined who the tombstone referred to.  Pat gave me a call and I began my search–a bit dubious because of the commonality of the last name and the fact that there was so little to go on.

I started with a wonderful website called findagrave.com.  Entering the name, death date and the state, I pulled up 48 Wilsons who died in that year in Illinois.  But none with the exact date.  It also occurred to me that if this tombstone had been sitting in a house for the past few decades, it’s almost certainly not going to be on a website of tombstones!

So, I tried another tact.  From the data given, I knew the young person had to have been born in 1849 which means they might possibly be listed in the 1850 census.  From there I went on the Ancestry database and made my way to the census for 1850.  This time I entered the name, the birth year of 1849, the last name Wilson and the location of Schaumburg.  I know from past research that, even though most of the area was occupied by farmers of German descent at that time, it was still early enough that the original English settlers could be found living in Schaumburg Township.  Plus, there were always other non-German families who made their way to the area and rented farms or worked as hired hands.

Unfortunately, there was no listing for a Wilson of that age living in Schaumburg Township.  I expanded the search and took out the year 1849 so I could see if there were any Wilsons living in Schaumburg Township at that time.  None.  I went back to the first listing and discovered a “Mary E. Wilson” born “about 1849” who was listed in Palatine.  The listing had one-year old Mary E. living with her parents Thomas F. and Mary A. Wilson along with her siblings:  Eliza, Alonzo, Elizabeth, John, Charlotte, Abigale and Osker.

Knowing that antiquing in the area in the 1960s, 70s and 80s would have had to have taken our local lady further afield than Schaumburg Township–not a lot of antique stores here–I figured Palatine might be a good possiblity for our missing person.

It was now time to call the Clayson House in Palatine to see if they had any death listings for that time period.  Fortunately Marilyn Pedersen, historian at the Palatine Historical Society, was there and she said the Wilson name was big in Palatine Township.  She also recommended a couple of books:  Pioneer Cemeteries of Palatine Township and Hillside Cemetery.  And, fortunately, our library owns both books.

The first book I looked at was Pioneer Cemeteries of Palatine Township and, amazingly enough, there was a listing for Mary E. Wilson on page 36 in the section on the Cady Cemetery.  From the two pages on the Thomas F. Wilson (pictured to the left) family, it appears that most of the information is from the bible of Mary Angeline Wilson.

“In flowing script she recorded the births of her nine children.  Because of this Bible record, we know that the Wilson who died in June of 1850 is Mary Angeline herself.  [Note this would have been after the census taker came to their home in the same year.]  Another hand took over the record and recorded her death as well as Thomas Wilson’s second marriage in October of 1850 to Adelia Stall.  She is the Adelia buried here (in Cady Cemetery) in 1857.  They had one child, Coraet, also buried here.  Her half-sister, Mary Emily, died five days later.”

I looked on page 35 and there, at the beginning of the entry on the Wilson family was a transcription from the tombstone of Coraet Wilson as shown below.  It reads:

Coraet Wilson
dau. Thomas & Adelia Wilson
d. Dec. 15, 1856
5 Yrs. 1 Mo.

Well, add five more days to that date and you have December 20, 1856, the death date of our missing Wilson family member.  Everything fell into place.  The Wilson name, the death date and the birth year.  Case solved.

Thomas F. Wilson buried members of his family in Cady Cemetery in Palatine Township on Ela Road although he, himself, is buried in Hillside Cemetery.  Cady Cemetery is in a bucolic spot and surrounded by a locked fence as seen above.  As a result, I could not search for the Wilson family and take photos of the tombstones.   I did find Coraet’s online and was able to post it.

Soon, though, another tombstone will make its way there to its final resting place.  Amazing to think that an 1856 tombstone has made it back home, thanks to great record keeping and electronic databases!

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

The photo of Thomas F. Wilson is used courtesy of the Palatine Historical Society’s website.
The photo of the tombstone of Coraet Wilson was found on findagrave.com and is used courtesy of the Barrington Area Library.

CAN YOU HELP WITH THIS RESTAURANT?

June 4, 2017

One of the readers of the blog posed a question this week asking about a restaurant his family frequented while he was growing up in Schaumburg Township.  This would have been in the 1980s or 1990s and, according to the reader, the restaurant was in the same location as the former La Magdalena which was at 216 W. Golf Road.  This is location of the current Ziegler Maserati dealership at the corner of Golf Road and Valley Lake Drive.

According to the reader, the restaurant served great burgers and steaks and, as a unique feature, showed silent, black and white movies in a back room.

The following restaurants were at this location beginning in the 1980s:

Real Seafood Company (Opened in 1983)

Ristorante Chianti

Edwardo’s Pizza

La Magdalena

None of these rang a bell with the reader–or fit the bill as far as the menu was concerned.

I also suggested Ground Round as a possibility because their restaurants typically used the black and white movies as a gimmick.  The first Ground Round in Schaumburg was located on the west side of Roselle Road, between Higgins and Golf.  [Thank you to the commenters below for this tidbit.]  The second Ground Round was at 800 E. Golf Road on the northeast corner of Plum Grove and Golf and it closed sometime in late 1989 or early 1990.  The reader did not think these were the restaurant or the location.

Does this ring a bell with any of you readers?  What are we missing? If you have a suggestion, please make a comment or send me a quick email.  Both the reader and I would appreciate it. Thank you!

*************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

After reading the many comments below–and some that were sent to me that duplicate the comments–the reader who posed the question thinks it probably has to be the Ground Round.  He definitely remembers the food and the movies and Ground Round is closest to that description.

Many thanks to those of you who contributed.  It is always nice to be able to appeal to the greater blog brain!

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

Photo of La Magdalena used courtesy of http://travelingtproll.blogspot.com

 

SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP HISTORICAL SOCIETY OPEN HOUSE

June 3, 2017

Schaumburg Center schoolThe Schaumburg Township Historical Society will sponsor an open house of the Schaumburg Center School on Sunday, June 11, 2017.  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.

SPRING VALLEY COUNTRY FAIR

June 3, 2017
  • Dates: Saturday and Sunday, June 10 & 11, 2017 12:00 PM-4:00 PM
  • Location: Heritage Farm
  • Address: 201 Plum Grove Road or 1111 E. Schaumburg Road
  • City: Schaumburg, IL
  • Phone: 847/985-2100Spring Valley

Experience the charm of a community farm fair during the late 19th century.  Visitors can stop by the livestock and domestic arts tents to find out who has won blue ribbons and watch as the latest hay mowers and other farm equipment are demonstrated.  Join in the fun by participating in various games and competitions.  This recreated historic event will include food, music and more!

Admission is $3/person or $12/family. Children ages 3 and younger are free.

THE BELL FAMILY ON STRATFORD FARMS

May 28, 2017

About six years after Levy Mayer bought the Stratford Hotel in 1907 at the corner of Jackson and Michigan in Chicago, he also bought a farm in rural Schaumburg Township.  The plan was to grow chickens, cows, pigs, produce, etc. to supply the restaurant in his hotel.   Rather than paying wholesalers for the items, the hotel would go right to the source.  Thus began Stratford Farms on Roselle Road in Schaumburg.

In October 2011 I wrote a blog posting about this farm and, even though it’s been 5 1/2 years, Sandra Nobles found the blog posting.

Amazingly enough, her great grandparents, James Austin and Florence Bell, managed the farm with their children for a period of time in the late 1910s into the 1930s.  Even more astounding, they took wonderful photos of the farm during the time they lived there.  Enjoy this view of Stratford Farms–and a view of Schaumburg Township along Roselle Road in the roaring twenties.

______________________________________________

Pictured below is one of the two houses on the farm.  The Bell family lived in this house.  Roselle Road can be seen in the middle of the photo.  Electricity had not yet come to Schaumburg Township so we can confirm that it is a telephone pole along the road.  There are a variety of outbuildings behind and to the right of the house.  And, clearly, the owners saw a strong need for water as they built their own water tower for the animals and the produce they raised.

This is closer view of the farm’s buildings.  The other house on the farm is in the background of the photo.  The farmhands lived in this house.  Notice the two figures posing for this photo on the catwalk that surrounds the water tower.  Irv Flaherty is one of them.

This photo is taken from the front porch of the house on Roselle Road.  It looks east as far as the eye can see.  Imagine standing on Roselle Road at Hartford Drive today and looking east with nothing to impede your view.  That is what you see here.

In this photo you get an idea of the scope of produce the farm was growing for the hotel.

These were some of the pheasants raised for dining purposes for the hotel.

Here is another view of the countryside–and of a snazzy looking roadster–most likely owned by Mr. Edwin Francis Meyer.  (According to Florence Catherine, her sister, Edwina, was named for him.)  Again, the land and the view seem to stretch on forever.  Some of you car buffs may be able to determine what make and model this is.

James Austin Bell Sr. came from Ohio in 1917 and worked for Mr. Mayer at the Stratford Hotel.  His wife, Florence, and their young daughter, Florence Catherine “Kate”, came to Chicago after Florence Catherine’s birth.  They then moved to the farm and in January 1920 their twins, Edwina and James Austin, Jr. were born.  One year later, in October 1921, they had a son, John Robert.

In the photo below are, from left to right, Edwina, John Robert, Catherine and James Austin Jr.

The next photo is another scene of the Bell family.  The children from left to right are:  James Austin Jr., John Robert, Edwina and Catherine “Kate.”  Their mother, Florence, is holding John Robert, who is still fairly small.  This helps to place the time of the photo as 1922 or 1923.

This is a photo of Florence Catherine on the occasion of her birthday.  She has on a beautiful, sparkling clean dress and stockings with, what look to be, new shoes.  Edwina is standing on the grass and James Austin is sitting on the steps behind her.  Her mother appears to be standing in the house behind the screen door.

We are also treated to a photo of James Austin Jr. and Edwina dressed up in their very best too.  Maybe they are on their way to the Roselle United Methodist Church where the family attended services.

This is a more casual day.  From left to right are James Austin Jr., Florence Catherine “Kate”,  John Robert and Edwina.  Notice how they are dressed.  It was a carefree existence for the children and there was no reason to dress up.  Very seldom do we see photos of this type, where children of this time period in Schaumburg Township, are dressed in their every day garb.  This is a unique view.

This is a photo of the twins, Edwina and James Austin.  Irv Flaherty, one of the farmhands, is holding on to Edwina who certainly seems like a lively child!

James Austin Bell, Sr. farmed for the Stratford Hotel, but he played baseball for the Great Northern Hotel which was also in Chicago.  Here he is dressed in his baseball uniform.  One wonders if he drove a car to his games or took the train from Roselle into the city.

In 1930 the family is listed in the census with Florence being 12, Edwina and James Austin 10 and John Robert 8.  Ada and Fred Hafner are also listed with their children:  David 19, Daniel 18, Bethella 12, Paul 10 and Phillip 7.  By 1940 both families had moved on.  But, aren’t we lucky they took these marvelous photos when they did?  What an interesting perspective of everyday life on a busy farm in the twenties.  Thank you to the extended Bell family for providing the photos!

To this day, we commemorate the heritage of Stratford Farms by the farm’s marker that can be found behind the Turret House.  In fact, you can see this same marker in the above photo that looks out to the east across Roselle Road.  According to Florence Catherine “Kate,” she and her siblings used to climb these posts and sit on them.  What a nice way to bring this story full circle!

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

The photo of the Stratford Farms marker is used courtesy of the Village of Schaumburg. 

CREATING BEAUTIFUL YARDS IN EARLY HOFFMAN ESTATES

May 21, 2017

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

Early residents of Hoffman Estates found that springtime was not what they had expected.  Many of us found ourselves surrounded by a yard that had an inch or two of topsoil and not a blade of grass anywhere.  In fact, with spring rains came the ugly muddy front & back yards.   Everyone was up to their elbows in dirt and a spring filled with landscaping chores of one kind or another.

Parcel A had ½ acre lots but the other homes that were going up quickly had smaller yards.  When they purchased their homes not everyone thought of the work that lay ahead once the winter snows had melted. Not only were the roads a nightmare to navigate that first year but now everyone had lawn work to keep them busy throughout the entire summer.

Those first neighborhoods didn’t have homes that came with trees, shrubs and lawns.  That was going to be a big undertaking for most.  Parcel A didn’t even have parkway trees since they didn’t have a parkway only a small sidewalk that went along the edge of the street.

Nothing could be done until you had the right equipment.  Wheelbarrows, rakes, shovels, seed and fertilizer spreaders and the list went on and on.  The salesman would always tell us that if you wanted to have a great lawn you needed the proper tools.  We had only one nursery and lawn equipment store in town and that was located between Higgins and Golf about where Dunkin Donuts is now.  In fact it was in Schaumburg not Hoffman Estates.   It was called Slattery’s Nursery.  They had land across the street on the north side of Golf Road where Ahlgrim’s Funeral Home is located, where they grew their stock of trees and shrubs.  Landscaping and a lawn was an expensive project for the homeowners.  Of course the salesman would want to sell you every blooming thing.

If you needed black dirt, gravel, stone or some sand for the kid’s sandbox, you were referred to Rose’s across the street on the north side of Golf just east of Valley Lake Dr.  He had everything else you needed for that beautiful lawn, especially the loads of black dirt to supplement what the builder had left behind once the house was completed.

The beauty of your lawn soon became the business of everyone on your block.  The men would compare notes on how they killed the dandelions or how they got the lawn so green.  But there were some who always enjoyed that beautiful sea of yellow and let Mother Nature take care of the lawn.

Now landscape materials are found at the big box stores or the few local hardware stores we have in our area.  The nurseries and greenhouses have moved away but what a necessity they were for the new and inexperienced home owners of early Hoffman Estates.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian
eagle2064@comcast.net

SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP HISTORICAL SOCIETY OPEN HOUSE

May 20, 2017

Schaumburg Center schoolThe Schaumburg Township Historical Society will sponsor an open house of the Schaumburg Center School on Sunday, May 27, 28 and 29, 2017.  The open houses 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.