June 3, 2018

One of our librarians found this small sign in an antique store and brought it to my attention.  Now I’m bringing it to yours.

Does anyone know what this might refer to?  Was it before the village of Schaumburg became a member of the Northwest Suburban Municipal Joint Action Water Agency (JAWA) and began receiving water from Lake Michigan in December 1985?  The village was using a number of wells at the time.  Was there a water shortage in Schaumburg before the pipeline became available?  Or was this restaurant just being environmentally aware?

If this rings a bell with you please leave a comment below or send me an email.  The action by this restaurant is a new one on me!

****************After reading some of the comments, talking to a village board member and doing a bit of research, it seems the water situation in the northwest suburbs was becoming tenuous in the late 1970s due to both the explosion of growth and very dry summers in 1976 and 1977.  An article from the Chicago Tribune of March 20, 1977 says, “A long dry spell has left many suburban water wells unusually low, raising the threat of summer water rationing and strict controls… The state is going into spring with a rainfall 12 inches below normal, and suburban water officials already are talking about drastic action if the drought runs into summer.”

One of Schaumburg’s village board members mentioned that there was an ordinance that was passed in the late 1970s or early 1980s regarding water restrictions, and restaurants were included in that ordinance.  To her recollection–and this was before her time on the village board–it was only in existence for five years or so until Lake Michigan water became available. *********************

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


June 2, 2018

Schaumburg Center schoolThe Schaumburg Township Historical Society will sponsor an open house of the Schaumburg Center School on Sunday, June 10, 2018.  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.


May 27, 2018

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

In early March I learned that School District 54 had decided to tear down Twinbrook School.  Twinbrook School was the first school built by F & S Construction when they began developing our village.  The school was located on Ash Rd in Parcel A where the first homes began going up in 1955.  Parcel A is situated south of Golf Rd and north of Higgins Rd, directly behind Hoffman Plaza.

The name Twinbrook came from the fact that the village was located between Poplar Creek to the north and Salt Creek to the south.  Early on in our village history many residents wanted to change the name from Hoffman Estates to Twinbrook but the majority won, much influenced by Jack Hoffman who didn’t favor a name change since so much had been invested in the name of Hoffman Estates.

Our first school opened in 1956 and was ready for the children of the new home owners of Parcel A.

Over the years the school was well utilized.  After the school closed to regular classes, it was used for many other children.  Preschoolers and special needs students were enrolled in classes and an addition to the school that would have some open concept classrooms made it easier.  It was lastly put into use as a storage facility.

Time took its toll and any plans to renovate were considered too costly. Sadly, it was decided that the building would come down.

With grateful permission from District 54, I was able to go inside Twinbrook for one last visit.  I had my camera ready to take pictures of whatever I thought would be memorable for the history of our village.

As I started down the first hall, I noticed the cheerful ivy mural that had been painted on the wall of the water fountains.  Had it made the students smile?  Around the corner the hall was cluttered with items that would be cleaned out before the take down.   As I walked down the hall I saw something that tugged at my heart.  It was a small red ball. I wondered how many children had played with that ball.  I took a picture.  Going into the gym I saw an American flag on a small stick that had been tossed up into the netting by, I’m guessing, some mischievous student.  I took a picture.  My last stop was in the school office where the intercom stood silent with wires pulled from the wall. I took a picture.

I knew that the children had been long gone from the building but it seemed as if you could still feel them laughing and running in the halls.

I went back on March 19th to take pictures as the school was being torn down.  It was sad to say goodbye.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian


May 21, 2018

The Schaumburg Township Historical Society will sponsor its annual open house of the Schaumburg Center School on Memorial Day weekend.  The open houses will be held May 26, 27 and 28 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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.


May 20, 2018

Before the village of Hoffman Estates was even incorporated, it became obvious that the burgeoning area needed its own fire protection and ambulance service.  Up to this point, the Roselle Fire Protection District out of the village of Roselle had served the homeowners of Schaumburg Township.  Given the distance between Roselle and the future Hoffman Estates, residents of the area voted on April 1, 1958 to form the Hoffman Estates Fire Protection District.

The District was its own governing body with three trustees, a Chief and a Deputy Chief.  They operated out of a barn on the Hammerstein/Village property on Illinois Boulevard.  In 1959–the same year that the village was incorporated–a bond issue was approved that financed a brand new station on Flagstaff Lane.  It opened the following year in November 1960 and is pictured in the photo above.

It was capable of housing six vehicles and had a squad room, radio room, office and maintenance shop.  It was known as Fire Station #1 and its address was 160 Flagstaff Lane.  The first chief was Carl Selke and he oversaw a 30-man volunteer departmen.  The fire station is still in use today, although it is now known as Station 21 and the address has changed to 225 Flagstaff Lane.

The village of Schaumburg continued to use the Roselle Fire Protection District for more than ten years after the village was incorporated.   On February 20, 1966 the village board voted to disannex from the Roselle Fire Protection District and form the Schaumburg Fire Department.  Later that year, Fire Station No. 1, pictured above, was built at 1459 Schaumburg Road.  Campanelli Brothers Construction donated the land and the building.   The official date of separation occurred on July 9, 1967 with the Roselle FPD selling the fire station and the equipment inside to the Village of Schaumburg for the amount of &1.  A month later, Joe Zurick was chosen as the first volunteer Fire Chief of the department.  Some of the other men who served were Assistant Chief Alex Riofrido, Captain Frank Musil, and Lieutenant Keith Paul and a volunteer force of 20 men that included Del Raab and Rolland Fitch.

This fire station served the village well until 2006 when Fire Station One was relocated to a new building at 950 W. Schaumburg Road.  The old building sat vacant until late 2007 when it was demolished.  The site was eventually sold and is currently being redeveloped as a two-business strip mall.

In 1977, Elk Grove Village opened a new fire station at 676 Meacham Road.  The station was known as Fire Station #10 and was the third fire station built for Elk Grove Village.  This one was built, however, to serve the residents in Schaumburg Township on the west side of Route 53.  It was in use for nearly 40 years and was officially closed on February 15, 2018.  The building was razed and a new one is currently being constructed on the same site.  Completion is scheduled for some time in 2019.

Township residents are fortunate to be so well served by these fire stations within our boundaries.  Both Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg have additional stations that have been built in the intervening years but these were all the first for the various villages!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

Various articles from the Daily Herald; the Hoffman Estates historical publication, Community From Cornfields; and the Schaumburg publication, Schaumburg Fire Department:  A Photographic Tribute were all used to create this blog posting.  

The photo of the first Schaumburg Volunteer Fire Department was graciously contributed by Rolland Fitch II whose father was on that squad.  We thank him for this wonderful addition to the blog posting.  





May 13, 2018

On Tuesday night, September 15, 1914, “the peaceful slumber of Schaumburg was suddenly awakened at 11:40 p.m… by the clanging of the fire bell.  H.J. Gieseke’s hardware and grocery was burning.  H.H. Torrence, lodging at Krueger’s, first noticed the blaze and seemed to wake from an explosion which occurred within the building. He noticed that the south wall inside was afire and immediately sounded the alarm.  The fire, however, made such rapid headway that when the first men arrived it was already gushing through the windows closest to the south wall.  For a time it seemed Krueger’s barn and shed would surely burn, but the hose brigade finally got things adjusted and kept the roof well soaked.”  [Daily Herald, September 18, 1914]

The Gieseke hardware store that burned–or partially burned–was the building that is today’s Lou Malnatis.  And Mr. Torrence, who first noticed the fire, was staying at Krueger’s, which served as a tavern and hotel that later became known as the Easy Street Pub.  But, where was that fire bell located?  And, was there actually a fire department in rural Schaumburg Township?  The answer is “yes” to both questions.

The fire bell was in the fire barn that stood between Krueger’s and the Gieseke Hardware store.  You can see it in the photo above, hidden behind the tree on the left, with a belfrey on top of the building.

According to an article from the April 7, 1966 issue of the Daily Herald, a Schaumburg Township Fire Department was organized in 1897 by about 20 area farmers and was volunteer in nature.  The article says, “they purchased a second hand pumper from Palatine for $20 and sold shares in it.”

The intent was, that if a fire began and you owned shares, your farm would be served by the pumper as soon as it got there.  If you did not own shares, the pumper would not be available.  Later, local mutual fire companies operated in the same way.  If you didn’t purchase shares in the organization and a fire occurred on your property, the fire department would not respond.  It seems a bit cruel but, it was the only way to operate and stay finanically solvent in rural areas where there was not an organized governmental department.

This volunteer fire department is mentioned off and on throughout the next few decades.  A mention from the November 3, 1905 issue of The Herald states that the department would be holding their annual meeting in Quindel’s Hall to elect officers and enroll new members.  (At the time, Quindel’s Hall was the hardware store.)  In addition to the meetings, they held picnics to raise funds for the department and as a morale boost for the members.

The two gentlemen who seemed to be in charge of the fire department and pushed for new members were H.E. Quindel and John Fenz.  It was definitely in their best interests to have a fire department that could protect their businesses at the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads.  By 1913, this included their homes too which were both at the intersection.  This was the Fenz home.

This was the Quindel home.

By Feburary 20, 1920, the Volunteer Fire Department was “well organized and holding regular meetings the first Tuesday of each month.”  The article in The Herald also mentioned that the engine had been overhauled.  Another article in the same year mentioned that the Fire Department was selling a truck wagon.

However, when two fires happened in 1930 in Schaumburg Center, one was handled with a handheld fire extinguisher and the other, that occurred in the shed behind Lengl’s saloon and restaurant, was handled by the Roselle Fire Department.  This gives us a good indication that the Schaumburg Volunteer Fire Department was gone and local residents were relying on the village of Roselle for support.

According to the 1966 article though, “the pumper remained in the area until the 1940’s when it was purchased for $150 by a private party and subsequently returned to Palatine.  It remains on display in the Palatine fire barn and is used for parades and ceremonial occasions.”

The fire barn remained in place on Roselle Road .  It was subsequently rescued by Richard Gerschefske who lived nearby on Lengl Avenue.  He moved the barn to his property sometime in the 1930’s or 40’s.  We know this because it was in place for his daughter Marion’s wedding in 1947.   There it sat for a number of years until it was ultimately torn down around 1981.  (An article from the Schaumburg Record from March 18, 1981 mentions its imminent demise.)

Fire was always a concern in our rural area.  Thunderstorms and lightning strikes could ignite houses and barns.  Spontaneous combustion in haystacks was always a possibility.  Wearing long dresses and cooking with fire was a danger.  And, the fact that almost every building was wood accelerated every fire that occurred.  Pooling resources–whether it was manpower or equipment or buildings–was a crucial step that the Schaumburg Volunteer Fire Department took to try and fight fires successfully.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

Next week, look for a blog posting on the first village fire stations in Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, and Schaumburg. 



May 8, 2018

What:  Conversations in the Studio:  Historic Stone Structures in the Fox Valley Area

Who:  Adam D. Gibbons; Northwestern University (BA History), Wake Forest University (MA History), Genealogist; will discuss historic architecture in the form of stone buildings in the Fox Valley area.  

When:  Saturday, May 12, 1-2 pm.

Where:  Schweikher-Langsdorf Home and Studio, 645 S. Meacham Road, Schaumburg

How:  Tickets are $5 and RSVP is required.  For registration or questions call Todd Wenger at 847-923-3866 or email Kim Bauer at



May 6, 2018

If you stumble across this blog or you are a regular follower or you found your way here through the Facebook pages, this appeal is for you.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation sets aside the month of May to commemorate National Preservation Month.  The theme for this year is This Place Matters!

What place or places, in your connection to Schaumburg Township, matter to you?  Is it the house you grew up in?  The restaurants your family loved or that you and your friends frequented?  Was it Woodfield?  Or Poplar Creek?  Was it the church or school you attended?  Was it your neighborhood?  Or one of the farms you lived near?

In an effort to comemorate both our rich rural and suburban culture, I am seeking your assistance in adding materials to the library’s Local History collection and our Local History Digital Archive.  We are continually on the lookout for photos, brochures, programs, old phone books, church and school histories and any other document that would focus on buildings, events and people.

This does not mean items have to be 50 years old to be considered!  If it is a local political brochure from last month’s election or a program from a church’s dedication or a flyer for last year’s 4th of July parade in Hoffman Estates, we’re interested.

If you would like to donate the items to the library, we are happy to accept them.  If you would prefer to keep the items, we have scanning capabilities as well.  The important thing is to preserve our history and not let it slip through our fingers.  Please consider being a part of the collection process and contact us today.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


April 29, 2018

This painting appeared at my desk the other day, compliments of the Schaumburg Township Historical Society.  While putting together another post on farm paintings of Schaumburg Township, this one had come to my attention but took a while to track down.  Now it was here.

Unlike most of the paintings in the other blog posting, we know the artist. Pam Bylsma, a Fremd art teacher, painted the scene in 1981.  The house was located on a farm that was bordered by Bode Road on the south, Knollwood on the west and Pennview on the north.  Sheffield Estates subdivision exists on this property today and was built during a period of years that extended from 1976 to 1978.

The painting was based on the photo below that was taken in the mid-1970s, before the house was razed.

Judging by the written location and a 1954 plat map, it appears that this was August Lichthardt Jr.’s farm.  Using earlier plat maps in the library’s collection, it is possible to see that the farm had been in the Licthardt family since the late 1860s.  Henry and Caroline (Wilkening) Lichthardt were the original Lichthardts on the farm.  They had five children–August, Anna, Clara, Martha and Edward.

Their son, August, inherited the farm and raised his family with his wife, Clara (Fasse) Lichthardt, who he married in 1905.  They had ten children of their own–Erna, August Jr., Beata, Adelia, Malinda, Henriette, Arnold, Bertha, Florence and a daughter who died in infancy.  Their son, August Jr. and his wife, Edna (Buesing), began working the farm in 1946 when August Sr. and Clara moved to Elgin.   Ten years later, in 1956, August Jr. and Edna sold the farm and moved to Wisconsin.  It is unknown who purchased the property but Levitt Homes eventually built the Sheffield Estates subdivision there.

This rather unique painting of the Quinlan & Tyson real estate office is also part of the Schaumburg Township Historical Society’s collection.  This building was on Schaumburg Road, east of the old Ace Hardware that sat on the southeast corner of the intersection at Roselle Road.

This photo shows the house being torn down with the rather iconic sign in the foreground.  The destruction happened in June 1980 when the realty company moved into a new Quinlan & Tyson building just a bit east of the house.  You can see that here.

If you’d like to read more about this company and their Schaumburg location, check out the blog posting I did before the painting was uncovered.

How fortuitous that Ms. Bylsma and artist Owens created these paintings of forgotten Schaumburg Township locations before they saw their demise.  We do have photos but the paintings are a more beautiful representation of a landscape that is no more.   If you have anything to add about either locale, please leave a comment below.  Details help!

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


April 22, 2018

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

In the latter part of 2017, two of the gentleman that I enjoyed talking to and visiting passed away.  Harold Bergman and Vernon Frost won’t be able to tell me their stories about the farming world that they lived in.  I will greatly miss both of them.

Vernon loved to talk about his early years growing up on his parents’ farm that was located at Central and Ela Rd.  He lost his father at an early age and went to stay and work on his Grandmother’s farm that is now the Highland Golf Course and was right across Ela Rd. from his parent’s farm.  He and his mother moved to Palatine but he continued to earn some money by working on other relatives’ farms in the area.

He had stories of his days attending the Highland Grove School on Ela Rd. and how Harold Bergman was his confirmation teacher at St. John’s Church.

He loved tractors and could keep them repaired and running for the daily work in the farm fields.  He told stories about the farms that formed their harvesting circle that shared the large combines to get the crops into the barns and silos.  He was always there when I’d call him for confirmation of information I was trying to pull together about the farming days before development began with F & S Construction.

Harold Bergman was a special friend who was always willing to sit down at his kitchen table and share the stories of what it was like to grow up on his parent’s farm at Ela and Algonquin Rd.  I’d ask question after question about his daily routine as a young boy.  He seemed to love remembering back to those early days.  I learned so much.  He also shared pictures from his life on the farm.

He told how the cans of milk would be put into a large tub of well water to keep it at 55 degrees until the dairy came by for pick up each morning.  When there wasn’t enough wind to drive the wind mill and pump the well water into the tub, he told of the series of Delco batteries that powered the pumps as well as his farm house.  The batteries gave enough power to last until shortly after sunset.  When the house went dark, everyone would go to bed.   When electricity came down Algonquin Rd. in the mid 1930s, he recalled how excited his mom was because she’d buy a new refrigerator and get rid of that old ice box.  All the light bulbs in the house had to be changed with the new “off the line” power as they called it.  Harold recalled how expensive those new bulbs were.

Harold was the oldest farmer still farming in Cook County.  He retired at the age of 100 moving to live with his son.  He passed away in December of 2017 at the age of 102.

These two men helped save our farming history by sharing their stories and photos of a time long past. I’ll always fondly remember them and be grateful for the time I spent with them.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian

Thank you to the family of Vernon Frost for providing the photo of him for his obituary and to the Daily Herald for the photo of Harold Bergman near his familiar farm house on Algonquin Road.