|Scope & Content||
Oral history interview of Ed Hauser.
Interviewed by Darlene Greaves and Cliff Schultz, Members of the Elk Grove Historical Society, December 11, 2007. Interview conducted at the farmhouse building of the Elk Grove Historical Museum located at 399 Biesterfield Road, Elk Grove Village, IL. Interview length 55 m 45 sec. Collection includes audio recording, transcript, and digital image.
|Collection||Elk Grove Historical Museum|
Dec. 11, 2007 interview by Darlene Greaves and Cliff Schultz
00:00:44 Moving to Elk Grove: bought house in 1957 but had to wait 14 months to move in (had to be built). Wife's cousin worked for ComEd and was working on the underground electricity in Elk Grove and suggested they look at homes there. Lots of people out looking.
00:01:48 What was the draw to Elk Gove: FHA and VA loans were at a minimum interest rate, lot of veterans and young families now able to afford a home and to move out "to the farmlands." First section sold out fast. Kept calling to find out when the second section would open. Hausers put down $50 for a house. Houses were selling like hotcakes. Estimated 25,000 people out there. Ended up with lot number 585 at 500 Willow Lane at still there. When money was put down they only had 2 girls but by the time they got into the house they had 3 kids.
00:03:22 Quite an adventure: gravel streets, lot next door had black dirt scraped off to expose clay to put the foundation in, there were mounds and mounds of dirt. It even got in the house. Everyone in the same boat, all young people, first home, a lot of them from Chicago, good group, had parties. Very close knit community at that time. No Centex homes beyond Landmeier Road then.
00:04:36 Size and description of houses: Homes were roughly same size. Boat window model was in first section but discontinued for second section. They all had 3 bedrooms and 1 car garage. Every house was equipped with a Hotpoint washer and dryer (one unit-one on top of the other). It started tearing the clothes up and the people in the first section got angry and when it came time for people to come out on weekends they had clothes poles put out there with their underwear and other clothes that had been torn to shreds. Centex was getting steamed because this was hurting their sales. Finally there were meetings but within a year Centex decided they would replace all of the units with brand new washers and dryers. Centex did good for the town.
00:06:45 Getting involved: Hotpoint owned all of the land from Landmeier Rd all the way to Devon except for the one row of houses still there at Devon and Tonne. They were going to move their entire operation from Chicago and consolidate it out here. They put up a huge building on Chase Ave between Tonne and Rt 83. It stuck out like a sore thumb. Totally surrounded by farmland. Hotpoint ended up changing their mind and decided they would sell off property. The industrial park was well developed by good people. They are often forgotten: Bennett & Kahnweiler. The building sold to Chicago Magnet Wire who put insulation on wires. It was the stinkiest plant! It could be smelled all over. We got the Plant Commission together to force them to put on bigger stacks to diffuse the aroma elsewhere. The workers also smelled!
00:09:09 Digression from involvement: When Ed moved to Elk Grove, Tonne Rd from Landmeier to Devon was a 2 lane dirt road. ComEd wanted to put big high tension towers in but Elk Grove was objecting because everything was to be underground. ComEd refused to go underground due to expense but said they'd make Tonne a boulevard with two lanes on either side and put in trees and shrubs to diffuse the fact there were big towers so that is how that came to be.
00:10:34 Neighbors: Bowers?? a chiropractor, next door was Bill Ristow (parents owned DesPlaines Rental on Oakton St), Lenny Lufking?? in the back was an insurance man, Ralph Lewis ended up being a village trustee, and Bill Liorio??, Bob Niemeyer, Jerry Bubaker?? recently passed away was president of the school board. Bob Meyer across the street, Faszlos and Ficarellis, Swicks, a Centex worker whose name slips his mind at the moment. Pat and Ron Diersdorf. It was a close-knit group. It was fun-wishes he was young again.
00:12:00 Schools: Building schools almost every year. Rupley, Ridge, Clearmont, the Jr. High, there was the Jr. High over here that came later and was eventually torn down. School Board decided to put all of Elk Grove into one Jr High. Jim Gibson, second village president, pushed through an ordinance and Centex agreed, there would be a 10% land dedication. As each plat of land came through, 10% of the acreage, excluding streets, had to be set aside for the village. It could be used for a well site, police station, or whatever is needed by the village. If not needed, then it would be turned over to the Park District. So that is why there is so much land donated by Centex; although, some has been purchased from them. This allowed Elk Grove to have lots of park space instead of houses on each piece of land.
00:14:10 Community involvement. Des Plaines Lion Club wanted to build a club in Elk Grove. Jim Brubaker enlisted Ed to join the Lions Club. While working at Suburban Drug in Park 'N Shop he became an inspector of the vendor wagons that sold hot dogs, etc. From there he became a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals. That was before the Plan Commission was in existence. One big developer came in and wanted to develop everything west of 53 in one fell swoop but with zero lot line houses meaning houses would have no backyards. Village Board was leaning toward approval. Zoning Board did not approve it and Village Board was furious. After that Ed resigned from Zoning Board because he become president of the Lions Club and felt he couldn't handle both at the same time.
00:17:47 Continuation of involvement. Jack Pahl put together a committee to determine whether Elk Grove should have a Park District. What fostered the idea was that Mt. Prospect Park District took big parcels of land in the Industrial Park from Busse Rd (Rt 83) to York Rd all the way to Touhy Ave. So that to this day that part of Elk Grove is in the Mt. Prospect Park District. When Ed became involved ,he tried to get Mt. Prospect Park District to de-annex that property but Mt. Prospect would not de-annex that portion because they didn't have to provide any services and were collecting tax revenue. So, seeing what was happening Jack Pahl realized that Arlington Heights, Bensenville, Itasca and others could start annexing park district land and we'd have nothing. So a referendum was put on the ballot and a Park District was voted down. The committee had not done good planning so they reconvened and put together a more comprehensive plan. It was passed by about a 3 to 1 margin and five commissioners were elected. Ed was one of the original commissioners.
00:20:44 Why referendum passed on second try. One reason was more of a vision was presented. There was also a better class of candidates. Worked hard to sell the idea of a Park District.
00:21:59 What were the results of the passing of the referendum? Officers had to be elected. Don Shane was original president. He was president for only about 7 months due to transfer to California. Had to set a levy for the taxpayer and determine what to do with that money. Ed Hofert, village attorney, was very helpful when they were so brand new. Then a Park District attorney was hired and a Director of Parks and Recreation. Wanted a qualified, experienced person to come out running. Jack Claes of Pekin was hired. 500 attitude and interest surveys were sent out to residents to determine what they wanted from the Park District. A 5 year plan was also developed.
00:25:03 Timeframe was about 1965-67. Village had 6 parks at that time and agreed to turn them over to the Park District. At the beginning not a lot was visible to residents as much of it was just planning. The survey indicated a movie theater was needed. Managed to get Jerry Lewis Cinema in but turned out to be a dud because the movies came about 2 months after everyone else had them. It flopped.
00:26:54 Pool. When Centex was building like crazy, there was the Queen of the Rosary, the Lutheran Church, the Lions Park, there was not even a bridge across Kennedy Ave (then still Biesterfield), Centex suggested building a pool there but they didn't want to get into the pool business so they wanted a service organization to take it over. The Lions Club agreed to take over the pool that was built for $150,000. It was L-shaped and there was a little pool for the kids. There was also a bathhouse. Dick Perry ran it-during the summer months. When the Park District came into existence, the Lions Club gave the pool to it for $1, but the Lions Club still owed Centex $147,000 on it. So for 10 years the Park District paid on the pool debt. It was renovated a couple of times and now there is a new one.
00:29:36 Some criticism. Why did Park District put pool there. We didn't, Centex did. At the time Salt Creek was just a trickle you could walk across it in the summertime and never get your feet wet. Metropolitan Water Reclamation in Schaumburg now dumps millions of gallons of water into it daily and keeps Salt Creek flowing. Of course, they do provide water for the golf course, too.
00:30:44 Experiences on the Board. Most proud that the original board put the district on a good footing from a direction standpoint, from an administration standpoint and then the Lively pool complex that was part of the Lively Jr. High. The architect was from Oak Park, IL and several awards were won for the design. This was the first time the Park District had gone out for a referendum. Passed 3 or 4 to 1. Pretty much the entire board was running down the same road at the same speed all the time.
00:32:38 The golf course: Golf course was much later. Ed had left to serve on the Village Board by then.
00:32:49 Park District acquired Brantwood. That's the Al Hattendorf Center now. District 59 was dropping that school as it was no longer needed. Softball was played on that field prior to the school being built. They put the pre-school and senior center in there. Originally a log cabin, which is no longer there, had been built for the teen center and the seniors were also put in there. Not a good mix so when Brantwood became available it was acquired. The teens then had the log cabin to use if they wanted to but it just never really took off.
00:34:33 Park District acquired Lively Jr High. This was about 4 or 5 years after the formation of the Park District. When Park District Office was built, there were no houses in back, the Village Hall was not there. It was pretty much open then. Property was acquired because it was more in the center of the village. They had to show some results first: that the programming was taking hold, Little League was growing tremendously. Things that the people could see that were successful was necessary before a referendum could be proposed and passed.
00:35:42 Park Board Personnel: When first formed, it was an off-election year so straws had to be drawn. Dave von Schaumburg and Ed drew the 7 year terms, terms are normally 6 years, Marty Meyer was a 4 year, Don Shane was a 4 year and Jack Brum was the 2 year-not absolutely sure of this. Don Shane left the board and Dan Gilbert came on board. There was a little bit of a turnover. It required a lot of time. There was a lot of planning and growing. A lot of things were happening in the village and also in the Park District. Sometimes people found that with their work they just couldn't handle the load. He named most of the commissioners during his 13 year stint on the board. They had a lot of fun. Jack Claes was a good administrator. He had tremendous ideas. Pirate's Cove was his idea. He had ideas all the time. There was competition among park districts. Liked to be able to say we're better than Arlington or Mt. Prospect. In order to do that you have to keep ahead of the game.
00:39:39 Was it Jack's idea to form a historical society? Ed said Darlene would be better versed than he to respond. He just knew what his involvement was. Wasn't sure who put the idea in Jack's head if it was Darlene or Lew Smith or who. All he remembers is that Sherry Shapiro, myself and Rich Ludivici? went out to Lombard to see their historical building and Ed was impressed. Under the tax code a levy could be available for museum purposes. The farmhouse where the funeral home is became available. Originally Ed told Tony Maioriello the historical society would like to have that house before it was torn down. Tony said "OK, I'll sell it to you for $5000." Ed explained they didn't have those funds plus they'd have to pay to have it moved. Ed talked to Nancy Vanderwheel who was on the village board at the time who talked to Tony who then agreed to donate the house. The original historical society board was Ed, Chic Hodlmair, Lee Turner, Darlene Greaves, Lou Smith, Don Walker, Mary McCarthy, Phil Barry and maybe others.
00:43:27 Two terms on the Park District Board. It was time for new ideas. They had a rule of a two term limit to let others have a chance. He was on the board for 13 years and president 7 ½ of those years. Ed was also on the Planning Commission at the time. Others suggested that he run for the Village Board. He ran for the Village Board and was elected. He served 10 ½ years on it. There was a bout over how to handle Hanson Park and Ed decided he had had enough and quit the board
00:46:38 Ed was out of the political scene for awhile and then Craig Johnson ran for office and asked Ed to serve on the Zoning Board of Appeals, which he had been on once before. Originally Craig wanted him on the Planning Commission but there were no openings. After about 3 ½ years a position opened on the Planning Commission so Ed moved over there for about another 8 years. He received an award for 24 years of service to the Village. He is going to retire soon. He did 20 years on Channel 6 sports as the color announcer. He's big sports fan. His old coach was Ray Meyer who was very religious. His daughter lives out here. Ray would scream and holler at practice but without a single cuss word. Ed has had a good life. He came out to Elk Grove early and was able to watch it blossom and grow.
00:49:46 Family during this time. His wife handled the balancing act. He has a son and two daughters. All of children went through the school system. His wife was understanding of his involvement and was active herself to a degree. Something they tried to do that did not succeed was to get another unit school district in Elk Grove. In hindsight it was probably good that it did not succeed. A lot of stuff has gone on in this town: Fourth of July parades, Miss Illinois, Weissmuller lived in a farmhouse off 53, Bob Newhart's sister lives out here, Gloria Van
00:55:45 End of interview.
|Source||Elk Grove Historical Museum|