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Catalog Number 2015.019.001
Object Name Recording
Scope & Content Oral history interview of Phil Barry.

Interviewed by Darlene Greaves and Cliff Schultz, Members of the Elk Grove Historical Society, February 8, 2008. Interview took place at the school house building of the Elk Grove Historical Museum located at 399 Biesterfield Road, Elk Grove Village, IL. Interview length 85 m 24 sec. Collection includes audio recording, transcript, and digital image.

Digital image: 2015.019.003
Collection Elk Grove Historical Museum
Notes Phil Barry interview by Darlene Greaves and Cliff Schultz, February 8, 2008. Part 1

00:00:31 Beginning of interview. Moved to Elk GroveVillage as one of the original settlers. Bought in 1957 and moved in in early 1958. 537 Ridgewood. House description follows. Typical lots were 65 feet wide by 110 feet deep. Stayed there 9 years. In 1966 moved to 38 Lonsdale. The Barrys learned about Elk Grove because Centex advertised in public transportation. In Elk Grove you could walk along the streets and see signs with the description and price of the house. Snob Hill.

00:07:49 Centex. Provided all that was needed. Streetlights. The curbs. The streets. Centex provide weekly newsletter to keep residents informed of developments. Many original homes had oil heat because there wasn't the volume of natural gas available for an entire community. He has always like Elk Grove and everything about it.

00:10:35 Prompt to move to Elk Grove. They wanted a house of their own. Almost bought in DesPlaines but ultimately did not like that house. A drive out to Elk Grove convinced them to buy there.

00:11:25 Involvement in Elk Grove. Was appointed village engineer for a year. Village President Hodlmair was instrumental in the beginning of the village. He did work before Elk Grove became a village. All work had to be done before they could even sell a house.

00:14:30 Other early officials Clifford was police chief. Fire department was all volunteers. Voted in the Grange Hall on Arlington Heights Road near where the bowling alley is. Picked up mail at Rudy's Tavern. A couple of years later Park 'N Shop shopping center was built and a school was needed so Rupley was built.

00:17:10 Provisions for early families. Went to Rolling Meadows for clothing shopping. Went to Des Plaines for grocery shopping. Early houses included a clothes washer and dryer made by Hotpoint. The units did not work. Lots of complaints. Units were finally replaced. The Hotpoint building was south of Landmeier and east of Tonne. Hotpoint sold building to Chicago Magnet Wire. They coated wire with a varnish that smelled up the village. That company is gone now.

00:21:25 Board meetings. Met at Rupley School. Can't remember where after that which was before the current village hall.

00:22:17 Buildings at the time of move to Elk Grove. It all evolved. Schools were put in by Centex. Centex dedicated land for schools and for churches. Lutheran Church of Holy Spirit was first, followed by the Catholic Church. Rev. Martin Marty (Lutheran) went door to door to solicit parishioners. First met at Rupley school

00:25:15 Work. Phil worked in Chicago. First took train-parked car in a field because there was no lot. Then carpooled.

00:25:59 Historical Society. Involved not quite from the beginning. It started in 1976. He was still quite involved with work. But he had a real interest in it. Eventually became a board member and then president. Don Walker was very dynamic and had a lot to do with setting up the Society.

00:28:27 The farm house. When acquired it was in terrible shape. No stairs to the basement. All torn up inside. There had been a fire inside. Members used own time and own tools to do a lot of the restoration. When electricity had first been put in some of the floor boards were chiseled out to make room for the conduit and plywood was laid on top. That all had to be ripped out and new wiring installed. The porch had fallen off and parts didn't exist. Almost all work was done by volunteers. The township provided $5000 from a revenue sharing fund.

00:32:02 The village. There used to be cemeteries in the forest preserve. Just northwest of Beisner Road bridge over Salt Creek. That's when Beisner Road used to go all the way to Higgins. He knew Harry Zender who collected artifacts from the old farm houses. Harry and Martha lived in the Biesterfield house almost across from the hospital.

00:34:47 Early village events. Peony Parade with Klehm's Nursery supporting it. There were carnivals and circuses. Along Oakton there were big fields and pheasants ran rampant. The ponds had sunfish and bullheads.

00:38:09 West part of village. West of Beisner and north of Biesterfield Chicago and others used the land for a dump. At the time of building Busse Lake that dump was all bulldozed down. There's a big man-made hill called Thunder Hill that was from the dirt dug up from forming Busse Lake. It was going to be a ski hill. The higher they made it the more it sunk because it was all on swamp land.

00:39:53 Life beyond the Historical Society. 1987 became involved with the Senior Center. He lectured on local, national and international news. Then produced a biweekly newsletter. Also ran a woodshop for the senior center.

00:44:06 Family at time of move to Elk Grove. Three daughters. All three attended Elk Grove schools. One daughter left his car on the median when it ran out of gas and the police called to ask why his car was there.

00:46:18 Rudy's Tavern. Picked up mail there for almost a year before home delivery. Shayne's Ballroom was just west of Rudy's, in the forest preserve. The remnants still exist. 1933 was the 100th anniversary of the township and celebration was at Shayne's. It was hardly a block from Arlington Heights Rd. on the south side of Higgins. There was a murder at
Shayne's and it burned about a year later.

00:51:40 Masque and Staff. Did plays at Maitre d' Restaurant.
00:53:05 Farmers in the area. Not many left. Old farm houses and barns were lit on fire for practice for the firemen. Conservation was not a concern at that time. He had no contact with any farmers at that time.

00:57:30 Honey farm. Meineke's Honey Farm. South side of Higgins Road just before getting to the old Elk Grove Road. Across the road was a nursery. George's Nursery.

Phil Barry, Part 2.

00:00:32 Current involvement. Now involved with the Ambassadors singing group . Will be singing for the Itasca senior center.

00:02:44 Technological changes. O'Hare airport built on Orchard Place. Show and tell "Memories and More"

00:04:23 Postcard collecting. Only collects about railroads. Buy and sell cards at flea markets. Also sold woodcrafts.

00:06:40 Woodwork. Ran woodshop at Kenneth Young Center. Flooded Elk Grove with wooden tulips. Made many other wooden crafts that were sold in the village.

00:07:58 Interest in history of this area. Always had interest in history.

00:09:35 The barn. Phil Barry got the barn for the museum. The hospital bought the Zirchow farmland. He wrote letters to hospital and was able to obtain the barn. The Park District paid $4000 to move it. Phil and others cleaned and repaired the barn. Built benches. Halloween parties were held in the barn. Chickens were originally raised on second floor of the barn.

00:15:19 Metal detector in the forest preserve. Explored Shayne's Ballroom area.

00:21:34 Foundation in forest preserve. Gathmann house. Beisner Road. Possibly graves in the area. Jim Issel found some of this.

00:26:50 End of interview.

Source Elk Grove Historical Museum