When the village of Schaumburg was officially incorporated on March 7, 1956, its boundaries encompassed two square miles with a population of 130 residents. The center of the new village was the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads, which also happens to be the center of Schaumburg Township.
As one of Cook County’s townships, Schaumburg Township was surveyed in 1840 and was officially named at a meeting on April 2, 1850. Legend has it that, at some point in the discussion, resident Frederick Nerge put his fist down on the table and called out, “Schaumburg ichall et heiten!” (It will be called Schaumburg!) The name is derived from Schaumburg-Lippe, a region in Germany that many of the early settlers called their homeland.
For much of the latter half of the 1800s and well into the 1900s, a large portion of the township was owned by those German farmers. Beginning in the 1920s and moving forward, they began selling off their acreage to wealthy gentlemen farmers, who used their new farms as country retreats.
After World War II, two major projects set in motion the future history of the township. They were the expansion of O’Hare Field into a major international airport in 1955 and the construction of the Northwest Tollway in 1956. With these two developments, the suburban boom was on and the village of Schaumburg was born.
Early village boards, led by Mayor Robert Atcher, are credited with the foresight and planning that made economic growth possible. The village’s first Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 1961 and set aside large, separate areas for residential, industrial, commercial and office development.
The first residential subdivision, developed by Alfred Campanelli, was begun in 1959 and named Weathersfield. Later, in 1967, the International Village apartment complex became the village’s first multi-family housing development.
The following year, Motorola began construction on its corporate headquarters. Three years later, in 1971, Woodfield Mall opened its doors, quickly becoming the region’s go-to spot for shopping. That same year, the village held its first Septemberfest celebration, which became an annual mainstay on Labor Day weekend.
As more residential development sprang up, Schaumburg Community Consolidated School District 54 added school after school in the greater township until it became the state’s largest elementary district. Schaumburg High School opened in 1970 and began serving a large portion of Schaumburg’s young people.
In 1982, the village achieved a long-awaited goal when it opened a commuter rail station on the Milwaukee District West line. Other transportation upgrades occurred when the village opened the first Chicago-area municipal heli-stop, approved construction of the west leg of the Illinois Route 390 Tollway, and purchased what is now the Schaumburg Regional Airport.
The Schaumburg Park District was also busy developing various locations such as the Community Recreation Center, Spring Valley’s Nature Center and Heritage Farm and Bison’s Bluff Nature Playground.
Shopping and commercial opportunities came along like IKEA, Streets of Woodfield and Woodfield Village Green. Medieval Times, Legoland and Boomers Stadium opened as entertainment venues for area residents.
Educational opportunities began early on in Schaumburg when the Schaumburg Township District Library opened in 1965. After serving the community in two smaller buildings, a new library opened in 1998 in Town Square at the village’s central intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads.
Other learning spots are the Schaumburg campus of Roosevelt University, the Trickster Gallery and the Schweikher House, an architectural masterpiece designed and built by mid-century modern architect Paul Schweikher as his home in 1938.
Through the 1980s and beyond, many major corporations began to open locations in Schaumburg. They moved into office towers and industrial buildings that dotted a skyline cornered by the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway and Illinois Route 53. Businesses such as Catamaran, Career Education Corporation, A.C. Nielsen, Cellular One and the Signature Group have all called Schaumburg home.
Today, the area at the Meacham Road interchange is being redeveloped. The process began with the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center in 2006 and now includes the Zurich North America headquarters that opened in 2016. Progress continues at a steady pace to redevelop the former Motorola property as a mixed-use living and entertainment district.
If there is one thing that can be said about Schaumburg, it doesn’t sit still!