History of Schaumburg

Schaumburg, a northeast suburb of Cook County, Illinois, was first inhabited by the Sauk, Fox, Pottawatomie and Kickapoo Native American tribes. Settlers from Germany and the eastern United States began to travel to the area in the mid 1800’s.The first recorded settler was Johann Sunderlage, a German immigrant, who was part of the survey team that divided Cook County into townships in 1833. Three years later, Sunderlage moved his family from Germany to the township later known as Schaumburg.

Many of the village’s early settlers originally from the eastern United States continued to travel west looking for new open lands. By 1870, Schaumburg Township land records verify that all the property was owned by German immigrants or their descendants. German heritage had a great impact on the development of the area, including the village’s name.

Schaumburg was originally referred to as Sarah’s Grove, due to a grove a trees in the northwest portion of the township and three young women named Sarah that lived near the grove. However the name was never made official. At a Township meeting in 1850, residents decided on the name Schaumburg, after Schaumburg-Lippe, the part of Germany where many of the residents immigrated from.

Schaumburg Township prospered as a farming community, growing potatoes, dairy products and raising cattle. In 1858, a small market area emerged at what is now the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads. This Schaumburg Centre included two general stores, four cheese factories, a cobbler, tailor, wagon maker and a blacksmith.

Schaumburg remained isolated as a small, rural town as it was not accessible by the area’s major railroads. The village did not begin to expand until the 1950’s, with the development of O’Hare as a major international airport and the construction of the Northwest Tollway in 1956. These developments put Schaumburg in an ideal location for suburban growth. At the time of incorporation in 1956, Schaumburg, IL was two square miles and had a population of 130 residents.

Early Schaumburg village leaders provided precise development plans for the village, with large tracts of land for industrial, commercial, and office development. In 1959, Alfred Campanelli began construction of the first residential subdivision known as Weathersfield. Built over twenty years, the subdivision now contains over 6,800 single-family homes, nearly 20% of all housing available in Schaumburg today. In 1967, the International Village apartment complex opened, and the following year, Motorola began to construct its corporate headquarters adjacent to the Northwest Tollway.

By 1970, the village population had increased 1,800% in just 10 years. A second expressway, Interstate 290, opened on the eastern boundary of the village, providing another link to Chicago. Within the year, Woodfield Mall shopping center opened.

The expansion and development in Schaumburg began to level off in the 1990’s. With limited open lands available, Schaumburg’s residential and office development began to diminish, but the commercial market continued to expand. Today, the village has one of the largest commercial areas in the country, including an expanded Woodfield Mall, the Streets of Woodfield and Woodfield Village Green. Second only to the city of Chicago, Schaumburg, has the highest retail sales in the state with over 9.5 million square feet of commercial space.

The commercial and employment center in Schaumburg attracts many residents and visitors. More than 5,700 businesses are located within Schaumburg, employing nearly 80,000 people. Major employers in Schaumburg are Motorola, Woodfield Mall, Zurich American Insurance Group, Experian, Cingular and IBM.


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