The area known as Hoosier Grove was home to dairy farmers from the 1830s through the 1950s. In the area of Hanover Township, which would become Streamwood, the 1950 Census population was roughly 800 people, scattered across dozens of farms.
But the farms soon gave way to suburbs. With the end of WWII and the Korean War, veterans were buying homes in the countless instant subdivisions that were sprouting up throughout the nation. In many cases, these new communities were largely paid for with money from the GI Bill. Across the country, 11 million new homes were financed with loans from the program. The postwar housing shortage quickly turned into a construction boom.
In 1956, L & H Builders developed 21 pre-assembled houses on concrete slabs at the corner of Bartlett and Schaumburg Roads. The houses, shipped from Indiana by National Homes Corporation, were packaged with insulated walls, ceiling, roof sections, and framing. A local contractor, Maxon Construction Company, assembled the homes in less than two weeks. Once the community had established enough homes and residents, the builder applied for incorporation as a municipality. On February 25, 1957, the Village of Streamwood was born. The new Village President and Board of Trustees were all employees of the Maxon Construction Company or its engineering firm.
builder’s brochures for the new community of Streamwood promised a “Town of
Tomorrow,” and the community was marketed to returning war veterans seeking
affordable housing. However,
new residents faced insufficient well systems, unpaved streets and few
municipal services. The young families in the community soon became
activists. Homeowners established associations to wrench control of the
government away from the builders. They protested a hike in water and sewer
rates. They staged a protest on waste services by bringing their garbage to
the edge of town to competing companies’ waiting trucks. When the new
Woodland Heights School opened in 1958, it had only six classrooms to
accommodate the hundreds of community children. When four hundred children
were required to take classes in split shifts, mothers marched in front of
the school and the builder’s sales trailers to discourage buyers. The
"Marching Mothers" were
arrested for disorderly conduct.
In 1962, Nick Kosan was elected Village President. Control of government by the builders ended. The Village of Streamwood concentrated on building community over the next few years. Builders began donating land for schools, a village hall and parks. A new Fire Station was built in 1964 on Cypress Drive, which also served as the Village Hall and Council Chambers. The Village took over the water company. The Streamwood Park District was formed. The Streamwood Library District, which became Poplar Creek Library District, was formed. It originally operated out of a house on Briarwood Drive.
By the 1970s, the village grew in size to over five square miles. Another
surge in housing development resulted in population growth to over 18,000. The new housing
sparked interest in commercial and industrial growth. Shopping centers
sprang up on Bartlett Road and Irving Park Road. Industries located on
the southeast side. Streamwood High School opened. The new Poplar Creek
Library opened. The Park District opened its administrative center at the
new Shady Oaks Park.
Streamwood was realizing its promise.
The 1980s brought many changes to the Village. Lake Michigan water allowed the Village to expand to over seven square miles. Oak Knolls Farms subdivision included development of the Streamwood Oaks Golf Course. The Westview Shopping Center began along Barrington Road, greatly expanding commercial opportunities in Streamwood. New municipal buildings reflected the growth of the community including Public Works, Fire Station #3 and a new Village Hall.
These years of growth brought with them tribulation. A former Village Manager went under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Park District sued the Village over the Streamwood Oaks Golf Course and developer donations. Streamwood engaged in boundary disputes with both Bartlett and Schaumburg. Residents complained about poor infrastructure and unresponsive government. A microburst in the 4B Industrial Park resulted in one death and millions of dollars in damage.
The 1990s focused on repairing the Village: its reputation, its infrastructure and its service to residents and businesses. A $2.5 million annual street improvement fund was established. Emergency 911 service began. Boundary agreements with our neighboring communities halted disputes. New donation calculations provided schools, parks and libraries with funds to help them grow. Hoosier Grove Park and Park Place Family Recreation Center opened. The ECC Duraco Center opened in Village Hall as a satellite campus for Elgin Community College. True to the roots of our community, a Veterans Memorial was constructed at, and quickly became the heart of, the new municipal campus. Streamwood became known as one of the fastest growing, most progressive communities in the northwest suburban region.
The 1990s set the tone for the new millennium. Streamwood continued its focus of providing balanced growth, and a commitment to community-oriented public service. Commercial growth opened along Route 59 with the Sutton Park and Streamwood Crossing Shopping Centers. Streamwood Corporate Center and Phoenix Lake Business Park expanded industrial opportunities in the Village. New housing continued to provide a balance of options for residents. The small ranch-style homes of the 1950s began to blend with larger, executive homes constructed on the west side of town.
In 2007, Streamwood celebrated its 50th Anniversary and began looking forward to its next 50 years. New growth and new challenges await this Town of Tomorrow.