Although the Village of Schaumburg was not incorporated until March 7, 1956, its heritage dates back to the mid-1800’s when settlers first began to arrive from Germany and the eastern United States. The first recorded settler was German born Johann Sunderlage, who liked the area so much that he brought his family from Germany and settled in the area around 1836. The area continued to be populated mostly by German immigrants and their descendants, and German was the first language of the majority of households until the 1950s. St. Peter Lutheran Church, the community's oldest church, held services in German as late as 1970.
The original area name wasSarah's Grove, which was derived from a grove of woods that ran through the northwest portion of the township named for three young women, Sarah McChesney, Sarah Frisbe, and Sarah Smith, whose families lived adjacent to the grove. This name was never made official, however, and until 1851 the area was officially know as Township 41. At an 1850 township meeting where residents were discussing permanent names for the township, Frederick Nerge, a prominent German landowner, put his fist down on the table and called out, "Schaumburg ichall et heiten!" (It will be called Schaumburg!). This was the name of the part of Germany where many of the Township's residents originated. With Nerge’s pronouncement a consensus was reached on the township's official name.
From its early days the area prospered. Its main occupation was farming, with its agricultural products consisting of potatoes, dairy products and raising cattle. In 1858, a small market area emerged at what is now the intersection of Schaumburg and Roselle Roads. Schaumburg Centre, made up of two general stores, four cheese factories, a cobbler, a tailor, a wagon maker, and a blacksmith, functioned as the central service district for the surrounding region. Despite its relative prosperity, the township remained rather isolated until the advent of the automobile as a primary means of transportation.
The expansion of O'Hare Field into a major international airport in 1955 and the construction of the Northwest Tollway in 1956, put Schaumburg in the crosshairs for suburban growth. In response to development pressures, the area encompassing what was known as Schaumburg Centre, was incorporated in 1956. At that time, the village consisted of two square miles and a population of 130 residents. Its expansion during the 1960s changed the character of the community dramatically, however, transforming it from a quiet rural community. In 1959, Alfred Campanelli began construction of the first large residential subdivision in the village, known as Weathersfield. Over the next two decades Campanelli constructed over 6,800 housing units in 22 stages. Phenomenal growth buttressed by intelligent planning continued in Schaumburg through the 1970’s and 1980’s. Woodfield Mall shopping center opened in 1971, spurring tremendous commercial and residential growth.
By 1990 the population of Schaumburg had risen to 68,586, and though the pace of growth had slowed somewhat, the Schaumburg commercial market continued to enjoy substantial expansion. The fall of 1993 brought the opening of the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway, connecting Schaumburg to neighboring communities to the southwest and Interstate 290 to the southeast. Minor league baseball came to the village in the spring of 1999 at Alexian Field, a 7,000 seat baseball stadium built in partnership with the Schaumburg Park District In 2000, the village purchased 45 acres of land at the northeast corner of Interstate 90 (Northwest Tollway) and Meacham Road. to reserve the last large parcel of property for development as a convention center, hotel, and performing arts center to bring new jobs. Looking ahead, Schaumburg is a strong contender to maintain its leadership position in the northwest suburban market and to continue to provide an enviable quality of life for its citizens.