A rundown of ‘firsts’ in Elk Grove Village


Photo courtesy of Brooke Jurczyk

Brooke Jurczyk, Guest Reporter

With all of the new developments and businesses in the Elk Grove area, it is hard to visualize our village’s past. But in the past we have not only had trees and open areas, but natural resources and new buildings to start bringing the population into Elk Grove.

It first started with the population of Native Americans, then the construction of farm houses and stores. With open land and many animals, it comes as no surprise that people lived off of the land of Elk Grove Village. One of the first groups of people were the Native American tribes, specifically the Potawatomi tribe. Some have found archeological artifacts such as spears and knives dating back to the late Archaic period (8,000-500 BC), meaning that the tribe may have been here during those years.

In the 1830s and 1840s, the first European settlers from the New England states arrived to Elk Grove, and in the late 1830s, the Potawatomi tribe left in exchange for land west of the Mississippi River. After European settlers came to Elk Grove, they built some of the first farm houses. One of the earliest constructed on record is the Schuette farm house, built around 1856 by Henry Schuette, a German immigrant.

While this house was originally located at 1199 S. Arlington Heights Road, it was moved in 1976 to the present site of the Elk Grove Historical Museum. The house at one time housed roughly 11 people and contained three bedrooms. As their family grew, the size of the house grew and started going outward and later included a porch. 

Shopping centers and restaurants were also needed to develop growth. One of the first shopping centers was “The Park & Shop” constructed in 1959, but today you may know it as “The Elk Grove Woods Plaza,” home of Vini’s Pizza and Jarosch Bakery. The bakery was built in 1968 and has been in the family for three generations.

While these were only some of the oldest buildings made in Elk Grove, there are a few original structures still standing today. To learn more about these historical buildings, visit the Elk Grove Historical Museum and even tour the Schuette house. You can also go to your local library to see the public records of these buildings.