The most distinctive feature on Shoe Factory Road in Hoffman Estates is an old, derelict Spanish Colonial revival style building. Just down the street, in the direction of the Poplar Creek Forest preserve, sits an abandoned farm. Both are rumoured to be haunted.
The unique stone house was at one time the Charles A. Lindbergh School, named after the famed aviator and American patriot. According to John Russell Ghrist, who has written on and researched the school extensively, the current structure was built in 1929 to replace the Helberg School, named after a neighbouring farmer, after it burnt down.
The Lindbergh School’s first enrolment consisted of 29 students from the surrounding community. Their teacher was named Anne W. Fox, who would be employed there for most of the school’s existence.
The institution was closed in 1948 when rural schools began to be consolidated into the modern Illinois public school system. The stone structure spent the next 30 years as a residence, until it became abandoned sometime during the 1970s.
According to the Daily Herald, an archeological survey of the property in July 1998 yielded pottery shards that could have been used by Amerindians over one thousand years ago. The archeological firm that conducted the survey for Terrestris Development Company described the shards as “weathered and hard to classify.”
In 2001, the development company offered to donate the former school to the village of Hoffman Estates, but the village board was unable to find anyone who would shoulder the cost of bringing the building up to code.
By 2007, the effort to save the building had gained momentum and a small sum of money had been raised. In May, the village board debated a plan to turn the former school and residence into a museum. According to the Daily Herald, a final vote on the structure was put off until July, and then extended to August. As of today, the fate of the old Lindbergh School is undecided.
The only source of information on the alleged hauntings of Shoe Factory Road come from the Shadowlands Haunted Places Index. One entry claims that the stone house became abandoned after a child killed his parents. The ghost of the child, who plays with a knife, can be seen sitting on the steps.
The haunted farm, and its nefarious barn, are associated with several stories. One story has the farmer going insane and murdering his family, burying them at the middle of a circle of trees. The other has the family being murdered and hung in the barn by a mental patient.
None of these stories, to my knowledge, can be substantiated. For more information on the Charles A. Lindbergh School,
Legends and Lore of Illinois Vol. 1 Digital Edition
Order all 12 issues of the Legends and Lore of Illinois from 2007 in a special digital edition for your favourite e-readers. Places covered in Vol. 1: Bachelor’s Grove, Greenwood Cemetery, Devil’s Gate, Chesterville Cemetery, Dug Hill Road, Resurrection Cemetery, “Cemetery X,” Shoe Factory Road, Ridge Cemetery, Cuba Road, Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, and St. James-Sag! Plus, read bonus “personal experiences” and put your knowledge of these locations to the test with challenging trivia questions. Don’t miss these classic issues from the archives of the Legends and Lore of Illinois.