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updated: 9/9/2021 11:23 AM

'If you build it, they will come': Schaumburg and Woodfield came of age together

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  • Schaumburg Mayor Tom Dailly at Woodfield Mall.

    Schaumburg Mayor Tom Dailly at Woodfield Mall.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Schaumburg Mayor Tom Dailly at Woodfield Mall.

    Schaumburg Mayor Tom Dailly at Woodfield Mall.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Schaumburg Mayor Tom Dailly at Woodfield Mall.

    Schaumburg Mayor Tom Dailly at Woodfield Mall.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Schaumburg Mayor Bob Atcher addresses the crowd during grand opening ceremonies at Woodfield Mall on Sept. 9, 1971.

    Schaumburg Mayor Bob Atcher addresses the crowd during grand opening ceremonies at Woodfield Mall on Sept. 9, 1971.
    Daily Herald File Photo, 1971

  • Schaumburg's Woodfield Mall celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021. It opened on Sept. 9, 1971, with celebrities, local officials and community members on hand.

    Schaumburg's Woodfield Mall celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021. It opened on Sept. 9, 1971, with celebrities, local officials and community members on hand.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer, File Photo

  • Mark Welsh/mwelsh@dailyherald.comWoodfield Mall in Schaumburg

    Mark Welsh/mwelsh@dailyherald.comWoodfield Mall in Schaumburg

 
By Tom Dailly | Schaumburg Village President

When people think of Schaumburg, they think of Woodfield Mall.

This is true for those who have grown up in the area and for people who have never been here.

When we were still coming of age and cornfields separated buildings and neighborhoods, the anchor of this community was, and in many ways still is, Woodfield Mall.

In a November 1978 edition of Chicago magazine, an article titled "What's Happening to Schaumburg?" captured the many changes occurring in Schaumburg's developing landscape.

At that time, the largest shopping mall in the United States was not even a decade old, but the article noted Woodfield's vast influence on the forces that would continue to define this village's progress for years to come. It was described as a "selling machine," generating sales tax revenue for ongoing growth, which attracted other developers who continued to snap up remaining parcels of land to build industrial parks, shopping centers and housing developments, often with Woodfield in the name of the development.

Without Woodfield Mall it is difficult to imagine how people would characterize our community. It's been synonymous with the village's identity for so long. But just like our village has changed and grown over the decades, so has Woodfield Mall.

Today's shopping habits are a lot different from those of the 1970s and '80s, and yet, the fifth largest mall in the U.S. today continues to evolve so that it can remain a top shopping destination in the country that still attracts an estimated 27 million visitors each year.

I should note that the benefits of this landmark go beyond the mall itself. Just look at the activity generated from mall patrons who visit our restaurants, auto dealerships, convention center and other places of interest in the village.

A movie once famously said, "If you build it, they will come." And that is exactly what happened. People flocked to Schaumburg because of Woodfield Mall, but many chose to come back -- and in some cases, live here -- because they discovered a community where they could have it all: a place for families, business, retail and leisure.

Schaumburg is proud to be the home of Woodfield Mall, and even prouder of the successful identity we have built together.

Happy 50th anniversary, Woodfield!

Sincerely,

Tom Dailly

Schaumburg Village President