Sometimes, you can go back in time.
Members of the Sunderlage family -- one of the founding families in Schaumburg Township -- found that out on Sunday, when they gathered at Vogelei Park in Hoffman Estates.
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The occasion was the 50th wedding anniversary of Warren and Marilyn Sunderlage, but they broadened the celebration to include a reunion of sorts that drew nearly 60 members of the wider Sunderlage clan.
Warren is the great-great-grandson of Johann Sunderlage, credited with being the first settler in Schaumburg Township.
The family also holds a special place in Hoffman Estates history, since Johann's 1856 farmhouse was preserved by the village, and another Sunderlage farm, dating back to 1916, eventually became the first park in Hoffman Estates.
The Hoffman Estates Park District also celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and they documented Sunday's celebration.
Family and friends gathered at Vogelei Park, which is now a centerpiece of the Hoffman Estates Park District and its programming, but it also is steeped in history. The large stone home was built in 1916 for Edward Sunderlage, Warren's grandfather.
"My father, Marvin, was born in that farmhouse," said Warren Sunderlage, who grew up in Barrington and has been a barber at the Hometown Barbershop in downtown Barrington for 40 years.
Warren's grandparents, Edward and Amanda Gieseke Sunderlage, farmed the land at 650 W. Higgins Road, until Edward Sunderlage hurt his back and let his sons work the fields.
The couple play such an integral role to Hoffman Estates' lore that they are pictured in their 1903 wedding photo on the history page of the village's website.
Warren and Marilyn's anniversary celebration drew Sunderlage cousins from near and far, including Betty Sunderlage Getzelman, daughter of Irwin "Jack" Sunderlage, and the family historian. She now lives in Bountiful, Utah.
Getzelman surprised family members with her recollection of the fire in 1937 that claimed the original barn on the property. Apparently, the family was in the basement of the farmhouse, pitting cherries for canning, when the fire broke out.
It was Getzelman who ran up to the window and spotted the flames. Neighbors ran over with their milk cans filled with water to help put out the fire, but in the end, the barn -- filled with 15 tons of hay and oats, four horses, a wagon and other machinery -- was a total loss.
Three years later, the Sunderlage family sold the property to Chester Christiansen, who farmed it until 1952, when Ida Vogelei purchased it as investment property. She sold 10 acres to the Hoffman Estates Park District in 1969, and it became the village's first park.
"It's such a beloved park in Hoffman Estates," says Sandy Manisco, park district communications director. "It's our first park and it remains a pivotal place in our history."
Since purchasing the farm, park district officials have held disco dance lessons in the upper barn, as well as preschool classes, recreation programs, theater performances and special events.
Its purchase jump-started the park district network of parks, which now spans to more than 70, with seven revenue facilities and hundreds of programs and services.
But for one day, at least, the Sunderlage family returned to their roots, as they took the time to tour the house and relax in the barn, trading stories and reminiscing about days gone by and their years back on the farm.