FIELDALE FARM

This blog posting has been expanded from its original appearance in January 2010. 

Not only was Marshall Field & Co. a major anchor at Woodfield Mall but, once upon a time, they had a strong presence in Hoffman Estates as well.

In 1952 the grounds of the current Hilldale Golf Club was a farm that was owned by E.J. Bush who was an executive with Diamond T Motor Car Company.  Under Mr. Bush’s ownership the farm was named Winding Lane Farm and was managed by the Glaser family.  Mr. Bush had purchased the land in the 1930s for $60 an acre from a brother and sister by the name of Dammerman.  He made improvements on the farm and built himself a summer house as well.

In 1952 he sold the 192-acre property to Marshall Field’s whose intent was to design America’s first field shooting range and name it Fieldale.  It was planned and produced by Charles Hunter, head of Marshall Field’s outdoor department, who felt those who purchased firearms in the department needed a spot to use them.Fieldale 1

After ten years of planning and with a budget of $100,000, Mr. Hunter oversaw the remodeling of a number of the buildings including a barn that became an office-showroom for gun purchases where, according to an article from Time, the prices ranged “from $75 to more than $2000.”  Other items that were sold included “shooting gloves, alpaca-lined pants and red underwear.”  Various buildings that included a shelter, a gunsmith’s shop, an outdoor apparel shop and a log lodge for relaxation and snacks were also scattered around the property.

According to the Time article, “two 40-ft. towers have been erected to sail out clay ducks for the hunter in a blind below.  For the quail, pheasant and partridge hunter, the store has built a 1,000-ft. fairway lined with corn shocks and rail fences.  As the hunter stalks along, an accompanying “triggerman” follows him, releasing  fast-flying clay birds that simulate the flights of the different game birds.  The price for such fun:  about $3 for 25 targets.”  No club fee was instituted.  When opened the hours were 9:00 a.m. to sunset every day except Monday. Later, the farm was also closed on Tuesday. Fieldale 2

Exhibitions were held at times and featured well known marksmen such as Ken and Blanche Beegle and Herb Parsons. In addition, the National Skeet tournament was held there in June 1954.

Initially 40 employees were hired to work the farm and, in March, 1953, Mr. Hunter resigned and was replaced by Frank L. Gilbert.  The club lasted until February 1959 when it was sold to the Pamela Corp. of Franklin Park who renamed it Hilldale. (Chicago Tribune, March 6, 1959)

The Glasers, meanwhile, continued to farm the rest of the property during both the Marshall Field’s ownership and into the Pamela Corporation era.  Multicon eventually bought the property and began construction of the Hilldale Golf Club in October 1970.  It opened on June 17, 1972 as a 18-hole, par 71 course.  (The Herald, June 16, 1972)  Today it is owned by the Chicago Kosaido Corporation and is located at Huntington Blvd. and Higgins Road in Hoffman Estates.

View other photos of Fieldale on the Local History Digital Archive.   Search under Fieldale Farm.

4 Responses to “FIELDALE FARM”

  1. jrozek Says:

    One of our readers sent me this:

    “I am aware of the skeet shooting club – when I first worked here – the foundation for the building was still visible off of Huntington Blvd.”

  2. Gloria Habeck Says:

    Back in about 1957 I took some snap shots at Fieldale Farm. I had come with my parents to visit the Glaser family. My Uncle Gust & Aunt Marie Glaser were managing/living there at that time. [My mother and Marie are sisters.] It was an interesting place.

  3. THOMAS E. DIGANCI Says:

    I SHOT FREQUENTLY AT FIELDALE. IT WAS A GREAT OUTDOOR SHOTGUN RANGE. I SHOT THERE IN THE LATE 1950′S, & EARLY 1960,S. I REMEMBER TAKING HIGGINS ROAD OUT OF CHICAGO RTE 72, AND IT SEEMED LIKE A LONG DRIVE. NOT MUCH ELSE WAS OUT THAT WAY, THAT I CAN REMEMBER. THE MENS STORE, IN DOWNTOWN CHGO. HAD A GREAT SELECTION, OF FIREARMS, AND GUNSMITH REPAIRS. IT WAS A GREAT SIGHT TO LOOK AROUND. I SHOT AT FOX RIVER VALLEY, OUTDOOR RANGE FOR MSNY YEARS. GREAT .22 POND, EITH STEEL ROUND TARGETS, ACROSS THE POND. .22 S, WERE WHAT YOU COULD SHOOT. WE BROUGHT EMPTY BLEACH PLASTIC CONTAINERS, AND ANYTHING THAT CLOULD FLOAT. SHOT FROM THE PICNIC TABLES. THEY HAD A LONG RANGE LONG ARMS SECTION, AND A SKEET SECTION, AND IN LATER YEARS, HAD A PISTOL RANGE, ALSO OUTDOORS. IT WAS SAD TO SEE THEM CLOSE. ONE OTHER OUTDOOR RANGE TO GO TO WAS NEAR STARVED ROCK STATE PARK. CORKY WAS THE OWNER AT THAT TIME. YOU COUKD SHOOT ANYTHING FOR A TARGET, RAPID FIRE PISTOLS, AND QUICK DRAW. I BELIEV HIS SON TOOK OVER EVENTUALLY, AND THE PLACE BLEW UP. CORKY HAD A BEAUTIFUL CHROMED GATTLING GUN IN THE STORE. THOSE WERE THE GOOD OLD DAYS FOR SHOOTERS.

    • jrozek Says:

      These are such nice comments about Fieldale. There aren’t that many people who can attest to using the shooting range–and shopping at their sporting goods section in their downtown store. What a unique tact for Marshall Field’s to take in pleasing their public.

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library

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