GOLFING AND FARMING IN THE 1920s—AN UNLIKELY MIX

Before the Schaumburg Golf Club and the Golden Acres Country Club and the Roselle Country Club, there was the Westmoor Country Club.  Around 1926 Frank Sporleder sold his rolling farm land on Roselle Road to an investor or group of investors who built a beautiful golf course on the property and named it Westmoor.

The country club opened the first nine of its 27 holes on May 29, 1927.  A couple of months later the clubhouse was dedicated with speeches given by Judge Harry Fisher, Rabbi Samuel Schwartz and others.  Dancing followed.

The manager of Westmoor was Charles L. Barkoff who had served as catering manager of the Cooper-Carlton in Chicago for many years.  Because of his connections, the cuisine at Westmoor was known to be quite good.  Sam Geyer initially served the club as the golf pro with Scotty Irwin later taking this post.

To attract golfers, the board, under the guidance of Max J. Langhaus, decided to make the course a destination for families as well.  They put an outside playground in place, complete with swings, slides and large sandpiles and a playhouse for rainy days.  This allowed mothers to shoot their own rounds of golf or participate in luncheons, bridge parties and other social events held at the club. 

In 1929 the club was added on to with a write-up on the renovation appearing in the February 1930 issue of Slices and Hooks.  A new colonial entrance gateway was built and the 8-sided foyer inside the clubhouse gave entrance to the lounge, dining room, main porch, locker room, check room and office.  The dining room was built like an open terrace and a Men’s grille was added as well.  It was also mentioned that “the grille has toilet facilities, phone booths, etc. so that a man does not have to leave the grille in order to get any type of service.”  The locker room was expanded by 70% and was now large enough to accomodate 504 men with services provided by valets, a barber and masseuse.

Not only was golf a mainstay, but the country club was also designed to hold special dinner dances, holiday parties, prize fights and other events.  In fact, in a June 10, 1937 issue of The Garfieldian, it mentions a golf party, dinner and boxing show taking place on Thursday, June 17.

It is unknown when the Westmoor Country Club was sold but a Daily Herald article mentions the Roselle Country Club in 1941.  It was still called the Westmoor in a June 1938 accounting of a small fire at the club so it is presumed the sale happened somewhere in between.  Wayne Nebel stated in his oral history that the club was sold around 1941 and the membership moved to the Twin Orchard Country Club in Chicago that then bordered Bryn Mawr Avenue and Wolf Road.   To confuse matters a bit more though, a July 24, 1949 issue of the Chicago Tribune makes mention of the course being forced to close during World War II “in about 1943.”  It is unclear if the Westmoor owners had control of the course at that time.

In notes from the Schaumburg Township Historical Society, it is mentioned that the club was sold in 1943 to George Matthies “who stripped all the sod from it and sold in 1944.”  In an 8/10/1961 article from The Herald, it also mentions that “the owners sold sod and top soil from the land.”  After doing much research for a George Matthies using census, newspaper archives and websites, I can find no mention of a gentleman by that name.  I did find a Chicago Tribune article from June 1, 1947, that states that a William Matthies bought the property in 1946.  It is mentioned that the property sat “idle during the war.”  Previously it had been operated as a private club and in an ad in The Herald from July 19, 1946, it says “formerly a private club now opened to the public…”  This must have been after Matthies bought the property.  According to Mr. Nebel, the Matthies owner was supposed to have owned Bloomingdale Nursery–which maybe explains the stripping of the sod.

Matthies sold the property to “Thomas Hogan and A.C. Stewart who with their wives are the owners of the club corporation’s stock…Stewart said he and Hogan bought the course for $100,000 in July, 1948.”  [Chicago Tribune, July 24, 1949]  A Herald article from August 5, 1949 recognizes them as Thomas B. Hogan and Archibald C. Stewart Jr.  It is interesting to note that the only Thomas B. Hogan that I can track down became president of the Yellow Cab Company of Chicago in 1932.  Was this the same man?  And how was he connected to Archibald Stewart?  It is presumed they were business acquaintances and/or friends.

The next record of the property being sold was in an article from the March 17, 1956 issue of the Chicago Tribune.  It states that “LaSalle National Bank as trustee has purchased the 206 acre Roselle Country Club, on Roselle Rd. just south of Higgins Rd., from Roselle Country Club corporation for an indicated $332,500.”  A January 26, 1957 issue of Realty  & Building states that in March of 1956, “$350,000 was paid for Roselle Country Club, 27-hole, 200-acre golf course…  Dimensions of the tract are 2640 x 3960 ft.  The property was purchased by James Guerino, Louis DeLuca and Michael Laterza from Roselle Golf Club, Inc., according to the deed filed with the recorder in March.”  Obviously LaSalle National Bank was acting as a trustee for the three gentlemen.

They, however, did not hold onto the property for long.  A March 9, 1961 article from The Herald states that George M. Sloan acquired the property in February of the same year from a three man ownership team of the gentlemen mentioned above.  Thus began a long period of stability for the golf course.  Mr. Sloan promptly began a facelift of the property and also renamed it the Golden Acres Country Club.  Allan Griffith of Hoffman Estates was hired as the new club manager.  It remained in his hands until he passed it on to Phyllis and Curt Kotel, his daughter and son-in-law.  The Sloan/Kotel families maintained the property for 27 years.  It was eventually acquired by the Schaumburg Park District in 1989 from the Kotels and renamed the Schaumburg Golf Club as it exists today.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library

 

 

Advertisements

3 Responses to “GOLFING AND FARMING IN THE 1920s—AN UNLIKELY MIX”

  1. Larry Rowan Says:

    Wow, I had no idea a club existed there so long ago. A locker room for over 500 men is huge even by today’s standards. Notice the bridle path running along the South border.

  2. Pat Barch Says:

    I always knew that the golf course went back a number of years but never realized that it was that old. This was a great story and I learned a lot from it. This must have taken time to research. Thanks

  3. jrozek Says:

    In the book, “Beth Tikvah Congregation From Hope to Fulfillment The First 25 Years,” this country club is mentioned. The book is a history of Hoffman Estates’ Jewish congregation.

    In the first page of the history they mention the club opening in 1927. “Gabriel Wolff of Chicago used to caddy at the club and remembers with fondness when he and his brother hitchhiked out to Schaumburg and slept overnight in a farmer’s barn.” Or “members drove out in their cars or took the train to Roselle where they were picked up in the club’s old Cadillac.”

    You never know where these tidbits will pop up!

    Jane Rozek
    Local History Librarian
    Schaumburg Township District Library

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: