GOLFING IN THE ROARING TWENTIES AT THE MEADOWBROOK COUNTRY CLUB

For nearly 80 years the family of Conrad Salge lived on the 160 acres he purchased from the government in 1847.  The location was prime.  It was on East Schaumburg Road across from St. Peter Lutheran Church where Mr. Salge was a charter member.  It was gently rolling and ripe for the developer who bought it from the Salges.  As I said, prime location.

So, in the later years of the roaring twenties, the property was sold to a group called the Deauville Country Club.  In fact, in a January 21, 1927 article in the Daily Herald, it is stated, “Mr. Lengl and Mr. Jensen took a little exercise and walked to the Deauville club house Sunday and enjoyed it through the deep snow, but it is good for the health.”  By July 17, of the same year, the golf course had opened as the Meadowbrook Country Club.

In a July 15, 1927 article in the Daily Herald, it was stated that “all furniture was installed and the public will find the most excellent service and food.  The club house is in charge of Mrs. J. Hood of Miami, Fla., where she has been owner and manager of the Millionaire Club.  (Imagine that transition!) Miss Garnett Hood is in charge of [the] cashier’s desk and main lobby where her pleasant smile will welcome all the people that come to Meadowbrook golf club.  The Meadowbrook golf course is a public course and people of this district are especially invited to patronize the club house for meals and refreshments and parties.  The ladies of nearby towns will find Meadowbrook a wonderful place to have their card parties and social affairs.”

The owners didn’t plan to stop with just a golf course and club house either.  In the following week’s edition of the paper, it was stated that “the Meadowbrook intends to put in a children’s ground and 3 tennis courts which when completed will be a great improvement towards our town.”

By 1928, however, the property had already changed hands.  In a March 3 edition of the Chicago Tribune, mention is made of the property being transferred the day before to a group of brothers–Samuel G., Gustave G. and Peter Feclura–from the Northwestern Trust & Savings bank as trustee.  They, in turn, commissioned Coolidge and Hodgdon to draw up plans “for a $50,000 addition to the farm house now on the property.  The club is to have an eighteen and a nine hole course.”

On a 1930 map of Schaumburg Township found on the website of the University of Chicago’s library, Meadowbrook Golf Club is still shown on Schaumburg Road.  But, not for much longer.  With the full onslaught of the Depression hitting the area, Meadowbrook was forced to close.

It is not known if the property went into foreclosure or whose hands it was in through the remainder of the 1930s.  We do know from Wayne Nebel’s oral history that his family lived in the clubhouse for a year or two during this time when he was a young boy.   One presumes they moved into a beautiful new clubhouse that had been built by the original Deauville owners.  Instead, those owners remodeled the farm house into a club house.   Not only does the Chicago Tribune article from above confirm that fact but a 1959 article from one of the local papers mentions that Walter and Helen Slingerland purchased the 160 acres in 1941 and “the house which was built around 100 years ago, was remodeled soon after they bought the property.”  According to Mr. Nebel, the Slingerlands also converted the golf course back to its agricultural roots and began farming the property themselves.  They later turned this job over to Melvin Jensen who leased the property for farming.

They eventually sold most of the acreage to William Lambert around 1973 who donated 40 acres to the village of Schaumburg for their municipal center.  It was arranged to have the farmhouse  moved across the street to the St. Peter Lutheran Church property in 1974 or 75.  The house still exists today, making it one of the oldest structures in Schaumburg Township.  You can see it here in 1978 in the background of the photo.  The siding is obviously in disrepair.  Another wider siding that was a yellowish gold in color was placed over it some time in the early 1980s and remained in place until September 2012 when it was replaced with a thinner, gray hued siding.  According to Don Busche of St. Peter’s, the original siding still remains though it is wrapped in Tyvek.  3701

The elder Slingerlands gave a small parcel along Schaumburg Road to their son, Walter, and his wife, Helen, who built a ranch house on the property in the early 1950s.  (See above photo.)  They continued to live in the ranch until the early 1990s.  Through an agreement reached in 1989, the village purchased the house on its one acre in exchange for the Slingerlands living there until 1994 paying $1 in rent each year.  The ranch house is still used to this day as the Nursing office of the village.Schaumburg Nursing

And the land itself?  Looking at the beautiful grounds of the village, it’s not difficult to see how those investors thought it would make a perfect golf course.

I talked to many people in the process of writing this posting.  The list varies from Mayor Larson to Mr. Busche, the caretaker of the St. Peter property, to relatives of the Slingerlands to some of the longtime residents of the area.  All were most helpful to me in getting the full story and I appreciate their assistance. 

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One Response to “GOLFING IN THE ROARING TWENTIES AT THE MEADOWBROOK COUNTRY CLUB”

  1. jrozek Says:

    I have updated this blog posting more than any other I’ve written–which means I was wrong on a number of the details! Thank you to those who helped me make the corrections that clarified the details about this piece of property. I never know which postings will draw a lot of interest but this one sure did!

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