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.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library
jrozek@stdl.org

11 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

  4. Trudy Glaser.....living in Trent Woods,NC Says:

    So good to read a really brief synopsis about FIELDALE . ..I am particularly impressed with the coverage of Paul Hassell property…i am spouse of deceased Donald Glaser, one of the Farm Managers and lived with Don and daughter Gail in the residence pictured in your Article.

  5. Jane Rozek Says:

    It’s very nice to hear from you Trudy! I do believe the library acquired a few photos from you. Thank you for the comments. If you’d like to read more about the Paul Hassell property, I wrote this blog posting about him and his family’s time in Schaumburg Township. https://ourlocalhistory.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/gentleman-farmers-3-paul-hassell-chicago-attorney/

    So glad you’re enjoying the blog!

    Jane Rozek
    Local History Librarian
    Schaumburg Township District Library

  6. Keith Wiener Says:

    My dad Gus Wiener worked there running the clay Pigeon machines, when it was Hildale Gun Club,a few Sox players,Dave Nicholson ,Gary Peters and others where regulars,and a couple of gangsters to.
    Keith Wiener

  7. Bob Shuley Says:

    Hil Jane,
    The photo of the sign and sketch of the layout are accurate. The pictures of the “hunt club” is NOT that of Fieldale. I shot skeet there extensively in the 50’s and 60’s. Dad and I shot skeet on the eight combination skeet/trap fields, the Quail walk, the Duck towers, and the Rabbit run. Also, we watched and participated in some field trials.
    That is when we met Bob Sturgus, founder of Gander Mountain. Sturgus, Dad, and I shot competitive skeet for many years thereafter.
    Unfortunately, I have no photos but only fond memories.

    • jrozek Says:

      Hello Mr. Shuley,

      Well, what wonderful memories and additional details for us to have regarding Fieldale! I find it particularly interesting that Mr. Sturgis frequented Fieldale.

      I did a bit of research and found in International Directory of Company Histories that Gander Mountain was begun in 1960, just one year after Fieldale closed. It says in the book, “Living in the town of Wilmot, a rather isolated community within the state, Sturgis, along with his fellow hunters, was unhappy with his inability to get high-quality hunting accessories and equipment without having to drive a hundred miles to the nearest sportsman retail store.” No doubt he probably shopped at Marshall Fields’ outdoor department…

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library
      jrozek@stdl.org

      • Bob Shuley Says:

        You are almost correct. Bob
        Sturgus worked for Marshal Field downtown where he headed the gun department. In 1960 he started Gander Mountain as a catalog and then expanded to the Wilmot store. As a side bar, we also shot with the person who orginally set up and printed the first catalog. His name was Earnie Scheminek. What a great bunch of guys.
        Bob

      • jrozek Says:

        Hello Bob,

        How interesting that Mr. Sturgis worked for Marshall Field’s! I looked up his Daily Herald obituary from 2002 and it says, “Mr. Sturgis became the decorating department manager for Marshall Field’s in Chicago.”

        An earlier Chicago Tribune article from 1993 says, “Sturgis was working in Marshall Field’s now-defunct gun department and became aware that this new equipment gave shooters and hunters the ability to make and load their own ammunition much more cheaply than in the past. He left Fields at the end of 1959…”

        That really makes everything kind of fall into place in regards to Fieldale, considering it closed in 1959 too. The handwriting must have been on the wall for him in a number of ways.

        What an interesting connection for you to point out. Thank you so much!

        Jane Rozek
        Local History Librarian
        Schaumburg Township District Library
        jrozek@stdl.org

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