TUBING AND WINTER FUN AT FLEETWING FARM

Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the December 2017 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

Winters seem a little tamer recently.  Snow doesn’t begin in earnest until late December or early January.  Each fall we wonder what the winter will be like.  We all hope for a season that doesn’t call out the plows or our snow shovels too often.

That wasn’t the case for those of us who love snow.  When the first flakes begin to fall the sleds come out as well as the skies.  But back in the 70s there was another way to enjoy the snow and that was by flying down the hills of Fleetwing Farm on huge semi truck inner tubes.  It was a thrilling way to spend an evening with family or a bunch of your pals.

Fleetwing Farm was located at 2700 W. Central Rd. just a short distance west of Ela Rd. and east of where the  AT&T campus was located.  During the summer, horseback riding lessons, day camps, hay rides and nursery school were offered and barns for boarding horses were available.  The farm incorporated in 1959 but didn’t offer tubing in the winter until the owner Bud Bright saw tubing when he visited Winter Park in Frazer, Colorado.  Tubing would work well at Fleetwing Farm as it had the perfect hill for some winter fun.

There would eventually be three different runs.  The set up was from easy for beginners to a run for those who were a little more skilled to the killer hill. That run had snow hills placed along it that sent you  flying high and screaming down the remainder of the run trying not to run over those at the bottom who hadn’t gotten out of your way.  There was a tow rope with wooden handles that slowly took you back to the top.  There was always plenty of snow as the farm had its own snow making machine.

It cost $2 an hour including the use of the tube.  There was a warming house at the bottom of the hill were you could buy a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.  Hot dogs were also sold there.

Fleetwing Farm was very popular and could be very crowded on weekends.  There were a limited number of tubes and the crowd would wait in line for the next tube hoping that someone would be heading home.  You would find the same lines at the bottom of the hill waiting to grab onto the tow rope to head up for another thrilling ride down.  Maybe this time you’d get up the courage to try the killer run.

Fleetwing Farm is gone.  It’s not known when the tubing hills closed.  It sure was a fun while it lasted.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian
eagle2064@comcast.net

8 Responses to “TUBING AND WINTER FUN AT FLEETWING FARM”

  1. Kenneth C Chase Says:

    Thanks for this i remember going here many times but could not remember what it was called. My 1st trip down the hill my glasses fell off and were crushed, good times…lol

  2. BetsyArmistead Says:

    Sounds like an awful lot of fun! I can’t imagine it would be viable anymore given how litigious we’ve become as a society. Good times!

  3. Francis Says:

    Used to work there what blast , but yeah every night dozens of people got hurt

  4. Susan Ballard Howlett Says:

    Worked there 1968-1970 when owned by Martha Jayne. Mainly horse farm for boarding and teaching. Martha was an amazing woman. Ahead of her time.

  5. Trink Dahl-Prince Says:

    We boarded horses and I rode at Fleetwing Farm in the early 60s. It was a great place! The grounds were beautiful, huge indoor ring, and lots of kids and fun! Awesome memories…

  6. Sara Gentry Says:

    I’m lucky enough to call Fleetwing Farm my childhood home. We used to tube in CO on our family ski trips and that is when my dad decided to build one in IL. This article brought back many memories. The horse photo is one of my horses (Quasar) and her first baby (Capstone) My brothers, sisters, and I all worked in the businesses mentioned. I sold hot dogs and hot cocoa in the first trailer on the hill and later worked the cashier window in the larger building when I was in high school. Lots of hard work, but many valuable life lessons growing up on such a place.

    • jrozek Says:

      Sara,

      I lived at Fleetwing Farm from 1984-1986 when I first moved to Schaumburg Township! I took the picture of the horses while living in the second floor apartment on the southeast corner of the bunkhouse. I, too, have very fond memories of living there. It was really a piece of the country, what with the horses, dogs and rabbits scattered all around. And it was so nice to take advantage of the pool too!

      If you’d like to connect off the blog, my email is below. Otherwise, thank you for your personal comments. They make a nice addition to the story!

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

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