Archive for the ‘Recreation’ Category

TUBING AND WINTER FUN AT FLEETWING FARM

December 24, 2017

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