About Us

History of Hubbard Trail Country Club

In 1925, a group of Rossville and Hoopeston golf enthusiasts solicited for 100 individuals to invest in a golf course. The group requested $250 each, $75 of which would be used for dues for charter memberships and the remaining $150 to be used as needed for a golf course and the necessary buildings.

An eight-article constitution and by-laws was written to govern Hubbard Trail Country Club.

While the pledges were being solicited, a new corporation was formed. On Sept. 16, 1925, a certificate of incorporation was notarized by C.F. Dyer and listed directors as E.F. Trego, Harold Crays and George Schumann. The corporation office was to be located at 202½ E. Main St., Hoopeston.

Pledges totaling $25,500 were collected from 101 resident and four non-resident donors. At about this time, the directors met to elect officers. Dr. R. G. Kline was elected as the fist president; W.A. Miskimen was elected vice president and George Schumann was named secretary-treasurer. During this meeting, the directors agreed to consult with the Chicago Landscape Company to select from several sites.

The most promising site was a pasture located north and west of Rossville. On Oct. 1, 1925, an agreement was signed between Chloe Green and Hubbard Trail Country Club, allowing the club to lease 66 acres of pasture with the right to convert the land as required to build a nine-hole golf course. The lease was to run for 20 years at $500 per year. A "right to purchase" and an "option to renew" was included in the agreement, as was a clause that an additional 4.33 acres could be made available if both parties agreed.

Basic work on the course was begun in late 1925, with members and local industries donating labor, materials, horses and wagons. It is assumed that the Chicago Landscape Company provided directions for the layout and construction of the course. Plans for a clubhouse were also drawn up at this time.

The following year, the greens were planted with a new creeping bent grass recommended for golf courses at the time. A local man, Scott Ingle, was experimenting with this grass on his farm and furnished all the sod and/or seed for the new greens. The course progressed so well that some play began on the course in June 1926.

Bill Sargent began constructing the clubhouse, a modest brick building, pleasantly furnished. In the late part of 1926, bonds were issued in the amount of $8,050 to help finance the club.

In 1927, the course was found in a playing condition that belied its young age. A yearbook was published which noted the total investments as of Jan. 1, 1927 at $38,603.35. Records also indicate the first pro shop was built in that year for Charlie Miller.

Things went well for the club until 1930 and 1932. The Depression caused membership to drop off and there was no registered pro when Charlie Miller left in 1932. Club officials could not afford to pay the lease fee and were in default on both principal and interest.

While things looked dire, a group of determined members decided to go all-out to keep the club going. In May 1936, a committee was appointed to ask bondholders if they would surrender the bonds, provided the land could be purchased from Chloe Green. The land would then be rented back to the club at a lower rate.

In late 1936, the land was purchased for $5,000 and all those holding bonds agreed to surrender them at no value. In mid-1937, participation certificates were issued with a value of $50 per certificate. No individual could own more than five shares. Area industries picked up shares that individuals did not buy, raising the funds needed to purchase the land. The first trustees appointed for the new owners included Stanley Boughton, Dale Wallace and Franklin R. Johnson. A lease agreement was drawn up July 1, 1937. On Sept. 18, a warranty deed was signed between Mrs. Green and the new owners.

Still, things were not going well. Membership continued to decline and dues were dropped to a low of $25. The club could not pay the $200 rent for about two years. Local industries and individuals pitched in to keep the course mowed and in acceptable playing shape. The situation was really tough in the early 1940's, but in 1945, a successful membership drive was made, a new club manager hired and the club began a comeback. Records indicate the manager at this time may have been Tige Stanley, who also acted as club pro.

Things continued to improve for Hubbard Trail Country Club and in 1956, Sam Brown, assisted by Ralph Anderson and Bob Burkholder, headed up a drive to secure funds for a swimming pool. The pool and facilities cost $27,000 and was paid for by selling certificates of indebtedness that paid four percent interest. The certificates were retired in just over three years. The original participation certificates issued in 1937 were retired in 1961. For the first time, Hubbard Trail Country Club owned itself!

Tragedy struck on Oct. 26 and 27, 1969, when the clubhouse was completely destroyed by fire. Through their shock, members rallied, making plans to continue club operations. A temporary counter was set up in the pro shop and Ray Oanea served sandwiches and drinks during the 1970 season. Play day and other activities continued with the help of Danville Tent and Awning and with the patience of the members.

Plans for a new clubhouse were drawn up by architect Tom Jackson of Champaign. Silver Brothers Construction of Hoopeston was the general contractor. The new clubhouse was completed in 1971.

 

Hoopeston Country Club

The Hubbard Trail Country Club's clubhouse was not the first area clubhouse to be destroyed by fire. In 1925, Hoopeston Country Club's structure was destroyed, and the club abandoned.

Some believe Hoopeston Country Club was the forerunner of Hubbard Trail Country Club. On July 25, 1912, Frank H. Williams, Chas. F. Dyer and Donald McFerren formed a corporation which was to be known as the Hoopeston Country Club. J.S. McFerren, I.E. Merritt, C.W. Warner and J.H. Dyer were appointed the first board of directors.

The group printed a nine-article constitution and by-laws and rented land approximately three-fourths mile east of Hoopeston, just south of Route 9, and constructed a nine-hole golf course. The course was laid out so that players crossed a creek nine times in nine holes.  The grounds had poor drainage, ruining play for too long a time after each rain.

 

Guerdon Hubbard

Guerdon HubbardGuerdon Hubbard

When the American Fur Company sent 16-year-old Guerdon Saltonstall Hubbard into the then Northwest, they little thought of the influence this $125-a-year employee would have on the country he was entering. One of the first citizens in Vermilion County history, he also became a builder of the little city to the north, Chicago. In fact, one writer once called him, “the greatest citizen Chicago has ever known”.

In March 1823, according to one writer, “the young backwoodsman was on a stroll from the vicinity of ‘Big Woods’ on the Fox River some forty miles west of Chicago to his Bureau Station Camp when he became aware he was being paced by a young warrior of the Big Foot tribe. He had spent the night at a Pottawatomie village with friendly Indians and was unaware that one tribe had bet all its wampum to the effect that one of the Indian lads could walk farther and faster in a given day than the white guest”.

To make a long story short, Hubbard walked and trotted seventy-five miles by nightfall, climaxing the feat by swimming the Fox River. His opponent had dropped out of the race exhausted. The admiring Indians dubbed the young white man “Swift Walker” or “Pa-Pa-Ma-Ta-Be” in their language. This nickname was to stick the rest of his life.

HouseMonument

 When the fur business began to wane, he began hauling produce and pork to the garrison at Fort Dearborn and the growing village around it. The route he followed became known as the Hubbard Trace.  He started it in 1822, first running it to the old Fort Vincennes in Indiana. It was while living in Danville that Hubbard performed his greatest feat. He was in Chicago on business during the Winnebago war when word came from friendly Indians that an attack on the fort was imminent. Offering to ride to Danville to enlist the aid of the militia battalion, he left Chicago on horseback at 4 p.m. in the rain. By midnight he had covered the 80 miles to his Iroquois post, where he obtained food and a remount. At Sugar Creek the horse refused the ford. Hubbard waited until daylight, saw that a huge fallen tree blocked the way, and swam the flood-swollen stream. He shouted news at Denmark (now covered by Lake Vermilion ) and at Danville, then rode two miles farther to another settlement. He had covered 140 miles in 20 hours.

The next day Hubbard, with 50 armed men on horseback, started to Chicago’s rescue. It took four days to make the trip. On his arrival he was made captain of the defense. But the anticipated attack failed to materialize and in a day or two word came from Gov. Cass that the war was over.

In 1834 Hubbard moved permanently to what he described as “the small town on the lake”.

Guerdon S. Hubbard, while a representative for Vermilion County in the 18th General Assembly of Illinois 1832-1834, was instrumental in procuring the passage of the act creating Iroquois County. The county embraced all that territory lying north of its present south line and east of its present west line and extended north of its present south line and east of its present west line and extended north, forming a rectangle and about one-third of what is now Will County. As then established, Iroquois County extended for the north line of Vermilion to the then south line of Cook County.