Letter to the Editor: Preserve historic Calumet Country Club

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Letter to the Editor: Preserve historic Calumet Country Club

May 07, 2021 - 20:29
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I lived on Maple Road from 1938 until 1948. My grandfather and one or two Hazel Crest uncles were members of Calumet Country Club, or at least played there. My mother and I, as guests, played there with them occasionally. My father didn’t play golf, and I apparently inherited my lack of golfing skills and interests from him.

I do remember our Calumet Country Club outings with nostalgic pleasure. From the perspective of an 87-year-old former Homewood resident, I would prefer that it remain as it was in my memory, a lovely golf course. The proposed development is quite foreign to my idealized vision of that location.

Most of your readers don’t recall the complex intersection of Dixie Highway, Governors Highway, 175th Street and Wood Street, which forms the southeast boundary of Calumet Country Club, as it was in 1942.

Balagio Restaurant was there, but was called by a different name. I’ve forgotten what it was, before Surma’s. Immediately east of the country club, where Dunkin’s is now, was a horse stable, where I rode horses more than I played golf.

Wood Street, fronting the Illinois Central Electric train station was frequently flooded, so the commuter train (Metra) often did not stop there.

Dixmoor, the community southwest of the complex intersection (now Governors Park), was scarcely built up. Where now it is a mature community, was then mostly open prairie.

Which brings me to the point of this look backward. There is a slight uphill course of Dixie Highway where Spruce Avenue terminates. On the west side of Dixie Highway, there, if you dug down, you encountered sand, lots of it. We WWII kid-commandos used to dig foxholes there; was a good easy place to dig.

But, why the sand? Fill from highway leveling or de-icing? Sand trap bunker misplaced from Calumet Country Club? I think not. I believe it is sand marking the beach of ancient Lake Calumet, the predecessor of Lake Michigan.

We’ve been told that Ridge Road in Homewood is so named because of its course following that ancient east-west shoreline. The slight hills south of 175th street also, IMO, trace that shoreline.

So, Calumet Country Club is aptly named, and should be preserved in honor and in memory of the late, great Lake Calumet.

Bill Crowley
Spicewood, Texas

Editor’s Note: Lake Calumet today is the largest body of water within the city of Chicago. It can be accessed from Chicago’s Pullman and Roseland neighborhoods. Formerly a shallow, postglacial lake draining into Lake Michigan, it has been changed beyond recognition by industrial redevelopment and decay. Ridge Road runs along the Calumet Shoreline, part of Lake Chicago, the ancient predecessor of Lake Michigan.