Miniature Golf in Empire Township

Miniature Golf in Empire Township

A post on Facebook sparked interest in a miniature golf course which opened in LeRoy in the 1930’s. After checking the archives we discovered that there was not only an outdoor miniature golf course, but also an indoor course. Both were owned by the same men and both opened the same year. The indoor course also featured a skating rink and the introduction of a new game – Shuffleboard. We have only one photograph at this time and it is taken from an ad page in a 1930 LeRoy Journal. Local businesses were featured on this page and each individual item contained two questions about the business which could be answered for a chance to win a prize.

We have not been able to track down how long the businesses lasted and when and why they closed. It seems like they went to a lot of trouble and expense to build and were very popular in 1930. Tournaments were held for cash prizes and had many entrants.

The museum would appreciate any information or photographs you might have to share about the miniature golf courses and skating rink or any other local topic. Email empiretwspmuseum@gmail.com, post on this website or Facebook or stop by the museum any Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.

Empire Miniature Golf Course
The location of the outdoor course was in a corner of what is now Bowman Park.
LeRoy Journal
July 18, 1930
Miniature Golf Course Is Under Rapid Construction
It is to be an eighteen-hole course with each fairway of a distinctive type from the others. There will be humps, sand traps, water holes and small gateways and other hazards to test the skill or luck of the player. The fairways are bordered by wood strips held in place by pegs and then there is a layer of gravel which will be covered by the top coating of cotton seed hulls treated with oil and rolled.

LeRoy Journal
July 25, 1930
The Miniature Golf Course Now Completed
Opened Up Wednesday Night – Admired For Its Beauty and Splendid Construction

Wednesday night the new miniature golf course constructed by B.F. Baker and C.N. Harrington was opened for play and became the center of attraction for amusement and the skillful manipulation of the putter and ball. By way of comparison with other courses, it is admired for the arrangement of the fairways which has enough hazards to make the game interesting and not too congested to deprive the player of the opportunity of skillful putting.

The intervening spaces between the fairways are covered with fine crushed rock which with the green of the fairways make the whole course stand out in bold relief of white and green. Rock borders are used at places and there are settings of small evergreens to add to the artistic effect. A picket fence has been built along the east and south borders and an attractive caddy house stands in the southeast corner.

Under the blaze of 200 candle power lights, which hang over the course, there is a brilliancy which lights up the course with daylight effectiveness and presents a beautiful scene transformed from  a vacant lot covered with weeds. The east half of the block will be cleared for the parking of cars. For detail as to the time and play and admission prices see large ad in this issue.

LeRoy Journal
August 8, 1930
The New Golf Course Provides Popular Sport
The Empire miniature golf course has added some improvements this past week in the way of an attractive picket fence around the two sides of the course and added a loop to loop hazard on one of the fairways. The course is a very popular gathering place especially in the cool of the evening and among the players are seen many strangers from outlying communities who come here to enjoy the game.

LeRoy Journal
August 15, 1930
Cash Prizes Offered in Miniature Golf Tournament
Elsewhere in this issue of The Journal is the announcement of a tournament at the Empire Miniature Golf Course to begin tomorrow. There are six classes of players with cash prizes as high as $7.50. The tournament will end September 6th, with a sweepstakes event for the winners in the six classes.

LeRoy Journal
August 22, 1930
The finals are taking place in the tournament at the miniature golf course. There are to be four games in the finals to determine the winners in the three classes. In the two games Monday and Tuesday nights for 36 holes, the five best in the men’s class were: Paul Poindexter,, 103; Ray Copeland,107; M.A. Cline, 108; Francis Marrow, 109; and Mart Anderson, 112.

In the women’s tournament the five best were: Eloise Bonnett, 109; Grace Buckles, 111; Marjorie Cline, 117; Dorothy Bailey, 119; and Georgie Matlock, 119.
The tournament for the younger people will be held Saturday afternoon.

H. and B. Amusement Co.
H. & B. Amusement Co.

H & B Amusement Company
The indoor facility was called H & B Amusement Company. From what we can garner, the indoor course was later Schlosser Implement, the building on the south side of Chestnut Street, south of the Methodist Church. Originally a livery stable was located there and it was torn down for Schlosser Implement. Not sure if that is the building which housed the amusement company or if it was in what stands there now.

LeRoy Journal
October 17, 1930
The popular game of miniature golf will have no weather hazards at LeRoy this winter, however, the winds howling or blizzards rage, for the game can be pursued with the greatest of comfort in the steam heated garage which is being converted into a nifty 18-hole course.

One half of the large garage of the Harrington Tire Co., has been partitioned off and the new course is under construction by Baker & Harrington, owners of the Empire outdoor course. The new course will have some new designs of fairways and hazards which will make it of special interest to devotees of the game.

The concrete floor space on which the course is laid is 55 x 132 feet but a few feet less than the outdoor course. The room will be steam heated and brilliantly lighted and will be embellished with chairs and settees at convenient places. A drinking fountain and a fan system for ventilation will be installed.

Roller Skating Rink Added
In the front of the building to the south of the course, a maple flooring will be laid over the concrete for roller skating. Noiseless fibre wheel skates will be furnished for the use of the patrons. When the golf course and rink is completed LeRoy will have the most elaborate amusement center in the history of the city.

LeRoy Journal
November 21, 1930
Playing Shuffle Board Now
The H & B Amusement Company along with miniature golf has installed the shuffle board game which is proving to be very attractive to a large number of players. The game is played by two players or four players. Wooden disks are pushed along the smooth floor by cues, the object being to have them come to rest on the counters on the other end of the floor. Shooting straight, knocking out opponent’s disks and keeping off the ten penalty squares are some of the points of the game. It is a tricky game and attracts much amusement for the players.

P.O. Box 102, LeRoy, IL 61752 • 309-468-8409 • Legal
405 East Center Street, Le Roy, Illinois 61752 East Side of Library Ground Level

Designed by Lynn Amacher