The Greens of One Illinois Golf Course Hold a Mysterious Piece of History
Remember back in 2019 when the Rockford Park District warned us that the permanent closure of their oldest golf course, Sinnissippi Golf Course, was looming due to budget deficits? Remember when a passionate group of Rockfordians then swooped in to save it?
Do You Know What's Still Hiding Amongst the Sinnissippi Golf Course Grounds?
When the closure rumors first started circulating, the Rockford Park District quickly found out how much the 9 holes at Sinnissippi mean to the community, and I always assumed it was because a lot of golfers liked playing there, but today I learned Sinnissippip Golf Course still holds a mysterious piece of Rockford history.
I recently came across an old newspaper article from 1934 on Rockford Public Library's website that talked about the agreement to create a massive airway marker on the grounds of Sinnissippi Golf Course. The marker would have 26 feet high letters that spelled out "Rockford" over 260 feet of land between the 8th and 9th holes of the course located by Parkview Avenue.
Are the Massive Letters at Sinnissippi Golf Course Still Visible Today?
I know what you're thinking now; "I've been to or driven by Sinnisppi Golf Course hundreds of times while living in Rockford, and I've never seen these letters...are they still there? Well, the answer technically is, yes they are but they aren't really noticeable unless the course conditions are VERY dry. (See a picture of it here).
What Makes the Origin of the Rockford Letters So Mysterious?
According to hauntedrockford.com, no one seems to know which airport these letters were originally meant to guide pilots to. Haunted Rockford's story says another newspaper article from 1995 tossed around some ideas of where this marker could have been leading to;
One idea suggested that the destination might be the “Rockford Airport” located at the intersection of North Second Street and Harlem Road. Another possibility would be the first commercial airport in the city established by Fred Machesney and located at the present day Machesney Park Mall.
The article continued with one more suggestion for the purpose of these letters. It states that Sinnissippi once had a landing strip located along the flatter area along Parkview.
I'm pretty sure I will now be on a mission to find these hidden letters when Sinnissippi Golf Course opens for their 2022 season!