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Storytelling: Mayor Charlene Klein, City of Lake Geneva [Part Two]

“As far as Hillmoor is concerned, there’s a very important element of history in that land. Other than its original purpose as a farm, it was always a golf course up until the time it closed. The person that designed the golf course was a man by the name of James Foulis. He and his five brothers came over from Scotland in the late 1800s. James and one other brother designed golf courses and made inventions for the great game of golf. They invented the modern day seven iron that was called a ‘mashie-niblick’ at the time. When all the men went off to World War I, they were the ones that got women involved in the game of golf. The women golfers in turn spurred a whole new fashion trend. Back in the early 1900s, they didn’t have the tractors and modern equipment that we have now. Most of the work was done with horses. The Foulis brothers invented new, wider shoes for the horses and wider wheels for the wagons so they wouldn’t make big ruts in the ground. They also invented the cup that goes in the hole and the flag holder. They were golf pros at the Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton, Illinois.

After WWI, some townspeople purchased the land where Hillmoor is now from a local farmer, Mr. Quinn, and sought out James Foulis to design the Hillmoor golf course. James had emerged into the American spotlight after winning the U.S. open in 1896, so I can imagine that the founders of the Hillmoor course were thrilled to have him as their designer. It turns out that several area courses were designed by James and his brothers, David and Robert, including Nippersink, Lake Zurich, and the Lake Geneva Country Club. We have a committee exploring several concepts for the Hillmoor land, including redeveloping a small golf course. If we do, it would be really great to incorporate that element of history into it.

I think it's very important to preserve history in a city like ours. We have such a wealth of history going back to the mid 1800s. If we destroy and lose all of that, then it's really unfortunate. We have a great museum, probably one of the best small city museums that I've ever seen.

I'm very proud of what I've accomplished in three and a half years. I've gotten a lot done. I'd like to continue for another two. I want to, for sure, see the Hillmoor property through to fruition. Besides that, my house will be 150 years old in 2025. I think I'm gonna have to have a little birthday party." - Mayor Charlene Klein, City of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

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