Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Hawthorn-Mellody Farms & Amusement Park, Libertyville, IL. (1907-1970)

In 1907, Samuel Insull purchased 132 acres of land called Hawthorn Farm and a farmhouse which occupied the space. It was located on the west side of Milwaukee Avenue (RT 21), and today's Townline Road (RT 60).
Construction on a new house began in 1914, but the original structure stood for some time.
The Insull's new house at Hawthorn-Mellody Farms.
Hawthorn Mellody Estate Farm House designed for Samual Insull in 1914.
1941 Photograph during the Cuneo period.
A one room schoolhouse served children of employees and servants for the Insull home in Lake County. It was demolished in the 1990s, but it had been out of use long before this time.
Hawthorn one room schoolhouse.
John F. Cuneo, who bought the 2000-acre farm from utilities magnate Samuel Insull in 1937 and sold the property in 1967 to the National Industries, Inc. of Louisville.
One of the largest dairy farms in Lake County, Hawthorn-Mellody served the North Shore as far South as Evanston.  
Beyond functioning as a state of the art dairy farm, Hawthorn-Mellody also ran a small, but successful, amusement park including a Children's Petting Zoo, a Steam Train, Country Store, Western Town and the Club of Champs, which displayed autographs and possessions of the star athletes of the time, such as Joe Louis' boxing gloves and Sonja Henie's ice skates.


Film star Hopalong Cassidy made an appearance at Hawthorn Mellody Farms.
 
Cuneo hoped it would serve as a fun, educational center for children and adults alike to learn about agriculture and the dairy industry. He constructed a public Milking Parlor where visitors could watch the Holstein cows that were milked there every afternoon. The "free of human touch" production process convinced visitors to try Hawthorn-Mellody milk. 


Free of human touch dairy plant.
Hawthorn-Mellody Farms was torn down in 1970 due to a decrease in attendance and an inability to compete with more modern dairy facilities.

VIDEO
Hawthorn-Mellody Farm, Summers of 1964/65

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

21 comments:

  1. I beleive it was John F. Cuneo. And just where was the amusement park?

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  2. Reread the story. It says where it was.

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    1. I thought Hawthorne Mellody was further north, just south of 120. The Cuneo property/estate was at 60.

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    2. Hawthorne-Mellody was on Rte 21 (Milwaukee Ave) on the west side of the road at the EJ&E railroad tracks (a Lowe's home improvement center is there now). The "western town" was on the north end of the property, near what is now Greentree Parkway. Hawthorn Mall shopping center at the NW corner of Rte. 21 and Rte. 60 took the name from Hawthorne-Mellody.

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    3. When I was a kid, I recall in the Western Town there was an animatronic skeleton wearing a red nightgown playing a piano. You could see it by looking inside the window of one of the town "houses."

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    4. I remember going here as a kid several times with my family as well as on school field trips. The entrance was in approximately the same place as the current (2020) intersection of Milwaukee and Artaius Parkway. One of the buildings, which I seem to remember as housing the Country Store, backed-up to the railroad tracks on the spot that is now a Staples and 5/3 Bank. The rest of the buildings and petting zoo were all around the area which is now Lowe's. I also remember taking the train back to the western town which was my favorite part of the place! There were a few animatronic scenes like the one described above that you could see in the building facades. I also remember one that had a coffin with a skeleton pushing the lid open and sitting up slowly over and over again. I also remember watching the cows being milked in the barn.

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  3. I remember going there a number of times with my family...it was an almost magical place to a youngster who love animals and the farm life. I remember standing next to the single largest oxen I had ever seen. Watching the milking parlor in action, seeing the milk processed and then getting to enjoy a cold glass of milk on a hot summer day. Good memories there...thanks for this site. It is a WONDERFUL and REWARDING trip down memory lane!

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  4. Thanks for the link my Dad would take the family every summer. Brings back such wonderful memories.

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  5. I went there on a school bus for a field trip. It was a wonderful day that I often think about.

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  6. I'm pretty pleased to discover this site. I want to to thank you for ones time for this fantastic read!!
    I definitely loved every little bit of it and i also have you saved to fav to check out new stuff in your blog.

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  7. My mother would take my brother and I there every year. I loved the train ride to the ghost town. Watching the skeletons play the piano in the saloon was my favorite. Then back to the dairy to watch the cows being cleaned and milked. Sure wish it was still there so I could take my grand-angels.

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    1. I remember that the animatronic skeleton wore a red nightgown while playing a piano. Amazing the things we remember as kids! LOL

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  8. I went there many times. Great memories. I lived behind it, a few farm fields away and we use to go there, I think now that we were trespassing!

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  9. As a little child I still remember the Wild West Town and watching the cows get milked. It was a magical place. A couple years ago my spouse and I visited the Cuneo Museum and they gave us a pamphlet "Hawthorn Mellody Farms...Revisited". Still got it.

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  10. I went there with my second grade class (Washington Elementary in Elmhurst, Ill) around 1953. We brought sack lunches, but they gave us milk and ice cream, also, it was a very fun-filled outing for us. Wishing there were more places like that today ! Claudia Kellogg Kochistringov

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  11. I remember going there a time or two as a young child... I had forgotten about it until looking at some of my Dad's old slides. I recalled going there with my folks and my Nana who was visiting from back East. I don't think we ever went to the Western Town, but I recall the zoo and the dairy barn, seeing the cows in the milking parlor. I think I also went there on a kindergarten field trip once (I grew up in Des Plaines, IL). Another place that holds happy childhood memories for me was Honey Bear Farm, in Powers Lake, WI. That place is also mostly gone now, just a few buildings left that have been turned into expensive homes... the rest of it is empty fields and deserted walkways, with a sad old playground still near the lake. Some places are better left unvisited, except in my memories.

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  12. Does anyone have information about Hawthorn Mellody having a Soda Fountain-Ice Cream Shop on Central St. in Evanston? My mother told stories of working there, near the University, in 1939-1940. I'd like to know where it was located and if the building is still there.

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    1. I believe your Mom was referring to the Peacock Ice Cream Company. They had both their ice cream factory and an ice cream parlor, "Peacock's Dairy Bar," close to Northwestern University in Evanston.
      https://drloihjournal.blogspot.com/2017/03/peacock-ice-cream-company-evanston.html

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  13. Thank you for creating this site. Hawthorn Mellody Farm brings back pleasant memories. Something caused me today to inquire what ever happened to Hawthorne Melody Farm and my inquiry brought up your site.

    I attended grammar school at St. Therese in Chicago during the 1960s and recall unloading the Hawthorne Melody Farm milk truck when it came to our school. My most pleasant memory is a class trip to the Farm, it was the first time our class saw a real farm. We had a fun filled time exploring the ghost town and climbing on the covered wagon. That was a first time also to see a real covered wagon.

    I did not know that Mr. Cuneo had a connection to Hawthorn Mellody Farm. My mother had told me that he had helped her get a job when she was in high school. Thanks Mr. Cuneo!!!

    Thank you Mr. Cuneo and Hawthorne Mellody Farm for your acts of kindness and to share with you the life long blessing you gave our community and the ST. Therese School students.

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    1. The Western Town was orginaly right next to all the main buildings when I went there as a kid. It was moved some years latter farther out when they put the train in that's when I brought my little brother and sister there.

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  14. Went to Hawthorn Mellody Farm on Gothe School Chicago field trip in 1960
    as we were just getting off or on buses, I don't remember which, we were lined up on the side of Milwaukee ave and all of a sudden JFKs, yes that one, motorcade came down the road, saw JFK AND JACKIE ,LOOKED RIGHT INTO THEIR EYES AS THEY WAVED TO ME AS I was only about twenty feet away I believe they were heading back from a campaine stop maybe in millwaukee wis?

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