Golfview Hills stays independent course

Unincorporated neighborhood takes pride in its unique status and strong camaraderie

Series: Hinsdale 150 | Story 40

Just beyond the southwestern boundary of Hinsdale is a residential area that doesn't belong to any particular town but has strong community spirit nonetheless.

Golfview Hills, so named for overlooking adjacent Ruth Lake Country Club, is a collection of about 300 homes that was established in the mid-1950s between Madison Street and Route 83. Assimilating into Hinsdale would have seemed a natural step at some point in the intervening decades, right? Not for Golfview Hills homeowners, as an article in The Doings 1995 Centennial Edition revealed.

"We are real proud and very defensive of our unincorporated status. That's one less layer of bureaucracy that we have to support," said Roger Clemens, then-president of the Golfview Hills Homes Association.

At the heart of the neighborhood is Johnson Slough, where Sunday afternoon sailboat regattas and other water-based activities are among the perks of residency. A sense of duty to protect shared spaces also runs deep.

"We have a spring cleanup day, when probably 100 people show up to go to the parks and clean up, and we all take care of landscaping on the corners and in the ball fields. We put in a lot of effort that we would otherwise be paying for," Clemens related.

Former resident Ann Diedrich, in a local history piece posted at, recalled a notable discovery in the 1960s.

"My son and a friend started pulling bones out of Ruth Lake. We made arrangements to take the bones to the Field Museum to be analyzed. They were disappointed to find they had only horse bones, no Tyrannosaurus Rex," Diedrich recounted. "We soon learned about a story from an old timer that a horse-drawn trolley line ended at 55th Street and Route 83, and when the horses got too old, they were driven into Johnson's Slough or Ruth Lake. Another story has the bones as a result of people mistaking the slough for prairie and losing their horse and wagons in the peat bog. Whatever the story was, we had a lot of bones in our garage."

Other early residents had vivid memories of being woken up by roosters living on the farm on the other side of Route 83 and of watching small planes taking off and landing at Hinsdale Airport, which was located along 75th Street between Madison and Route 83.

"Over the years there have been many sightings around the streets of Golfview Hills. Astronaut John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth, was seen jogging while a guest of one of the residents," read another entry.

Resident Janie Falta in 1995 praised the diverse yet tight-knit enclave.

"We have all professions living here, everyone from laborers to doctors, teachers. The kids are really close," she said,

"It's just like a little town," remarked Christine Justema, then-president of the Golfview Hills Woman's Club.

- by Ken Knutson

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean