You can’t live in the City of Hillsboro very long without bumping into Albert Field.
Not literally, of course, but his name sure comes up often, especially if you tend to hang around with folks who enjoy local history.
It happened again at the City Council meeting Monday night when, through no fault of his own, Field’s name got involved in a lengthy discussion involving of all things, a disk golf course.
Makes you wonder what he would have thought about playing a round of golf without clubs, or even a golf ball. And yet, he was a courageous and forward thinking pioneer who played a big role in forming the foundation of what Hillsboro is today.
He may not have enjoyed the popular new sport, but I have a feeling he most likely would have played a round just to try a new experience if nothing else.
The course will open this Friday and his park that is right across a small road is also going to be rededicated in the near future to mark its 100th year in Hillsboro.
For the last century, Hillsboro folks have enjoyed Sunday afternoon picnics at Albert Field Park. And even today, folks continue to gather on that historic land for everything from family reunions to Easter Egg hunts.
In fact, all my grandchildren seem to prefer that “play ground” over all the others, including Field Veterans Memorial Lake Park. There’s that name again.
Both places were presented to the city in his memory by his family long before any of us were enjoying them on a regular basis. They play huge recreational roles in the history of our city.
If you enjoy history at all, you can learn plenty about the Field family by visiting the Historical Society Museum, reading the newest Hillsboro history books by Al Picha and Tom Hotek, or spend an afternoon talking with other local historians.
Most people are not aware that one of Albert Field’s homes is still standing, and still occupied right on Mill Street.
When I was first told that, I wasn’t sure whether to believe it, but Al showed me a photo of an elderly, pioneer named Albert Field standing right in front of that house, sporting a long beard, probably during the late 1800s or early 1900s.
Now, I can’t drive by that more modern looking, but definitely historical house, without visualizing him standing in front of it like he did 100 years ago in that photo.
His family was very fond of Hillsboro and were happy to generously donate his plots of land that eventually became Albert Field Park, sometimes called City Park, and the Field Veterans Memorial Park on the lakefront.
Of course, the piece of historic land looking over the water also is home to our magnificent Veterans Memorial that pays tribute to all those local heroes who served our country in the military.
Because of that proud monument, none of them will ever be forgotten…and neither will Albert Field, the pioneer farmer who really made a difference for all of those who love this town.
He is buried in Mount Vernon Cemetery, overlooking the lake he loved and developed. The old tombstone is easy to find if you ask Al or Tom, or any of the historians who make it their business to share that kind of information. Here’s a tip. He’s near the Civil War soldier.
When I first stopped by his grave I thought a lot about his many efforts for this town that have proven so important a century after he has gone to his real home.
And, the word “thanks” was on my mind.