The Mysterious Piece of History Discovered at Sinnissippi Golf Course

Remember in 2019 when the Rockford Park District warned us that the permanent closure of their oldest golf course, the Sinnissippi Golf Course, was looming due to budget shortfalls? Remember when a passionate group of Rockfordians stepped in to save him?

Do you know what is still hidden among the courses of the Sinnissippi golf course?

When the closure rumors started circulating, the Rockford Park district quickly discovered how much the Sinnissippi 9 holes meant to the community, and I always assumed it was because so many golfers liked to play there, but today I learned that the Sinnissippip Golf Course was still holding a mysterious piece of Rockford history.

I recently came across an old newspaper article from 1934 on Rockford Public Library website which was about the deal to create a huge airway marker on the grounds of Sinnissippi Golf Course. The marker would have 26-foot-tall letters that spelled “Rockford” on 260 feet of land between the 8th and 9th holes of the course located on Parkview Avenue.

Are the massive letters from the Sinnissippi Golf Course still visible today?

I know what you’re thinking now; “I have been or driven by Sinnisppi Golf Course hundreds of times while living in Rockford, and have never seen those letters…are they still there? Well the technical answer is , yes, but they aren.t really noticeable unless course conditions are VERY dry. (See a picture here).

What makes the origin of the Rockford letters so mysterious?

According to hauntedrockford.com, no one seems to know to which airport these letters were originally intended to guide pilots. The Haunted Rockford story says another newspaper article from 1995 threw up some ideas of where this marker might have led;

One idea suggested that the destination might be “Rockford Airport” located at the intersection of North Second Street and Harlem Road. Another possibility would be the city’s first commercial airport established by Fred Machesney and located in what is now the Machesney Park Mall.

The article continued with another suggestion for the purposes of these letters. It indicates that Sinnissippi once had an airstrip located along the flatter area along Parkview.

I’m pretty sure I’ll now be on a mission to find those hidden letters when Sinnissippi Golf Course opens for its 2022 season!

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