Hometown Legends of Sports
River Foresters and Oak Parkers have been enthusiastic sportsmen and sportswomen since the early days—both as participants and spectators.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, residents eagerly embraced such newly-popular sports as golf, bicycling, and even roller skating. Cycling enthusiasts formed the Prairie Cycling Club in 1889 and built a three-story clubhouse at Kenilworth Avenue and South Boulevard in Oak Park.
The Oak Park Golf Club (later the Westward Ho Golf Club) was founded in 1898 and was located initially south of Madison Street between Home and Grove Avenues. Later it was used as a baseball field. Baseball was very popular in both villages, and River Forest was home to a large ball field, complete with a grandstand, in what is now Keystone Park. This was the home field for the semi-pro River Forest Baseball Club founded in 1902.
In addition to popular sports like baseball and football, locals organized clubs for more specialized athletic pursuits like tennis, cricket, and soccer.
The three high schools within the borders of our villages have proud traditions of producing championship teams, with many high school athletes going on to play at the collegiate level.
Today residents continue to actively participate in everything from recreational volleyball and softball, figure skating and ice hockey, opportunities at the Y, the local runner’s club, and even women’s roller derby.