club history



paddle tennis



Our building was constructed in 1836 by Solomon Dunham, who with his wife and six children, drove in a covered wagon from New York to find a home in the newly opened lands of Illinois.

Known then as “Oakland Farm” the original three hundred acres grew to nearly two thousand and the Dunhams became internationally known as an importer and breeder of French coach and Percheron horses, as many as five hundred being stabled here at one time.

With the coming of the farm tractor, the importation and breeding of Percheron horses became a business of the past. In the spring of 1932 the old red brick house was restored and redecorated. The stables, stately woods and farmlands lent themselves to the increased interest in riding and in 1934 a group of Wayne and Geneva residents formed the Dunham Woods Riding Club, leasing the original Dunham home.

When fire destroyed the old coach house in 1950, the club, with the help of insurance proceeds, purchased the Inn. The purchase included the residence, lower barn, swimming pool, tennis courts and land.

In 1957, a bond issue was sold to the members for the purpose of adding the Gray Room, Dining Room and constructing a new kitchen. All the bonds were subsequently paid off prior to maturity.

In 1961, the Wayne-DuPage Hunt was instrumental in purchasing more land from Dunham, Inc., including the kennels and upper barn. The purchase was made in the name of Dunham Woods Riding Club. Even more acreage was purchased in 1975. These later acquisitions, with the barns, riding rings, indoor ring, outside course, tenant house and the new pole barn are leased by the Wayne-DuPage Hunt. The Hunt is responsible for their maintenance and repair, insurance and taxes.

In 1979, the Dunham Woods Riding Club, including the four corners at the intersection of Army Trail and Dunham Roads, together with the Castle and outbuildings, was mentioned for and accepted into the National Register of Historic Places.