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Tripping Day Three: Field of Dreams

Posted on Tuesday, July 12th, 2005

Dave!Today something rather odd happened... my work was pushed back a full twelve hours. Stuck out in the Wisconsin countryside with nothing to do, I decided to meet up with a friend from Illinois for a chat and then bum around Milwaukee for the day. After a late breakfast with my friend, he went back to Joliet... but I did not go to Milwaukee after all.

I went to Iowa.

Partly because I've been to Milwaukee dozens of times and have already done the stuff there I am interested in, but mostly because I wanted to visit "Field of Dreams."

Field of Dreams

Field of Dreams

Field of Dreams

If you've read my blog for a while, you probably already know that Field of Dreams is my favorite movie of all time. It's one of the few films I honestly believe to be flawless. There is not a single moment I would change. And since it has James Earl Jones in it, I guess that kind of pushes it "beyond perfect" in my book.

"If you build it, he will come."

The corn field where the movie was shot mostly belongs to the Lansing family of Dyersville, Iowa, though a portion of it (left field from the 3rd base-line over) belongs to a neighbor. After filming was completed, the neighbor plowed under his part of the field and re-planted. But the Lansings decided to leave their part untouched because, much to their surprise, people actually did come to see it. Lots of people... from all over the world.

To help pay for upkeep, the Lansings added a souvenir stand to the attraction so that they could sell T-Shirts, hats, postcards, and such. Unlike the movie, however, no ticket is required, and guests can look around for free.

The popularity of the attraction did not go unnoticed.

Eventually, a group of crap-weasle investment bankers struck a deal to lease the land that the neighbor had plowed under. They then restored the missing part of the baseball field, open up a competing gift shop, and cashed in on what the Lansing family had so generously begun for the film's fans. I guess the good news is that you can see the complete field now... but it sure was a lousy thing to do. Fortunately, there are signs posted so that guests know where their money is going.

While I was visiting, dozens of people came and went, which really surprised me. Even more shocking: according to the souvenir book, busy summer weekends can pull in over 3000 people. This is kind of bizarre for a movie that's approaching 20 years old.

After running the bases, buying a T-Shirt, and sending some postcards, I decided to make the most of my 7-hour round-trip and drop by the nearby city of Dubuque, Iowa to have a look. It's an interesting place, filled with an eclectic mix of building styles that range from beautiful to bizarre. One of the most unusual is the courthouse, which is a scary blend of styles that doesn't really seem to come together...

Dubuque Courthouse

Bleh. I'm tired from driving all day. A pity I have to be to work in an hour.

Movie Quotable of the Day: "The only thing we had in common was that she was from Iowa, and I had once heard of Iowa."
Yesterday's Answer: Caddyshack (1980) with Bill Murray and Chevy Chase.

Categories: Travel 2005Click To It: Permalink


  1. Annette says:

    Nice and hot and humid, eh? One can practically see the corn grow on a day like this. You were near Grant Wood country… all those nice rolling hills. Dubuque has a great botanical garden, great river views… and more river views and neat rolling back roads as you get down to Galena. You’ll have to return : )

  2. Cavan says:

    Well, I’m going to take a wild swing (bad puns, anyone?) at today’s movie quote and say: ummmmm….Field of Dreams?

  3. Sayuri says:

    Ahhh, Field Of Dreams. Love that film. I would love to visit there! You are so lucky Dave!

    James Earl Jones’ monologue at the end before he disappears through the corn…just perfection…..Ahhhhh. I’m away to watch it now!!

  4. Brandon says:

    Oh man, I am so jealous. I had only one chance to go to the Field of Dreams and I totally blew it by waking up late and I needed to be in Ohio by the end of the day. I’ll get there someday, but now I’m very jealous.

  5. Kevin says:

    Seems like a safe bet on the quote.

    Dave, tell me that court house doesn’t remind you of an entry in a Lego building contest. I was out there last year and saw that building. It is odd. But, for some reason, I couldn’t pull my eyes away from it. Fascinating in a you-just-flunked-your-architecture-thesis-project sort of way.

    I haven’t been to the Field of Dreams yet, personally. My wife has been there. My parents have been there. Heck, my sports-decorated office even has a framed poster from there. But I have yet to actually see it. Hopefully soon.

  6. Venusupnorth says:

    I must say I admire you for being so enthusiastic about traveling all over. Those pictures are great and I’m sure your job thing turned out good.

  7. James Bow says:

    Interesting coincidence. I’ll be passing through Iowa tomorrow, though for far less fun reasons. I’m currently posting this comment from Ottawa, Illinois.

  8. Troy says:

    I’ve been there. My dad is a big fan/collector of Ertl toy tractors (die-cast tractors that is). I think I’ve been to Dyersville twice in my life time. Don’t remember much of it. Do remember the Ertl factory and the Field of Dreams. I’m sure we even have pictures of our visit.

  9. Kate says:

    While I am pleased to know that you visited Dyersville, my home town, I think that you have your facts a little backwards about what happened to make there be two seperate gift shops at the Field of Dreams. I suggest you do a little more research and find out both sides of the story before you make judgements.

  10. Dave2 says:

    This was the information provided at the site, and I really have no reason to doubt it. In addition, it is well-documented that the left field WAS plowed under by the other owners. The fact that they later reconstructed it and added their own gift shop really can only be viewed one way… they wanted to capitalize on what the Lansing family had built.

    If you’ve got more information, you are welcome to post it.

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