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Horlick Field 100 Nominee: Nash Motors vs. Horlick Racine Football Game

Newspaper Ad For First Ever Event At Horlick Athletic Field

Advertisement from the October 18, 1919, Racine Journal-News for the first game to ever be played at Horlick Athletic Field.

The afternoon edition of the October 18, 1919, Racine Journal-News announced that William Horlick, Sr. purchased W.I. League Park, along with the land to the west of the park, and it would be called Horlick Athletic Field. The very next day, the Horlick Racine football team met Nash Motors of Kenosha on the gridiron for the first known event at Horlick Athletic Field.

Many said the matchup would be the best of the year and over 200 fans were expected to join the Kenosha team on the North Shore electric cars to the game. Unfortunately for the 800 fans that ended up watching the game, it wasn’t much of a contest as the Horlicks went on to win 39-0. The ball was consistently on the Nash Motors side of the field all game with a brief exception in the third quarter.

Fred Heinisch scored two touchdowns in the game and “Happy” Waisinick kicked three point-after attempts in four chances. Mike Boldus scored the first touchdown for the Racine crew in the first quarter and Sorenson was the most consistent ground gainer and scored a touchdown on a difficult forward pass. Carl Hauser and Stellberg each added touchdowns in the game for Racine.

Newspaper Headline Announcing Horlick Racine Victory over Nash Motors

Headline from the afternoon edition of the October 19, 1919, Racine Journal-News announcing that Horlick Racine beat Nash Motors of Kenosha in the first game ever played at Horlick Athletic Field.

The lineup for the Nash Motors team was:

  • Frederick, right end
  • Opie (formerly of Michigan), right tackle
  • Briner, right guard
  • Peterson, Jefferys, center
  • Schelly, Jefferys, left guard
  • Clauson, Dodgers, left tackle
  • Westburg (Madison University), left end
  • Joe Verricks, Dodgers, Soenberg (Great Lakes), fullback

In addition, the Kenosha squad had Haneur at halfback, C. Verricks at quarterback, Miller at end, Gulbreson at center, and Bourdallis at tackle.

The Racine squad consisted of team captain Carl Hauser and the following players:

  • C. Heinisch
  • F. Heinisch
  • Hermanson
  • O. Hegeman
  • F. Hegeman
  • “Happy” Wasinick
  • Stellberg
  • Christensen
  • Kitzinger
  • Zimprich
  • Eckland
  • Suhr
  • Hodges
  • Mike Boldus
  • Whitey Sorenson
  • Ralph Smith

 

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Horlick Field 100 Nominee: William Horlick, Sr.

William Horlick, Sr.

William Horlick, Sr.

Historic Horlick Athletic Field wouldn’t exist without William Horlick, Sr. Horlick grew up in England but came to the United States with his father-in-law, J.A. Horlick. Along with his brother-in-law, the three ran a limestone and quarry business. William moved to Chicago a few years later to help the business grow, but returned to Racine in 1875 and opened Horlick Food Company in 1876. It was at this time that William began working on developing a dried milk product, which he patented and launched in 1883. Originally called Diastoid, the trademark name was changed to malted milk in 1887.

The business grew and William needed more land, eventually purchasing ten acres in Mount Pleasant along the edge of the City of Racine which became known as Horlicksville. The plants built by the Horlick Food Company were among the safest in the country, both for employees and for the processing of milk. Many other milk processing plants in the state and across the country asked for the Horlick Food Company guidelines so they could more safely process milk products.

William was a huge supporter of the Racine community. He donated Memorial Hall, wings at St. Luke’s Hospital, Island Park, Horlick High School, and Horlick Athletic Field. He also sponsored polar expeditions, including one by Richard Byrd in the Antarctic and Roald Amundsen to the North Pole. Horlick’s Malted Milk was one of the main food staples for these expeditions and Byrd named a mountain range the Horlick Mountains in the Antarctic.

On October 18, 1919, it was announced that William purchased the former W-I League Park and renamed it Horlick’s Athletic Field. The first event to take place at the park was a football game between the Racine Horlicks (soon to be Horlick-Racine Legion) and Nash Motors out of Kenosha. In 1922, the American Professional Football Association (APFA) changed it’s name to the National Football League (NFL) and admitted the Racine Legion into the league. The Legion played at Horlick’s Athletic Field for free during the organization’s existence from 1919-1924.

Deed Filed to Give Racine Horlicks Athletic Field

The afternoon edition of the November 15, 1935, Racine Journal Times reports on the filing of the deed giving Horlick’s Athletic Field to the City of Racine.

On September 3, 1935, William and his wife (and second cousin) Arabella, donated Horlick’s Athletic Field to the City of Racine. The deed, filed on November 15, 1935, stipulated that the field was to be called, and “always be known as,” Horlick Field and that the land would “be used for the promotion of athletic sports, outdoor games, amusements, musical events, military drills, and events of similar nature.” The deed further stipulated that the land was not to be used for a “general public park.” Alexander and Bertha Horlick donated the land from Carlisle Avenue to where the west stone wall once stood to the city in 1949 to give the entirety of what is now known as Historic Horlick Athletic Field.

William Horlick, Sr. passed away on September 26, 1936, at the age of 90 and less than a year after donating Horlick Athletic Field to the City of Racine. In those 11 months, a lot changed about Horlick Athletic Field. The Works Project Administration built the north wall and 100 feet of the east wall, including the current ticket booth, put sidewalks around the field, while the city installed lights.

Do you know a person, event, team, or organization that should be considered for the Horlick Field 100? Share your story with us on our Horlick 100 webpage or on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #HorlickField100.

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What’s Wrong With This Photo?

1960 Plan For New Football Field at Horlick Athletic Field.

Proposed New Horlick Athletic Field Football Proposal from June, 1960. (Click for larger image.)

What do you notice about this photo? In 1960, the redesign of Horlick Athletic Field was to keep the baseball field where it was and build the football field outside the west wall. Neighbors on Carlisle Avenue balked at the idea.

The city would debate the issue for a couple more years before deciding that the new football field should be where Humble Park is currently located. The alderman and neighbors in that area shot down that idea as well.

The entire city agreed that a dedicated football field was needed but nobody wanted it in their neighborhood. The Racine Journal News said the only place to build a new football field was at Horlick Athletic Field.

There was even a proposal by the Chamber of Commerce to build a huge sports concourse at Durand Avenue and Green Bay Road that would include a 10,000 seat football stadium and a 6,500 capacity fieldhouse. There was major concern with four high schools in the community and Case High School coming soon that there weren’t enough athletic facilities in the city and the ones that Racine had were highly inadequate. Instead of being complementary to what the city was doing, city leaders took it as competition.

County Concourse

Proposed County Concourse at Highways 11 and 31 from August, 1962. (Click for larger image.)

Late in 1962, that’s what the city decided to do. The 1960 plan didn’t stick, however. The decision was made to move the baseball field west where it is now and to have the football field in its current location. This appeased the property owners on Carlisle Avenue. The baseball field was planned to be done by July 1, 1963 while the football field along with other amenities would be finished in 1964.

The Racine Journal Times blasted the new concept in a September 15, 1963 editorial.

The present ill-conceived plan for Horlick Field was devised and pushed into the City Council. It called for a $133,000 appropriation over two years, with $34,000 to be spent the first year (1963) primarily on a new baseball field on the west side of the field, with the football field and new dressing room facility to be built in 1964 on the east side, the site of the old baseball park. This was, in fact, an exact reversal of the priority of need, as well as a reversal of the logical location of the two fields. A football field was needed first, and would be used by more people; the baseball field, which this plan placed first, would be only one more among many maintained by the city. Again, this was a response to the political forces that would appease the nearby residents by placing the least used facility nearest them, and the whole plan was supposed to be the city’s competitive answer to the sports concourse plan.

The complete renovation, which included the current concessions stand, locker room, and bathrooms behind the concessions stand, was held on July 3, 1964. The first event was the annual Goodwill drum and bugle corps competition sponsored by the “Boys of ’76” Drum and Bugle Corps. The one complaint following the event was that the facilities, which included seating for 7,500 at the new football field, only had one drinking fountain.

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POLL: Help Us Plan the 100th Birthday Party

Historic Horlick Athletic Field turns 100 years old on Saturday, October 19, 2019, and we’re planning to celebrate! We’ve come up with some ideas and we want to hear from the community. Choose up to three things in the poll below that you think should be part of a potentially day-long community celebration. Also, there’s an opportunity for you to share your own idea either as part of the poll or in the comments section below.

Also, if you’re part of a local business or individual that would like to sponsor this community celebration or donate goods or services, please contact Don Wadewitz. The community celebration is currently being supported by the City of Racine Department of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services and the Racine Raiders Football Club, Inc.

What people or events would you like to see at the Historick Horlick Athletic Field 100th Birthday Celebration planned for October 19, 2019?
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Welcome to Historic Horlick Atheltic Field!

Historic Horlick Athletic Field has been a central gathering place for the Racine community for nearly 100 years. On October 19, 2019, Historic Horlick Athletic Field will turn 100! The City of Racine and the Racine Raiders are putting together a year of celebrations to culminate on the 100th birthday on October 19, 2019.

Historic Horlick Athletic Field has been home to a National Football League team, an All-American Girls Professional Baseball League team, traveling Major League Baseball all-star teams, drum and bugle corps competitions, donkey baseball, midget car racing, high school athletics, adult amateur teams, and much more. While it’s impossible to figure out, Historic Horlick Athletic Field has likely hosted thousands of events and over a million spectators.

The planning is already underway. A logo was designed by Kris Martinez and this official logo will identify all official events for the 100th birthday of Historic Horlick Athletic Field. We hope you can make it to many of the events that we will plan to celebrate this cultural icon in our community.