Harlem Globetrotters - 1927
On January 7, 1927, the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team played their first game, in Hinkley, Illinois. They wouldn’t play a “home game” (in Harlem, New York City) until 1968. The Globetrotters were organized as an exhibition team in their hometown of Chicago, Illinois. The original team, the so-called “Savoy Big Five,” were named after the legendary ballroom (the Savoy) where the team played games before dances. The team soon changed its name to reflect the sophisticated New York neighborhood of Harlem, more than 1,000 kilometers away!
Harlem Globetrotters - 2017

In celebration of their 90th year of entertaining families around the world, the iconic Harlem Globetrotters returned to Hinckley, Illinois, today, the anniversary date of the team’s first-ever road game in 1927. As part of the festivities, the Globetrotters erected a new sign to denote the historic site during a special ceremony with the team in Hinckley this afternoon. The sign, standing 10 feet high by 9 feet wide, is located near Hinckley-Big Rock High School on U.S. Highway 30.

The following excerpt is from Stephen J. Bigolin’s publication, A Journey Through Dekalb County Vol. II 

Chapter 19


“East on Route 30 from Somonauk is the village of Hinckley, established in 1872. It owes its existence to the arrival that same year of the Chicago & Iowa Railroad. The community’s name was taken from that of Francis E. Hinckley, president of the railroad. Although not on the same level with East Coast empire builders like Cornelius Vanderbilt and others, Mr. Hinckley was said to have developed 350 miles of rail lines in Illinois that were valued at $10,000,000, according to Dorothy Phillips in her 1976 book, “Hinckley’s History.”

The land on which the town would be located previously belonged to John Sebree, Samuel Miller and Joseph Coster. In 1885, the “Portrait and Biographical Album of Dekalb County, Illinois” stated. “While having but 400 inhabitants, it is one of the neatest towns of its size in the state. The dwellinghouses of those residing here are generally large two-story buildings, the yards well kept and all presenting an attractive appearance.”

The 1907 history “Past and Present of DeKalb County, Illinois” continued singing its praises by saying, “There is no town in the country that has a greater wealth or capital than the Village of Hinckley”

Shortly after turning onto Route 30 on the north side of the road, one finds Pioneer Park, Mentioned in Chapter 17, longtime home of the Sebree log cabin marker. I was told that years ago that this park was created in 1942, at the same time the railroad asked that the marker be moved from the field off Somonauk Road. The name Pioneer Park may well stem from the fact that it was to become the new permanent home of the commemorative sign. While it is all well and good that the marker reposes here, there is nothing to indicate to the casual visitor that the John Sebree cabin had not actually been located 182 feet west of this exact spot”


Stephen J. Bigolin

“When one thinks of barbed wire and DeKalb County history, one name usually comes to mind: Steve Bigolin.
Not only is he a collector of historical items and documents, but he’s a collector of facts, as well: just one question about local history can have him rattling off dates and anecdotes without hesitation.”

Bigolin, S. J. (2003). A Journey Through DeKalb County. Dekalb, IL: Daily Chronicle.

About HHS Museum

The Hinckley Historical Society is a 501c3 not for profit organization that has been cataloging and sharing historical information since 2007.

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Address: 145 E. Lincoln Ave. (Hwy 30)

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