Halings Resort from the Beginning,
as told by Haling’s Management Team
In 1920, Charles F. Haling sold his tavern, Haling’s Saloon in Chicago and moved to rural Antioch with his wife, Margaret and 5 children – Gertrude, Charles W. aka Charlie, Clara, and twin daughters Alice and Irene. Charles F. purchased a small tavern and hotel on Grass Lake on the Chain-O-Lakes which he named Haling’s Resort.
In the 1920’s people would journey out from the city of Chicago to stay at Haling’s Resort to enjoy swimming, fishing, hunting, and a relaxing boat ride to see the beautiful lotus flower beds on the Chain. Milwaukee Road (Rte 83) was still a gravel road from the town of Half Day heading north to Antioch. Kerosene lamps, hand water pumps, and outhouses were in use during this time period.
Many of the resorts on the Chain had hotels or other living accommodations so people would come and stay for a day, a week or even longer. Guests at Haling’s Resort could get a room, food, and a boat rental for $18 a week. In the 1930’s, the hotel at Haling’s Resort was damaged by fire from a guest smoking in his room. The building was never reopened as a hotel but was renovated and converted into the Haling’s family home.
Upon the death of Charles F. in 1934, his son Charlie took over the daily operations of the resort. Charlie with his wife Helen owned and operated the business for the remainder of their lifetime. The tavern was open 365 days a year and Charlie was the bartender. Charlie was known as one of the great historians and story tellers on the Chain. Charlie always had his Polaroid camera close at hand and loved taking pictures. Helen was the master of the kitchen and served up a scrumptious cheeseburger and fabulous fish fry.
A typical season at Haling’s Resort began in the Spring and ran throughout the Fall months. In the Spring, people would enjoy swimming, fishing and boating. Haling’s Resort had 40 fishing boats with motors available to rent. In the late Summer the lotus flowers were in bloom and Haling’s Resort had a special channel and touring boats to take visitors through the beds. The Fall was the beginning of a great duck and goose hunting season. Charlie would rent 17 duck blinds per year that were on the property that is now part of the Chain-O-Lakes State Park. There was always an early hunter’s breakfast served at Haling’s Resort. Then Charlie would take the hunters out to their blinds in his 25’ launch. At that time, Grass Lake was full of vegetation and feed which was ideal to draw in the water fowl in much greater numbers than you see today.
Charlie’s knowledge and usage of fishing boats led him to build a marina and dealer relationship with Johnson Motors in 1935. This led to the sales of small Alumacraft fishing boats to customers looking to purchase their own boats. Charlie’s son, Charles A. aka Chuck attended schooling through Johnson Motors to become an accomplished outboard motor mechanic. Father and son worked as a team for many years. Charlie focused more on the tavern business while his son Chuck ran the sales and service portion of the marina. The humble beginning of Haling’s Resort grew into a complete marina with a sales/service/repair shop that received many awards from Johnson/Evinrude Motors.
When Charlie passed away in June 1988, his son Chuck took on the additional responsibility of managing the tavern. Present day, you will see Chuck’s oldest son and daughters (Charles E., Deb, Lisa) and grandson David working at Haling’s Resort. Chuck’s son John and wife Maureen own and operate the sales and service department out of C. Haling and Sons Marina. The marina offers boat slip rentals as well as inside and outside storage.
Currently, Haling’s Resort is the oldest business on the Chain-O-Lakes owned and operated by generations of the same family. The tavern is still open 365 days a year. The tavern has video gaming, a pool table, drink specials, and tons of historical pictures and interesting articles about Haling’s Resort and the Chain-O-Lakes area, compiled by owner, Charles A. Haling. Please stop in and say hello – we look forward to seeing you soon!
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