IF YOU BUILD IT
they will come
In 1988, the Lansing Family Farm exchanged its humble roots for a destiny very few could have imagined. However, the story only begins there. Not long after the film’s release, believers shaped, molded, and lovingly preserved what Hollywood and a brilliant novel had set in motion that previous year.
It was a cold day in late December 1987, when a volunteer with the Dubuque Chamber of Commerce (working in conjunction with the Iowa Film Board), Sue Riedel, knocked on the door bringing Don Lansing to his feet.
A stranger at his door would explain, “We’re thinking of making a movie in the area on a farm. It possibly could be your farm. Would you allow us to take video of the environs?” “What, are you dreaming, or what?” asked Don Lansing of his visitors. “The only people who come around here are insurance salesman.”
“No, we are making a movie in the area and are scouting different locations,” said Sue. “What kind of movie?” replied Don. “Well,” Sue explained. “It’s a movie about baseball.” “Baseball? I like baseball. Sure. Go ahead.” Sue said, “Thanks, we’ll be in touch.”
A chain of events the next few months would culminate in Don Lansing signing a contract for the use of his farm for the filming of “Shoeless Joe.”
The title, later changed to “Field of Dreams,” has gained world-renowned accolades not only in film, but also as a beloved tourist destination for young and old alike. A moment in time, a place in cinematic history, a mecca for anyone longing to be a part of something greater than themselves, inching toward a destiny that has no limits.
What could be more inspiring?
In 2011, Don Lansing, decided to sell this iconic field. Denise Stillman, a senior hospital executive and travel baseball mom, recognized an opportunity to not only preserve the Field of Dreams but to create a travel baseball destination. In 2012 Denise, along with a group of investors, purchased the Field of Dreams.
Development of the additional fields on property owned by the investor group proceeded rapidly. However, it was put on hold for 3 years when a group of individuals filed suit to prevent any construction. Although Stillman had no plans to change the original field the legal process put development on hold while it wound its way all the way to the Iowa Supreme Court, where the City of Dyersville, the litigant, prevailed over the group trying to prevent the project from moving ahead.
In 2015 Denise approached Major League Baseball about building a stadium at the Field. However, due to financing constraints the project was put on hold until 2017. In 2017 Denise revived the project and was instrumental in its completion. Sadly, Denise did not live to see the final signing of the MLB agreement, succumbing to liver cancer in November of 2018 at the age of 46.
Denise had asked her husband, Tom Mietzel, to carry on her legacy and in the winter of 2019 a deal was finalized with Major League Baseball which has resulted in the construction of this beautiful MLB field.
Today, thanks to Denise’s efforts, and the support of the community and partners, the Field of Dreams has been given a new lease on life and improvements are steadily being made, although the iconic field and surrounding area will remain unchanged.
Thank you for visiting this special place. Let it bring a smile to your face, a warmth to your heart and a spring to your step. Enjoy this special place.