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Wednesday May 22nd 2024

Field Of Dreams | 1989

Field of Dreams location: the magical baseball diamond: Lansing Farm, Dyersville, Iowa
Field of Dreams location: the magical baseball diamond: Lansing Farm, Dyersville, Iowa | Photograph: Flickr © Lumberjacklukee

“If you build it, he will come.” promised the mysterious voice. And come they did. The unlikely supernatural baseball feelgood weepie has provided Iowa with a major tourist attraction.

Most of the film is shot in the area around Dubuque, the oldest city in Iowa, at the northern edge of the state, separated from Illinois and Wisconsin by the Mississippi River.

The baseball field that Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) is impelled to build still exists, about four miles northeast of Dyersville, just off Highway 20, west of Dubuque. The diamond – constructed for the film – straddled two properties, and after filming, half of it was ploughed up and returned to farming. But, just as in the movie, visitors came, and the field was restored. It’s estimated that, within three years of the film’s release, 60,000 people had made the pilgrimage to Dyersville.

Take along your bat and ball and play out your dreams at the Field of Dreams Movie Site, 28995 Lansing Road, Dyersville.

The school, where Annie Kinsella (Amy Madigan) stands up against censorship at the PTA meeting, is Drexler Elementary School, Third Avenue in Farley, on Route 20 about six miles east of Dyersville.

The scene neatly introduces the name of the 60s radical writer (which in the source book, Shoeless Joe, was JD Salinger – notoriously publicity-shy author of Catcher in the Rye), and it’s in the Seminary Library of the University of Dubuque, University Avenue, that Ray Kinsella researches the reclusive Terence Mann (though the exterior shot is of the University’s Van Vliet Hall).

Field of Dreams location: Fenway Park, Boston
Field of Dreams location: secret message on the scoreboard: Fenway Park, Boston | Photograph: Flickr © wallyg/Wally Gobetz

Dubuque itself stands in for 'Boston’, where Ray Kinsella goes to find the retired scribe (James Earl Jones). A stretch of Dubuque’s Central Avenue at 17th Street was dressed as a Jewish section of ‘Boston’. Mann’s apartment is alongside Jerry’s Pawn & Jewelry, 1735 Central Avenue.

The baseball ground, in which Ray and the bemused writer receive subliminal messages about ‘Moonlight’ Graham on the scoreboard, really is Boston. It’s Fenway Park, 4 Yawkey Way, home of the Boston Red Sox.

The smallest major league ground in the States (and the site of Babe Ruth’s first professional appearance in 1914), it’s on Yawkey Way – the ticket office is at no. 4. You probably won’t spot a young Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as extras in the crowd. Years later, Affleck returned to Fenway Park as a director to film the climax of The Town.

Field of Dreams location: Galena, Illinois
Field of Dreams location: looking for ‘Moonlight’ Graham in ‘Chisholm, Minnesota’: Main Street, Galena, Illinois | Photograph: Flickr © branflakez/Brandee Crisp

On the road, Ray and Terence stay at the Air Line Inn, 10784 Highway 61, south of Dubuque towards the regional airport.

The quest to find ‘Moonlight’ leads the intrigued pair to the small town of ‘Chisholm, Minnesota’. The picturesque main street is the historic downtown district of Galena, Jo Daviess County, about 12 miles southeast of Dubuque, across the Mississippi in Illinois. Ray and Terence arrive on South Main Street at Green Street, and Ray finally catches up with Dr Graham (Burt Lancaster) on South Main Street at the northwest corner with Hill Street.