It’s not every day that a miniature golf advance draws comparisons to the Taj Mahal. But Par-King, which has been operating aboriginal in Morton Grove and again in Lincolnshire for a absolute of 63 years, is a allotment of Americana that’s outlasted Riverview action park, best drive-in theaters and a lot of added bright fiberglass-bedecked roadside attractions absent to burghal sprawl.
Gus G. Boznos, who died aftermost ages at 92, was allotment of the second-generation to advance what’s now a third-generation ancestors business.
Par-King started in Morton Grove and now operates on a 25-acre armpit on Milwaukee Avenue in Lincolnshire. It’s a bequest to a time back bodies migrated alfresco for recreation, instead of biconcave into the air-conditioned abundance of couches, computers and video games.
“It’s one of the best miniature golf courses in the country,” said Gretchen Smith, the Lansing, Michigan, columnist of the accessible book “Amazing Strokes,” which tells the history of miniature golf and its courses. “You aloof don’t acquisition places like that anymore.”
Atlas Obscura — an online armpit adherent to “the world’s best amazing places and foods” — calls Par-King “an absorbing attestation to a bound dematerialization attraction.” In 1965, the annual Action Business alleged it “possibly the best busy mini-golf advance in the nation” and “mini-golf’s Taj Mahal.”
Formally dressed prom-goers alight on Par-King anniversary spring. Wedding parties bead by. It’s been the armpit of alliance proposals, with husbands-to-be enlisting the staff’s advice at bustling the catechism by ambuscade assurance rings at assorted holes on its two courses.
In 1995, back a accumulation of architects and historians met in Chicago for a appointment on “Preserving the Recent Past,” the Sun-Times appear they bypassed a appointment to such architectural wonders as the Robie House and the Rookery to appointment kitsch-y sites like Superdawg on the Northwest Side, the Leaning Tower in Niles and Par-King.
“I can’t acquaint you how abounding bodies appear to Lincolnshire and attending about and say, ‘This is area I had my aboriginal date,’ ” said Mr. Boznos’ son George, who runs the advance with his brother Chris.
Par-King appearance 10,000 flowers, topiaries, Japanese maples and a behemothic pink-castle backdrop.
Other mini-golf courses accept across-the-holes motifs, like a boscage acidity or maybe a Tiki feel. Par-King has a custom-built affair for anniversary of its two 18-hole courses, abounding originally advised and engineered by Mr. Boznos and his brothers Nick and Sam.
Golfers hit assurance at a miniature Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty, a behemothic roulette caster or behemothic guitar, fiberglass elephants, alligators, knights in armor, a awakening rocket address and two accessories with golfball-bearing elevators: a roller-coaster and a Sears Tower with light-up windows. (When Par-King opened in the backward 1950s, the Boznos ancestors created a calibration archetypal of the then-new Prudential Building, Chicago’s tallest building.)
As one angel told the Travel Channel, “I can see Lady Liberty, Mount Rushmore and a awe-inspiring consciousness-expanding attic all afore curfew.”
A son of Greek immigrants from the Tripoli region, Mr. Boznos grew up in Morton Grove. His ancestor George endemic a ample allotment of acreage a Waukegan and Dempster area he operated a garden centermost and aftermath store, which acquired into a nursery and added businesses, including a alehouse and a boat-and-marine shop. In 1951, he and his sons — Gus, Nick and Sam — opened a active range, alleged Four G Fairways, which stood for George’s Gorgeous Golf Garden. They added mini-golf afterwards on.
Mr. Boznos spotted his approaching wife Bonita while she was practicing her golf d at Four G. They got affiliated in 1965.
“People acquaint us all the time the belief of how they met” at Par-King, she said, and how “their accouchement and their children’s children” accept alternate there to play.
The ancestors awash some of their acreage to developers who congenital a Korvettes store, and in 1964 Gus and Nick relocated a little east on Dempster to their additional Morton Grove location, which they dubbed Par-King Skill Golf, according to Mr. Boznos’ son George. Brothers Gus and Nick opened Par-King in Lincolnshire in the mid-1970s, and Mr. Boznos operated Lincolnshire while his brother connected to run the Morton Grove location, which bankrupt about 15 years ago.
Mr. Boznos believed in befitting the area bright — and that if article was alive fine, don’t abuse it too much. “Don’t bedrock the boat,” he’d say.
He enjoyed bistro lamb and demography the casual sip of Roditis Greek wine.
He is additionally survived by his son Chris and was “papou” to two grandchildren. A burial account has been held. Mr. Boznos additionally will be remembered on Sept. 30 at a mnimosino, a acceptable canonizing 40 canicule afterwards a death, at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox abbey in Des Plaines.
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