Funeral Homes Adds Miniature Golf To Entertain Families
Though not a traditional use for the basement of a funeral home, Ahlgrim’s has had a community room with a number of entertainment options in it for the last 50 years, and the community is invited to enjoy them for free.
You just have to get past the fact you are in the basement of a funeral home, which could cause some to feel slightly ‘uneasy’.
The theme of the Community Room is somewhat spooky. The mini-golf course has a mausoleum, casket shipping box and haunted house as a few of the holes to play on, in addition to other ghoulish-themed entertainment options throughout.
The room was built by Ahlgrim’s owner, Roger Ahlgrim in 1964, as a play area for his three children. The family lived in a residential home connected to the funeral home at the time.
“Initially, I planned on creating additional chapels [in the basement], but decided instead to expand those on the main floor and built this area for my children and their friends to enjoy,” Ahlgrim said.
The room has a wide variety of entertainment options, in addition to the mini-golf course.
There are six video games, a pinball machine, ping pong table, bumper pool and standard pool table, as well as shuffle board.
The room is decorated with mementos collected over the years by the Ahlgrim family, including a blue and red candy-striped barber shop light donated by a former barber on Northwest Highway. Street signs also line the walls, which were either donated or salvaged by the family at the former Palatine village dump.
Ahlgrim said families, community groups and others have used the community room for decades, for private parties, birthdays and other gatherings.
There is no fee to use the room, but the funeral home does reserve the right to cancel reservations if a visitation is scheduled. Groups can enjoy the room between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., during normal business hours.
The Ahlgrim family has been in funeral business since 1892. The first location was in Chicago at 21st place and Lincoln, but closed when their first suburban funeral home opened in Elmhurst in 1960. The Palatine location opened in 1964, Schaumburg in 1971 and the Lake Zurich location opened its doors in 1987.
All of the funeral homes are run by family members, including Ahlgrim’s two brothers and his son Doug, who operates the Lake Zurich funeral home.
Ahlgrim’s son Jeff manages the hearse livery service for not only Ahlgrim locations, but for funeral homes around the suburbs as well.
Ahlgrim himself, who is now well into his seventies, starting working in the family business when he was just 21-years-old.
For him, offering the community room is a simply a way to give back to the community his business has existed in for so many years. He also reflects on his experiences working with families.
“Though it certainly is not an easy time in people’s lives when we work with them, the best thing I experience is when a family says that we were able to help them through one of the most difficult times in their lives,” Ahlgrim said.