The iconic baseball diamond from Field of Dreams is not only a real place, but it also has quite the history. The beloved 1989 baseball movie has remained a classic of American cinema, and continues to emotionally resonate with audiences beyond baseball and general sports fans. Over the last three decades, the titular field from the movie has become every bit as iconic and important as the film itself.
Field of Dreams tells the heartwarming tale of Iowa corn farmer Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) who lives with his family in an isolated farmhouse surrounded by a cornfield. When a ghostly voice from the field tells Ray to plow his crops and build a baseball field, Ray feels compelled to comply. Once complete, the field plays host to an ethereal baseball team made up of White Sox players who were ousted from the team in 1919 following a scandal. As Ray continues to heed the seemingly random requests of the ghostly voice, all the pieces begin to fall together, leading Ray to finally understand the meaning of these ghostly words: “If you build it, he will come.”
In the years following its release, Field of Dreams has come to symbolize the spirit of baseball to many viewers. The concept of putting aside life’s difficulties for a few hours to enjoy America’s definitive sport has perhaps never been as perfectly and emotionally captured as it is in Field of Dreams, and the movie’s magic would ultimately end up leaping off the screen and into the real world thanks to the field itself. Today, baseball fans can still visit the actual cornfield where the film was shot, and watch (or play) a game on the very same baseball field. The Iowa scenes for Field of Dreams were shot across two neighboring locations: a cornfield/house owned by farmer Don Lansing, and a cornfield next to Lansing’s, which was owned by Al Ameskamp. The iconic baseball diamond was constructed across both properties, with most of the turf falling on Lansing’s side.
Both farms are located in Dyersville, Iowa, and following filming, the field was left behind by Universal Pictures to be dealt with at the discretion of the property owners. While Ameskamp allowed his crops to reclaim part of the set, Lansing turned his property into a tourist attraction, allowing any visitors to see the house and his portion of the baseball field for free. In 2007, Ameskamp sold his property to Lansing, giving him complete ownership of the field. By 2009, the “Field of Dreams” site hosted a yearly visitor count of 65,000 people. The site was sold in 2011, and its new owners transformed the area into a full Field of Dreams experience, including off-site lodging, guided tours, and baseball-themed souvenirs.
The location would make headlines in August 2021, when an official MLB game would be hosted on a second, larger baseball field temporarily constructed near the original field. The game, originally scheduled for 2020 and featuring a match between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees, was introduced by Kevin Costner himself. It was a significant moment for fans of the movie; not only was the site now an official part of MLB history, but the ghostly prophesy spoken to Costner in the original film had come true in the real world. Universal may have simply built a movie set, but lovers of baseball, classic Americana, and Field of Dreams have been coming to feel its magic for themselves ever since.