Gazette Article by: Duff Peterson
Appeared in the Gazette: Spring 2010
One of Winnetka’s least-known and most charming “pocket parks” is a small tract of native woodland on Hubbard Place just east of the Hubbard Woods train station, Dunbaugh Park. The park was dedicated to the memory of Franklin P. Dunbaugh (1930-1953), who grew up nearby at 993 Old Green Bay Road and was killed in the Korean War. A graduate of North Shore Country Day School and Harvard University, Dunbaugh was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps after college and led a rifle platoon.
His Bronze Star citation noted his leadership during the defense of Hill 122 on September 15, 1952, when he personally manned a rocket launcher and destroyed two enemy bunkers, refusing to be evacuated even though seriously wounded. In December 1952 he was reported missing in action, and he was officially presumed dead in December 1953. The Marine Corps believes he died leading a night patrol against “an entrenched hostile position in the face of intensive enemy small-arms fire.”
Dunbaugh’s remains were never found, and veterans’ groups still list him as missing in action. He was one of four classmates who resided in Lowell House at Harvard to be killed in the Korean War, and after the war, fellow house residents endowed an academic prize in their honor. According to Harvard University’s website, the prize is given to a Lowell House junior who, in the opinion of the faculty, possesses the same “unhesitating responsibility and strength of character” as the four young men whose lives were cut short.
A group of Winnetka residents that included Dunbaugh’s father, Harry, donated the one-acre tract on Hubbard Place to the village in 1953 “to be kept in its wild state as a bird sanctuary,” and Dunbaugh Park was formally dedicated on November 11, 1956. The park’s wall was built in 1957 and its stone walkway a year later. The park remains a tranquil and little-visited oasis just steps from the Hubbard Woods business district.