November 23, 2011

Parks & Green Scapes

The Evolution of Parks

A landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted believed that public parks could serve as meeting grounds for people of different backgrounds and economic means that could be played out in a rich diversity of ways he likely could not have predicted. Urban and regional parks could serve 
Wendt Playlot on Roscoe Street
Some Background
In the early 1850's, a park movement emerged in Chicago, when visionary citizens began to rally for the creation of the nation's first comprehensive park and boulevard system. A physician, Dr. John Rauch led a successful protest to set aside a 60-acre section of a public cemetery as parkland, marking the beginnings of Lincoln Park. This inspired citizens to press for three separate acts of state legislation establishing the Lincoln, South, and West Park Commissions in 1869. Although the three park commissions operated independently, the overall goal was to create a unified ribbon of green that would encircle Chicago. - Chicago Park District
The Parks of Lake View:
Kerfoot Park
It began with S.H. Kerfoot
half of stereoview image - Calumet412

This ten acre park space area was located along Irving Park Road probably from Halsted Street toward existing lakefront by 1860. It was not an actually park but according to the property owner S.H. Kerfoot “first specimen of artistic landscape gardening in this section of the country“. This section of the country was rural and beyond the borders of the City of Chicago within the Township of Lake View. Mr. Kerfoot huge park-like space included planted evergreens, rustic ambers, and man-made ponds to be crossed by bridges according to a publication called ‘Constructing Chicago’ by Daniel Bluestone. His property was located steps away from one of the original resort/hotels in the township that was to be named Lake View Hotel by 1857 the same year the township was granted a charter by the State of Illinois within County of Cook.
Read more about the life of 
Samuel H. Kerfort 1896
S.H. Kerfoot was not only a known horticulturist but a one of the saviors of property re-recognition after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 (most of the property records were destroyed during the fire). When 17 year old Kerfoot moved to Chicago he was hired by a real estate company that was owned by James Rees, the same person who co-owned Lake View Hotel along with Elisha Huntley (his original home).
Mr. Rees, Elisha Huntley, and S.H. Kerfoot would use the hotel and the park/garden space to attract visitors from Chicago to vacation and buy property around there properties, an area that was known by the 1870's for it’s county-like breezes from the lake. In fact, the hotel was located off a bluff over-looking the lake for decades until late 1880’s when a roadway was constructed along the lake shore to be called Sheridan Road, but that is long story and for another blog post.
Sharp Shooter Park
When a park was for meant for 

prize shooting
The Chicagoan 1930
This hunting area officially called Schuetzen Park and was located along the North Chicago River and Clybourn Avenue general area. The area was established in 1853 and at the time located in both in the old township of Ridgeville
(Lake View & Evanston township combined 1850-1854) and the Township of Jefferson. Western Avenue was the borderline between the two townships from 1854-1887, hence part of the history of Lake View to be share. The park space location west of Western Avenue was to be the future sight of Riverview Amusement Park originally named Riverview Sharpshooter Park. 
The Germans of the area loved their sport and apparently the North Chicago River area was dense of forest with wild life. 
The following are articles will give insights of its attraction to the once dominate ethnic group in the Chicago.
The Evolution of the Park
The Gathering in 1866
was a two day outing

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Picnic with a Hunt 1867

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The Socialists 
have a gathering in 1880

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Bowling and Shooting in 1886

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Picnic and shooting in 1891
District of Lake View - Chicago
Green Spaces of All Kinds:
How conventional park spaces began
In the early 1850's, a park movement emerged in Chicago, when visionary citizens began to rally for the creation of the nation's first comprehensive park and boulevard system. A physician, Dr. John Rauch led a successful protest to set aside a 60-acre section of a north-side public cemetery (Chicago Cemetery) as parkland that marked the beginnings of Lincoln Park, the park.
The first official urban public park in the City of Chicago was located at Hull House on South Halsted Street in 1897.

Poster of opener

Lincoln Park expands north
into the District of Lake View
The Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of 1905 show the proposed park along the lakefront to be called Belmont Yacht Harbor.  
Sanborn Fire Maps that depict the plans for Belmont Harbor which was open to the public in 1913
Between the years 1900-20 of Lincoln Park greatly expanded with creation of Diversey Harbor, Belmont Yacht Harbor in 1913 and the start of landfill for Montrose. Ernest Burgess created a concept that each neighborhood of Chicago should have their own park land available for residents in 1929.
Note: View my post called Official City Neighborhoods for more on a revolutionary neighborhood concept that Earnest Burgess helped design.
1908  Residents of the District of Lake View 
Petition for Parkland  
Working class citizens demanded open space during this time period that was closer to their homes and workplaces (manufacturing plants along the North Chicago River and Fullerton Avenue) other than along the lakefront.
That same year in 1908 Wrightwood Park, located in the new District of Lake View, was created from an old clay pit that was currently used as a ice pond as the Sanborn Maps show below. Clay Pits were used for the manufacturing of bricks for streets and dwellings. A number of pits were located in this area in the 19th century. 
 Sanborn Fire Map 1894
Sanborn Fire Map 1923
1910  The Northwestern Elevated had a garden contest along their tracks from Belmont Station through the Ravenswood Line (Brown) hence creating a concept of green space on a very local level other than grand boulevards and established parks. One can say garden walks may have stem of this idea. 
Also in 1910 when Lake View was referred to as a district within Chicago, there was a park listing by the Daily News Almanac under 'small parks' there was a green space called Gross Park on Otto Street aka Gross Park on Henderson designed by Samuel Eberly Gross who had an ornate park space in mind for working class citizens of his subdivision. This concept would be repeated almost a century later by Mayor Richard Daley with  the construction of green-space medium strips throughout the city. 
General Area of the Park
 zoomed view of the green space
Sanborn Fire Maps 1923
The Chicago Park District received substantial funds through President Roosevelt's (WPA) Works Progress Administration for park improvements and programs. In the late 1940s, a Ten Year Plan led to dozens of new parks including a progressive school-park concept. In 1959, the system expanded again, when the City of Chicago transferred more than 250 parks, playlots, sanatoriums, and beaches to the Chicago Park District. 
As of 2012, CPD is the steward of over 7,700 acres of open space, totaling more than 570 parks, 31 beaches, 50 nature areas, and 2 world-class conservatories and host of thousands of special events, cultural, nature, sports and recreational programs. The Chicago Park District still remains the nation's leading provider of green space and recreation.
Redline greens
Greenview Avenue just north of Roscoe
In 1993 the City of Chicago drafted a plan of action. 
The City Space Plan presented their key findings and recommendations of a comprehensive effort for creating 
and preserving open spaces in an urban landscape.
1922 cartoon called 'Their Playground'
image - National Archives and Records Administration
Although the first sandlot opened in Boston in 1886, the playground movement didn't begin to develop until the mid-1890's, when playgrounds were opened in nine major cities including Chicago. After that owners of 'settlement houses' or local civic groups opened 'open vacant spaces' called playlots, often modest dirt lots, on land donated or lent by philanthropistsA wide coalition of child-saving reformers including social settlement house workers, progressive educators, and child psychologists urged municipal governments to construct playgrounds where the city's youth could play under supervised and controlled conditions.

1937  Donation of property 
for playlots
1940  Status of Playlots 
in Lake View

1945 Police lead organizations
 for Playlots

1966  A Neighborhood Association 
Petitioned for a Park 

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1969 A Coal Yard
 into a Parkground

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1970  A Park established next to
 the Old Chateau Hotel
formerly known as 
Broadway-Sheridan Apartments

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The Traditional Parks of Lake View
LakeView is fortunate to have four playground parks and eight playlots within its neighborhood borders. Most playlots are associated with existing playgrounds for means of administration and maintenance. 
These following park spaces are classified as park grounds
with a size of 5 to 25 acres in size.
1869 - The Story of Lincoln Park
'Band Concert Lincoln Park Chicago'
image - New York Public Library
From 1869-1889 Lincoln Park was administered by a board of commissioners from both the City of Chicago and the Township of Lake View. Before the annexation of 1889, Lake View Township's southern border was Fullerton Avenue except a small and narrow portion of the lakefront that the State of Illinois granted to the City of Chicago in 1869
(Fullerton to Diversey) but still administered by both city and township administrations. 
Currently, there is a park within a park at Lincoln Park parallel to Roscoe Street on the other east side of LSD called Arthur Telscer Memorial Playground. Read more about the connection between Lake View and this park within my post called 'Lincoln Park: The Lake View Connection.'
1972 - Gill Park
1975 - Sheil Park 
2011 - Lois Klein Park
2014 - Margaret Donahue Park
Gill Park
photo - Erica C. via Yelp
Plans in 1970
 entrance to indoor facilities on Sheridan Road
photo - Gill Park Basketball
outside park area
2012 photo - Adriane P. via Yelp
photo - Kieth H. via Yelp 2013
Gill Park is trying to get a face lift due to the sale and renovation of the Chateau Hotel as of 2014
The design for Margaret Donahue Park - 2013
once referred to as School Park
Margaret Donahue Park - 2015 photos
One of the First Playlots 
once located on Pine Grove and Brompton Place
with some articles from 1949
article #2
The List of
Lake View's Playlots
Juniper Park Advisory Council-Facebook 2016
These following public green spaces are classified as playlots that average between 0.5 to 1.5 acres in size.
Note: Playlots are administered by a park supervisor of an existing neighborhood park. 
1938 -  Hermitage Avenue Park (same as Helen Zatterberg) 
1946 -  Pines Kiddy Play-Yard (not in existence today)
1949 -  Weisman Playlot Park 
1950 -  Merryman Playlot Park        
1987 -  Warner Park and Gardens (private-owned)
1991 -  Kelly Playlot
2012 -  Space Park
The Wendt Playlot Rehab 2013
A sample of a play-lot's renewal and re-dedication 
This playlot earned the approval of the city park district in 2012 to renovate the space as well as a re-dedication that following year. The first dedication was in 1991.
old is gone waiting for the new equipment
The design plan was chosen 
by the neighborhood association
new equipment and new cement in place
The 'suits' were there!
Photos below are vintage playlot photos 
when it was just a near vacant lot
photos 1980's - George GEO
"back in the late 80's when the park was first converted from a run down empty space to the new and improved version, there was a party and dedication to celebrate... there was an effort made by the Wendt family to have the park named in his honor and they did some fund raising ( as I remember ) to cover expenses of the conversion that were not covered in the Park District budget ( like the front gate and fence, among other items )... his wife and daughters that survived him spoke at the dedication." - testimonial from 'GEO' 2014
Integrated & Mobile

Example of a possible GreenWay
Greenway on Berteau Avenue 2013
The Green-Ways Along Berteua Avenue 
Neighborhood 'greenways' are routes that are quiet streets with low traffic volumes that are made even more bike-friendly by using methods to minimize the number of cars, reduce their speed and make bicyclists and pedestrians more visible. Different cities have different names for this concept – bike boulevards, community corridors, and the like. No matter what you call it, the goal is to make the street safer for everyone.
The first Green-Way on the north-side will be created on Berteua Avenue for the community of West Graceland/East Ravenswood in LakeView.
2012 - Lakeview gets creative with green space along with the rest of the city. Call them communal green spaces or people spots or pop-ups, these green spaces will essentially extend the sidewalk cafe concept into the adjacent street. 
New to Chicago but not the nation
particular in San Francisco
a people spot on Clark Street
John Greenfield DNA info
Read more about this creative concept to make the sidewalks and public areas - some are calling them glorified cafes. Parks of green have now gone mobile as well! Read more about Public Green Spaces of Lake View!  The City of Chicago has labeled this concept ‘Make Way for People’.
along Southport Avenue south of Addison
photos - Garry Albrecht & 
Southport News & Events on Facebook
2016 Will the existing People Spots go mobile or create new ones for other areas?
El Nuevo Mexicano Curb-Side Cafe
photos - DNAinfo
People Spots was a novel idea creating addition space for folks to hang-out but lack the marketing power to stay and chat. The down-sided is the remove of parking spaces. Now people spots will evolve into something a lot more according to DNAinfo.
photos - their website
Then there is a green space on Sheridan Road and Lake Shore Drive called Sheridan Triangle Garden. Although
owned by the CTA this 'garden park-like' space is managed by the volunteer residents who reside near by as a non-profit.
photos - Sheridan Triangle Garden
I am a volunteer 2013
2016 photo - Garry Albrecht
The Annual Spring Clearing & Cleaning 2017
photos by me
a planning discussion by the shed
a new look for the garden below
LakeView Historical-Facebook 
Supports this Garden Space
This non-profit organization for two reasons, 
1) the voluntarism involved in the creation of a wonderful green space along the inner drive and ....
A 1869 University of Chicago map of northern part of Pine Grove (Lake View East) subdivision that shows the hotel
2) it marks the area location of the Lake View Hotel - the hotel/resort that served as a meeting place for potential real estate investors and homeowners from 1854-1890ish. The Kerfoot property mentioned in the beginning of this post was located just north of the Lake View Hotel. Mr Kerfoot garden space was apparently along Irving Park Road & Halsted Street near the existing shoreline of the lake.
3) I have a petition to the 46th Chicago Ward office to petition the Landmark Commission to safeguard and existing garden space that was a block away from the hotel.
'Sitting in the heart of Wrigleyville, the Park at Wrigley offers a beautiful open-air destination for farmers markets, community events, festivals, dining and much more. The Park at Wrigley serves as Wrigleyville’s town square 
- a year-round gathering place for neighbors, families, fans and visitors. There’s room to stretch out at the Park at Wrigley - with a flexible space for festivals, concerts and neighborhood celebrations. Check back often to see upcoming cultural celebrations, food and wine festivals, concerts and more. Like Wrigleyville itself, the Park at Wrigley has something for everyone.' - their website
 2017 photo - Southport Corridor News and Events
 2017 photo - Southport Corridor News and Events
2017 photo below - CBSChicago
 'Central Park of Lake View'?
The Sisters of Good Shepherd Property
A 1966 Article
The Parks of Ravenswood
Chase Park
Neighborhood of Uptown
formerly known as Gunther Park
4701 N Ashland Avenue
 photo - YouTube
 photo above - Yo Chicago
photo below - Running to Globe
Some History ...
Sanborn Fire Maps of the location
1928 view when Our Lady of Lourdes Church when the building was located east of Ashland Avenue
1950 view view when Our Lady of Lourdes Church when the building was moved west of Ashland Avenue
Our Lady of Lourdes students walk from the clubhouse along Ashland Avenue in 1944. The park district allowed the students access to the building after a school fire.
Welles Park
Neighborhood of North Central
photo - Pinterest
photo - Eric Rojas' Blog
photo - 'Midnight Circus in the Parks'
 photos - Green Parent Chicago
photo - DNAinfo
 photo - TimeOut Chicago
Future and Past
photo - DNAinfo
 1946 of the corner of Montrose and Lincoln Avenue
both photo - Ravenswood-Lake View Community Collection

Post Notes: 
East Lake View Neighbors association, one of several neighborhood associations that is part of the Lake View Citizen's Council had a greenspace contest in 2011.
View my post about another green-spaced are that includes a bird migration sanctuary near Belmont Harbor and my post called Garden Walks - a tour of private green spaces held in the neighborhood.

Read and view my post about the park connected boulevard system that was to included Diversey Parkway.

Important Note: 
These posts are exclusively used for educational purposes. I do not wish to gain monetary profit from this blog nor should anyone else without permission for the original source - thanks!