Jackson Park 63rd Street at Hayes Drive, Chicago, IL, 60637
Located in the Woodlawn community, Jackson Park totals 551.52 acres and features a gymnasium, three multi-purpose rooms, and fitness center. Green features of the park include Wooded Island – which includes the Japanese Garden – Bobolink Meadows, cherry blossom trees around the Columbian Basin, and a vegetable and flower garden. Outside, the park offers three harbors, 63rd St. Beach, basketball/tennis courts, multi-purpose fields, golf course, golf driving range and an artificial turf field. Many of these spaces are available for rental including our multi-purpose fields, gymnasium and multi-purpose clubrooms.
After the state legislature created the South Park Commission in 1869, the renowned designers of New York’s Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, were hired to lay out the 1055-acre park. The South Park Commissioners acquired land for the park from 1869 until 1930 through multiple sources. Known originally as South Park, the landscape had eastern and western divisions connected by a grand boulevard named the Midway Plaisance. The eastern division became known as Lake Park; however, in 1880 the commission asked the public to suggest official names for both the eastern and western Divisions. Jackson and Washington were proposed, and the following year, Lake Park was renamed Jackson Park to honor Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), the seventh president of the United States.
In 1890, Chicago won the honor of hosting the World’s Columbian Exposition, and Jackson Park was selected as its site. Olmsted and Chicago’s famous architect and planner Daniel H. Burnham laid out the fairgrounds. A team of the nation’s most significant architects and sculptors created the “White City” of plaster buildings and artworks. The monumental World’s Fair opened to visitors on May 1, 1893. After it closed six months later, the site was transformed back into parkland. Jackson Park featured the first public golf course west of the Alleghenies, which opened in 1899. In 1934, the park became part of the Chicago Park District’s portfolio when the 22 park districts were consolidated. Today, two structures remain as impressive symbols of the World’s Columbian Exposition. The “Golden Lady” sculpture is a smaller version of Daniel Chester French’s Statue of the Republic which originally stood at the foot of the Court of Honor. The original Fine Arts Palace now houses Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.
Source Chicago Park District