Saturday, October 16, 2010

A point of interest in North Lawndale... Douglas Park

Opened in 1879, Douglas Park covers 173 acres. It was named for Stephen A. Douglas. Douglas, who was a masterful orator, was defeated by Abraham Lincoln, another Illinois U.S. Senator, in the presidential election of 1860. The park, along with Garfield and Humboldt parks, was initially designed by William La Baron Jenney. Jenny used manure from the Union Stock Yards and sand to bolster the site which was relatively marshy.

Jens Jensen became the superintendent of the parks in 1905 and sought to reform the Parks Commission that governed Chicago's western parks. The parks had become relatively dilapidated. Jensen was the Landscape Architect responsible for the "prairie" style that is so evident in Chicago's parks presently.

The park serves as a major cultural focus for North and South Lawndale. The park is bisected by Ogden Avenue, creating northern and southern sections. The Douglas Parks Field House in located in the northern end of the park. The Jensen designed pergola and flower garden is at the western edge of the southern section of the park.

Community Partnerships

Ravinia Uses the Arts to Invigorate Communities

Since 1998 Ravinia has partnered with the entire neighborhood of Lawndale, transforming a culturally underserved area into a thriving arts center. Children, adults, even entire families take lessons at the Ravinia Lawndale Community Music Conservatory.

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