by Hank Morris
George Buchanan Armstrong School of International Studies
2110 W. Greenleaf Ave., Chicago, IL 60645
George Buchanan Armstrong (1822-1871): developed railway postal service. Armstrong was born in Ireland and moved to Chicago in 1854. He became the Assistant Postmaster and helped to develop a railway postal service. Armstrong was appointed Chief of Bureau of Railway Mail Service in the United States.
Philip McGregor Rogers School
7345 N. Washtenaw Ave., Chicago, IL 60645
Philip McGregor Rogers (1812-1856) was born in Ireland. In 1838, Rogers immigrated to the United States and, in 1844, he purchased land and built a home in Rogers Park, thus becoming the first settler in the section of Chicago that now bears his name. While living there with his family, Rogers owned and operated a charcoal factory and vegetable farm.
Stephen Decatur Classical School
7030 N. Sacramento Ave., Chicago, IL 60645
Stephen Decatur (1779-1820): distinguished U.S. Naval officer. Best remembered for his toast: “Our country: In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong.”
Leander Stone Scholastic Academy
6239 N. Leavitt Street, Chicago, IL 60659
Leander Stone (1831-1888): Leander Stone was born in Mercersburg, New York. At an early age he moved to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he grew up working on a farm. Stone later moved to Chicago, taking a position as a reporter for the Chicago Times. He also served as principal of the Jones School, assistant editor of the Northwestern Christian Advocate, and a member of the Chicago Board of Education.
DeWitt Clinton Elementary School
6110 N. Fairfield Ave., Chicago, IL 60659
DeWitt Clinton (1769-1828): advocate of the Erie Canal. Clinton was born in Little Britain, New York. He graduated from Columbia College and practiced law. Clinton was Mayor of New York City from 1803-1815, except for two short intervals when he served in the New York Senate, and was lieutenant governor of the state. Clinton was a canal commissioner of New York, governor of New York from 1817-1822 and again from 1824-1827. He established the free school system, secured modification of the criminal laws, promoted science, and brought about the construction of the Erie Canal, completed in 1825.
Daniel Boone Elementary School
6710 N. Washtenaw Ave., Chicago, IL 60645
Daniel Boone (1734-1820) was born in Pennsylvania on November 2, 1734. He explored Kentucky and helped blaze the Wilderness Trail which would allow settlers to travel west. During his life, he frequently came into battle with Native Americans and was captured several times. He led a party of settlers into Kentucky in 1775 and founded the fort at Boonesborough. Boone accompanied George Rogers Clark in 1782, and lived in the land as a hunter and trapper in Missouri in the later years of his life.
Minnie Mars Jamieson Elementary School
5650 N. Mozart St., Chicago, IL 60659
Minnie Mars Jamieson (1870-1928): was born in Chicago on December 31, 1870. She was a Chicago teacher and Principal of the Budlong School for twenty-three years.
Hannah G. Solomon Elementary School
6206 N. Hamlin Ave., Chicago, IL 60659
Hannah G. Solomon (1858-1942): Founded the National Council of Jewish Women and became President of the Illinois Industrial School for Girls. A Chicago native, Solomon worked for women’s rights worldwide, and attended the International Council of Women in Berlin in 1904.
Stephen Tyng Mather High School
5835 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60659
Stephen Tyng Mather (1867-1930), a descendant of the famous Mather family of Colonial Massachusetts, was born in San Francisco, California. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1887. He worked as a journalist for The New York Sun for five years before joining his father to promote borax for the Pacific Coast Borax Company. Stephen T. Mather turned this ordinary mineral, used in laundry soap, into a television icon. The product became so popular that former President Ronald Regan appeared in commercials for “20 Mule Team Borax” on his television program Death Valley Days. Stephen T. Mather became President of The Sterling Borax Company, located on Monroe Street and through his interests in nature and friendships with influential people he became the first director of the National Park Service. In 1988 the United States Congress designated 634,614 acres of Washington State as The Stephen Mather Wilderness.
Stephen Gale Elementary Community Academy
1631 W. Jonquil Terr., Chicago, IL 60626
Stephen F. Gale (1812-1905): Served as chief engineer of the Chicago Fire Department from 1844-1847. He also played an integral part in the incorporation of Chicago settlement as a town in 1833.
Chicago Mathematics and Science Academy Charter School
7212 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60626
The purpose of the Chicago Mathematics and Science Academy Charter School is to prepare students for college by creating an effective learning community of higher standards and expectations with a rigorous curriculum focusing on science, math, and technology.
Eugene Field Elementary School
7019 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago, IL 60626
The school was renamed from Rogers Park School to Eugene Field Elementary School in 1899. Eugene Field (1850-1895): American journalist and famous columnist for the Chicago Morning News.
James R. Jordan Academy
7414 N. Wolcott Ave., Chicago, IL 60626
James R. Jordan (1936-1993) was born in Wallace, Duplin County, North Carolina. After serving in the United States Air Force, Jordan worked as a General Electric mechanical engineer for nearly two decades. He was the father of basketball star Michael Jordan and a director of the Michael Jordan Foundation and the Jordan Universal Marketing Company. He frequently spoke to children about the importance of education and goal-setting.
Alfred Joyce Kilmer Elementary School
6700 N. Greenview Ave., Chicago, IL 60626
Alfred Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918) was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and educated at Rutgers and Columbia Universities. He worked as a journalist for the New York Times and editor of the Funk and Wagnall Dictionary in addition to becoming a prolific poet. His most famous work, “Trees,” was written under the name Joyce Kilmer. Mr. Kilmer and his wife Aline had five children: Kenton Sinclair Kilmer, Michael Barry Kilmer, Rose Kilburn Kilmer, Deborah Clanton Kilmer and Christopher Kilmer. After volunteering to fight in WWI, he was dispatched to France, where he died in battle on July 30, 1918.
New Field Elementary School
1707 W. Morse St., Chicago, IL 60626
New Field Elementary School is a magnet school that serves 643 students in grades PK, K-3. Magnet schools are public schools that offer a specialized curriculum or educational philosophy, often with a specific focus or theme. Magnet schools promote student diversity because they are open to students outside the normal school district boundaries and often attract high caliber students through competitive programs.
Roger C. Sullivan High School
6631 N. Bosworth Ave., Chicago, IL 60626
Roger C. Sullivan, (1861-1920) was born in Belvidere, Illinois. After working on a farm for several years, Sullivan came to Chicago in 1879 and began working as a machinist at the West Side Street Railway shops. He was elected Probate clerk in 1890, precipitating a rapid rise into the upper ranks of the Democratic party. He later became the secretary of the Ogden Gas Company and amassed a substantial fortune.
Columbia Beach Park (c/o Loyola Park)
1040 W. Columbia Ave., Chicago, IL 60626
Columbia Beach Park takes its name from New York’s Columbia University, established in 1794. Columbia University (then College) was the alma mater of A.W. Wallen, the real estate developer who subdivided the section of Rogers Park in which the street and its namesake beach are located.
Dubkin Playlot Park (c/o Touhy Park)
7442 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago, IL 60626
In 1974, the park district renamed the property Dubkin Playlot in honor of Leonard Dubkin (1905-1972), a local community organizer and strong proponent of the park. His friends and neighbors who frequented the park knew him as a “sidewalk naturalist.” He was in fact a well-known nature writer, who authored My Secret Places: One Man’s Love Affair with Nature in the City in 1972. For many years, Dubkin also wrote a column called “The Birds and Bees” for the local Lerner Newspaper.
Fargo Beach Park (c/o Loyola Park)
1300 W. Fargo Ave., Chicago, IL 60626
Fargo Street and its namesake beach are named for James Congdell Fargo (1829-1915), an active north side real estate developer. Born in Watervale, New York, Fargo at 15 entered the business office of his brother, William G. Fargo, who ran an express-mail delivery service between Buffalo and Albany, New York, and another between Buffalo and Detroit, Michigan. James Fargo moved west to run the Wells & Co. office in Detroit in 1847. In 1855, Fargo came to the Chicago office of the reorganized firm, by then called the American Express Company. (In the meantime, William Fargo and his partner, Henry Wells, founded Wells, Fargo & Company to handle the banking and express needs of California Gold Rush entrepreneurs.) In 1867, Fargo returned to New York to become the general manager of American Express, but he never relinquished his Chicago ties.
Goldberg Playlot Park (c/o Pottawattomie Park)
7043 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago, IL 60626
In late 1975, the park district officially redesignated the site Goldberg Park, in honor of Louis Goldberg. Goldberg was an author, naturalist, horticulturist, conservationist, and union leader.
Harold Washington Memorial Park
7710 N. Paulina St., Chicago, IL 60626
Harold Lee Washington (1922- 1987) was Chicago’s first African-American Mayor, serving from 1983 until his death in 1987.Born and raised on Chicago’s south side, Washington graduated from DuSable High School. After serving in the military, he studied at Roosevelt College, one of the academic institutions in the region that then accepted African-Americans. He served as class president and received his Bachelor’s Degree in 1948. He went on to attend Northwestern University School of Law, receiving a law degree in 1952. Washington worked as an assistant city prosecutor and as an arbitrator for the Illinois Industrial Commission. He was active in the Third Ward Democratic Organization and Third Ward Young Democrats. Elected as member of the Illinois House of Representatives in 1965, he served through 1976. He served as Illinois State Senator from 1976 to 1980; and a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1980 until 1983. On April 22, 1983, he was elected as Mayor of Chicago, and was re-elected for a second term in 1987. Although his second term was cut short by his untimely death, he accomplished much in City Hall during his tenure. Many of his Executive Orders Ordinances became models for other cities including advisorycommissions on the affairs of Latinos, Women, and Asians; Ordinances on Affirmative Action in employment and procurement, tenants’ rights, campaign finance reform, Freedom of Information and South African divestiture.He served as Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and put forth an agenda for the re-development of the inner cities, and initiated a national dialogue on race relations. Mayor Harold Washington instituted a public policy and practice of fairness and equality for all of the citizens and communities. This attitude was made clear in his first inaugural address on April 29, 1983, he said, “I hope to be remembered by history as the Mayor who cared about the people and who was, above all, fair.”
Hartigan Beach Park (c/o Loyola Park)
1031 W. Albion Ave., Chicago, IL 60626
In September 1960, the city council adopted a resolution requesting that the park district rename Albion Park in honor of 49th Ward Alderman David L. Hartigan (1906-1959), who had recently died. A graduate of St. Ignatius and Northwestern Law School, Hartigan was an attorney in the City Treasurer’s Office between 1943 and 1954, and served briefly as City Treasurer. After being elected alderman in 1955, Hartigan sat on the Committee on Forestry and Recreation, and was very active in creating additional parks and recreational space. The park district officially renamed the park Hartigan Beach and Park in 1965.
Howard Beach Park (c/o Loyola Park)
7519 N. Eastlake Terrace, Chicago, IL 60626
Howard Avenue and the adjoining beach are named for Howard Ure (1896-1984), scion of a Rogers Park pioneer family. John Calder Ure began to farm in the Rogers Park area in the mid-19th century. His son, John F. Ure, founded the Ure Dairy on his father’s property, and later donated the right-of-way for Howard Avenue. Howard Ure, a banker, became a director of the Howard Avenue Trust and Savings Bank at the early age of 26. Between 1953 and 1973, he served as a director of the North Shore National Bank of Chicago.
Jarvis Beach & Park (c/o Loyola Park)
1208 W. Jarvis Ave., Chicago, IL 60626
The beach and street take their name from R.J. Jarvis, a friend of the Rogers and Touhy families, who founded and subdivided Rogers Park. Jarvis Beach Park is among the 18 street-end beaches acquired by the Chicago Park District from the City of Chicago in 1959. The city’s Bureau of Parks and Recreation was operating 27 such beaches by 1937; some of theses were in existence as early as 1921. Although lifeguards manned these small municipal beaches, they had no changing rooms or other facilities. In Rogers Park, the beaches met the summertime recreational needs of the many residents who lived in the numerous apartment buildings built in the eastern portion of the community between 1900 and 1930.
Juneway Beach Park (c/o Loyola Park)
7751 N. Eastlake Terrace, Chicago, IL 60626
Juneway Street was named by Sivert Tobias Gunderson, a Norwegian who came to Chicago in 1848 and made his money trading grain and lumber. Gunderson and his offspring also became real estate developers who subdivided the immediate area of the street and park. Apparently Gunderson chose the name Juneway because he started subdividing his property along the wayside of Calvary Cemetery in June.
Langdon (Mary Margaret) Playlot Park (c/o Schreiber Park)
1754 W. Albion Ave., Chicago, IL 60626
Formerly known as Albion Park this site was renamed Mary Margaret Langdon Park in 2005 as part of an effort by the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners to recognize the contributions of Chicago women. Mary Margaret Langdon (1918-1993), who went by the nickname Megs, was an accomplished university administrator and community activist in the Rogers Park and Edgewater neighborhoods. In the 1970s, she was appointed Director of Community Programs Office at Loyola University Chicago where she remained until her retirement. Ms. Langdon played an active role in numerous community efforts and organizations including the Chicago Crime Commission, St. Joseph Hospital Executive Advisory Committee, the Chicago Planning Commission, and the Rogers Park Community Council.
Lazarus Playlot Park (c/o Pottawattomie Park)
1257 W. Columbia Ave., Chicago, IL 60626
The park district named the playlot Lazarus Park in honor of American poet and philanthropist Emma Lazarus (1849-1887). Born into a non-observant Jewish family, Lazarus gradually developed an active interest in Judaic issues, fueled by the mass migration of Eastern European Jews to the United States in the early 1880s. She is best known for her poem “New Colossus,” written in 1883, and inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty two decades later. Her widely-recognized lines read in part: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore, send these, the homeless, tempest-tost, to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” The Lazarus Park designation, made at the request of the Rogers Park Chapter of Emma Lazarus Jewish Women’s Clubs, was deemed an appropriate commemoration of the Statue of Liberty’s 100th anniversary in 1986.
Leone Beach Park (c/o Loyola Park)
1222 W. Touhy Ave., Chicago, IL 60626
In 1966, the park district renamed the site Leone Park after beloved park district employee Sam Leone (1900-1965). Leone joined the Bureau of Parks and Recreation as a lifeguard after serving in the Navy during World War I. Initially, he worked at the old Clarendon Park Beach, but was moved north to Rogers Park in 1927. When Leone became a park district employee in 1959, he was named supervisor of lifeguards for the entire north side. Leone was still living above the Rogers Park beach house and supervising lifeguards and safeguarding swimmers at the time of this death at age 65.
1230 W. Greenleaf Ave., Chicago, IL 60626
Several years after the Chicago Park District took over in 1934, local residents asked that North Shore Park be renamed. The park district agreed, and held a contest to choose a new name. Neighborhood residents favored the name Loyola Park, for nearby Loyola University. The Jesuits began to develop this important Rogers Park institution in 1906, when they purchased a 20-acre site between Devon and Loyola Avenues. During the 1930s, the university raised its neighborhood profile substantially by constructing a number of dramatic Art Deco buildings, including the Madonna della Strada Chapel. Around 1950, the Chicago Park District more than doubled the size of Loyola Park and built a new fieldhouse with an adjacent grandstand. Another half-acre was added in 1971, bringing the size of Loyola Park to more than 21.5 acres.
Matanky Playlot Park (c/o Paschen Park)
6937 N. Ridge Blvd., Chicago, IL 60626
In 1984, the Chicago Park District renamed the site Matanky Park for respected local resident Eugene Matanky (1922–1982). Matanky, a newspaperman and real estate developer, was a founder and vice-president of the Jewish Community Council of West Rogers Park, and a member of the Uptown Chicago Commission.
North Shore Beach Park (c/o Loyola Park)
1040 W. North Shore Ave., Chicago, IL 60626
North Shore Beach Park lies at the southern end of the Rogers Park neighborhood, where North Shore Avenue meets Lake Michigan. North Shore Avenue apparently takes its name from the former Town of North Shore that later became part of Rogers Park. North Shore Beach Park is one of 18 street-end beaches acquired by the Chicago Park District from the City of Chicago in 1959. The city’s Bureau of Parks and Recreation was operating 27 such beaches by 1937; some of these were in existence as early as 1921. Although lifeguards manned these small municipal beaches, they had no changing rooms or other facilities. In Rogers Park, the beaches met the summertime recreational needs of the residents who lived in the many apartment buildings built in the eastern portion of the community between 1900 and 1930.
Park No. 518 (c/o Touhy Park)
1750 Juneway Terrace, Chicago, IL 60626
1932 W. Lunt Ave., Chicago, IL 60626
The city named this park in honor Christian P. Paschen (1884-1954), who served as Commissioner of Buildings from 1927 to 1931. Paschen, owner of one of Chicago’s oldest and largest companies, Paschen Construction, was involved in various philanthropic efforts.
7340 N. Rogers Ave., Chicago, IL 60626
Pottawattomie Park was the idea of the Birchwood Improvement Association, which lobbied for the establishment of a community center east of Ridge Avenue and north of Rogers Avenue. The park’s name honors the Pottawattomie (Potawatomi) Indians, one of nine tribal groups living around the Great Lakes after 1600. The Pottawattomies lived on the eastern edge of Lake Michigan until about 1760, when they moved westward into the Chicago region. Although many Pottawattomies intermarried with French, British, and American traders, the tribe was nevertheless forced from the area after the Blackhawk War of 1832. A large Works Progress Administration painting in the park fieldhouse depicts a meeting between Native Americans and whites.
Pratt Beach Park (c/o Loyola Park)
1050 W. Pratt Blvd., Chicago, IL 60626
Pratt Beach Park lies just south of Loyola Park in the Rogers Park neighborhood, where Pratt Boulevard meets Lake Michigan. The boulevard and the beach are named for George and Paul Pratt, members of the Rogers Park Building and Land Company, which subdivided and developed Rogers Park in the 1870s.
7348 N. Paulina St., Chicago, IL 60626
Soon after World War II, the Chicago Park District began a major initiative to create new parks for the first time in many years. This Ten Year Plan identified 43 sites in undeveloped areas which were starting to boom and neighborhoods with few existing parks. In 1948, the district acquired 6.35 acres in Rogers Park, which was among the city’s neighborhoods most in need of open space and recreational facilities. Due to the flurry of new construction at the time, Touhy Park was not completed until 1954. In the 1960s, the park district built an addition converting the original comfort station into a field house. In 1990, separate soft surface playgrounds for older children and tots were added.
The park and nearby Touhy Avenue pay tribute to Captain Patrick L. Touhy (1839-1911) one of the founders of the Village of Rogers Park. An Irish immigrant who ran a grocery store in Chicago, Touhy married Catherine Rogers, daughter of the area’s first white settler, Philip Rogers, in 1865. Several years later, when Catherine inherited hundreds of acres of land, Touhy began developing Rogers Park. Along with a group of other early settlers, he soon established the Rogers Park Building and Land Company. Formally incorporated as a village in 1878, Rogers Park was annexed to Chicago in 1893, and is now among the city’s most diverse neighborhoods.
6748 N. Sacramento Ave., Chicago, IL 60645
In 1931, the park district purchased property in the southwest corner of the district, built a one-story brick fieldhouse designed by Clarence Hatzfeld, and designated the new park Chippewa. The name recognized the Chippewa Indian tribe that lived in the Great Lakes region when Europeans arrived. Between 1600 and 1760, the Chippewas made their home along the northern shores of Lakes Michigan and Superior and numbered between 25,000 and 30,000. The Chippewa formed a loose confederacy with the Ottawa and the Potowatomi. By the 19th century, the three tribes were known as “the Three Fires.” The name Chippewa is an adaption of the word Ojibway, “to roast till puckered up,” a reference to the puckered seams of their moccasins.
Green Briar Park
2650 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago, IL 60659
Chicago’s West Ridge community grew significantly between 1920 and 1930, its population increasing from 7,500 to nearly 40,000 during that decade. In 1925, the River Park District purchased a 3.3-acre tract of land in the Green Briar subdivision of the West Ridge community – the northernmost section of that park district’s territory. The following year, landscape architect and River Park District board member Jacob L. Crane, Jr. developed a plan for the rectangular park. The plan was featured as a model of good recreational design in Parks: A Manual of Municipal and County Parks. Lack of funds delayed park improvement until 1928, however, when the Chicago Landscape Company implemented a modified version of Crane’s plan. That same year, the park district erected an elegant, 2-story, tile-roofed brick fieldhouse with a 300-seat assembly hall designed by Chicago architect Clarence Hatzfeld. Hatzfeld designed a number of notable buildings in Chicago’s parks, including revival-style fieldhouses in Indian Boundary, Portage, and Independence Parks. In 1934, the River Park District and Chicago’s 21 other independent park boards were consolidated into the newly-created Chicago Park District. Shortly thereafter, the Chicago Park District constructed a wading pool and tennis courts at Green Briar Park. A new soft surface playground was added in 1991.
Indian Boundary Park & Cultural Center
2500 W. Morse Ave., Chicago, IL 60645
Indian Boundary Park takes its name from a territorial boundary established by the Treaty of 1816 between the Pottawattomie Indians and the U.S. government. The boundary line, which ran through the land that is now the park, remained in effect only through 1833, when the Pottawattomies were forced entirely from the area in the face of white settlement. Indian Boundary Park was the second and largest of the four parks created by the Ridge Avenue Park District. The others were Morse (now Matanky), Chippewa, and Pottawattomie. The Ridge Avenue district was the first of 19 neighborhood park commissions established after 1896 to serve areas recently annexed to the city. Chicago’s three original park districts had authority only to create parks within the 1869 city limits. The Ridge Avenue Park District began acquiring land for Indian Boundary Park in 1915. Richard F. Gloede, a designer of North Shore estate landscapes, developed an early plan for the park. In the mid-1920s, the Ridge Avenue Park District opened a small zoo, one of only two zoos in Chicago and initially housing only a lone black bear. The 1929 Tudor-Revival fieldhouse designed by architect Clarence Hatzfeld features Native American-themed ornament inspired by the park’s name. Indian Boundary Park is unusual in that its eastern lawn flows seamlessly into the front yards of neighboring apartment buildings. This park feature was so well-received that in the 1960s the Chicago Park District closed off part of adjacent Estes Avenue as well. In 2005 Indian Boundary Fieldhouse was designated a Historical Landmark by the City of Chicago and is also listed in the National Register of Historical Places.
Korczak Playlot Park (c/o Green Briar Park)
6156 N. Claremont Ave., Chicago, IL 60659
Originally known as Claremont Park for the adjacent street, the playground was renamed Korczak Park in 1974, at the request of Skokie’s Janusz Korczak Chapter of B’nai B’rith. The new name honors Dr. Janusz Korczak (1878-1942), a Polish educator, writer, and pediatrician well known for work with parentless children. Dr. Korczak founded and directed orphanages for Jewish and Catholic children, whom he encouraged to be as independent as possible. Passing up a number of opportunities to flee Nazi-occupied Poland, Dr. Korczak chose instead to accompany his charges when they were deported from the Warsaw Ghetto to the Treblinka death camp. Both Korczak and the children died at Treblinka. The park district is working with local mosaic artist Cynthia Weiss to develop a commemorative gate for Korczak Park. The gate’s design will be based on the ideas of area school children who have studied Dr. Korczak’s life and teachings.
Lerner Playlot Park (c/o Chipewa Park)
7000 N. Sacremento AVe., Chicago, IL 60645
In 1966, the park was named for Leo Lerner (1908–1965), an eminent author, publisher, and public-spirited citizen. Publisher of the Lerner Neighborhood Newspapers, Lerner also served as Chairman of the Board of Roosevelt University and as a member of the State Pardon and Parole Board.
Lunt Playlot Park (c/o Indian Boundary Park)
2239 W. Lunt Ave., Chicago, IL 60645
The park takes its name from adjacent Lunt Avenue, in turn named for brothers Orrington and Stephen P. Lunt, early land owners and subdividers in Evanston and Rogers Park. Orrington, the more well-known of the Lunts, was among the founders of the Chicago Board of Trade (1848) and Northwestern University (1851). The university’s first library bore Lunt’s name, as does Evanston’s Orrington Avenue and Orrington Hotel.
5941 N. Richmond St., Chicago, IL 60659
Both the park and the adjacent high school are named for Stephen Tyng Mather (1867-1930), the first Director of the National Park Service. A native Californian, Mather established a borax-making business and soon made his product a household name with the slogan “20 Mule Team Borax.” Mather eventually moved to Chicago, where he increased his reputation as an industrialist. Mather joined Chicago’s influential Prairie Club and the Friends of the Native Landscape, both of which strongly supported conservation of the Midwest’s natural landscape features. During this same period, Mather made frequent trips to the mountains back west, becoming increasingly dismayed at conditions in the national parks. In 1917, Mather was chosen to head the newly-created National Park Service. This position provided a high-profile platform for Mather’s advocacy of Midwestern landscape preservation, including a proposal to create a park in the Indiana dunes along Lake Michigan’s southern shore.
7345 N. Washtenaw Ave., Chicago, IL 60659
Rogers Park and the adjacent school honor Phillip McGregor Rogers (1812-1856), an Irishman who arrived from New York in 1836. Rogers cleared land north of Chicago and built a cabin atop the natural ridge that gives West Ridge its name. A successful farmer, Rogers eventually purchased over 1,600 acres of property. After his death in 1856, Rogers’ land passed into the hands of his son-in-law, Patrick Leonard Touhy (1839-1911), who joined with others to develop the Rogers Park community in the 1870s.
6601 N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL 60659
In 1971, the state officially named the park in honor of Laurence C. Warren (1923-1970), a key figure in the fight to save the golf course as open space. The son of German Jewish immigrants, Warren was a succesful attorney and community leader. He was a past president of the North Town Community Council, and chairman of the Allied North Side Community Orgnizations. Governor Ogilvie said “while the new name of this great urban park memorializes a single community leader, it symbolizes the remarkable partnership that saved most of the former club for the public.” Despite the progress in creating a state park, plans to develop the remaining golf course acreage continued, and community opposition stayed strong. To save the rest of the golf course land as open space, the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners agreed to condemn the remaining 32-acre site in 1972. The state transferred its property to the park district in 1975. In the late 1970s, the Chicago Park District began a major construction project for the park which included a field house, playground, ball fields, sledding hill, cross country ski trails, and a nine-hole golf course. In 1980, Warren Park’s golf course was officially dedicated in honor of Robert A. Black (1896-1978), Chief Engineer to the Chicago Park District for more than thirty years.