Matanky Playlot Park
Chicago, IL 60626
Created in 1912, Matanky Playlot Park, originally known as Morse Playlot Park, was the first of four parks created by the Ridge Avenue Park District. The Ridge Avenue Park District was among 19 neighborhood park commissions established after 1896 to serve areas recently annexed to the city. When Rogers Park residents decided to form a park district in 1895, a bitter fight immediately arose between two local factions. Farmers living in West Ridge resented the prospect of being taxed for lake front improvements by Rogers Park "silk stockings." The farmers, derisively called "cabbageheads" by the Rogers Parkers, fought to establish their own park district west of the Chicago & North Western Railway line. After a lively campaign rally in which the West Ridgers paraded with cabbages on poles, the farmers won the right to create their own Ridge Avenue Park District.
The Ridge Avenue Park District initially focused on upgrading and maintaining Ridge Avenue, but as its West Ridge neighborhood grew, the need for parkland became more pressing. In 1912, the District purchased property at Ridge Avenue and Morse Avenue, which quickly became known as Morse Park. The new park took its name from the adjacent street, in turn named for Charles H. Morse, an early developer of Rogers Park. On January 10, 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.
2014 Playlot Replacement
Monday, May 19, 2014, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Alderman Joe Moore attended the groundbreaking ceremony. Rogers Park is rehabbing the playground courtesy of the Chicago Park District's Chicago Plays! Playground Replacement Initiative. It is expected that the revised playground will be completed by July 2014.
RPWRHS photo L009-0387 shows Matanky Playlot Park, 6937 N. Ridge Boulevard. Family members gather in remembrance of Eugene Matanky at dedication/renaming ceremony. Same photo as L009-0500. Individuals not named. Date not given.