Paschen Park

From HistoryWiki

Paschen Park Soundex Code P250

Paschen Park

1932 W. Lunt Avenue

Chicago, IL 60626

In 1929, the City of Chicago began leasing less than an acre of land from the Board of Education to create a small park in the Rogers Park community on what had been a vacant lot. The parcel had been the site of a school built by the Village of Rogers Park that had been closed and eventually demolished by the Board of Education after the Village was annexed to Chicago in 1893.

When the playground opened on February 4,1929, it was known as the Lunt-Damen Playground.

By May 1931, the city had named the playground for Christian P. Paschen (1884-1954), who served as Commissioner of Buildings from 1927 to 1931 as well as the head of the local Republican Party in Rogers Park. In those positions, he played a role in negotiating the lease with the Board of Education. Both before and during his time as Chicago's Building Commissioner, Paschen also headed the Christian P. Paschen Company, a brick and masonry contractor founded by his father in 1871. He was also affiliated with Paschen Brothers Construction, a separate company founded by his brothers. In 1931, he was charged with income tax evasion by the team of investigators and prosecutors who also charged Al Capone, six other gangsters and several public officials with the same crime. He was convicted in 1932 and served 19 months in Leavenworth Penitentiary.

After creating the playground, the city installed playground equipment and a center playfield, which was flooded for ice-skating in the winter. A small one-story brick building also was constructed during the original lease, which was first established for a period of five years. This office and bathroom building was flanked by open brick structures sheltering boys' and girls' sand courts. The five-year lease was renewed, and in 1947, the city enlarged the building by enclosing the brick shelters.

In 1990, the Board of Education transferred ownership to the Chicago Park District which named the site Christian P. Paschen Park.

The Christian P. Paschen Company and Paschen Brothers (renamed Paschen Contractors in 1938) are predecessors of the F.H. Paschen Company ( founded by fourth generation members of the Paschen family in 1975 and still in business today. Over the years, Paschen Contractors and the F.H. Paschen Company have been involved in construction of many high-profile projects in Chicago including the tunnels under the Chicago River built for the subway in the 1940s,the Jardine Water Purification Plant, one of the largest water treatment plants in the world; and major commercial projects throughout the city including the Dirksen and Kluczynski federal buildings, the reconstruction and expansion of McCormick Place, and the Chicago Park District headquarters building in the Brighton Park neighborhood completed in 2023.

2014 Park Rehabilitation

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.