Free tour of Wicker Park and Gardens
Where: Wicker Park, Free tour of Wicker Park and Gardens Meet at Music Info tent near Schiller & Damen Entrance.
Join the Wicker Park Garden Club and Advisory Council for a tour of their Historic Park and the 10,000 square foot of Ornamental Gardens designed by members of the Wicker Park Garden Club. Each month you will see the gardens develop and learn about the design of the gardens and the specifics of the plants that are at their peak on the day of the tour. In addition, you will learn about the historic features of our park: The Gurgoyle Fountain, Charles Wicker Sculpture, and more.
About Wicker Park
Located in the West Town Community Area, Wicker Park is 4 acres and features a field house, a large children’s playground with interactive water spray feature, a community garden area, ornamental fountain, dog friendly area, baseball field, basketball courts and an athletic field for soccer or football.
Though small in size, Wicker Park is well known for its lush and well-tended gardens due to it’s active Wicker Park Garden Club. The ornamental gardens, comprise 10,000 square feet were designed, funded, and are maintained by volunteers affiliated with the Garden Club. All interested gardeners are invited to attend weekly garden tending days where they will learn how to design and maintain gardens for their homes.
In 1870, when businessmen and developers Charles G. and Joel H. Wicker began constructing drainage ditches and laying out streets in their subdivision, they donated a four-acre parcel of land to the city to be used as a public park. Fencing the triangular site to keep cows out, the city created an artificial lake in the center of the park, surrounding it with lawn and trees. As the Wickers had hoped, the area developed into a fashionable middle- and upper-class neighborhood.
In 1885, the city transferred Wicker Park to the West Park Commission. Five years later, the West Park Commission filled the park’s lake, replacing it with lawn. Between 1892 and 1895, a fountain was installed in the park.
In 1908, Jens Jensen, then West Park System Superintendent, removed the cast-iron fountain and replaced it with a jet spray, converting the fountain into a children’s wading pool. Jensen also built pergolas and planted additional trees and shrubs in Wicker Park.
The West Park Commission was consolidated into the Chicago Park District in 1934. To provide additional programs, the park district soon constructed a small field house which replaced it with a post-modern field house in 1985.