Jackson (Andrew) Park

Jackson Park provides a peaceful respite from the bustle of the city

At just over 550 acres, Jackson Park serves as an outdoor sanctuary for Woodlawn and Southside residents alike. Its notable green features include the Wooded island (wherein exists the popular and must-see Japanese Garden), the Columbian Basin, and the Bobolink Meadows. The park is also home to the Jackson Park Community Garden, an accessible urban garden.

Jackson Park’s inception occurred in 1869 after the establishment of Chicago’s South Park Commission. To design the grand park’s layout, the famous designers of New York City’s central park--Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux--were brought on board. The park spans such a wide swath of land that its eastern and western portions are connected by the Midway Plaisance, which was designed by Lorado Taft and Frederick Law Olmsted and constructed in 1871. Prior to settling into its current name, Jackson Park was called South Park. At one point, the eastern portion of the park was called Lake Park. In 1881, the park (as a whole) was renamed Jackson Park, to Honor the seventh United States president Andrew Jackson.

Jackson Park gained recognition after being selected as the site for the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. Daniel H. Burnham and Olmsted planned the fairgrounds that eventually garnered the name “The White City” because of the plaster buildings that other renowned architects designed. Despite the fact that the World’s Columbian Exposition only lasted for six months, two structures from the fair serve as a testament to its greatness: a replica of “The Republic” sculpture by Daniel Chester French (his original sculpture burned down in 1896), and the Fine Arts Palace, which is now home to the Museum of Science and Industry.