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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Chicago from A to Z...The Daily Double G is for Garfield Park, H is for Hull House

I'm so sorry I was gone and not doing my part  for the Big A To Z, but real life got in the way. I even had a new lawn ornament forcibly installed when a woman crashed her car in front of my house. Thankfully the little baby in the other car was completely. The woman was clearly under the influence of something. I am soldiering forward and will try to catch up. Today I'm giving you a daily double of two of my fave spots in Chitown, Garfield Park and Hull House.

The Golden Domed Fieldhouse Wikimedia
G Is For Garfield Park

Garfield Park sits on the West Side and first opened in 1874 as Central Park. It was the centerpiece of the west park system, which includes Humboldt Park and Douglas Park,  and renamed in 1881 after slain President James A Garfield. Designed by William LeBaron Jenney, the park is home to the Garfield Park Conservatory, one of the largest and most impressive conservatories in the Untied States. The conservatory encompasses 4.5 acres of the park's 184 and houses thousands of varieties of plants, some nearly 200 years old. 
Gardens with Conservatory in background Wikimedia

The park is famous for its Golden Dome Fieldhouse, its lagoon system, its band shell and its extensive gardens. It is truly one of the most beautiful spots in all of Chicago and a favorite with locals. Not so much tourists as they are more easily ensnared by Lincoln Park because of its easy access from downtown and the zoo. However, Garfield has its very own stop on the Green Line, so ease of access is plentiful. Garfield Park also contains an Olympic sized gymnasium, tennis courts, pool, soccer fields, baseball diamonds, a boxing ring and a theater. So come with me to this wonderful piece of landscape art, we'll have a great time.

H Is For Hull House
Hull House Wikimedia

Hull House was opened by Jane Addams and Ellen Gates in 1889 as a settlement house for newly arrived immigrants. Here they learned English, job skills, received aid in finding housing, schools for their kids and also received free lectures on current events, concerts and art exhibits. It was also a way for women to start seeking independent means of support as they received a full education here from the volunteers who were university students and teachers, all women like themselves at one time. 

The mansion itself was the starting point for a whole movement that eventually grew to encompass some 13 buildings and a summer camp with the addition of the Bowen Country Club in 1912. It became the standard bearer for some 500 settlement houses founded nation wide. When the Nation Historic Preservation Act went into effect in 1966, Hull House was among the the first to be placed on the list. It was built in 1856 by real estate magnate Charles Hull and his niece Helen Culver donated the building to Jane. Hull House and the surrounding complex were purchased in 1963 for the University of Illinois at Chicago. All the buildings, but Hull House were razed. The Hull House Association continued operations in various other Chicago locations until 2012 when it closed its doors forever. Today there is a museum inside Hull House and due to some "woman in white" stories, it does rate a stop on local ghost tours.  

Thinking about taking a stroll through Garfield Park? Want to see the place responsible for helping millions of immigrants and poor people? Come on to Chicago and I'll also buy the beer. Have fun visiting my fellow incredible challengers by clicking on the top left or here


  1. She crashed her car on your lawn? Wow, I'm sorry. Yes, glad the baby wasn't hurt. No worries - you're still on the Challenge list.

    1. Thanks, Alex, you are awesome!! Yeah, right on the lawn after she hit the car with the baby. She tried to flee the scene, but rammed her car onto the curb and broke driver's side front tire.

  2. Holy crap! What a life you lead! Glad you're okay! I would love to visit these places with you! What's on draft?

  3. Yes, if me ever visits Chicago we shall sightsee all these places, but first we would go to Michael di Gesu's place to watch him bake cakes shirtless :)

  4. LOL, Dezmond!

    That lawn ornament installation must have been freaky, Melissa. Glad it wasn't more exciting.

    The Fieldhouse and Hull House are both totally up my alley, architecture-wise. Would love to visit both of them.

  5. I've visited Chicago twice - loved it both times. But I would love to spend a lot more time there to really get to know it.


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