Avalon Park – Chicago IL


Avalon Park was one of the last projects of the WPA that was approved by Harry Hopkins and Controller General J.R. McCarl in 1935 and was an example during the Great Depression of how the government was interested in giving pleasurable entertainment and culture to the community of the Chicago South Side. The park is located between 83rd and 85th streets, with South Kimbark Avenue on the east side and is approximately 28 acres . Pre-New Deal, in 1931 landscape architect Robert Moore created a plan for the park and Alderman Michael F. Mulcahy was also involved in jumpstarting plans for the park. Robert J. Dunham, who was president of the Chicago park district and WPA administrator for Illinois, played a large role in originally approving the request for the park before sending the file to Washington for final action . $445,000 was budgeted for Avalon Park – a high cost due to “the large ratio of hand labor insisted upon by WPA regulations and the amount of extra installations of sewers and lights.”

Avalon Park included several ambitious features for the time including a shelter house, shower and locker room, as well as an outdoor swimming pool 100 feet long and 50 feet wide, two outdoor gymnasiums and a running track, a baseball diamond, football field, tennis courts, and a wading pool. The park is used today and there is a track field, a swimming pool, basketball and tennis courts, and the baseball field.

Source notes

"$900,000 Asked by Park Board for South Side." Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963): 1. Sep 15, 1935. ProQuest. Web. 27 Apr. 2013 .

"Avalon Park." Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago: 2005. 

"Work on 29 Acre Avalon Park to Begin this Week." Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963): 1. Nov 10 1935. ProQuest. Web. 27 Apr. 2013 .

"South Side has 13 Millions for Park Projects." Chicago Daily Tribune (1923 1963): 1. Dec 01 1935. ProQuest. Web. 27 Apr. 2013 


Project originally submitted by Erin TerBeek et al. on May 21, 2013.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

1215 E. 83rd St.
Chicago, IL 60619

Coordinates: 41.74227333993893, -87.59453589311522

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