The Jackson Park Advisory Council (JPAC) is the body that monitors the park, represents the community and advises the Chicago Park District. We hold the district accountable for stewardship and preserve the park’s historic character and special natural areas.
In 2019, ground will be broken for the construction of the Barack Obama Presidental Center. The Center will house the 44th President's documents, records, and memorabilia in a location easily accessible by automobile, commuter railway, and bus. The Center is scheduled to open in 2021. The Obama Center is near the site of the Terminal Station of the World Columbian Exposition, where dozens of trains bringing fair-goers arrived every day. The Illinois Central Railroad had purchased 41 new locomotives to transport passengers to the Fair from downtown Chicago. Trains from downtown Chicago well might have been driven by famous engineer Casey Jones, who with wife Janey moved from Tennessee to Chicago to serve the Fair.
Directly across Stony Island Avenue from the Obama Center is the Hyde Park Career Academy, formerly Hyde Park High School, from which aviator Amelia Earhart graduated in 1915. Other well-known graduates include entertainer Steve Allen and jazz musician Herbie Hancock. The school marks the site where Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show entertained thousands of visitors during the World Columbian Exposition in 1893. Visitors could watch sharp-shooting Annie Oakley and her husband, Frank Butler, also talented with a firearm. Chief Sitting Bull and members of his tribe lived in nearby tepees and Buffalo Bill himself rode into the main arena every day on his handsome white horse, doffing his hat to adoring ladies and swirling his lasso.
It is fitting that the Presidential Center will rise on land named after Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States and a slave owner. Here people of all ages, races, and backgrounds will come together to celebrate the spirit of democracy in respect, love, and peace.