The Early Days

Indian Boundary Park 2500 West Lunt Avenue Chicago

Indian Boundary Park/The Early Days
Chicago Park District
Written By Chicago Park District

The Chicago Park District owns more than 8,800 acres of parkland, making it the largest municipal park manager in the nation. Visit the Chicago Park District's 597 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, 70 nature areas, & hundreds of programs.

Audio Commentary:

The Establishment

Indian Boundary Park was established by the Ridge Avenue Park District, a small park commission formed by the state legislature in 1896. (The 22 independent park districts were consolidated into the Chicago Park District in 1934.) Three earlier districts, known as the South, West, and Lincoln Park Commissions had formed in 1869 to create a unified park and boulevard system for the growing city. At that time, Chicagoans needed good roads as well as parks. Here on the far north side, soon after the suburban villages of West Ridge and Rogers Park were annexed to Chicago in 1893, residents of the area wanted parks, but at first their goal was to establish Ridge Avenue as a beautiful and dependable pleasure drive for horses and carriages.  

Early on, a major controversy brewed about the boundaries for a proposed park district. Rogers Park residents wanted a lakefront park, but members of the West Ridge community resented the idea of being taxed for a park so far away from their neighborhood. Instead, they wanted to establish their own park district west of the Northwestern Railway line. 

After a lively campaign, two proposed acts went for popular vote in the spring of 1896. The West Ridge group won, and the Ridge Avenue’s Park District boundaries stretched between Howard Street at the north, what is now considered Devon Avenue at the south, the railroad tracks at the east, and Kedzie Avenue at the west. In 1912, the Ridge Avenue Park District established its first playground. Located at Morse and Ridge Avenues, that playground is now called Matanky Park. Three years later, West Ridge residents asked the Park Board to create a park for their neighborhood, and land acquisition efforts began.

Cover photo credit: Indian Boundary Park’s original field house, ca. 1925, Chicago Park District Special Collections

Indian Boundary Park

The Early Days

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