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Chicago, Illinois

Wicker Park

Once called the "Polish Gold Coast" it is an icon of the neighborhood that bears its same name. 

Named after the Wicker brothers, this small park has played an outsized role in Chicago history.

Once containing a man-made lake, the lake was replaced with the lawn in 1890. The park continued its evolution through the installation of a granite-cut fountain in the early 20th century that was later replaced with a wading pool. Fieldhouses were then installed in the mid-1980s, around the same time that the surrounding neighborhood was experiencing an upswing in the real estate market.

The areas surrounding the park were once called “The Polish Gold Coast” as they were home to numerous Polish immigrants and the Polish downtown. The neighborhood itself has gone through several cycles of negligence and renovation. According to the official neighborhood website the neighborhood has gone through two distinct periods. “The first from the mid 1800s through 1929 was the establishment and growth period. The second from 1930 to approximately 1973-5 was a steady, slow decline culminating in a depressed community. Then a slow rebirth was followed by an explosion of development that continues today.” 

The park includes a water playground, basketball court and a gym among other facilities.