Located in the South Chicago community, Bessemer Park totals 22.88 acres and features two gymnasiums, a boxing gym, and multi-purpose rooms. Green features of our facility include two gardens. Outside, the parks offers an artificial soccer field, handball court, a swimming pool, picnic groves, softball & baseball fields, a track, and tennis courts. Many of these spaces are available for rental including our gymnasiums, fields, and multi-purpose rooms.
Park-goers can participate in Park Kids, seasonal sports, playschool activities, Therapeutic Recreation, and Teen Club. Afterschool programs are offered throughout the school year, and during the summer youth attend the Park District’s popular six-week day camp.Specialty camps are offered in the summer as well, and include Happy Heart Camp and Special Recreation Camp.
In addition to programs, Bessemer Park hosts fun special events throughout the year for the entire family including Kiddie Prom and Hispanic History Month celebrations.
The South Park Commission created Bessemer Park in 1904 as part of what proved to be a nationally influential neighborhood park system. At the time, vast numbers of immigrants were arriving in Chicago with hopes of achieving the "American dream." Instead, many found intolerable living and working conditions. The city's existing parks were too far away to offer any relief. Superintendent J. Frank Foster conceived a new type of park for these areas. The innovative parks not only provided beautifully landscaped "breathing spaces," but also public bathing, the city's first branch libraries, classes and vocational training, inexpensive hot meals, health care, and a variety of recreational programs. Nationally renowned landscape architects the Olmsted Brothers and architects Daniel H. Burnham and Co. designed the whole system of new parks. In addition to Bessemer Park, the neighborhood park system included Ogden, Sherman, Palmer, and Hamilton Parks, and Mark White, Russell, Davis, Armour, Cornell Squares.
Bessemer Park was named for Sir Henry Bessemer (1813-1898), an Englishman who perfected the process of making steel which revolutionized the steel industry worldwide. The name is especially appropriate because the park is located a mile away from South Chicago's once-thriving steel mills.
For directions using public transportation visit www.transitchicago.com.