Located in the Morgan Park community area, Blackwelder Park is a recreational destination enjoyed by park patrons and their families.This park features a soft-surface playground, basketball court and a softball field. Park patrons engage in a variety of activities at Blackwelder Park include basketball and softball.
In 1844, Englishman Thomas Leeds Morgan began buying thousands of acres of land south of Chicago. After the Civil War, Morgan's homestead became the site of Morgan Park, a new residential suburb incorporated in 1882. Among Morgan Park's early residents were I.S. and Gertrude B. Blackwelder, whose home at 10910 Prospect Avenue quickly became a social center for the community. I.S. Blackwelder served as a chief of the Western Department of the Niagara Fire Insurance Company of New York. Gertrude Blackwelder, for whom the park is named, was a founder of the Morgan Park Women's Club, and a member of the community's school board. She is also said to have been "the first woman to cast a ballot in the State of Illinois." Morgan Park's annexation to Chicago brought improvements and services, spurring residential development after 1900. The community's population more than doubled between 1930 and 1960, with growth continuing through the following decade, as increasing numbers of African-Americans moved into the integrated neighborhood. In 1969, local resident Mary A. Riggins wrote to the Chicago Park District, concerned that neighborhood children were forced to play in the streets. Higgins suggested creating a park on an under-used Little League ball field, the last large tract of vacant land within the community. Using U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant funds, the park district purchased the ball field in 1974. Two years later, the park district began grading and resodding the site, and installing playground equipment and athletic fields. A new soft surface playground was constructed in Blackwelder Park in 1988.
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