This small playground is located in the Near West Community. The park features a playground and an athletic field. It is an active community park..
While there is no structured programming taking place at this location, we invite you to check out our great programs offered at nearby Skinner Park for recreation in the Whitney Young High School gym and fun on the athletic fields.
In 1996, the Chicago Park District began creating Ellen Gates Starr Park as part of an innovative partnership with the Board of Education. The park district acquired several parcels of land adjacent to Dett Elementary School including closing and greening over part of Maypole Avenue, to create a lovely 1.25-acre site with a playground, gardens, and recreational landscape. The project included a $75,000 donation from Blue Cross/ Blue Shield for the community garden planted by elementary school students. This park was one of the first successes of the Campus Park Program. This innovative cooperative effort between the Chicago Park District, Board of Education, and City of Chicago, eventually resulted the replacement of asphalt with green space and recreational facilities at sites adjacent to more than 100 schools. The Chicago Park District named the park in honor of Ellen Gates Starr in 2004, as part of a system-wide initiative to recognize the achievements of significant Chicago women. Ellen Gates Starr (1859- 1940), an associate and close friend of Jane Addams, was one of the nation’s most important social reformers. Starr and Addams met at the Rockford Female Seminary. After one year, however, Starr did not have the financial means to remain at the Seminary and she left college to become a teacher in 1878. The two women continued their friendship, and in 1888, they traveled to Europe together. In England, Addams visited Thornbee Hall, one of the world’s first settlements, providing social services to people who lived in the slums of East London. After the trip, Starr agreed to help Addams found America’s first settlement, Hull-House, which opened on W. Polk Ave. and S. Halsted Street in Sept. of 1889. Starr’s interest in the arts resulted in progressive programs at Hull-House such as art classes and an art gallery available to the residents of the settlement house, other poor immigrants who lived in the area, as well as Chicago’s cultural elite. Starr’s interest in art also inspired her to found the Chicago Public School Art Society in 1894, and the Chicago Society of Arts and Crafts in 1897. Starr also fought tirelessly for women’s and workers rights, and became particularly involved in helping workers form unions and strike for better pay and improved working conditions. Dett School is approximately 3 miles away from Hull-House, where Ellen Gates Starr lived until 1929, when she moved to New York after becoming paralyzed due to a surgical procedure.
For directions using public transportation visit www.transitchicago.com.