Harold Washington Memorial Park

  • 7710 N. Paulina St.   Chicago, Illinois 60626 [View Map]
  • Park Hours:
  • Park Phone: (773) 262-5051

This small playground is located in the Rogers Park neighborhood (1 ½ block north of Howard Street, 2 ½ blocks east of Clark Street/Evanston’s Chicago Avenue). This park is a great location for families with children to spend an afternoon. The park has ADA accessible soft-surface play area – filled with swings, a slide, picnic tables, drinking fountains, and benches. While there is no structured programming taking place at this location, we invite you to check out our great programs offered at nearby Willye White Park.

History

In 2004, Peoples’ Housing, a non-profit organization deeded a .19-acre playlot in the Rogers Park community to the Chicago Park District. The site became #506 on the park district’s facility listing.

The playlot was created in 1983, and has been known since then as Harold Washington Tot Lot. Mayor Harold Washington attended the park’s ribbon-cutting 22 years ago. Many area residents still have fond memories of shaking the late Mayor’s hand at the dedication ceremonies.

Numerous community members and organizations provided strong support for the proposed name change to Harold Washington Memorial Park. In February 2006, the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners approved the name change request.

Harold Lee Washington (1922- 1987) was Chicago’s first African-American Mayor, serving from 1983 until his death in 1987.Born and raised on Chicago’s south side, Washington graduated from DuSable High School. After serving in the military, he studied at Roosevelt College, one of the academic institutions in the region that then accepted African-Americans. He served as class president and received his Bachelor’s Degree in 1948. He went on to attend Northwestern University School of Law, receiving a law degree in 1952. Washington worked as an assistant city prosecutor and as an arbitrator for the Illinois Industrial Commission. He was active in the Third Ward Democratic Organization and Third Ward Young Democrats. Elected as member of the Illinois House of Representatives in 1965, he served through 1976. He served as Illinois State Senator from 1976 to 1980; and a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1980 until 1983. On April 22, 1983, he was elected as Mayor of Chicago, and was re-elected for a second term in 1987. Although his second term was cut short by his untimely death, he accomplished much in City Hall during his tenure. Many of his Executive Orders Ordinances became models for other cities including advisorycommissions on the affairs of Latinos, Women, and Asians; Ordinances on Affirmative Action in employment and procurement, tenants’ rights, campaign finance reform, Freedom of Information and South African divestiture.He served as Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and put forth an agenda for the re-development of the inner cities, and initiated a national dialogue on race relations. Mayor Harold Washington instituted a public policy and practice of fairness and equality for all of the citizens and communities. This attitude was made clear in his first inaugural address on April 29, 1983, he said, "I hope to be remembered by history as the Mayor who cared about the people and who was, above all, fair.”

Parking/Directions

For directions using public transportation visit www.transitchicago.com.

Washington, Harold

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Description

This small playground is located in the Rogers Park neighborhood (1 ½ block north of Howard Street, 2 ½ blocks east of Clark Street/Evanston’s Chicago Avenue). This park is a great location for families with children to spend an afternoon. The park has ADA accessible soft-surface play area – filled with swings, a slide, picnic tables, drinking fountains, and benches. While there is no structured programming taking place at this location, we invite you to check out our great programs offered at nearby Willye White Park.

In 2004, Peoples’ Housing, a non-profit organization deeded a .19-acre playlot in the Rogers Park community to the Chicago Park District. The site became #506 on the park district’s facility listing.

The playlot was created in 1983, and has been known since then as Harold Washington Tot Lot. Mayor Harold Washington attended the park’s ribbon-cutting 22 years ago. Many area residents still have fond memories of shaking the late Mayor’s hand at the dedication ceremonies.

Numerous community members and organizations provided strong support for the proposed name change to Harold Washington Memorial Park. In February 2006, the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners approved the name change request.

Harold Lee Washington (1922- 1987) was Chicago’s first African-American Mayor, serving from 1983 until his death in 1987.Born and raised on Chicago’s south side, Washington graduated from DuSable High School. After serving in the military, he studied at Roosevelt College, one of the academic institutions in the region that then accepted African-Americans. He served as class president and received his Bachelor’s Degree in 1948. He went on to attend Northwestern University School of Law, receiving a law degree in 1952. Washington worked as an assistant city prosecutor and as an arbitrator for the Illinois Industrial Commission. He was active in the Third Ward Democratic Organization and Third Ward Young Democrats. Elected as member of the Illinois House of Representatives in 1965, he served through 1976. He served as Illinois State Senator from 1976 to 1980; and a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1980 until 1983. On April 22, 1983, he was elected as Mayor of Chicago, and was re-elected for a second term in 1987. Although his second term was cut short by his untimely death, he accomplished much in City Hall during his tenure. Many of his Executive Orders Ordinances became models for other cities including advisorycommissions on the affairs of Latinos, Women, and Asians; Ordinances on Affirmative Action in employment and procurement, tenants’ rights, campaign finance reform, Freedom of Information and South African divestiture.He served as Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and put forth an agenda for the re-development of the inner cities, and initiated a national dialogue on race relations. Mayor Harold Washington instituted a public policy and practice of fairness and equality for all of the citizens and communities. This attitude was made clear in his first inaugural address on April 29, 1983, he said, "I hope to be remembered by history as the Mayor who cared about the people and who was, above all, fair.”

For directions using public transportation visit www.transitchicago.com.