Nat King Cole Park

  • 361 E. 85th St.   Chicago, Illinois 60619 [View Map]
  • Fieldhouse Hours: ,
  • Park Hours:
  • Park Supervisor: Gene Morgan
  • Park Phone: (312) 747-6063

Located in the Chatham community, Cole Park totals 4.69 acres and features a multi-purpose clubroom. Outside, the park offers a playground, softball diamonds, basketball courts, horseshoe court. Many of these spaces are available for rental including our ball fields.

Park-goers can participate in Park Kids seasonal sports, Teen Club, Senior Club. After school programs are offered throughout the school year, and in the summer youth attend the Chicago Park District’s popular six-week day camp. Specialty camps are offered in the summer as well, and include dance and sports camp.

In addition to programs, Cole Park hosts fun special events throughout the year for the entire family including the 3 on 3 Basketball Skills Tournament and holiday-themed events.

Parking/Directions

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

History

The Chicago Park District purchased this property in 1961 at the request of local residents who saw a need for additional recreational space in their under-served Chatham community.  Park improvements, including a field house, began almost immediately.  In 1967, the park district named the site Cole Park for American pianist and singer Nat King Cole (1919-1965).  Born Nathaniel Adams Coles in Montgomery, Alabama, Cole grew up in Chicago, where his father was pastor of the True Light Baptist Church, not far from the park site. Cole learned to play the piano early, and organized a 14-piece band while in high school.  Cole went on to become one of America's most popular singers.  His hits included "Straighten Up and Fly Right" (1944), "The Christmas Song" (1946), "Route 66" (1946), "Nature Boy" (1948), "Unforgettable" (1950), and "Mona Lisa" (1950).  His 1956 album, Around Midnight, demonstrated his extraordinary talents as a jazz pianist.  In 1957, Cole became the first African-American to host his own weekly network television show.

In 2009, the Cole Park Advisory Council began a major fund-raising campaign to support the development of a new playground for the park.  The president of the Advisory Council Thomas Wortham IV (1980 – 2010), spearheaded the campaign.  Sadly, the following year, Wortham was murdered during an attempted robbery in the neighborhood near the park.  Wortham was a Chicago police officer who made great contributions to the park and surrounding community.  After his tragic death, the Chicago Park District, Chicago Police Department, Fraternal Order of the Police, Cole Park Advisory Council, Friends of the Parks, Children’s Memorial Hospital, and Wortham family came together to fully fund the $300,000 playground.   The Officer Thomas Wortham IV Playground was dedicated in Cole Park in October of 2011.

 

Unforgettable

Unforgettable (2)

Location Notes: Playground knee walls

Descriptors: Outdoor, Playground Art

Nat King Cole Diamond Softball

Nat King Cole Diamond Softball

Location Notes: 361 E. 85th St.

Nat King Cole Basketball Court

Nat King Cole Basketball Court

Location Notes: 361 E. 85th St. Chicago IL 60619

Nat King Cole Fieldhouse

Nat King Cole Fieldhouse

Location Notes: 361 E. 85th St.

Hours: ,

Nat King Cole Football Field

Nat King Cole Football Field

Location Notes: 361 E. 85th St.

Descriptors: Grass

Nat King Cole Horeshoe Court

Nat King Cole Horeshoe Court

Location Notes: 361 E. 85th St.

Nat King Cole Clubroom

Nat King Cole Clubroom

Location Notes: 361 E. 85th St.

Nat King Cole Playground

Nat King Cole PlaygroundAccessible

Descriptors: Rubberized Surface

Nat King Cole Spray Pool

Nat King Cole Spray Pool

Location Notes: 361 E. 85th St.

Winter Programs

Most winter  programs start the week of January 9, 2017 and run through the week of March 31. Click on the program name links below to view a program and register now.  Registration is on-going while spots are available.
 

Spring Programs

Most spring programs start the week of April 3 and run through the week of June 5.  View programs online & create your wish list beginning Monday, February 13.  Registration dates for our park are:

  • Online registration begins on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 at 9:00am.
  • In-person registration begins on Saturday, March 4, 2017.

Click on the program name links below for program descriptions, availability information and to register online now (if available).

Name Number Type Category Ages Gender Dates Fee
Cardio Beats at Cole 172476InstructionWellness - Fitness18 and upCoed2017/01/10 01:00From January 9, 2017 to March 15, 2017
Each Monday from 7pm to 7:50pm
Each Wednesday from 7pm to 7:50pm
$23.00
Drop-In at Cole 193628InstructionOut of School Programs - After SchoolAt least 6 but less than 13Coed2017/01/23 22:00From January 23, 2017 to March 17, 2017
Each Monday from 4pm to 5pm
Each Tuesday from 4pm to 5pm
Each Wednesday from 4pm to 5pm
Each Thursday from 4pm to 5pm
Each Friday from 4pm to 5pm
$0
Park Kids at Cole 174337InstructionOut of School Programs - After SchoolAt least 6 but less than 13Coed2017/01/09 21:00From January 9, 2017 to March 17, 2017
Each Monday from 3pm to 6:30pm
Each Tuesday from 3pm to 6:30pm
Each Wednesday from 3pm to 6:30pm
Each Thursday from 3pm to 6:30pm
Each Friday from 3pm to 6:30pm
$31.00
Senior Citizens Club at Cole 172547OpenSpecial Interest - Clubs60 and upCoed2017/01/09 19:00From January 9, 2017 to March 13, 2017
Each Monday from 1pm to 2:30pm
$0
Teen Club at Cole 174773OpenSpecial Interest - ClubsAt least 13 but less than 18Coed2017/01/11 00:00From January 10, 2017 to March 17, 2017
Each Tuesday from 6pm to 7:30pm
Each Thursday from 6pm to 7:30pm
Each Friday from 6pm to 7:30pm
$0
Name Number Type Category Ages Gender Dates Fee
Cardio Beats at Cole 178884InstructionWellness - Fitness18 and upCoed2017/04/04 00:00From April 3, 2017 to June 7, 2017
Each Monday from 7pm to 8pm
Each Wednesday from 7pm to 8pm
$24.00
Park Kids at Cole 180834InstructionOut of School Programs - After SchoolAt least 6 but less than 13Coed2017/04/03 21:00From April 3, 2017 to June 9, 2017
Each Monday from 4pm to 5pm
Each Tuesday from 4pm to 5pm
Each Wednesday from 4pm to 5pm
Each Thursday from 4pm to 5pm
Each Friday from 4pm to 5pm
$0
Table Tennis at Cole 181300InstructionSports - Table Tennis18 and upCoed2017/04/03 17:30From April 3, 2017 to June 9, 2017
Each Monday from 12:30pm to 2:30pm
Each Wednesday from 12:30pm to 2:30pm
Each Friday from 12:30pm to 2:30pm
$0
Teen Club at Cole 181373OpenSpecial Interest - ClubsAt least 13 but less than 18Coed2017/04/05 00:00From April 4, 2017 to June 9, 2017
Each Tuesday from 7pm to 8pm
Each Thursday from 7pm to 8pm
Each Friday from 7pm to 8pm
$0

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Description

Located in the Chatham community, Cole Park totals 4.69 acres and features a multi-purpose clubroom. Outside, the park offers a playground, softball diamonds, basketball courts, horseshoe court. Many of these spaces are available for rental including our ball fields.

Park-goers can participate in Park Kids seasonal sports, Teen Club, Senior Club. After school programs are offered throughout the school year, and in the summer youth attend the Chicago Park District’s popular six-week day camp. Specialty camps are offered in the summer as well, and include dance and sports camp.

In addition to programs, Cole Park hosts fun special events throughout the year for the entire family including the 3 on 3 Basketball Skills Tournament and holiday-themed events.

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

The Chicago Park District purchased this property in 1961 at the request of local residents who saw a need for additional recreational space in their under-served Chatham community.  Park improvements, including a field house, began almost immediately.  In 1967, the park district named the site Cole Park for American pianist and singer Nat King Cole (1919-1965).  Born Nathaniel Adams Coles in Montgomery, Alabama, Cole grew up in Chicago, where his father was pastor of the True Light Baptist Church, not far from the park site. Cole learned to play the piano early, and organized a 14-piece band while in high school.  Cole went on to become one of America's most popular singers.  His hits included "Straighten Up and Fly Right" (1944), "The Christmas Song" (1946), "Route 66" (1946), "Nature Boy" (1948), "Unforgettable" (1950), and "Mona Lisa" (1950).  His 1956 album, Around Midnight, demonstrated his extraordinary talents as a jazz pianist.  In 1957, Cole became the first African-American to host his own weekly network television show.

In 2009, the Cole Park Advisory Council began a major fund-raising campaign to support the development of a new playground for the park.  The president of the Advisory Council Thomas Wortham IV (1980 – 2010), spearheaded the campaign.  Sadly, the following year, Wortham was murdered during an attempted robbery in the neighborhood near the park.  Wortham was a Chicago police officer who made great contributions to the park and surrounding community.  After his tragic death, the Chicago Park District, Chicago Police Department, Fraternal Order of the Police, Cole Park Advisory Council, Friends of the Parks, Children’s Memorial Hospital, and Wortham family came together to fully fund the $300,000 playground.   The Officer Thomas Wortham IV Playground was dedicated in Cole Park in October of 2011.