It is located in the Austin Community, Columbus Park totals [135.12] acres. The field house features: a fitness center; 2 gymnasiums; 3 kitchens; meeting rooms; senior center and banquet room. Outside, the park offers a nature area, boundless children’s accessible playground with an interactive water feature, bicycle path, jogging path, pavilion and 9-hole golf course. In addition Columbus is a multi-faceted recreation park with an outdoor swimming pool, fishing lagoon, baseball fields, and athletic fields for football and soccer and basketball courts. The beautiful “Refectory” building sits on the park’s grounds and is a popular destination for weddings and special events.
Many of these spaces are available for rental such as parties and athletic tournaments. Patrons are especially fond of renting the beautiful Refectory Building for weddings and other formal parties.
Park-goers can play basketball, football or soccer at the facility. Afterschool programs are offered throughout the school year, and in the summer youth attend the Park District’s popular six-week day camp.
In addition to programs, Columbus Park hosts fun special events throughout the year for the whole family, such as Movies in the Park and concerts."
Columbus Park is considered the masterpiece of Jens Jensen, now known as dean of Prairie-style landscape architecture. The project, Jensen's only opportunity to create an entirely new large park in Chicago, represents the culmination of years of his conservation efforts and design experimentation.
Appointed as West Park Commission General Superintendent and Chief Landscape Architect in 1905, Jensen re-designed Humboldt, Garfield, and Douglas Parks and began creating small parks such as Eckhart and Dvorak. After losing political support in 1910, he shifted his role to consulting landscape architect. Two years later, the commissioners acquired 144 acres of farmland at the western boundary of Chicago. They named the new park for Christopher Columbus (c. 1451-1506), the famous Italian explorer who "discovered" America while in the service of Spain.
Jensen's vision for Columbus Park was inspired by the unimproved site's natural history and topography. Convinced that it was an ancient beach, Jensen designed a series of berms, like glacial ridges, encircling the flat interior part of the park. In the center area, following the traces of sand dune, he created a "prairie river" flowing from two brooks. Two natural-looking waterfalls, with ledges of stratified stonework, represent the source of the river. Throughout the park, Jensen included native plants.
Jensen also included programming elements emulating nature. Broad prairie-like meadows provide a golf course and ball fields. He designed an outdoor theatre, known as the "player's green," for plays and other performances. In the children's playground area, Jensen included his favorite feature, the council ring, a circular stone bench for storytelling and campfires.
In 1953, the nine acres at the park's southern boundary were destroyed to make way for the Eisenhower Expressway. Despite the loss of some land and other changes to the park at that time, Columbus Park still conveys Jensen's genius
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