Located at the corner of Foster and Pulaski Avenues in the North Park community, Gompers Park covers nearly 39 acres. The park straddles the Chicago River and features rehabilitated wetlands and a lagoon with pier access that lends itself to many environmental activities.
The park hosts an Uban Camp and Under Illinois Sky, Family Campout , River Rescue Clean-up, as well as stewardship and gardening opportunities.
In addition to an outdoor pool, Gompers Park has a playground, three junior baseball fields, one football field, one basketball courts, five tennis courts, a roller hockey-skating area, and a spray pool. Inside the park fieldhouse are several activity rooms, a gymnasium, and an auditorium with a stage.
Gompers Park's preschool programs include: ballet, arts& crafts, preschool activities, tiny tot tumbling, seasonal sports--as well as Tots Spot (for 12 to 36-month-olds).
Youth participate in sports such as basketball, volleyball, floor hockey, and soccer. Other popular activities include Kids Nite Out, tap, ballet, Park Kids after school program and gymnastics.
Teens enjoy basketball and gymnastics - as well as getting involved with the new park teen club.
Seniors can participate in conditioning and stretching classes.
Gompers Park was created by the Albany Park District, one of 22 independent park districts consolidated into the Chicago Park District in 1934. In 1926, not long after the Albany Park District identified nearly 40 acres of wooded farmland along the North Branch of the Chicago River, landscape architect Henry J. Stockman prepared a plan to transform the property into parkland. Improvements began almost as soon as initial land purchases were completed in 1927. By 1932, in addition to wooded areas and a natural stream dammed to create lagoons, the property had basketball courts, archery ranges, football fields, and playgrounds.
Clarence Hatzfeld, a Chicago architect and member of the Albany Park board, designed the park's Tudor Revival-style fieldhouse. In 1934, financial pressures created by the Great Depression prompted formation of the Chicago Park District. Using federal funding through the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the park district soon began rehabilitating the southern portion of the park, constructing tennis courts, a footbridge over the river, a dam and spillway for the lower lagoon.
After adding a wading pool in 1946, the park district built a full-sized swimming pool 30 years later. In the mid-1990s, with tremendous community support, the park district began restoring the wetlands along the south bank of the river according to plans prepared by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In its earliest days, Gompers Park was briefly known as Matson Park, for Samuel Matson, Superintendent of the Albany Park District. Albany Park District President Henry A. Schwartz, an official of the shoemakers' union, soon convinced the park board that it was inappropriate to name the park for a living person. In 1929, the district renamed the site in honor of Samuel Gompers (1850-1924), long-time president of the American Federation of Labor. Elected president of his local cigar makers' union in 1875, Gompers progressed quickly through the ranks, becoming the AFL's first president in 1886. During his 40-year tenure, AFL membership grew from 150,000 to 2,900,000, and the average wage for skilled labor increased by 250%