Located within the Logan Square community this lovely small city park is a favorite among residents.
A great place to read a book and picnic in the summertime, and if you want to explore the area you can walk the boulevard system to either Logan Square or Humboldt Park.
The Chicago Park District made improvements to Palmer Square in 2008. This included upgrading the running track that circles around the edges of the green space and creating a custom-designed playground for younger children that was inspired by the famous book The Velveteen Rabbit. The park has four nodes based on the book by Margery Williams and a rabbit trail linking the nodes together.
A seven-acre rectangular swath of green space, Palmer Square was created as part of Chicago’s historic boulevard system in the early 1870s. The West Park Commissioners originally called the site Palmer Place, renaming it Palmer Square by ordinance in 1909. The name honors John McAuley Palmer (1817 – 1900), a lawyer and Civil War General who served as the 15th Governor of Illinois, and as a United States Senator.
As elegant residences began developing along Palmer Square and Humboldt Boulevard between the 1880s and early 1900s, Chicagoans often used the thoroughfares for strolling, carriage rides, and cycling. At the time, a bicycle craze swept through Chicago, largely spurred by the recent invention of the safety bike. Palmer Square became a popular spot for “wheelmen,” local clubs, and even national biking organizations. Biking enthusiasts used the ovular paved road surrounding the parkland as a track, sometimes even sharing it with pedestrians who occasionally objected to these “scorchers” taking over the roads. Because of its boulevard connection with Humboldt Park, Palmer Square was also used in city-wide bike routes, races, and parades. These events, ranging from two to 25 miles, were extremely popular with clubs across the city. In one particularly descriptive Chicago Tribune article, dated May 25, 1896, the writer calls the Associated Cycling Clubs Annual Run – where clubs chose specific colors and patterns as riding emblems - a “kaleidoscope of color.” This trend is especially interesting considering that Ignaz Schwinn (1823 - 1948), founder of Schwinn Bicycles, lived at the corner of W. Palmer St. and N. Humboldt Blvd. during the 1910s.
Chicago’s West Park System managed Palmer Square until 1934, when all of the city’s independent park commissions were consolidated into the Chicago Park District. As part of the Functional Consolidation Act of 1958, the City of Chicago assumed ownership of the property. In recent years, City and Park District officials determined that the surrounding Logan Square neighborhood suffered from a deficit in recreational facilities.
Using funds from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Chicago Park District made improvements to Palmer Square in 2008. This included upgrading the running track that circles around the edges of the green space and creating a custom-designed playground for younger children that was inspired by the famous book The Velveteen Rabbit. The City of Chicago transferred Palmer Square back to the Chicago Park District in 2013.