Located in the Rogers Park community, Willye B. White Park offers a wide variety of programming options within a 3-acre site which includes the Chicago Park District's newest fieldhouse. Year round the park staff offers programs for patrons of all ages and skill levels.
For youth we have our Inner City Basketball & Baseball program, chess, arts & crafts, Might Fit Kidz fitness program, fencing, gymnastics and tumbling, and moms, pops and tots. For girls only we offer the Go Girls Go and Girls in the Game program. For those interested in music we offer guitar and drumming programs.
Adults can participate in a range of activities, including the affordable state-of-art fitness center and aerobic classes, plus senior stretching! In addition to these programs, Willye B. White Park hosts fun special events for the whole family. Check in with the park staff on a regular basis to see what's going on at the park.
For a complete listing of programs offered at Willye B. White Park go to the program page of our website. We invite you to take a tour of the facility and check out the new fitness center, gymnasium and club room! It's a great space to hold your next special event.
In 2008, the Chicago Park District constructed a new field house in Gale School Park and renamed the entire site in honor of five-time Olympian Willye B. White.
Born on Dec. 31, 1939 in Money, Mississippi, Willye B. White was raised by her grandparents in Greenwood, Mississippi. She picked cotton to help support her family but also found time to participate in sports. As a 16-year-old high school sophomore, Willye spent summers training with famed track and field coach Ed Temple at Tennessee State University and soon won a silver medal in the long jump at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia. This marked the first time an American woman had won a medal in that event. She went on compete in the next four more consecutive Olympic Games.
After moving to Chicago in 1960, she began a career as a practical nurse and went on to become a public health administrator. In 1991, she founded the Willye White Foundation to help children develop self-esteem and encourage them to become productive citizens. That same year, she began working for the Chicago Park District as Director of Recreation Services, developing important programs such as sports initiatives for young girls in housing projects, the Great American Workout at Buckingham Fountain, a football camp at Soldier Field for boys and girls, and a program to recognize outstanding female athletes in 66 City High Schools.
Throughout her life, Willye B. White received much recognition and many honors. UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, honored her humanitarian efforts—selecting her as the first American winner of the Pierre de Coubertin International Fair Play Award. Her impressive list of awards includes the President’s Council on Health and Physical Fitness National Honor Award and the Women’s Sports Foundation Wilma Rudolph Courage Award. She was entered on numerous distinguished lists of athletes including the National Track and Field Hall of Fame, the Sports Illustrated for Women 100 Greatest Athletes of the Century, and Ebony Magazine named Willye B. White one of the nation’s 10 Greatest Female Athletes.
For directions using public transportation visit www.transitchicago.com.