Located in the Hyde Park neighborhood, Butternut Park totals 0.41 acres and is a recreational destination enjoyed by park patrons and their families. The park offers a playground with swings, slides, climbing apparatus, and a sandbox.
In the 1940s, the south side Hyde Park neighborhood saw increasing signs of urban decay. In the following decade, local residents, the University of Chicago, and city agencies organized to stem the tide of deterioration and promote urban renewal. To better serve the community's recreational needs, the City of Chicago purchased this small property on South Woodlawn Avenue. This City park was then transferred the Chicago Park District pursuant to the Chicago Park and City Exchange Functions Act of 1957. The Chicago Park District, soon improved it with playground equipment and a sand box. The Park District rehabilitated the park by installing a new soft surface playground in 1991.
In 1973, the Park District officially named the site Butternut Park. At the time, the District’s park naming committee felt that neighborhood children could best relate to park names chosen from nature. The butternut, or white walnut, found throughout eastern North America, is a low, broad tree with a short, thick trunk. The wood of the butternut tree is light and easily worked. Also prized for its beauty, it was often fashioned into elegant carriage interiors in prior centuries. The butternut produces thick-hulled nuts enclosed in sticky, spiny husks. These husks yield a yellow dye that was used by Confederate soldiers to dye their homespun uniforms. The southern troops thus gained the nickname "Butternuts."