Eight-acre Chopin Park, 3420 North Long, is situated in the Portage Park community. The historic fieldhouse contains an assembly hall with a stage and seven rooms, where many preschool and music classes take place. The park also offers a Park Kids after-school program that attracts local students.
Beyond its expansive welcome garden and fieldhouse, Chopin Park offers athletes a senior and two junior baseball fields, a softball field, a combination football/soccer field, four basketball standards, four tennis courts, four horseshoe courts and a sand volleyball court. Young children enjoy the park’s playground and spray pool. Young park-goers can play flag football, floor hockey, indoor soccer, and outdoor tennis at the facility.
On the cultural side, Chopin Park offers arts and crafts, guitar, piano and other instrumental music classes. In the summer, youth attend day camp, and pre-teens participate in leadership camp. Adults participate in a range of activities, including piano, instrumental music classes, and 16” softball. Parents gather at Chopin Park with their preschoolers for moms, pops and tots. Preschool, sing-a-long, music and movement, and arts and crafts classes are also available for preschool-age residents.
Chopin Park was created by the Old Portage Park District, one of 22 independent park commissions consolidated into the Chicago Park District in 1934. In 1930, the Old Portage Park District purchased just over 8 acres in the then predominantly Polish southeastern corner of the rapidly-growing Portage Park community. The park was soon well-equipped with baseball and football fields, tennis and horse shoe courts, and a playground. The site also included an impressive brick fieldhouse with a 300-seat assembly/banquet hall and various game and club rooms. The Georgian Revival-style fieldhouse was identical to those at the Old Portage Park District's nearby Shabbona and Wilson Parks. Recognizing the Polish heritage of many area residents, the Old Portage Park District named the park for the great Polish-born French composer and pianist Frederic Francois Chopin (1810--1849). A child prodigy, Chopin first played in public at the age of eight, and began composing shortly thereafter. He is best known for his many compositions for solo piano. In the mid-1930s, not long after Chopin Park became part of the unified Chicago Park District, the new agency remodelled the fieldhouse. Over the years, the facility drew neighborhood residents for a wide variety of indoor activities, including pre-school and mothers' clubs, gymnastics, social dancing, crafts, citizenship classes. Particularly appropriate given its name, a local orchestra practiced at the fieldhouse, performing concerts in the auditorium. The Chicago Park District also made various outdoor improvements, including constructing a wading pool with sand pits and shelters in 1948, installing a basketball court in 1975, and regularly rehabilitating various park facilities and greenspaces.
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