Located in the South Chicago neighborhood, Russell Square Park totals 11.47 acres and features a gymnasium, fitness center, and multi-purpose rooms. Outside, the park offers a swimming pool, multi-purpose ball fields, walking trail, basketball/sand volleyball courts. Many of these spaces are available for rental including our gymnasium, fields, and multi-purpose clubrooms.
Park-goers can participate in the Park Kids after school program, seasonal sports, Inter-City Basketball/Baseball, badminton, Junior Bears Football. During the summer, youth can participate in the Chicago Park District’s popular six-week day camp. Specialty camps are offered in the summer as well, and include Sports Camp. In addition to programs, Russell Square Park hosts fun special events throughout the year for the entire family, such as our Park Showcase, Turkey Trot, and other holiday-themed events
The visionary South Park Commission superintendent J. Frank Foster conceived Russell Square along with nine other revolutionary parks that opened to the public in 1905. These innovative parks provided social services as well as breathing spaces to overcrowded tenement neighborhoods on Chicago's south side. In addition to year-round recreational facilities and social activities, the new parks offered English lessons and other educational programs, the earliest branches of the Chicago Public Library, inexpensive hot meals, free public bathing facilities, and other health services. The ten parks, which quickly proved to be nationally influential, included Russell, Mark White, Davis, Armour, and Cornell Squares, and Bessemer, Ogden, Sherman, Palmer, and Hamilton Parks. Although the entire system was originally designed by the Olmsted Brothers landscape architects and Daniel H. Burnham & Co. architects, Russell Square has undergone many changes. The fieldhouse designed by Chicago Park District architects replaced the original building in 1967. The park pays tribute to Martin J. Russell (1845-1900), an accomplished native Chicagoan. After serving as Lieutenant in the Union Army during the Civil War, Russell began a career in journalism. In 1874, he began serving on the Board of Education, and two years later, he was elected Town Clerk. In 1880, he was appointed to the Board of the South Park Commission. He continued serving on the board until 1894, when President Cleveland appointed him Collector of Customs for the port of Chicago. Russell resigned from the collectorship in 1897 and continued in his journalistic career.