Fred Anderson Park is a new 1.20 acre park in the Near South Side Community Area. The park features two enclosed dog friendly areas, one for small dogs and one for large dogs. Each area is complete with artificial turf, water play fountains, tunnel and shade structures, benches, picnic tables, Omega style safety fencing and a dog-friendly drinking fountains.
Fred Anderson Park also includes a stage area with a seating wall for performances by local artists. The stage areas includes shade structures, electrical service and benches.
While there is no structured programming taking place at this location, we invite you to check out our great programs offered at nearby Chicago Women's Park.
In 2008, the City of Chicago acquired just over one acre of property at 16th St. and Wabash Ave. to provide parkland within a redeveloped area of the Near South. The City of Chicago transferred the park to the Chicago Park District in 2015. The Chicago Park District took over the design development and management of the park.
Park District staff members and Altamanu, a landscape architecture and urban planning firm, worked closely with community members to create plans for the park. It includes a dog friendly area, lawn, trees and benches, as well as a stage area with a seating wall for performances by musicians and other local artists.
In 2011, the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners named the new park in honor of Fred Anderson an internationally acclaimed jazz musician who lived only a few blocks away from 2101 South Michigan Avenue and in close proximity to the original site of the Velvet Lounge, Anderson’s bar that became known as one of Chicago’s most important jazz venues.
Born in Monroe, Louisiana Fred Anderson (1929 – 2010) began teaching himself to play the piano at the age of five and took up the tenor saxophone as a teenager. He married in 1950, worked various odd jobs to support his family, and played the saxophone in his spare time. Although he did not play professionally until he was in his thirties, audiences and other musicians quickly recognized his great talent.
In the mid 1960s, Anderson was one of the original Chicago members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. He and his band played in the first AACM concert. Anderson soon made a recording, “Song For” on Delmark Records, which proved to be the first of more than thirty albums he recorded. Around this time, he became known as the “Lone Prophet of the Prairie,” in part because of the fact he played with such a unique and distinctive style.
Making his first trip to perform in Europe in 1977, Anderson gained quick popularity, travelling and performing throughout the US as well as Austria, Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, and Switzerland. Despite his widespread fame, he maintained strong ties with Chicago. In 1982, he began to help a sick friend run the Velvet Lounge at 2128 ½ South Indiana Avenue. When his friend died, Anderson took over the bar and transformed it into internationally renowned venue for creative music.
Fred Anderson mentored many younger musicians, performed at numerous Chicago Jazz Festivals, and contributed to the vitality of Chicago for decades. He was always true to his motto of “patience, sincerity, and consistency.”