This small playground is located in the Pilsen neighborhood in the Lower West Side community area. The park totals 0.68 acres and features a basketball court, a playground that was renovated in Fall 2013 as part of the Chicago Plays! program, and a vibrant mural created by After School Matters students in partnership with Yollocalli Arts Reach.
While there is no structured programming taking place at this location, we invite you to check out our great programs offered at nearby Harrison Park.
Barrett Park dates to just after 1900, when the surrounding Lower West Side neighborhood was home to thousands of newly-arrived southern- and eastern-European immigrants. The park began as a playground leased and operated by the Gad's Hill Center, a local social welfare settlement house. The City of Chicago's Special Park Commission took over the lease in December 1907, furthering its goal of operating playgrounds and small parks in the city's most densely-populated neighborhoods. That spring, the commission installed playground equipment and constructed an attractive frame building with a kindergarten room and toilets.
In 1910, the park was named for reformer and physician Dr. Walter Christopher (1859-1905), in recognition of his lifelong service to children. By the following year, the park's frame structure had been equipped with gymnastics apparatus and was being used as a fieldhouse. Staff provided physical training for children, as well as for young men and women. Annual attendance at Christopher Playground reached an impressive 200,000 patrons in 1914.
The City of Chicago assumed ownership of the park property in 1926. By this time, the Special Park Commission no longer existed, and the Bureau of Parks and Recreation had taken over. In 1928, the city renamed the park in honor of Charles V. Barrett (1882 - 1932). Born and raised near this West Side Park, Barrett worked as a teamster through high school and went on to attend law school at the University of Illinois. He became a prominent leader in the Republican Party and served on the Cook County Board of Review. Barrett was active in social and civic affairs, and was known as a strong supporter of athletics for West Side youth.
The Bureau of Parks and Recreation replaced the make-shift fieldhouse with a new brick recreation building in late 1952. The City of Chicago transferred Barrett Park to the Chicago Park District in 1959. Ten years later, the park district installed new playground equipment, which was updated in the 1980s and again in 1990. A new junior soccer field and a basketball court were added in 1993.