Bickerdike Square Park is 0.71 acres and is located in the West Town Community Area. It is an active community park.
While there is no structured programming taking place at this location, we invite you to check out our great programs offered at nearby Eckhart Park.
In 1856, early lumber mill owner and real estate speculator George Bickerdike (1806-1880) transferred a small rectangular property to the City of Chicago as parkland. Fifteen years before Chicago's Great Fire, Bickerdike and other developers were already conscious of the potential for fire to spread quickly through the city. Bickerdike Square provided some fire protection within the developer's 84-acre subdivision, a rapidly-growing area in what was then the city's northwest side.
In 1899, the city formed the Special Park Commission to study Chicago's open space needs and to create playgrounds. Within a few years, the commission also began managing all of the city's existing parks. In 1906, renowned landscape architect Jens Jensen, serving as a member of the Special Park Commission, developed improvement plans for a number of city parks. The area around Bickerdike Square had become run down, and the park was considered a "loafer's garden."
Jensen's plan for Bickerdike Square called for a circular fountain as the centerpiece, flanked by two rectangular lily pools. Jensen placed shrubs and trees around the edges, and enclosed Bickerdike Square with an ornamental fence and flower vases. Work was completed within the next few years.
Bickerdike Square remained a City park until 1957, when it was transferred to the Chicago Park District pursuant to the Chicago Park and City Exchange of Functions Act. In the following decades, the park's lily pools were removed and the fountain was converted to a planter. Today, the site is one of 46 Chicago Park District properties used exclusively for passive recreation.