Located along Broadway and Thorndale Avenues in the Edgewater community, Broadway Armory Park is the Chicago Park District's largest indoor recreational facility. Officially purchased in 1998 after being no longer needed by the National Guard for military purposes, the massive, 87-year-old park facility today houses five gymnasia and 13 rooms. Broadway Armory's open space makes it ideal for Chicago Park District special sporting events such as citywide 3 on 3 soccer and volleyball. Outside organizations and families use the park regularly for their own permitted events and parties.
- The newly remodeled energy efficient facility offers community array of amenities. The park boasts an active after-school program for children ages 6-12, who create their own afternoons by choosing from a list of available activities-such as dance, fitness, floor hockey, arts & crafts, and homework time.
- Broadway Armory is home to the Abbott Fund Wellness Program - providing the community with multifaceted, year-round nutrition and fitness programming. Fitness classes, fitness arcading and interactive fitness equipment are designed to help children and adults have fun while they get fit. Many area adults get active in co-rec volleyball leagues held in the gym, while others relax in popular yoga classes, explore their creative side through photography and work out in the new fitness center.
- In addition, the facility is home to one of the park district’s 9 gymnastics centers.The gymnastics center, offers quality instruction for beginners to advanced competitors year-round.
- Flying high on the flying trapeze! Check out the Trapeze School of NY in Chicago located at Broadway Armory. For classes click here.
Community residents looking for a location for their special event or party are invited to check out the newly renovated community room. Skylights on the second floor room have been restored to allow more day lighting into the building. A new sustainable bamboo floor was also installed in the second floor community room. Call the park for room availability.
The park is also home to the Department of Aging Senior Center and National Guard.
Subdivided by John Lewis Cochran in the 1880s and 1890s, Chicago's far north Edgewater neighborhood grew rapidly after 1900, as single-family homes filled the area west of Broadway and handsome apartment buildings sprang up just west of Lake Michigan. In 1916, architects Carpenter & Weldon designed the enormous Winter Garden Ice Skating Rink as a recreational amenity for the thriving community. It is unclear whether the ice rink, located at Broadway and Thorndale Avenue, ever opened for business. By the end of World War I, however, the State of Illinois had modified the new structure for use as an armory. For years, the Illinois National Guard used the building for drilling and training. The Broadway Armory simultaneously offered various recreational opportunities to the community, including ice skating, roller skating, and tennis. After World War II, Edgewater became increasingly crowded, as large homes and apartments were carved into smaller units, and a long string of high-rises rose up along the lakeshore. There were few recreational facilities in the densely-populated neighborhood. In the mid-1970s, the Edgewater Community Council began advocating the development of an indoor recreation center at the Broadway Armory. In 1979, the Chicago Park District signed a 25-year lease with the state for the use of a portion of the structure. After obtaining more than $2 million in state and federal funding for capital improvements, the park district opened the new Broadway Armory indoor recreation center in 1985. The facility soon offered many popular programs, including pre-school and pre-kindergarten classes, performing arts, photography, and aerobics. Late-night basketball leagues began making use of the enormous drill hall, large enough to hold five gymnasia. The park district purchased the armory in 1998, after the state decided the facility was no longer needed for military purposes.