California Park is a 14.81 acre park located on California Avenue between Addison Street and Irving Park Road, just west of the Chicago River.
Housing the Chicago Park District's only indoor ice rink and indoor tennis courts, California Park's McFetridge Sports Center (MSC) offers a unique sports experience for athletes of all ages and skill levels. Full of activity 18 hours a day, seven days a week, MSC welcomes more than 2,000 patrons each week for its year-round competitive and recreational ice skating, hockey and tennis programs, as well as special events.
California Park, which takes its name from adjacent California Avenue, is one of six parks created by the River Park District. Established in 1917, the district was one of 22 independent park systems consolidated into the Chicago Park District in 1934. Northwest Chicago residents formed the River Park District to provide recreational opportunities along the North Branch of the Chicago River and the North Shore Channel and to prevent commercial encroachments there. Soon after its formation, the park district began to purchase more than 13 acres south of Irving Park Road, between California Avenue and the North Shore Channel. Although land acquisition dragged on until 1931, development began in 1920, when Leesely Brothers prepared a landscape plan. Improvements were confined largely to plantings until 1927, when the River Park District began construction of an outdoor swimming pool that was, for a time, Illinois's largest. An athletic field, baseball diamonds, and playgrounds followed in 1928, as did a small brick fieldhouse designed by Chicago architect Clarence Hatzfeld.
In the 1970s, the Chicago Park District demolished the original fieldhouse and erected a new changing facility in its place. The park district also constructed an impressive new indoor sports complex, the first of its kind for the park district. The structure contains a year-round ice rink for figure skating and hockey, as well as six tennis courts. This facility was officially designated the McFetridge Sports Complex in 1974 for William L. McFetridge, who served as park district president in 1968, and as vice-president for the preceding 22 years.