Located in the Avalon neighborhood, DeBow Playlot Park totals 0.69 acres and is an ideal location for families to spend a portion of their day relaxing and enjoying the outdoors. This park contains a playground with swings, slides, and climbing equipment.
DeBow Park's south side Avalon Park community was little more than swampland until 1900, when the new 79th Street sewer provided much-needed drainage for the area. By 1920, Avalon Park had nearly 3,000 residents. A decade later, that number had increased to more than 10,000. Although development slowed during World War II, it surged again after the war. Avalon Park experienced rapid change after 1960, as African-Americans began to move into the neighborhood. In 1970, the Chicago Park District authorized the purchase of this half-acre site in Avalon Park, one of 36 properties identified for park development in under-served city neighborhoods at that time. Using grant funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the park district acquired the property in 1973. Within a few years, the park included a shaded greenspace and playground equipment. In 1989, the park district officially designated the property DeBow Park in tribute to Judge Russell R. DeBow (1889--1984). DeBow, a graduate of Illinois University at Normal and DePaul University Law School, worked for several federal agencies before becoming the first African-American to hold an administrative position on the staff of the mayor of Chicago in 1965. In 1971, DeBow was appointed Judge of the Cook County Circuit Court by the Illinois Supreme Court. Three years later, he was elected to the position, becoming supervising judge of the pretrial section of the Law Division in 1978. Among DeBow's many accolades for public service were the Cook County Bar Association's Edward H. Wright Award; the Mary McLeod Bethune Merit Award from the National Council of Negro Women; the Distinguished Alumni Award from Illinois State University; the Billiken Parade Appreciation Award; and the Chicago Daily Defender Humanitarianism Award.