Roosevelt Park lies in the South Loop's Dearborn Park housing development, laid out by the architecture firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in the mid-1970s. As planning for the 51-acre residential complex progressed, the Chicago Park District began acquiring property at the southern end of the development for parkland. Improvements began in 1980, and the 1.6-acre site soon had three tennis courts and a small lawn encircled by a running track. Both the park and adjacent Roosevelt Road take their names from Theodore Roosevelt (1856-1919), 26th President of the United States. Roosevelt was a New York Republican who was elected Vice President in 1896. He rose to the nation's highest office in 1901, after an assassin killed President William McKinley. A lover of America's wilderness, Roosevelt is sometimes called the "Conservation President" because it was under his administration that the federal government first took a serious interest in protecting natural lands and established the U.S. Forest Service. Roosevelt was also an advocate of city park creation, and in 1907 pronounced Chicago's revolutionary system of south side neighborhood parks "one of the most notable civic achievements of any American city."