Located in the Grand Boulevard community, Taylor Park in Bronzeville totals 9.68 acres and features a fieldhouse, various meeting rooms, a combination gymnasium and assembly hall, fitness center and a boxing center. Outside, the park offers baseball fields, an athletic field for football or soccer, a tennis court, a swimming pool and a playground.
Many of these spaces are available for rental. Park-goers can play seasonal sports at the facility. On the cultural side, Taylor Park offers music and dance classes as well. After school programs are offered throughout the school year, and in the summer youth attend the Park District’s popular six-week day camp.
In addition to programs, Taylor Park hosts fun special events throughout the year for the whole family, such as Fitness Fun Days, Movies in the Park and other Night Out in the Parks events.
Taylor Park in Bronzeville sits on West 47th Street, at the heart of the former Robert Taylor Homes, once the nation's largest public housing project. The Chicago Housing Authority developed the Taylor Homes in the early 1960s, cutting a wide swath along the western edge of Bronzeville, Chicago's historic "Black Metropolis."
The housing complex, designed by Shaw, Metz, and Associates, included a substantial community building with various meeting rooms and a combination gymnasium and assembly hall. In 1962, the CHA began to lease this community building, along with 7.5 acres surrounding it, to the Chicago Park District. The following year, the park district installed tennis courts, a playground, and extensive plantings on the property. In 1967, CHA sold a small portion of the land to the park district, which in turn constructed a new swimming pool there.
The park and the surrounding housing complex honor Robert Rochon Taylor (1890--1959), the first African-American to head the CHA. Born in Tuskegee, Alabama, Taylor obtained a graduate degree in architecture from Howard University. Relocating to Chicago, he began building small, affordable homes for blacks. His work soon drew the attention of Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears and Roebuck and one of Chicago's foremost philanthropists.
In 1929, Taylor helped Rosenwald and Rosenwald's nephew, fellow architect Ernest A. Grunsfeld, Jr., plan the Michigan Boulevard Garden Apartments, the city's first low-income housing complex for African-Americans. Taylor managed the Michigan Boulevard development until his death in 1959.
Taylor's work on the Michigan Boulevard development led to his appointment to the CHA board of directors, on which he served from 1938 to 1950. He became CHA chairman in 1943.
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