Located in the Garfield Ridge community, Vittum Park totals 12.35 acres and features a fieldhouse with a gymnasium, kitchen and meeting rooms. Outside, the park offers baseball fields, basketball courts, an athletic field for soccer or football and a playground. The playground was renovated in Fall 2015 as part of Mayor Emanuel’s Chicago Plays! Program.
Many of these spaces are available for rental. Park-goers can play seasonal sports and table games. 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, Vittum Park hosts fun special events throughout the year for the whole family, such as holiday special events.
The Chicago Park District began creating Vittum Park in 1947 as part of the Ten Year Park Development Plan. During the post-World War II period, Chicago's booming population was severely underserved in terms of parkland and facilities. The plan identified areas in critical need of new parks as well as existing parks with inadequate recreational facilities. As part of the expansion effort, the park district acquired a 13-acre property in the Garfield Ridge area. In 1961, the park district transferred a small area of the park, less than one acre in size, to the Board of Education, allowing for the construction of Frank Baum Elementary School. Despite the adjacent school, Vittum Park did not have sufficient indoor facilities until the park district constructed its fieldhouse in 1981. The park honors Harriet Elizabeth Vittum (1872 -1953), an important social reformer heralded as the "First Lady of the needy." In 1904, Vittum began volunteering at the Northwestern University Settlement House, one of Chicago's innovative community centers that provided housing and services to underprivileged neighborhoods. Three years later, Vittum became the facility's administrator. Remaining involved with the settlement house for forty years, she established nutrition clinics, educational programs, and children's summer camps. Vittum received a 1948 Distinguished Service Award from the Chicago Recreation Commission that cited her as "an illustrious pioneer in the settlement... [and a] courageous practitioner of social welfare."