Located in the Hyde Park neighborhood, Harold Washington Park is 25.21 acres and it is a great recreational destination enjoyed by park patrons and their families. This park contains tennis courts, picnic areas, a motorboat pond, chess tables and volleyball poles.
Popular activities at this park include chess, volleyball and soccer.
In 1906, the City of Chicago acquired a stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline in the Hyde Park community. Noted landscape architect and Special Park Commission member Jens Jensen described the ten-acre site as "the most valuable" property within the agency's holdings. Due to severe lakeshore erosion, however, he also pronounced it "an eyesore...of no value to the public as a place of recreation." The following year, the commission implemented Jensen's plans for the new East End Park, installing trees, lawns, walks, and benches. City funds for the desperately-needed shoreline protection were not forthcoming, however, and in late November, 1912, a severe storm destroyed the dilapidated breakwater. Seven years later, the City Council transferred East End Park to the South Park Commission as part of a far-reaching program to develop the south lakeshore and improve passenger service on the Illinois Central Railroad. It was the South Park Commission that finally installed permanent lakeshore protection, and in 1927, East End Park formally became part of the South Park system's Burnham Park. By 1930, the South Park Commission had constructed a wading pool, model yacht harbor, and tennis courts on the former East End property. In 1934, the South Park Commission and 21 other independent park boards were consolidated into the Chicago Park District. For years, the park district made only minor improvements in the former East End Park, concentrating its efforts elsewhere in Burnham Park. In the early 1990s, however, the park district replaced the wading pool with a new spray pool and constructed an elaborate soft surface playground. Officially severing the former East End property from Burnham Park, the park district renamed the site Harold Washington Park in 1992. A lawyer, state legislator, U.S. congressman, and Hyde Park resident, Harold Washington (1922-1987) was also Chicago's first mayor of African-American descent.