Tuesday, September 13, 2022

A Ground-Breaking Day For Clarendon Park (Finally!)

The much-loved, much-used, and much-deteriorating Clarendon Park Fieldhouse (or Community Center, as it's formally known) officially started its rebirth today with ground-breaking ceremonies that kick off repairs and massive improvements.

In a ceremony Tuesday morning that was attended by, among others, 46th Ward alderman James Cappleman, Clarendon Park Advisory Council president Katharine Boyda, and Chicago Park District president Rosa Escareno, it marks the beginning of a rebirth for the fieldhouse, which dates back to 1916 (as a facility for bathers in Lake Michigan, which at that point was located just east of the facility).

There have been renovations over the years (some quite ill-advised), but no work has been done on the fieldhouse for more than 40 years, and it shows:

  • If you've ever been there after a rain, you'll recognize the puddles that make the game room, the gym, the patio, and the stairs unusable. 
  • The electrical system is wholly inadequate for the facility's needs. 
  • The building is not ADA-compliant. 

All these issues will be corrected, and the fieldhouse will be improved for the community's needs. And, oh yeah, the great model railroad room will remain!

Check out the PDF presentation highlighting the issues and the renovations here.

Thanks goes to so many who made this possible, including Preservation Chicago, who not only took the photos accompanying this post, but also advocated for saving this piece of Chicago history as far back as 2015.

We look forward to having this building around for a long, long time! It's a good day.

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