Jacob A. Riis - Chicago, IL
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member adgorn
N 41° 55.480 W 087° 47.061
16T E 434965 N 4641709
Quick Description: Inscription honoring Jacob Riis on bolder monument at the SW corner of the park. Reads "Friend of the children, defender of the poor..." Includes praise by Teddy Roosevelt.
Location: Illinois, United States
Date Posted: 10/21/2009 6:58:06 AM
Waymark Code: WM7G0A
Views: 9

Long Description:
Outdoor park and recreational area on Chicago's far west side designed by Walter W. Ahschlger and Alfred Caldwell.

"Teddy Roosevelt once said that Jacob A. Riis came nearer than anyone to being "the ideal American." Riis (1849-1914), a photojournalist and reformer, drew national attention to the plight of the inner-city poor through his expose, How the Other Half Lives. Riis advocated the creation of small playgrounds to provide "breathing spaces" for densely-populated urban neighborhoods. His 1898 speech at Chicago's Hull House inspired local reformers to petition for city playgrounds.

By the time the Northwest Park District created Riis Park in 1916, the playground movement Riis had helped to inspire had in turn fueled park-building across the nation. The park district designed Riis Park to provide a broad range of recreational amenities for its developing middle class neighborhood. The park remained essentially undeveloped until 1928, however, when the park district installed a ski jump and golf course, and commissioned locally-prominent architect Walter W. Alschlager to design a fieldhouse.

In 1934, Riis Park came under the jurisdiction of the Chicago Park District, which used Works Progress Administration funding for further improvements. Riis Park developed in two distinct halves separated by a steep glacial ridge, a remnant of the shoreline of Lake Chicago. To the east stood the Georgian-revival fieldhouse, surrounded by various other athletic facilities. Respected landscape architect Alfred Caldwell designed the western portion of the park. Caldwell's plan, fully implemented by 1940, incorporated naturalistic plantings; a stone-edged lagoon; shady, enclosed areas; and a broad, sunny meadow."

In May 2009, Marines from the Camp Pendleton, Calif.-based 1st Marine Division made playing at the park a whole lot safer, as they repaired a pathway and flagpole at Riis Park here Tuesday, continuing community outreach efforts as part of Marine Week Chicago.

Park added to National Register of Historic Places in 1995. The fieldhouse at the other end of the park contains a display related to Riiis.

TITLE: Jacob A. Riis

ARTIST(S): unk - Erected by Americans of Danish Origin

DATE: 1929

MEDIUM: engraved panel on bolder


Direct Link to the Individual Listing in the Smithsonian Art Inventory: [Web Link]

The coordinates locate the monument to Jacob Riis at the SW corner. Park address is 6100 W. Fullerton Ave. Chicago, IL USA 60639


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