Garfield Park | The Most Beautiful Places in Chicago
Located on Chicago’s West Side, sprawling Garfield Park is full of elements that make it one of the most beautiful places in the city. According to the park district, architect William Le Baron Jenney had envisioned three large parks – Garfield, Humboldt, and Douglass – connected by boulevards on the city’s West Side. Garfield Park was the first of the three to open and was originally named Central Park, but later renamed for President James A. Garfield after his 1881 assassination. Garfield Park’s Spanish baroque revival field house stands out boldly, overlooking the park’s lagoon. The scallop-shell dome atop the field house is adorned with gleaming gold leaf. Built in 1928 by architects Christian S. Michaelsen and Sigurd A. Rognstad, the building originally served as the headquarters for the West Park Commission, and later became the field house when the commission merged with the city park district. Another beautiful feature of Garfield Park is the much-celebrated Garfield Park Conservatory located in the northern portion of the park. Chicago has renowned landscape architect Jens Jensen to thank for the sprawling greenhouse, which is a great place to enjoy room after room of plants, especially in the winter. Before Jensen began work on the three western parks after the turn of the century, each of the parks had their own smaller conservatories that had fallen into disrepair. Jensen worked with New York-based architecture firm Hitchings and Company, along with Prairie School architects Schmidt, Garden, and Martin, to create a single, much larger conservatory in Garfield Park. His design was said to have been inspired by Midwestern haystacks. To hear more about Jensen’s design – including how persnickety he was about the design of his prairie waterfall – check out our audio tour!