United States

Humboldt Park

The west park system of Chicago was created in 1869. Douglass (formerly, Douglas), Garfield, and Humboldt parks and their connecting boulevards were laid out by architect William Le Baron Jenney in 1871. At Humboldt, construction was slow and only the northeastern section was built according to Jenney’s design. With much of the park unrealized and deteriorating by the early 1900s, Jens Jensen had the opportunity to experiment with his evolving Prairie style. His design included an extension of the existing lagoon, designed and built to emulate a natural “prairie river.” The expanded waterway included rocky brooks that fed into it, overlooks for fishing, pedestrian bridges, and aquatic plants such as arrow root, cattails and water lilies. Jensen also designed a circular rose garden and a naturalistic perennial garden. Park structures and furnishings include a boat house, bronze bison sculptures, and Prairie style lanterns and urns.  Humboldt Park was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1992 and designated a Chicago Landmark in 2008.

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