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Humboldt Park

Humboldt Park

Jensen drawings of the Dvorak Park.
© Copyrights reserved to Chicago Park District.

Jens Jensen had the opportunity to begin designing major improvements and repair to Humboldt Park, along with those in Garfield and Douglas Parks in 1906. The Humboldt Park work was especially important to Jensen because he lived directly across the street from the park and had previously served as its superintendent. During this period, two of the most popular activities in the park were boating and ice skating. Jensen hired his friend Hugh MG Garden of the firm Schmidt, Garden and Martin to design a handsome Prairie style building that provided boat storage and launches in the summer and a warming house for skaters in the winter. Just to the south, Jensen placed an open–air music court for concerts, dances and other special events. On the west side of the park, Jensen added a long meandering “prairie river” to the existing man-made lagoon. He designed hidden water sources that supplied two rocky brooks, and edged the entire waterway with aquatic plants such as arrowroot, cattails, pickerelweed and water lilies. Simple wooden bridges and stepping stone paths provided access across the river. Just to the east, Jensen created a circular rose garden and an adjacent naturalistic perennial garden. To lessen the impact of the formal rose garden, it was recessed below grade and bordered with heavy plantings.


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