Jensen drawings of the Douglas Park.
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Originally designed by architect and engineer William Le Baron Jenney in 1871, Douglas Park was the southernmost of the West Chicago Park Commission’s ensemble of three parks and interlinking boulevards. Improvements to Douglas Park were made slowly and in stages, and by the turn of the century, its landscape suffered from neglect and deterioration. A reform-minded Board of Commissioners appointed Jens Jensen as General Superintendent and Chief Landscape in the fall of 1905. The following year, a two-million dollar bond issue allowed him to begin making repairs and improvements that were desperately needed throughout the West Park System. In Douglas Park, Jensen retained the innovative outdoor natatorium and running track that had been constructed a decade earlier, but he demolished the nearby small Victorian greenhouse, replacing it with a more extensive and interesting formal garden. Located just south of the busy intersection of Ogden Other Avenue and Sacramento Drive, Jensen’s garden provided a buffer between the street and a new naturalistic meadow that he developed to the south. A Prairie-style pavilion with a grand archway known as Flower Hall marked the entrance to the garden. At the east end, Jensen created a naturalistic lily pool and bordered it with a semi-circular row of uniquely-designed concrete benches. Jensen also created a pair of curved pergolas to mark the entranceway into the park at Marshall Boulevard.