#Humboldt Park Gardens and More

We’d better have real Chicago spring weather next weekend!

On Saturday May 7, Friends of Downtown will be offering eight Walks in different neighborhoods around Chicago… with a ninth on Sunday, May 9th.  2016.

Among others, Karl Kuhn, chairman of the Jensen Formal Garden Working Group, will be leading a Walk in Humboldt Park from 10 am to noon.  Karl’s the chairman of the Jensen Formal Garden Working Group.

The Walk will meet at the Humboldt Park Boat House, 1301 N. Sacramento Ave. It will focus on gardens and landscapes in and around Humboldt Park.

Humboldt Park Ducks on Pond

Humboldt Park Ducks on Pond

Humboldt Park has a multi-layered history in which landscape architecture and gardens have played an important role.  Designed by William Le Baron Jenney in 1871, the park evolved in stages.  In the late 1890s, Jens Jensen, the renowned designer and conservations who became known as Dean of the Prairie style in landscape architecture served as superintendent of Humboldt Park.  His office was located in the Stable Building, which is now the Puerto Rican Institute of Cultural Arts.

Jensen became Superintendent of the entire West Chicago Park Commission in 1905, and experimented with many of his design ideas in Humboldt Park.  This included creating a meandering prairie river, planting native species throughout the park, and having Prairie School architects Schmidt, Garden and Martin design the park’s exquisite boat house.

Jensen also included the Formal Garden in his 1908 re-design of Humboldt Park.  He intentionally tucked the two-level garden into the landscape and enclosed it with trees so as not to interrupt the horizontality of the broader park landscape.  Jensen described the composition as a community garden because he recognized its importance to the surrounding community.  He wrote that such community gardens are “for the entire community- for those who have no other gardens except there window sills.”

Parking is available at the Humboldt Park Boat House.  Participation is free, but donations to Jane’s Walk Chicago are welcome.

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