Athletic Field Park History
Created by the Irving Park District, Athletic Field Park takes its name from the recreational facilities it provides.
In 1923, the district began acquiring land in the southeastern part of its community, a lovely tree-lined neighborhood of apartment buildings, bungalows, and fine homes. Clarence Hatzfeld, architect of several nearby Villa District residences as well as many North and Northwest Side park field houses, designed three structures for Athletic Field Park. Constructed in 1926, these included an attractive Spanish Revival-style field house, a smaller locker and game room building, and a children's playground shelter. The three-and-a-half acre park also had an athletic field with grandstands, a junior baseball field, separate boys' and girls' playgrounds, a wading pool, a sand box, and horseshoe and tennis courts.
Four years after Athletic Field Park opened, the Irving Park District determined that the junior baseball field was not needed and decided to use the area for additional tennis courts. Athletic Field Park became part of the Chicago Park District in 1934, when the Great Depression necessitated the consolidation of the city's 22 independent park agencies.
In the early 1960s, the Park District converted the park's locker and game room into a ceramics studio. In 1969, further improvements were made to the ceramics building, including the installation of additional kilns. Today, ceramics classes remain one of Athletic Field Park's most popular programs.