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South Chicago Parks
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South Chicago Parks Introduction
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Russell Square Park



Construction of Russell Square Park

                           Construction Executives

Pool with Sullivan Elementary School in Background

                    Aerial View of Russell Square Park

       Russell Square is a 11.5 acre park located on Chicago's Southeast Side.  The park ranges from 83rd Street and South Shore Drive to Houston Avenue, south to almost 85th Street.  The name Russell Square was given to the park by city ordinance in August 1904.  Russell Square was a memorial to a man who was considered an important figure to the people of the area.  This man was a journalist by the name of Martin J. Russell who was born in Chicago on December 20, 1845.  Russell served notably in the Union Army during the time of the Civil War along with showcasing his talents as an editorial writer and as an editor and president of many Chicago newspapers.  President Grover Cleveland appointed Martin J. Russell as Collector of Customs for the Port of Chicago. 
       The residential sections of that area were considered to be ugly and run down but the South Park commisioners along with the Olmsted Brothers were awarded a contract to make changes and improvements on the area on September 4, 1904.  Russell Square Park was then designed to be useful to workers and families who followed the development of the steel industry to Chicago.  A fieldhouse was built that was designed by Daniel H. Burnham.  The assembly hall of the field house was surrounded by three sides and a porch and had gyms with lockers and showers for both men and women of the community.  The shower facilities were a welcome addition to a community which had numerous homes without indoor plumbing.  Neighbors and friends would meet at the local park field house for their weekly shower at to exchange pleasantries.  In addition to these special features, the fieldhouse also had rooms for arts and crafts, health welfare stations and outdoor athletic fields for various sports.  Many changes were later made to the park after it was taken over by the Chicago Park District on May 1, 1934.  A replacement for the fieldhouse was built in 1967

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