Fuller Park

FullerPark.jpg
Chicago, IL
United States
Fuller Park

Named for Melville W. Fuller, Chief Justice of the Illinois State Supreme Court and South Park Commissioner from 1882 to 1887, this 10.5-acre park was one of fourteen original south-side neighborhood parks that the South Park Commission planned in 1903. John Charles Olmsted drafted the model for this series of parks, which focused on active recreation, and were often bordered by trees in order to visually separate the park from its urban environs. These parks were part of a reform-minded, nation-wide campaign to provide crowded neighborhoods with “breathing spaces” and venues for socialization. The first ten were completed by 1905, and included Armour, Cornell, Davis, Russell, and Mark White squares, as well as Bessemer, Ogden, Sherman, Hamilton, and Paler parks. The site for Fuller Park, however, was not selected until 1908; it was opened in 1911. The site’s urban context challenged the designers, who deftly masked elevated train tracks with a grandstand. Daniel Burnham and Edward H. Bennett designed the park’s field house, an assemblage of symmetrical buildings arranged around a courtyard dedicated to children’s play. Murals depicting Spanish and French explorers were painted by John Warner Norton on the field house interior.