100 North Central Park Avenue
Chicago, IL 60624
Phone: (312) 746-5092
Shortly after the establishment of the West Side Park Commission in 1869, landscape designer and architect William Le Baron Jenney was commissioned to design the entire system of West Side parks and boulevards. Jenney, who is often referred to as the "Father of the Skyscraper," drafted a plan that called for the creation of three large parks, connected by formal boulevards and dotted with tranquil squares.
Jenney was faced with a new set of challenges in constructing these parks and boulevards, as the marshy land was a poor natural site for any park. His background in engineering proved to be useful in transforming Douglas Park, as he chose to create a series of lagoons rather than drain the swamps. Jenney filled the site with a mixture of manure and sand from the Chicago stockyards to level the grounds.
Jensen also found the three parks each contained a small, obsolete conservatory. He opted to create one single, centralized facility rather than replacing the individual buildings. The Garfield Park Conservatory, constructed between1906 and 1907, was jointly designed by Jensen, the architectural firm of Schmidt, Garden and Martin, and the engineering firm of Hitchings and Company. Often referred to as "landscape under glass," the conservatory was designed to emulate haystacks common throughout the Midwest. In 1994, the Garfield Park Conservatory began a long-term, multi-million dollar restoration project. Existing heating, plumbing, and ventilation systems were repaired and new facilities were constructed. Recently, the Conservatory has opened a Demonstration Garden that provides visitors with urban gardening resources.
Garfield Park’s most noticeable feature is the "Gold Dome Building," which was constructed in 1928. The building initially served as the administrative headquarters for the West Park.