Enhancing Chicago Parks: Jensen Formal Garden RESTORATION in Humboldt Park
Revitalize Jens Jensen’s Formal Gardens at Humboldt Park!
*Update: Chicago Parks Foundation is excited to be partnering with the Garden Conservancy of New York on this project!*
HISTORY OF JENS JENSEN’S FORMAL GARDENS
Jens Jensen, one of the nation’s most significant landscape designers created a formal garden in Humboldt Park in 1908. Jensen described the site as a “community garden” because it offered beauty and respite “to those who have no other gardens except their window sills.” Today, this remains a lovely and beloved space for Chicagoans and visitors; however, it has become deteriorated and is in need of revitalization.
GARDEN RESTORATION PROJECT
In the past six months, a group of residents of the Humboldt Park neighborhood have come together to help revitalize the historic garden.
During these difficult financial times, the Chicago Park District must find partners to help achieve such goals as revitalizing and maintaining park landscapes. Chicago Park District historian and Jens Jensen scholar Julia Bachrach wrote the successful nomination of the park to the National Register of Historic Places and advised on previous restoration projects such as the Prairie River and the Boat House. She recently received the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from the American Institute of Architects. Bachrach’s department of Planning and Construction is working with the CPD Department of Natural Resources and the Chicago Parks Foundation to engage further partners on this project.
The Chicago Park Foundation initially got involved through the interest of Bachrach and our board member, Jo Ann Nathan, a Jens Jensen expert. We continue to support the project’s fundraising efforts and are excited to see the project succeed! This project goes beyond the beautification of the garden in that it will help to bring the Humboldt Park community together in the creation of a shared space.
VISION FOR THE FUTURE
The plan is to start by restoring the deterioration of the original garden including pergolas, walls, and pavement. New paths will be added throughout the garden to ensure it is accessible for people with disabilities. Floral beds will be planted in original areas and some will be added where seen appropriate. The hope is to start to plant a majority of perennials so that the floral beds are able to maintain themselves over a longer period of time. Additional elements include benches, urns, and the restoration of the reflecting pool. All of these structures are available for naming possibilities and/or donor recognition.