Robert Black Golf Course and Warren Park
2045 W Pratt Blvd. Chicago, IL 60645, 6601 N Western Ave. Chicago, IL 60645
To the north of St. Henry’s Church stand West Ridge’s wooded, park-like spaces: the Robert Black Golf Course and Warren Park. The story of these public spaces is not one of a carefully considered public park space for urban residents; this space is the story of back room deals and political sleight of hand that fortunately led to a public golf course and park.
By 1968, the venerable and exclusive Edgewater Golf Club founded in 1896 was on the brink of dissolution and the dwindling membership accepted an offer by a local developer to buy the club’s land for a large shopping center and dense residential development. Local residents and business owners raised objections to the plans and proposed rezoning from residential use. Less than a year after local community leaders received assurances from Mayor Richard J. Daley that no “hasty decisions” would be made, the site was rezoned by the City Council to allow for the planned development. By late 1969, the zoning decision was reversed, an alderman was sentenced to prison for not reporting a bribe received in connection with the rezoning on his income tax, and the State of Illinois allocated funds to secure the property for a state park. Warren Park became the first state park located in a municipality.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s the site was threatened with development. The state failed to maintain the property; after much wrangling, the property passed to the Chicago Park District. The public Robert Black Golf Course was dedicated in 1980 and the Warren Park Fieldhouse was completed in 1987.
Source: Lerner Newspapers, September 13, 1987.