Montgomery Ward Park


a view of the eastern part of the newly named park at Kingsbury and Erie1

It took him two decades to win his personal battle to get rid of the seedy stables, railroad sheds and other eyesores along the lakefront to turn it into what would become Grant Park.

It took Chicago nearly a century to name a park in his honor.

A Montgomery Ward Park was officially dedicated Monday at 630 N. Kingsbury.

It’s named for Aaron Montgomery Ward, the retail catalog pioneer who famously declared that Grant Park should be “forever open, clear and free.”

“Based on his civic contribution, this honor is long overdue,” Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) said.

(click to continue reading An honor a century in the making :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Metro & Tri-State.)

Photographers at Montgomery Ward Park

probably waiting for the various dignitaries to arrive2

Montgomery Ward Park

another recent view of the park.

Today Ward is recognized for his hard work, generosity and vision.

“[He] pulled out his checkbook to pay for lawsuit after lawsuit,” Tranter said.
“We wouldn’t have had Grant Park to fight over … were it not for A. Montgomery Ward’s efforts to protect it,” Reilly said.

Significantly, A. Montgomery Ward Park, formerly called Park 511, is on land once owned by the retailer.
The park, on the corner of Erie and Kingsbury, features rolling hills, small trees, a riverwalk and a playground.
Reilly said “some modest improvements” to the playground and riverwalk are in the works because of the park’s growing popularity. “In the summer months, you can’t find a blade of grass,” he said.

  1. I always have called it Erie Park, but apparently until this week, its official name was the generic sounding Park 511 []
  2. Mike Riordan, president of River North Residents Association; state Rep. Ken Dunkin; Erma Tranter, president of Friends of the Park; Ald. Brendan Reilly, and former Ald. Burt Natarus. []

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