History

Over 100 years of recreation

Shortly after the city of Park Ridge was incorporated in 1910, it was advertised as "A Restoring Place of Health and Vigor, The Recreation Place of the Tired and Worn Out.”

So, it’s appropriate that just four years later, the Park Ridge Park District was established — and has been a vital part of life in the community ever since.

2014 marked the 100th Anniversary of the Park Ridge Park District. For generations we provided exceptional recreation and leisure opportunities for the community. 

Highlights in Park Ridge Park District History

1914
  • June 29, Park Ridge Park District is created
  • Hodges Park acquired
1923
  • Cumberland Park purchased for $14,400
1926
  • Park Ridge Playground Stockholders approve sale of Playground Park (Hinkley Field)
1928
  • Remaining 8 acres of Playground Park (Hinkley Field) purchased for $319,000
1929
  • Hinkley Pool opens
1936
  • South Park purchased for $27,300
1937
  • Maine Park purchased by Maine Park District for $16,000
1940
  • Works Progress Administration (WPA) excavates earth from Maine Park lagoons
1944
  • First Recreation Director hired
1946
  • First basketball league begins
1947
  • Washington Park purchased for $1,200
1948
  • First youth 12" & 16" softball leagues and baseball clinics begin
  • First Red Cross swim lessons begin
  • First outdoor rinks at South Park, Hinkley Field, and Northeast Park open
1949
  • First football clinics begin
  • First summer concert held at Hodges Park
1952
  • West Park purchased for $48,250
  • Playground Parks renamed Hinkley Field
  • Louis Steiner homestead purchased
1954
  • Maine Park District annexed to Park Ridge Park District
  • West Park pool and field house built
1956
  • Northeast Park purchased for $48,863
  • Northwest Park purchased for $97,000
  • Southwest Park purchased for $66,820
1958
  • Senior Citizen program begins
1959
  • Southeast Park purchased for $54,864
1966
  • Oakton Park purchased for $462,500
1968
  • North Park acquired by the City of Park Ridge
  • Woodland Park purchased for $125,000
  • Washington Park renamed Rotary Park
1969
  • South Park Recreation Center opens
1972
  • Olympic Trials held at Oakton Sports Complex
1976
  • Jaycee Park dedicated
  • West Park changes name to Centennial Park
1979
  • Park Ridge Park District changes its name to Park Ridge Recreation and Park District
1983
  • Eugene Romeo Gallery & Library donated to the Park District
1986
  • Wildwood Nature Center opens
1988
  • Driving Range opens
1992
  • Community Center opens
1995
  • National Diving Competition held at Oakton Pool
1997
  • Thor Guard Lightning Detection System dedicated
  • Wildwood Nature Center grand re-opening
1998
  • Hinkley Pool grand re-opening
  • Wildwood Nature Center grand re-opening
1999
  • Paws Park opens
  • Senior Center renovation
2000
  • Prairie restoration begins
2001
  • South Park wading pool remodeled
  • Skate Park opens
2002
  • Sam Biardo’s observation deck dedicated
  • Skate Park opens
2004
  • Hinkley reservoir groundbreaking
2006
  • Batting cages open
  • 2620 Oakton property, adjacent to Oakton Sports Complex, purchased
2008
  • Little Red House at 10 S. Western purchased
2011
  • Oakton pool closes
2013
  • Park Ridge residents pass referendum to purchase and develop Youth Campus (later renamed Prospect Park)
  • Oak Tree Playground at Maine Park opens
2014
  • Centennial Aquatic Center opens
2016
  • Prospect Park opens