Located in the Kenwood community, Kenwood Park totals 7.01 acres features a small fieldhouse. The park operates programs inside the adjacent Beulah Shoesmith Elementary School. Outside, the park offers tennis courts, baseball fields, an athletic field for soccer or football, a playground and an interactive water spray feature. In partnership with Common Threads nutrition program, the park has a community garden where children learn about the commonalities of various cultures through food. Park-goers can play seasonal sports and table games at the facility. After school programs are offered throughout the school year, and in the summer youth attend the Park District’s popular six-week day camp. In addition to programs, Kenwood Park hosts fun special events throughout the year for the whole family, such as Movies in the Park and Halloween Pumpkin Patches.
When Dr. John A. Kennicott built his family estate south of 43rd Street in 1856, he named it "Kenwood" for his mother's birthplace in Scotland. After Kenwood's annexation to Chicago in 1889, the city's elite flowed into the neighborhood, building substantial, well-designed homes.
Fashionable Kenwood began to decline in the 1920s, however. Some single-family homes were subdivided into multi-family dwellings. High-rise apartment houses replaced others. Kenwood's population jumped by 28% during the decade. To create parkland for the growing community, the city in 1931 acquired property on East 50th Street "in Trust for the Use of Schools." The city's Board of Education soon transformed the site into a playground.
After the city gained full ownership in 1944, the Bureau of Parks and Recreation planted 12 large American Elms to shade the ball diamonds and jungle gym. By 1950, the park was well-equipped with additional playground apparatus, a small brick recreation building, and a playing field that could be flooded in winter for ice skating.
The city transferred Kenwood Community Park to the Chicago Park District in 1959. The following year, when adjacent Kenwood Avenue closed and the new Beulah Shoesmith Elementary School was constructed just to the west, the park district responded by rehabilitating the park. In addition to earlier park amenities, the redesign included tennis and horseshoe courts and a spray pool.
Since 1961, the park and the school properties have been jointly operated by the park district and the Board of Education.