Tucked in a small area on the mid-south side, Fuller Park’s field house sports a pair of basketball court gems.
In a little change of venue from my normal foray into documenting some of Illinois’ best high school gyms, I had to share this gym dandy with everyone.
Tucked away in the middle of a neighborhood that is just 4-6 blocks wide and runs north-to-south from Pershing Rd. (39th Street) to Garfield Blvd. (55th Street), then bordered by the interstate on the east and raised railroad tracks on the west is the Fuller Park Field House.
Fuller Park the neighborhood is one of the smallest in Chicago. Made up of mostly single family homes and two-flats. It isn’t a neighborhood you’re going to drive through on you way to somewhere, even given the fact it has directly south of Sox Park and has 4 exits on the Interstate and a Red Line stop.
How I came to find Fuller Park has to do with the fact I live in Bronzeville which is directly east of the neighborhood and have found myself cutting through there on occasion while avoiding the highway. How I found myself in the actual field house was because it was one of two early voting sites in the primaries this year. Having always wanted a reason to visit, this was as good as any.
The 11.4 acre grounds support and outdoor playground, basketball & tennis courts, baseball/softball fields and a swimming pool. The main building has an auditorium on the second floor that is breath-taking, with most of its original touches still in tact, including painted murals done by John Warner Norton. To the north is a U-shaped building the has a courtyard with a water fountain in it. The east and west sides of that building are where you will find matching basketball courts.
Opened in 1911 the field house’s design benefitted from some delays which caused to be be built last out of ten other planned south side parks. Giving it a more refined look. Named after Supreme Court Justice and Chicago resident Melville Fuller, the park is a great place to visit and would still be worth the trip if it had only one gym that looked that great.
Want to know more about Fuller Park the park? Check out the Chicago Park District’s page for it here.
Want to know more about Fuller Park the neighborhood? Check out this piece by Chicago’s PBS station WTTW.
Want to see some more cool old basketball gyms? See this section of my website.