JPAC/Jackson Park home. Parks home. Nike Base background

Welcome to the January 2007 J.P.A.C. Newsletter online

January 2007, Volume XIV, Issue 1.

Produced by Jackson Park Advisory Council, Chicago Illinois, a recognized community advisory body to the Chicago Park District.

Editor: Gary M. Ossewaarde, JPAC Secretary, 773 947-9541
Hosting website, owned by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference,, 773 288-8343, Administrator George W. Rumsey

In this issue


Minutes of the December 11 council meeting

Public art project planned for underpasses (resolution passed)
Nature Committee initatives
Nominations for officers
Fieldhouse programs report
Old and new business: two projects for the park

Where It Was: the Japanese Ho-O-Den (Phoenix Temple) at Columbian Exposition

Communications and notices: Elections, park budget requests, Army Corps revisiting Nike base

Minutes of the December 11 2006 JPAC Council Meeting

Ross Peterson convened the meeting in the fieldhouse at 7:35 pm. The minutes of the November meeting were approved as distributed.

A public art project was introduced by guests Lauren Moltz, coordinator and volunteer on councils and boards of schools and numerous organizations; Jon Pounds, director of the Chicago Public Art Group, and Mirtes Zwierzynski, directing artist. The project would consist of placing mural mosaics in up to 64 niches (554 square feet) in the two underpasses under South Lake Shore Drive and 57th Drive that were built by Chicago Department of Transportation with recessed surfaces, with such public art in mind. The mosaics would be of hard-fired, close-set ceramic that would take up virtually no water and would be extremely difficult to deface and easy to clean off, as attested by the many such mosaics around the metropolitan area. The Hyde Park Art Center and Ms. Zwierzynski will oversee the production of colored tiles by students of nearly every school. To date most of the elementary schools in Hyde Park have signed on; Ms. Zwierzynski has helped several already to make and install murals in their schools. Mosaic production is curricular-imbedded and involves four teachers at each school. Opening involvement to other schools near the park was requested by JPAC, and participation by or presentation to other organizations was suggested. Ms. Moltz and Mr. Pounds will coordinate participation and fund raising, with as much as $100,000 budgeted if all the niches are to be filled over the next set of years. The theme or set of themes is under consideration but could include neighborhood and or park and other history, features, nature, people, activities or concerns. For information, Mr. Pounds suggested people visit the Chicago Public Art Group website—

Peterson moved that: Resolved, JPAC supports the 57th and Lake Shore Drive Underpass Public Art Project. Upon second by Louise McCurry, the motion was unanimously approved.

Nature Committee. Ross Petersen said that several parks and parks supporters objected to reductions to the Natural Resources budget. The Park District restored the volunteer coordinator position—essential to Jackson Park’s natural area workdays and other upkeep including controlled burns. But there is, at least currently, no natural area manager since Ms. Sturdevant left. Petersen noted that the knowledge and skills of these positions is highly specialized and site-specific.

Petersen reported that aldermen have proposed in City Council banning controlled burns, essential to the health of meadows and similar natural areas. [Ed. This is now dead.]

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will return to the site of the Nike base to drill for sources of polycyclic hydrocarbons and other possible residuals.

We will have to keep track of damage from storms for replacements.

Fran Vandervoort and Rebecca Graff showed a photo of a light-focusing glass wedge from about 1915 found by Caroline and Leo Herzenberg in late November under a storm-downed willow tree on Wooded Island. These wedges were used over ship or sidewalk holds to provide light without need for potentially hazardous lighting.

Petersen will be growing under story native plants for the natural areas (lupines, false indigo, columbine, and others) in a park greenhouse (possibly Kilbourn or Garfield) with assistance from Kirsten Akre of Garfield Conservatory and the Parkways Foundation, funding arm of the Chicago Park District. Petersen moved expenditure of $100.00 for growing under story plants for the natural area, under Parkways Foundation. Upon due second, the appropriation was unanimously approved.

Elections. Elections will be held at the February meeting, announced in the January newsletter. Petersen nominated the current slate. President- Nancy Hays, Vice President- Ross Petersen, Secretary- Gary Ossewaarde, Treasurer- Tibor Heisler, Board members at large- Geneva Calloway, Vernita Jones, Louise McCurry. Fran Vandervoort agreed to continue as Nature Committee co-chair. Additional nominations can be made at the January meeting.

Fieldhouse report- Terry Jones. The football and cheerleaders program was a huge success, involving over 150 youth recruited from surrounding schools and neighborhoods. The Raiders did well. The related programs held a fine closing ceremony. (See back page of Newsletter). Especially valuable was the large participation of the Parents club.

A dance and performance “Let It Snow” was planned for December 16.

The Black History month essay writing and reading contest is returning. JPAC members will help judge.

Petersen reported that the park’s staff and programming budget were increased by 8 to 12 percent for 2007.

Old and new business.
JPAC noted that it has passed resolutions in favor of Mr. Rapoport’s proposed marker commemorating the contributions of Frederick Douglass at the time of the Columbian Exposition, to be located at or near the site of the Haitian Pavilion, between the bowling green and the 59th St. harbor. The secretary was directed to send Mr. Rapoport a “To Whom It May Concern” letter noting this support.

Rebecca Graff, an experienced archeologist and anthropologist, seeks to organize a small and sensitive excavation with students on Wooded Island, possibly the location of the original Japanese Ho-O-Den temple village in the southwest part of the Island. JPAC registered its supportive interest. Graff will return with specifics.

The meeting was adjourned about 8:45 pm. Next meeting Monday January 8, 7:30 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Gary M. Ossewaarde


Where it was…

The first Japanese structures of the Columbian Exposition of 1893 on Wooded Island, including the Phoenix Temple (Ho-O-Den) was located at the southwest corner of the Island. A village of Japanese builders and Fair workers grew up there. It was not until the 1930s that a Japanese garden and structures were constructed at and near the present site of Osaka Garden, in the northeast part of Wooded Island. In 1893, Frederick Law Olmsted was appalled at the Japanese pavilion—he wanted the whole island to be a natural respite. But parks are alive and dynamic. People will use their parks—this editor thinks this use was a satisfying one, especially since the Japanese exhibit had a profound impact on arts and architecture in America. There is currently a proposal to excavate in this area. An available book on the Columbian Exposition is that from Dover.


Communications and notices

Council election of officers will be held at the February 12 meeting. See the minutes for the slate. Additional nominations can be made from the floor in January. Qualification to run or vote is attendance at 3 of the previous 12 meetings.

The council received a response from Park District General Superintendent and CEO Timothy Mitchell noting our budget requests for repairs to paths and Wooded Island. Mitchell said that the proper departments have been notified to undertake repairs.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers returned to the Nike base area and conducted test bores in December. Details on the borings and the 3 wells left for testing several times a year will be given at the January meeting.

Doug Anderson’s last bird walk of the year will have occurred on New Year’s Day. Watch for the tours again starting March 26, Paul Douglas’ birthday.



Jackson Park Raiders and Raiderettes Football Program
2006 Awards Ceremony program