Summer 2008

Mariano Park


Transferred by the city to the Chicago Park District in 1959, tiny Mariano Park has borne at least four names since its 1848 donation to the City of Chicago. As early as 1900, the site was known as Green Bay Triangle for the Green Bay Trail that had once run nearby, along the path of what is now Clark Street. In 1931, the City Council designated the park Rehm Arbor, memorializing German immigrant brewer Jacob Rehm (1828-1915), a near north side resident, and variously Lincoln Park Board Commissioner, Chicago police chief, and Cook County Treasurer. Unfortunately, for 26 years after 1931, a sign mistakenly labelled the park Arbor Rest, the name of another triangular park nearby. In 1970, the park district renamed it yet again, this time in honor of another local resident, Louis Mariano (1906--1970). Mariano was a reporter and editor for the Chicago Daily News, and also served as associate editor of the World Book Science Year Book. He organized the annual science fair at nearby Ogden School, the library of which also bears his name. For years Mariano spent his evenings at a restaurant across from the park, holding court and seeking out stories for his North Loop News column. In addition to trees and benches, Mariano Park contains a small fountain and a Prairie-style pavilion designed by Birch Burdette Long in 1900.