June 11, 2011

A Hunters Paradise?

Emmerson park is one of seven parks in the Lincolnwood area. It is also one of the most notorious. The rise in gang warfare over the last five years rendered the park a no go zone. Recently it has developed a reputation of fear. People that do frequent the area report an uncomfortableness in the air. It is so strong that even the gangs don't frequent the area anymore, this hasn't encouraged the nearby residents to return however. Stories are told of the now overgrown and ill tended place. Certain occurences at night time and in some cases apparitions are discussed in whispers in the local bars. The offical description for this park has never been changed to reflect its new reputation.

History of the Park:
In 1931, the Lincoln Park Commission created Emmerson Park, the last of the district's seven neighborhood parks. The population of the West Ridge neighborhood had grown from 7,500 residents in 1920 to 40,000 residents ten years later, and there were few public parks in the area. The park commission acquired a two-acre parcel from the Chicago Town and Tennis Club, adjacent to the Chicago Elk Club. Although the new park was quite small, it was improved as a lovely green space with a wading pool, a children's playground, tennis courts, gardens, and a comfort station. In 1934, the Lincoln Park Commission was consolidated into the Chicago Park District. The Park District remodeled Emmerson Park comfort station into a recreation center in 1961.

Emmerson Park honors Louis L. Emmerson (1863-1941), who was Governor of Illinois during the park's creation. Having served as Secretary of State for three terms beginning in 1916, Emmerson was elected Governor in 1928 and remained in office until 1933.

In 2010 four bodies were found in the park. All four belonged to teenage girls that had gone missing over the last two years in the Lincolnwood area. Each were buried in a shallow grave amongst the undergrowth near the centre of the small park. These were found by a dog and an elderly gentleman walking in the park. There was never an arrest following the finding of the bodies but the offical police statement is that the investigation is ongoing. There were rumours of some strange artefacts found on the bodies but nothing more than rumours reached the newspapers.

The Surrounds:
The apartments in the north eastern corner of the park have been abandoned since 2001. They are fenced off for safety. They are in a rather depalidated state. The church in the north western corner is still open. However the congregation has dwindled and only a few elderly members visit services regularly. The large car parking space is now without working lights in the evening and in many places it is over grown with grass and weeds. Further out there are a lot of apartment buildings. These are also in an advanced state of disrepair but a fair few of them are still occupied.

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