The Hudson Chess Park is a quiet haven of history amid the bustle of Chicago’s North Side. It’s tucked away in the heart of the city’s first official historic preservation district, Old Town Triangle, which was granted preservation status in the 1970s as part of one of the earliest neighborhood revitalization efforts in the United States.
Located just a short walk away from such well-trafficked destinations as Second City and the Lincoln Park Zoo, this small public square features architecture and artifacts from several vibrant eras of Chicago history. Originally settled by German immigrants in the 1850s, the area still contains several well-preserved examples of traditional German Fachwerk, more commonly known as half-timbered houses. In the center of the park, a bronze fountain of the famous Brothers Grimm fairytale “Hansel and Gretel” pays homage to these early Chicago residents.
Across from the public square stands a relic of another era of Chicago history, the Midwest Buddhist Temple. In the wake of World War II, forced assimilation with the greater population caused Chicago’s once close-knit Japanese population to disperse, becoming scattered and decentralized throughout the city. Constructed in 1971, the soaring Japanese-style temple offers a center for Japanese culture and Buddhist tradition, hosting regular services, festivals, and cultural events throughout the year.
Know Before You Go
To get to the heart of Old Town Triangle, take the Brown Line to Sedgewick and walk north along Sedgewick Street to Menomonee, then turn left. You will pass through the park in about one block.