Evanston residents have a recently reopened park to enjoy this fall.
McCulloch Park in northwest Evanston is now open to the public after more than a year of renovation delays linked to COVID-19.
The 1.7 acre The park was originally scheduled to reopen in August 2020 after repairs to replace aging playground equipment. According to the city, McCulloch Park did not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act code and playground safety standards. However, financial and equipment supply constraints related to COVID-19 have halted progress.
The park was named in 1975 in honor of Evanston’s suffragist Catharine Waugh McCulloch, who died in 1945. McCulloch graduated from the Pritzker School of Law – known as the Union College of Law at the time – in 1886 and then founded her own law firm with the support of the Equity Club, the country’s first association of women lawyers.
Twenty-three years before the 19th Amendment was ratified, McCulloch toured Illinois in support of a “legal suffrage” bill that would allow Illinois women to vote in presidential elections. She was the first vice president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, which became the League of Women Voters in 1920.
Saturday’s park unveiling in the 7th Ward featured the institution of a national votes for women trail marker in the park, one of only four in Illinois.
McCulloch Park isn’t the only local park named after influential women. Harbert Payne Park honors suffragette activist Elizabeth Boynton Harbert and neighborhood activist Betty Jean Payne. Butler Park is named after Isabella Garnett Butler, founder of the Evanston Sanatorium, who cared for black residents of Evanston when the Evanston Hospital was separated.
“It’s a really well used park,” Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th) told Evanston RoundTable regarding McCulloch Park. “It’s a center of interest for the neighborhood, really the heart of the whole community.
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