History of Chandler Park
Chandler Park holds a very special place in the hearts of Detroiters of all ages. Once a park of Grosse Pointe in the 1800s, Chandler Park was annexed to the City of Detroit in 1917 and was built and enhanced in 1919 with a $10 million recreation grant to increase parkland, playgrounds and recreation facilities. During an era that is arguably Detroit’s heyday, the city’s forefathers and residents alike recognized the need for and importance of parks and outdoor spaces making the city an attractive and desirable place to live, work, play and raise a family. Consider the city’s premier assets – Belle Isle, Palmer Park, the Riverfront and Chandler Park. Each holds enormous history, is a point of undeniable pride and significantly contributes to the character of all who “grew up” in their park in the city.
In 1922, due to heavy use of the Belle Isle golf course, the city planned new courses including one at Chandler Park’s Conner Creek. At the time, plans for the park also included a casino, music venue, greenhouses, lily pond, wooded picnic area, playfield and tennis courts. From 1922 - 1950 Chandler Park was developed and expanded to include amenities still in existence – a public pool (now waterpark), 18 hole golf course, and green space for congregating and exploring. In 1926 the park was official named after Zachariah Chandler, a man revered for his business acumen, opposition to slavery, and who served as the Mayor of Detroit. Interestingly, in the late 1960s and early 1970s the residents of Parkside together with the Detroit Public Schools explored a site in or around Chandler Park to open a new elementary school to relieve the stress on other schools.