Throughout history, women have played a significant role in shaping Chicago, yet their contributions are often overlooked. In this article, we will explore five Chicago landmarks that celebrate the achievements of women. From the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum to the Ida B. Wells-Barnett House, these landmarks pay tribute to the remarkable women who have made their mark on the Windy City. Meanwhile, remember to check out our list of one-of-a-kind women-owned businesses in Chicago if you’re planning for a weekend of shopping!
Image Credit: Chicago Park District
Gwendolyn Brooks: The Oracle of Bronzeville
Gwendolyn Brooks Park, 4542 S Greenwood Ave, Chicago, IL 60653
This memorial commemorates revered African American poet, Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000). A resident of Chicago’s South Side for nearly her entire life, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for ‘Annie Allen’ (1949). Brooks was named poet laureate of Illinois in 1968 and became the first African American woman appointed consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress in 1985.
Fountain Girl: Frances Willard Memorial
2045 N. Lincoln Park W, Chicago IL 60614
This Lincoln Park fountain honors educator, social reformer, and women’s rights advocate, Frances Willard (1839-1898). A native of New York, she served as a schoolteacher and college administrator before becoming president of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), a position she held from 1879 until her death in 1898.
Ida B. Wells-Barnett House
3624 S Martin Luther King Dr, Chicago IL 60616
Ida B. Wells (1862-1931) was a civil rights advocate, journalist, and suffragist. She lived in this house from 1919 to 1929. She became editor and co-owner of the Memphis Free Speech and Headlight and used it as a platform to advocate. She documented lynchings all across the country and raised awareness. After settling in Chicago, she founded the Negro Fellowship League for Black men, the first kindergarten for Black children, and the first suffrage club for Black women. She is credited with successfully integrating the U.S. suffrage movement when she refused to walk with the other Black women in the back of the 1913 Washington parade.
Jane Addams Memorial Park
550 E. Grand Avenue, Chicago IL
With nearly 4 and a half acres of beautiful, quiet space across from Navy Pier and at the edge of Ohio Street Beach, this park once was home to a 6-piece sculpture series honoring Jane Addams created by Louise Bourgeois titled “Helping Hands;” the sculptures were vandalized and later moved to Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens thanks to a restoration and relocation effort. Today the park is a beautiful green oasis with many walking paths connecting it to Olive Park Woodland, Milton Lee Olive Park, and the beach.
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
800 S Halsted Street, Chicago IL 60607
Jane Addams was America’s first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. The social reformer and feminist ran Hull House on the west side of Chicago, which provided housing, childcare, education, and more for the neighborhood’s many immigrant families. Today, the former Hull House complex is a dynamic museum dedicated to social justice issues of past and present.
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