A historic, century-old comfort station on the southeastern end of Jackson Park was struck by an SUV and damaged last week.
But the single-story open-air pavilion was a wreck long before a driver lost control of her Jeep last Monday and ran into it. The Chicago Park District has neglected the building for years, allowing a design by one of early Chicago’s most important architecture firms, D.H. Burnham & Co., to rot in plain sight.
To make matters worse, the battered building sits roadside on Marquette Drive just north of 67th Street, spoiling one of the city’s great vistas, where the lake and parkland give way to a run of classy early and mid-20th century residential towers along South Shore Drive.
The building’s condition is an embarrassment. And it is a reminder of how poorly the city and the park district still too often treat Jackson Park, a 551-acre lakeside treasure listed on the National Register Historic Places.
The Chicago Park District must fix the damaged pavilion. And it must do right by Jackson Park overall.