Leone Park is a small park and beach immediately north of Loyola Park in Chicago. While it has its own park house and activities, I suspect a substantial percentage of Chicagoans in Rogers Park don’t realize that it is a separate facility.
The park is named after the late Sam Leone, a Park District employee who ran the junior life guards program until 1965. It had been a part of the District’s inventory of parks since around 1907. These days, Touhy Avenue is the formal dividing line between Loyola Park and Leone Park, but it’s not as if anyone but the Park District’s administration pays much mind to it.
Like many of the east — west streets in Rogers Park, Touhy Avenue is named after an investor in the land company that subdivided the Rogers Park, one of the principal families, in fact. It’s an “avenue” because for some reason most of the streets in Chicago are “avenues,” except when they’re not, and there’s no particular rhyme or reason to the difference but possibly real estate marketing.
Like many Chicago neighborhoods, Rogers Park had been a separately incorporated town, beginning in 1878 until 1893 when it was, at the instigation of the electorate of Rogers Park, annexed by the City of Chicago.
Friday, July 6, 2018 was a gloriously cool and windy day after a string of hot and muggy days. The waves were relatively high and swimming forbidden for the rip currents that would draw unwary or unskilled swimmers out to a watery doom. In fact, two young girls ran into that trouble in Loyola Park later in the evening. They were rescued, along with a would-be rescuer, but one later died.