The Sports & Recreation collection gives an overview of the parks and programs through the years in the the city of Des Plaines. It offers the chance to look at the early days of our neighborhood play places, many of which are still in use today, and to see how these spaces have changed over time.
The collection contains a variety of images of the park facilities in Des Plaines, many when the parks were under construction or just completed. There are pictures of organized sports teams as well as individuals engaged in casual recreation. A rich trove of photos from the Des Plaines Youth Center in the 1950s and 1960s. The majority of the photos are from a scrapbook kept by the Des Plaines Park District (DPPD) staff. In celebration of the DPPD's 100th anniversary in 2019, the Des Plaines History Center hosted "Coffee Talk: The Centennial of the Des Plaines Park District".
Founded in 1919, the Des Plaines Park District is one of the oldest park districts in the area. The formation occurred during the Progressive Era when both the Playground Movement, ensuring a safe place for kids to play, and the Recreation Movement, ensuring that residents have healthy outlets during their free time, influenced leaders to establish and fund the Des Plaines Park District. In 1929, the development of Rand Park and pool was a project supported through the Works Progress Administration (WPA), and American New Deal agency, where local labor and resources were employed. The Sports & Recreation collection shows the addition of new parks and programs as the community grew.