Located at 8 North Avenue, St. Charles, Illinois, Pottawatomie Park is minutes away from Vital Wellness Center in the city of Elburn, IL. This gorgeous community park sits along the east edge of the beautiful Fox River and is within walking distance of downtown. This historic park offers residents many amenities and fun activities to enjoy including swimming pools, picnic areas, shelters, playgrounds, and seasonal kayak and pedal boat rentals. Golfers can enjoy the nine-hole golf course and 18-hole miniature golf course. Also available is a multi-use community center, paddlewheel riverboat cruises, tennis courts, a native plant demonstration garden, fishing, and paved bike trails. There is something for everyone at Pottawatomie Park.
This beautiful riverfront property was once home to the Potawatomie Indians who settled along the Fox River Valley. Evan Shelby, one of the area’s first settlers, laid claim to the land in 1833. In 1835 the property was purchased by Calvin Ward for $75. Ward’s son, Lorenzo, a successful butter and cheese producer, constructed a home on the site in the 1870s. He continued to live there until 1885 when the Great Western Railroad secured the southern part of his land for its use. He then sold the property to a group of developers that envisioned constructing a large hotel along the railroad tracks. Unfortunately, the hotel was never built, and Ward’s home was destroyed by a fire in the early 1900s.
Clinton Wing and Charles Haines, two businessmen from St. Charles, developed the area into a private park in the 1890s. They added amenities like playground equipment, picnic tables, and a refreshment stand. In 1892 an elaborate park pavilion was erected, and by July of 1911 a petition was filed in Kane County for permission to form a park district. The property became part of St. Charles Township in May of 1912. Pottawatomie Park was known to be the first public park established in Illinois under the Illinois Park Act of 1911.
Many improvements have been added to the park since the early 1990s. The 27,000 square foot Pottawatomie Park Community Center, which opened in January of 1991, offered residents a gymnasium, locker rooms, preschool rooms, dance and craft studios, and also included office space for the St. Charles Park District. Further improvements were made in 2003 with an additional 18,000 square foot area enlarging the space for more activities as well as considerably increasing the size of the preschool program area.