A few summers ago we discovered The Holstein Park swimming pool. I believe at that time my husband and I didn't have any children yet. That pool and the park itself became our usual hang out during the hot summer days. It becomes more popular year by year as more families move into the neighborhood but it doesn't stop us from visiting. There is a little kiddie pool that Nella enjoys splashing in, and Pola is now finally able to touch the bottom of the "regular people pool" and dive around like a little fish.
I just recently found out that the neighborhood that the pool is located - Bucktown- used to be populated mostly by Polish people. It is believed the term,"Bucktown", was coined early in the area’s history, probably the 1830’s, since many of the Polish settlers raised goats (a male goat is called a buck). As the folklore goes, this area was the only open fields where people raised goats. That’s how it became known as Bucktown. The Polish people called the area “kozie prery”, or “goat prairie.” The term faded away and emerged again in the 1920’s. Another version for the naming of the area, again not documented and less credible, is that young toughs, members of a turn-of-the-century Polish gang, were called “bucks.” In early winter 1848, several hundred German immigrants, including tradesmen from Schleswig-Holstein, disembarked in Chicago. They settled here, and in 1854 established the town of Holstein. Eventually Polish people migrated to different parts of Chicago leaving behind the beautiful parish of St. Hedwig's.
Remains of the “good old days” can still be found in Bucktown: cobblestone alleys; streetcar tracks peeking through potholes; a water pump in a yard near Leavitt and McLean; old street numbers in stained glass on Oakley; privy rooms under vaulted sidewalks; and, of course, our beautiful Holstein Park fieldhouse with it's pool.