Trout Park in Elgin, Illinois, has a long and interesting history.
The park was originally owned by Dr. P.W. Pratt, who enclosed a 70-acre parcel of land known as "Cedar Swamp" and began a fish hatchery on the site in 1872. It is situated on the east side of the Fox River, 1½ miles north of Elgin.
The hatchery was successful, and the park became known as "Trout Park." In the 1890s, the park was also home to an amusement park, which featured a variety of rides and attractions.
The park became a popular resort for pleasure seekers, especially Germans from Chicago. In 1895, the city of Elgin purchased the park and opened it to the public.
In the early 1900s, Trout Park was home to an amusement park, a botanical garden, and the Trails & Treasures Tea Room. The amusement park featured a carousel, a roller coaster, and other rides. The botanical garden was filled with various plants, including rare white cedar trees. The Trails & Treasures Tea Room featured a wall of windows with a view of the river and was a trendy spot for afternoon tea.
In 1910, Trout Park became home to Elgin's first semi-professional baseball team, the Elgin Kittens. The Kittens played their home games at a stadium in the park that could seat 3,500 spectators. The team played in the Northern Association, a minor league baseball league, from 1910 to 1912.
Trout Park remained a popular destination for Elgin residents throughout the 20th century.
The park was designated an Illinois Nature Preserve in 1972 due to its rare white cedar trees and other natural features. Today, the park is still popular for hiking, fishing, and picnicking.
Compiled by Dr. Neil Galew, Ph.D.