West Side Grounds (also called West Side Park) at the intersection of S Wolcott Avenue and W Polk Street was the home of the Chicago Cubs from 1893 until 1915. It was the second ballpark in Chicago known by that name, the first being located a mile to the northeast at the intersection of South Loomis and West Harrison Streets, which was home to the Cubs from 1885 until 1891. From 1891-1893, the Cubs played at South Side Park II, which was located at the southeast corner of W 35th Street and S Wentworth Avenue and is now consumed by Interstate 94 just to the east of Cellular One Field. [EDITOR’S NOTE: After publication of this blog post, the Chicago Cubs in 2016 finally won the World Series at its new ballpark, Wrigley Field].
While resident at the second West Side Park, the Cubs won four National League pennants from 1906 to 1910 and two World Series championships in 1907 and 1908. The 1906 World Series, which the Cubs lost to the cross-town Chicago White Sox, was the only match up in series history between those two clubs. In the time since the Cubs abandoned West Side Grounds for the friendly confines of Wrigley Field, the team has never won a world series.
The former site of West Side Grounds is now the University of Illinois Medical Center.
The grandstand from home plate to left field ran parallel to S Polk Street, although it did not abut the road. Rather, it was set back from S Polk Street behind row houses that lined the street.
The first base grandstand ran parallel to W Wolcott Street. At the time of West Side Ground, Wolcott street was known as Lincoln Street. It was renamed in 1939 in honor of Dr. Alexander Wolcott, Jr., who was the first physician in Chicago.
Although nothing of West Side Grounds remains on site, much of the outfield area remains a park in the middle of the University’s medical complex.
The park can be accessed from an entrance near the corner of W Taylor Street and S Wood Street behind the University’s Biologic Resources Laboratory.
The infield and much of the grandstand area are now consumed by the Illinois College of Medicine.
Second base was once located in the northwest corner of the medical center park on what is now a concrete patio.
Center field was once located in the southeast corner of the medical center park. The building housing the Medical Center Administration (the old Nurses’ Home) resides in what was once deep center field.
The right field corner was once located behind the building at 835 South Wolcott, which houses the university health services and other departments.
A plaque commemorating the West End Grounds was placed in front of the University of Illinois Chicago Neuro Psychiatric Institute at 912 S Wood St.
The plaque dedication in 2009 was attended by none other than Mr. Cub himself, Ernie Banks.
West Side Grounds is one of the original lost ballparks, having been home to the Cubs almost 100 years ago. It’s location is less than file miles northwest of U.S. Cellular Field (old Comiskey Park), home of the Chicago White Sox and is certainly worth a visit, especially for Cubs fans wondering where it was that their team last won the World Series.