Smile Politely

Year of the Park, A to Z: Eisner Park, Champaign


Eisner Park


1108 W. Church St., Champaign


It is hard to know what happened to Eisner Park between the time it was called West End Park. According to ExploreCU and a wide number of social media posts on Facebook, the park once featured carnival rides, a roller coaster, a casino, a shooting gallery, refreshments, and a 600 cap theater. 

A horse and mule line that went down Church St. served it first, and then later an electric trolley could take you from Crystal Lake Park in Urbana all the way to the coaster for a nickel. 

In 1941, it was acquired by the Park District, and transformed into a neighborhood park that doesn’t look anything like the description above, but here and now, it’s decidedly one of the best places to spend a morning or an afternoon.

A brown wooden park sign that says in capital letters EISNER PARK HAYS CENTER. Photo by Maddie Rice.

Photo by Maddie Rice. 

The Little League field is perfect, basically. The batter faces southeast, and the pitcher their opposite, but the trees obscure the sun by the time any ump might yell “play ball!” on any given weekday.

A picture of a baseball diamond taken from deep left field

Photo by Maddie Rice.

There is a batting cage on site as well, which is just… awesome. 

A fence borders on the left of a batting cage

Photo by Maddie Rice.

The playground is wide open, and appealing. There is a synthetic grass tennis court — the only one of its kind in town, and it is for real different playing on that turf above the hard courts available in numbers.

A picture of a synthetic grass turf tennis court, taken from the ground on the baseline and right sideline

Photo by Maddie Rice.

Hays Recreation Center is on site, so there’s always activities happening throughout the week. There are lovely garden beds filled with annuals everywhere you look. 

A picture of colorful flowers in bloom. Photo by Maddie Rice.

Photo by Maddie Rice.

In the end, there’s something just lovely about the whole place. It’s appearance in our Top Whatever Countdown to finish off Year of the Park is imminent. Enjoy it now through the rest of the year. In winter, it is truly warm, when it is sunny out. 

Top image by Maddie Rice. 

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