Arrigo Park at the corner of Polk and Loomis.
Originally known as Vernon Park, "the greenspace was
officially renamed Arrigo Park in honor of Victor Arrigo (1908-1973). A
vocal advocate for the Italian-American community, Arrigo served as
Illinois State Representative for Chicago's near southwest side from
1966 to 1973. Arrigo was instrumental in bringing sculptor Moses
Ezekiel's statue of Christopher Columbus to the park in 1966. First
exhibited in the Italian pavilion at the 1893 World's Columbian
Exposition, the bronze figure later graced a second-story alcove on
State Street's Columbus Memorial Building. After the building came down
in 1959, the statue went into storage. Arrigo argued that Columbus
should find a new home in the city's oldest continuously
Italian-American neighborhood, which was then experiencing wrenching
transformation due to the construction of the University of Illinois'