Laurel Park was acquired in 1930 and is named for the adjacent street. The Park was designed by Marshall Johnson for the Men’s Garden Club of Highland Park to honor William C. Egan, Jesse Lowe Smith, and Jens Jensen three highly regarded local naturalists. Upon completion, the Laurel Park was dedicated in 1942. The park design has three parts, 1. The rose garden in honor of William C. Egan, the first rosarian in the area; 2. A wildflower garden at the northeastern third of the park to honor Jessie Lowe Smith, a naturalist and local educator; and 3. The Players Hill at the Southeastern section of the park in honor of Jens Jensen.
The original configuration is almost intact. Many of the original roses planted in the garden did not adapt well to the climate through the years and have been replaced with hardy varieties. The Native Wildflower Garden and the Players Hill are more difficult to discern in today’s landscape.
Visitors to Laurel Park will find the Peter Voulkos sculpture, installed in 1973 and the Stupey Cabin installed in 1968. The Stupey cabin was moved to Laurel Park from the Exmoor Country Club through joint efforts of the Historical Society and the Park District. The Stupey’s were one of the original families to settle in Highland Park. The interior of the cabin is furnished with items authentic to the period.