Smile Politely

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

As Year of the Park continues, we will be documenting every park in Champaign, Urbana, and Savoy, Champaign County Forest Preserves, along with other odds and ends between July 2020 and July 2021. You can see what has been covered thus far by clicking here. If you have suggestions or ideas or feedback, feel free to contact us at


Davidson Park 


1108 W. Church St., Champaign 


There’s not much to explore on the internet about this park, or maybe I just didn’t try hard enough, but it was donated to the Park District in 1901 by mostly a bunch of dudes whose names resemble something that you might find on a plaque discussing the acquisition of some type of old timey company. Lots of middle initials, stately traditional male names, you get it. One woman, Florence Morrow, was part of the donor group, and frankly, her name was Florence, and that is always pretty awesome and bears mentioning. 

An image of a small blue and red children's play structure

Photo by Maddie Rice. 

The park itself is simply the center of a small cul de sac off Church St. in Champaign. But it has a terrific little playground for kids to climb on, and a lovely amount of shade from trees that you can actually hide underneath. There’s a swing set and a picnic table, too. 

A woman's arm brushes aside tree branches to reveal that underneath the tree is an excellent place for children to hide

Photo by Maddie Rice. 


Sometimes, when I get the fortunate chance to fall into a lucid dream, I find myself inside of a park like Davidson. There’s something about the miniature nature of it that reminds me of a Lewis Carroll story, or the absurdist thoughts of a four year old crushing a popsicle bigger than their head. 

If you haven’t spent any time here — you should — but frankly, not too often. There’s truly not enough room for very many people to be there, even in a non-pandemic moment. The neighborhood that surrounds it is pretty flush with amazing parks as is, with Clark and Eisner not being very far away at all. But there’s something extra special about this one. The people who live in its immediate vicinity would probably appreciate your discretion. 

It’s mostly a good spot for a family with toddlers, but indeed, regardless of who you are, check out the trees and find a shady spot for a picnic blanket and you will see what I mean. The place is magic. 

Top image by Maddie Rice. 

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