Brief History of Olson Rug Co. Olsonrug.com Olson Rug Co. was established in 1874. The manufacturing mill was located in Chicago at Diversey Ave. and Pulaski Road. During the War era, when raw material was scarce, people would send in their old wool rugs, rags, clothing etc. and Olson Rug would turn them into beautiful area rugs. The family-owned business was "the place" to buy rugs for many years. Alongside the factory was the renowned Olson Memorial Park. Walter E. Olson built the 22 acre park in 1935. The project took nearly six months to complete. About 800 tons of stone and 800 yards of soil were used for its construction. Approximately 3,500 perennials were planted, along with numerous species of junipers, spruces, pines, arbor-vitaes and annuals. The park consisted of a stunning rock garden, duck pond and 35-foot waterfall. Olson Park became a popular spot for family outings. During the first Sunday after its dedication, Olson Park attracted as many as 600 visitors per hour. In 1965, Olson Rug sold its building to Marshall Fields. In the 1970's the waterfall was turned off and the park dismantled to make room for a parking lot. Today Olson Rug Co. is a 17-store Chicago based chain whose main business is retail residential floor coverings. Olson Rug sells a wide variety of carpet, area rugs, wood and laminate floors, ceramic tile and vinyl. It was a replica of a waterfall at the Wisconsin vacation home of Mr. Olson. I didn't learn this until years after the park was razed. (My dad used to take us to the park to climb the falls several times a year, and always for the Injun Summer display.) In one of the patient lounge areas funded by the Olson family in Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, there was (maybe still is?) a tapestry of the original waterfall with a plaque explaining the connection.
The Olson Rug Company built a small park in 1935 including a duck pond and 35-foot waterfall outside its factory at the northwest corner of Diversey and Pulaski. The building is now Marshall Field's furniture warehouse, and the park was removed in 1970. Old postcards with pictures of the waterfall are fairly easy to find on eBay.
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