Construction of Sunken Gardens began in the fall of 1930 as part of a city program to help unemployed men find work during the Great Depression. Lincoln Park Superintendent E.M. Blair explained that I expect to make this spot the most beautiful place in the city, either in or out of the parks. The ground lends itself perfectly to the making of a sunken garden, and at the same time a spot rich in beauty, at a small expense.
The garden was completed by 1931 with over shrubs and trees in full bloom. Workers averaged about $6.40 per week (two shifts per week) and the total cost of the project totaled approximately $2500.00. Minor improvements were made to the site in the ensuing decades but it was until 2003 that Sunken Gardens received a much needed renovation. Work at the site was completed during the summer of 2005 with the help of a $1.7 campaign led by the Lincoln Parks Foundation.