Historical look at Grant Park

May 21, 2010 12:54:35 PM PDT
Grant Park is home to three major museums- the Art Institute, the Field Museum of Natural History and the Shedd Aquarium- as well as green space.Located along Lake Michigan in the heart of Chicago, it's often referred to as the city's "front yard." At the heart, you'll find the Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain, which was built in 1927.

The idea for Grant Park was conceived in 1835 when residents lobbied to protect the open space from development. The area just east of Michigan Ave. was designated "public ground forever to remain vacant of buildings."

In 1847, the area was named Lake Park. In exchange for permission for an offshore train trestle, the Illinois Central Railroad built a breakwater to help end erosion. After the Great Fire of 1871, the area between the shore and trestle became a dump site for debris.

In 1901, the city named the park after U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant. Architect Daniel H. Burnham wanted the area to be home to civic buildings and museums, but Aaron Montgomery Ward fought the idea to protect the park's open space. In 1911, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in Ward's favor.

Work on Grant Park began in 1917. Landfill on the southern border allowed for the Field Museum to be built.

Millennium Park, which was built over train tracks and parking lots, is the most recent addition to Grant Park. It is home to several public sculptures and serves as a music venue.

More on the park:

  • Grant Park
  • Buckingham Fountain
  • Daley Bicentennial Plaza

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