Promontory Point limestone steps on Chicago lakefront just need repair, not replacement: advocates

Evelyn Holmes Image
Thursday, April 4, 2024
Promontory Point's iconic limestone steps just need repair, not replacement, advocates say
Chicago's Promontory Point is the last remaining spot on the lakefront to have its original limestone steps. Advocates say they are functioning and just need to be fixed, not repla

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Some community leaders say the original limestone steps at Promontory Point are functioning and don't need to be replaced, just repaired.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has already replaced much of Chicago's shoreline barriers with concrete revetments to repair damage and erosion from the crashing waves of Lake Michigan. Promontory Point is the only spot where the original limestone steps remain.

"People love it. It's like being on the coast of Maine as opposed to being in a bunker and it makes a big difference in the way people enjoy it," said Jack Spicer, president and co-founder of Promontory Point Conservancy.

"It has so much written in it and on it and I don't approve of them to alter it by any means," said Hyde Park resident Ulis Woodard.

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The Chicago Department of Transportation said it's committed to the preservation of Promontory Point. In a statement, a spokesperson wrote in part, "We are committed to saving and reusing as much of the Point's existing limestone as possible and have no intention of replacing the limestone with a continuous concrete embankment."

"The limestone can and should be preserved at promontory point that would be the true preservation solution in this instance," said Kendra Parzen of Landmarks Illinois.

Armed with engineering reports on their own rehabilitation plans, Spicer and his wife Debra Hammond rallied the community and elected officials Thursday morning.

"We want to preserve the point the way it's always been. The point's been a part of our fabric for 87 years," said Cook County Commissioner William Lowry.

Supporters say the limestone doesn't have to be replaced, just repaired.

"It's still functioning yet it needs fix and it can be fixed and have another century of service," said Hammond.