The City in a Garden: A History of Chicago’s Parks

The City in a Garden is a compelling look at Chicago’s remarkable and long-overlooked park system. Through unprecedented access to a cache of historical plans, photographs, and drawings, Julia S. Bachrach documents the city’s 175-year commitment to public parks and explains how such luminaries as architect Daniel H. Burnham, landscape architect and conservationist Jens Jensen, and social reformer Jane Addams shaped and influenced the city’s green spaces.

The City in a Garden: A History of Chicago’s Parks, Second Edition, Chicago: Center of American Places, Columbia College Press, 2012.

After the second edition of Julia Bachrach’s book The City in a Garden came out in 2012, the Chicago Tribune published “Historian’s book speaks to park system’s revival” .

WTTW’s Chicago Tonight also aired a segment on the second edition of The City in a Garden.

The City in a Garden is a book about Chicago treasures from an author who is a Chicago treasure herself. Julia S. Bachrach knows more about the history of Chicago’s parks than anyone, and her enthusiasm for her subject is truly infectious.
— Geoffrey Baer, Producer and Program Host, WTTW Channel 11 Chicago
 

Inspired by Nature:
The Garfield Park Conservatory and Chicago’s West Side

Here’s the story of a century-old waltz between park planners and politicians, between idealists and developers. The authors weave their tale with three inseparable strands— the park, the conservatory, and how the spirit of nature has bound together Chicago’s West Side community over the years.
— Tim Samuelson, City of Chicago Cultural Historian

One of the nation’s most stunning and intriguing botanical havens, the Garfield Park Conservatory was considered revolutionary when it opened in 1908. Its designer, Jens Jensen, created compositions of tropical plantings, water features, and stonework quite different from the typical Victorian greenhouses of the day. Inspired by Nature is a fascinating story through historical essays and reflections of both young and old residents, past, and present about the conservatory, its surrounding park, and Chicago’s often forgotten West Side.

Inspired by Nature: The Garfield Park Conservatory and Chicago’s West Side, co-authored by Jo Ann Nathan, foreword by Alex KotlowitzChicago: Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance in association with the Chicago Park District (distributed by University of Chicago Press) 2008.

 Julia Bachrach and Jo Ann Nathan.

Julia Bachrach and Jo Ann Nathan.

Host Phil Ponce interviews historian Julia Bachrach about the centennial of the Garfield Park Conservatory and her book "Inspired by Nature," coauthored with Jo Ann Nathan. Aired Jan. 9, 2008


Additional Books

Midstream: The Chicago River 1999-2010, Photos by Richard Wasserman, Chicago: Center of American Places, Columbia College Press, 2012.

Sounds of Chicago’s Lakefront: A Celebration of the Grant Park Music Festival co-authored with Tony Macaluso and Neal Samors, Chicago’s Books Press, 2009.

“Ossian Cole Simonds: Conservation Ethic in the Prairie Style,” Midwestern Landscape Architecture, William Tishler, ed., University of Illinois Press, 2004.