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Chicago’s Remarkable Lakefront

Cliff Dwellers, Chicago
Private Dinner Event

Few other American cities have made as great a commitment their lakefront as Chicago. Today, the city’s Lake Michigan shoreline includes over 2500 acres of parkland with more than two dozen public beaches, ten boating harbors, a zoo, gardens, several museums, two public golf courses, and an 18-mile long Lakefront Trail which accommodates walkers, runners, bicyclists, and roller-bladers. Chicago’s lakefront legacy began in the 1830s when early leaders foresaw the importance of saving Lake Michigan open space. They set aside a lakefront parcel, marking on a plat map that this would be “Public Ground— A Common to Remain Forever Open, Clear, and Free of Any Building, or Other Obstruction Whatever.” This established Grant Park, as well as a tradition that has continued through each phase of the city’s history. In this presentation, Julia Bachrach, author of the City in a Garden: A History of Chicago’s Parks, will illuminate the ways in which the city’s remarkable lakefront has been preserved, enlarged, enhanced, celebrated, and enjoyed for nearly two centuries.

Image: Field Museum and surrounding landfill at south end of Grant Park, ca. 1920. Chicago Public Library Special Collections, Chicago Park District Archives, Photos.

Earlier Event: June 29
Jackson Park Flashlight Tour
Later Event: September 20
Reinterpreting Garfield Park’s Landscape