Jackson Park page. Columbian
of Science and Industry with timeline.
MSI website. To Historic Preservation home.
to start of 1900s, 1950s, 1980s, 2000s, 2013
Aside: history of the site of the Obama Center
with much of Chicago's shoreline, parts of Jackson Park were not even
above Lake Michigan through much of the 19th Century. One cove cut west,
north of modern 5800 at the east most edge of the Museum of Science and
Industry, and formed part of what would become North Pond and then Columbia
Basin under Frederick Law Olmsted/Calvert Vaux and Olmsted sons reshapings
of the park. Bringing in fill to contain the lake and straighten its edge
was one of the few things Olmsted could do before work on the park was
stalled after the 1871 Chicago Fire. The harbors and lagoons are also
only partially by design but are additional coves that were reworked again
and again. Still, there is much less lagoon in Jackson Park now, especially
since the Nike base construction of the 1950s, than in the early days.
As land owner in future Jackson Park itself as well as surrounding neighborhoods down into the 7000s, Cornell and associates put out some of those enticing land-boomer maps touting part of future Jackson Park as, among other possibilities, future home of the "Presbyterian Seminary of the Middle West" (expected to move there from the Beverly area). Cornell was a staunch Presbyterian and brought Cyrus McCormick, founder of the seminary as well as the famous reaper works just a couple of decades before, out to look at the land. But it was a rainy day with a bad buggy ride, and McCormick decided to site his seminary on the North Side, where it stood until moved adjacent to the University of Chicago campus in Hyde Park (!) in the 1970's. Cornell's park-creating efforts were strongly supported by the growing nearby population.
|South Side leaders, especially Paul Cornell, founder of Hyde Park township, and business leaders such as John Young Scammon who had been close to Lincoln, started working for a great south park, eventually to include what will be Jackson Park (542 acres), Midway Plaisance, and Washington Park (total for all three c. 1,055 acres) and for the 13.87 miles of the South Boulevard system (King, Drexel, and Garfield). All these required bond issues that Cornell lobbied for. At first defeated by skeptical, then- distant (pre-annexation) Chicagoans as a boondoggle giveaway for land speculators and the wealthy and especially of little use for those living on Chicago's west or north sides, the bond referendum enabled by the Legislature passed in 1869, perhaps helped by the dawning idea of that boulevard system for country excursions (and the siting of mansions of the wealthy). Cornell figured that development east of Cottage Grove would be for the wealthy and include estates, some large as the Scammons and Dr. Egan already were creating, while that west of Cottage would be more middle and working class- an expectation echoed by Olmsted in a report accompanying his drawings. Both had the vision to create democratic, human-scaled space that people of all classes could use, not just look at--Olmsted coming to explicitly include active ("sweating") recreational uses and curved drives and vistas, not just passive nature or formal gardens or even the rugged "grandeur" Olmsted admired-- and Cornell would gradually convince Olmsted of this spectrum. Olmsted shared an increasingly popular ethos of open space as for "re-creating" people, especially in cities, indeed as serving as lungs of the city. Of the parks, when they were done, the Tribune would say, "[the land] would in any ordinary city have been condemned as unfit for park purposes, but with the people who made no bones of building a metropolis in a mud hole, and when destroyed, rebuild it in two years, the seeming impracticality of the subject only served as an incentive."|
The Illinois Legislature creates the South Park Commission, then outside the city, which ended at 39th St., to develop and manage the park, and allows a bond issue. The park charter says "free to all persons forever." What would become Jackson Park is then a 593 acre Eastern Division. Paul Cornell gets a commission from the SPC for F.L. Olmsted and Calvert Vaux to study the two sites (future Jackson and Washington, linked by a "middle garden").
hires F. L. Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who had led design of Central Park
in New York and would design parks across the country. The connection was
Chicago Tribune editor (Brazz?) who was in a group that included Olmsted,
studying Yosemite Valley for the State of California. Olmsted was first
hired to design Riverside, IL.
The site that would becme Jackson Park is surveyed and soon becomes tied up in owner litigation (Paul Cornell himself was one of the leading owners) until 1888. West division/Washington (372 acres) will be developed much faster and was nearly finished in its first incarnation when the Fire struck October 1871. Olmsted does not see much prospect in the swamps and swales of the east (later Jackson) end, but great promise in its proximity to Lake Michigan, the "great treasure" of Chicago (although he does not see much that the Lake could immediately enhance). He finds the future Washington Park easier to work with and starts there. In fact the general public's view of the area--and of lakeshore and prairies in general--is as depressing and dismal, not fitting any of the current ideas of what a "park" should be like.
The formal name of the 1871 plan will be Chicago South Commissioners Plan of: South Open Ground, Upper Plaisance, Midway Plaisance, Open Ground, Lagoon Plaisance and Parkway Quadrant, 1871. In it, Olmsted said that "if a search had been made for the least park-like ground within miles of the city, nothing better meeting the requirement could have been found", decrying its "flatness" and that it was forboding, with the shore full of sand bars, and the land a mix of bogs and swales and ridges with moldy vegetation, he said. (The site did have some fine stands of bur oak which have been largely allowed to stay to the present.)
Olmsted's original plan is adopted in May. The theme is progression from the Lake through water-based natural grandeur then through a Venetian canal and another set of lagoons then ashore through great meadows and rambles in the west park giving respite and human re-creation from the awful city. East division themes are interaction of water and land and nature's grandeur ("the sublime"). Olmsted was a land and habitat creator and tamer in the interest of human needs. He was neither "anti-modern" nor a preserver or extender of "wilderness/wildlife refuges". His interest was not sanctuary for native wildlife, species and landscapes-- in some distinction from contemporaries like John Muir and the Kennicotts of Hyde Park neighbor Kenwood and, earlier, Audubon, although Olmsted at least appears to have known about "succession" and "zones" that would lead to the field of ecology under such end-of-the-century pioneers as Thomas Coles (University of Chicago and investigator of Indiana Dunes) or founders of modern biology such as Whitman of the University of Chicago and Woods Hole Marine Laboratory.
October--disaster. The Great Fire (including a third of the city burned, 100,000 refuges, and destruction of city and South Park Commission offices and files- including the tax assessment roll, and doubtless of those who had bought land in the park itself) puts funding for further South Park development on hold--leaving jut a small police force. The fire proves an impetus to dispersion of the population outward, including along the boulevards and to "safe" suburbs like Kenwood, Hyde Park, and Woodlawn that would eventually create constituency for the South Parks.
land was undeveloped before 1875. The East Division was named Lake Park
in 1875. Thereafter developed was only land between 56th and 59th Streets.
It includes what would be reconstructed as North Pond during the Columbian
Exposition, part of an existing (or once) Lake Michigan side-cove and
the nucleus of Columbia Basin south of the modern Museum of Science and
Industry. But it was irregular with a beach on the north side, mowed lawns
surrounding it, and two rocky "islands". Olmsted planned for
a very different, formal basin. The other water feature was "twin
lakes" in the northwest corner (filled in c. 1894). The two lakes--not
polluted Lake Michigan--was intended for bathing--and in the winter for
skating--so was the recreational heart of the park, which made sense being
close to where population was at the time. "Twin Lakes" may
have come from a narrowing in the middle, perhaps re enforced later when
it was bisected by a masonry bridge. The other feature in that sector
was a part of one of the natural lakeshore paralleling ridges. Other work
included grading spreading manure, seeding for grass, and tree planting.
1873 plans included a design for a perennial garden east of Midway Plaisance. Known to have been installed in 1936, designed by CPD designer Betty McAdam. Whether there was any precursor is not known to this site.
In 1875 the Eastern Division is renamed Lake Park.
Efforts are underway to check lake erosion, including using piers such as the stone pier and dock at 59th that extended 200 feet into the lake. This was later extended further and served a steamer to downtown. Most other "piers" were still of brush and plank.
|1877||First large-scale project to protect lakefront: a submerged 2200 ft. long lumber and limestone or dolostone breakwater built from 56th to 59th. Then sand was spread to create a "permanent" beach--but that didn't stay long due to strong lateral southbound currents and the strong winds and waves from the northeast, so a 'paved" beach (rectangular stone blocks 1-2 feet long) would be built along the breakwater from 56th to 59th between 1882 and 1884.|
|1879||Washington Park is dedicated- by no less than President Ulysses S. Grant. By this time the north part of Lake Park was becoming immensely popular, especially picnic grounds and the boats in both artificial lakes.|
High early plateau of the "beginnings" period: 84 of 542 acres in east division (future Jackson) have been improved. The next year further acreage development will be suspended due to continued litigation. A new IC train station just north of 57th Street is the main distance access to the north end of the park. A station will soon be built in Woodlawn. The lakefront had only a succession of narrow streets and drives with gaps that did not reach the park.
Bridge. (The term "North Pond" for this period is a convenience--
the name comes from a later creation or the Columbian Exposition). A masonry
bridge is built along the southern edge of Olmsted's basin--historians
believe part of the masonry was incorporated into the successor bridges
for the Columbian Exposition and the slightly later (1895) one that would
be named Darrow Bridge in 1957. (This writer has not yet found a definitive
source saying who designed any of these.) Only the abutments (stone masonry
end walls) remained from the 1880 masonry bridge and, historians believe,
the succession structures that continue into the present. The elegant
abutments have curved wing walls. The railings (in poor condition) are
from later, for the Columbian Exposition-- and the only remaining example
of the style of bridge railings in the park- hence historically significant.
The deck (in the 21st century in very poor shape, with the bridge closed
to even pedestrian and bike traffic in November 2013) is declared by the
National Bridge Inventory to be from 1895, replacing a narrower deck (pony
bridge) from the Columbian Exposition and is the only remaining example
of such truss bridge style (similar to jack-arch) common at the Fair such
as that at the south end of Wooded Island, now gone)-- 4 shallow girder
lines with floor beams supporting concrete-- an early use of such. It
is rated a 5 on scale of 10 in historical significance, good historic
integrity, and "Eligible" for listing on the National Register
of Historic Places. Its restoration is now regulated by the Illinois Historic
Preservation Agency and it is an IDOT bridge. The Stanley company was
awarded contract for study and design in early 2016; this will take at
least two years. High priority for actual work was said to require that
it somehow again carry traffic, but local authorties decided emergency
vehicles only in addition to pedestrians and bicycles. State grants were
sought, some denied and some in request as of mid 2016.
Lake Park (East Division) is officially named Jackson Park.for Andrew Jackson, 7th U.S. President. And was there a stink! Hyde Parkers were mostly middle class or wealthy, WASP, Protestant, and Republican and could not abide the idea of naming their great park after a Democrat, slaveholder and whose politics, many said, was strictly "to the victor belong the spoils," and considered both autocratic and encourager of rowdier lower classes. (Whether Jackson's initiation of the "Trail of Tears" forced death march of the Cherokees was given as a reason for not naming would make a good subject for research; another would be his contribution via killing the 2nd US Bank to the bubble-and crash of 1837 that caused misery to many, within memory of Chicagoans old and new ("Hard Times Come Not Again No More" was a favorite popular song.) The sentiment was widespread in the city--but not necessarily shared by everyone. Washington Park received its name at the same time, but there is no evidence of opposition despite Washington having been a slaveholder and Southerner, at a time when that mattered.
A stone bridge is built between twin lakes (later removed). Boating is popular on Twin Lakes and the pond and picnicking is popular in the area.
Stone paved beach (strolling promenade) and breakwater are under construction (initially 1883) from 56th to 59th Streets. Hope was to start the beach, but weather did not cooperate. 1884-88 there was heavy emphasis on taming the lakeshore through such hardening (ironically, a technique that would turn to again in the 2010's in the Diversey Avenue revetment stretch). By 1888 the paving is done to 63rd, and then 67th. (Another source, citing the Annual Report of 1890 says it was only to 61st by 1890.) By 1911, paved beach extended to 69th, outside the park and by then part of South Shore Country Club. By that time the paved beach approach would be replaced in theory by the Burnham Plan island and lagoon concept and in practice by step-stone coffer revetment or concrete seawall. There are still supporters of each. In the early days, strolling, biking, even being pushed in chairs or carts were popular, although how easily is puzzling as the pavers were oblong purplish hardstone blocks that could be riled by storm waves. The story of the paved beaches, and the shelter/Iowa building (see 1888) are told in an issue a few years back of Hyde Park History, the publication of the Hyde Park Historical Society.
Most of the South Parks Commission work at this time was in Washington Park, covering the land with soil and creating and extending the mere (lake/lagoon). South Parks Commission bonded debt at the start of 1884 was now $651,000 down from c. $1.5M.
|1887||The oldest extant building in the park: A stone Ladies Comfort Station (opened 1888) is constructed at 58th and the shore, today west of the Drive (still open seasonally, recently refurbished). About this time a comfort station of wrought iron and wood with a sloped roof and cupola is built at the edge of the paved beach, south of 57th. This was torn down by 1893 for construction of the German Building of the Fair (1893-1925). These and the "Iowa" building (see 1888) were made of light-colored rusticated limestone type (perhaps Lemont).|
stone shelter, later the Iowa pavilion
at the Columbian Exposition, is designed by Daniel Burnham and constructed
at 56th and the shore. (Demolished 1836 and replaced by an adjacent comfort
station (including a beach changing house) also known as the 'Iowa' building.)
The shelter becomes a destination for dances and music performances and
would remain so for many years.
The stone paved beach promenade and breakwater are extended from 63rd to 67th completing the lake shore frontage. (People did not swim in polluted Lake Michigan.)
Land litigation is finally resolved, so park improvement could begin-- and so could the Fair, which would soon supersede plans for the park. The story of the occupation and litigation of the park is found in an issue a few years back of Hyde Park History, the publication of the Hyde Park Historical Society.
A Fair in honor of 400th year of Columbus's voyage is proposed (partly because of the sensation caused by the great 1889 Paris Exposition with its Eiffel Tower). Congress calls for proposals--most assume New York will get the nod, but St. Louis and Chicago and potentially others are in the chase. Chicagoans form a committee: Committee leaders include Marshall Field, Potter Palmer, George Pullman, Philip Armour. The committee needs to show that Chicago is big and worthy--city of the century. So, much of the South Side, including the park, is annexed to Chicago (Hyde Park township mostly with support from the Pullman area, not from the village of Hyde Park). From 1889-94 all efforts are concentrated on the Fair, and the permanent park development will be set aside until a new plan is approved in 1895.
Even though the official designation was in 1890, planning then work started early. Affecting our shore and beaches: starting in 1889 to 1892 the Army Corps and others removed c. 2.5 million cubic yards of sand removed from "nuisance" depositions on the north side of protective barriers and deposited it in deep waters, where it was lost forever- a sin repeated often since along Lake Michigan. Increasing numbers of such breakwaters, bulges and groins were built, eventually covering or affecting over 80 percent of the shore from southern Wisconsin through Northern Indiana. Over the years, the estimated 80,000 cubic yards flowing south from Wisconsin yearly that had replenished southern beaches has been reduced to 14,000, about 20 percent of what's needed, the greatest amount of sand being bottlenecked at Waukegan.
Chicago is selected in February by Congress for the fair after city lobbying gains (or contributes to) the city gaining the nickname "Windy City" from New York newspapers. Olmsted recommends his undeveloped Jackson Park, likely with teh urging of Paul Cornell. And certainly there had been an uproar when the people around Washington Park learned their beloved park might be uprooted for the Fair. And there are legal objections about taking Jackson Park for a Fair- not unlike objections over the Obama Library and Lucas Museum: At a South Park Commission meeting in 1890 it is pointed out that the park charter prescribes the park will be "free to all persons forever," whereas the Fair was to be run by a private organization and charge an admission. Farsighted citizens also query about the future of the grounds and buildings after the Fair is over- which was still being argued over after the Fair closes. In 1890 a park board member says "It would be wicked to tear down all the buildings. We have the power to arrange for some of them being left."
Daniel Burnham and John Welborn Root are supervising architects, Olmsted and his associate Henry Codman lay out the fair (with advising architects Daniel Burnham and John Welborn Root). Olmsted said in a speech after the fair opened that they sketched the grounds out on a large sheet of brown paper-- determining right away that the centerpiece should be a water-entrance formal, geometric Court of Honor that would lead to other water bodies/lagoons so that all the principal buildings and nearly the entire site would have water frontage and access. Interconnected lagoons lined with the major halls and naturalistic Wooded Island (an old oak savannah sandbar) tie into the reflecting basin of the Court of Honor and into the harbor system. The center of gravity is thus running e/ne-w/sw 63rd-64th with a secondary axis even with what would be called the Midway 59th/60th--and tilted about 30 degrees from true north-south. The centerpiece of the Court of Honor became Daniel Chester French's Statue of The Republic. There were other statues that received varying approval from the public, and all made of plaster-based staff (an invention), usually gilded.
Nothing much gets going, however, partly because cash flow lags, and the following winter is very bad. Indeed, it would become evident the fair could not open in 1892, the 400th anniversary year of Columbus' first voyage.
the also-genius partner of Daniel H. Burnham, dies, a disaster. But Burnham,
now Chief Consulting Architect, engages Charles Atwood and a number of
other eastern architects to develop the fair and Atwood designs the Fine
Arts Pavilion (the only structure of brick walls). Burnham is convinced
over objections by Louis Sullivan and others of the "First Chicago
School" of architecture to make the design classic Beaux-Arts, rather
than "Chicago school" with a few exceptions such as Sullivan's
Transportation Building and national and state pavilions, and of course
The lagoon edges except by the Horticulture building on the west edge of the West Lagoon, are irregular and rugged. The Island was formed by reshaping and deepening natural swales. Several small islands were created, many of which disappeared later.
Olmsted doesn't want exhibits such as the Japanese pavilion on Wooded Island, which he sees as a broad resting place and respite in contrast to the "artificial grandeur and sumptuousness" of the fair. (In fact, Olmsted opposes museums and other structures in parks in general, though Burnham does not.) The pressure to site buildings there is enormous- eventually Olmsted and Burnham seized upon the one that seemed least disruptive and blended most naturally, that of Japan.
A most generous gift from Japan for temples and gardens there was accepted, and accompanied by a number of meetings, dedications and ceremonies with Japanese officials and builders (see "Osaka" page in this website)
Engineering technology, including electricity, windmills, steam engines, and traction and refrigeration, would be highlights of the fair. Meanwhile, the lakeside of the park was raised above lake level, marshes filled in including with manure from the stockyards and c 200,000 cubic feet of dirt and soil brought in by rail-- without this lasting contribution, the post-Fair park we know would not be possible. Still, dig down a few yards and you find sand. It also allowed Olmsted to bring in his palette of more substantial trees and other plants, while allowing a significant number of oaks to remain, especially on the island and south of the North Pond (south/east of present MSI). Olmsted's and later other species including willows became a source of pride for neighbors-- in fact the trees along the paths that became major roadways became so sacred that in the 1960s people would chain themselves the trees in a vain effort to prevent their being cut to widen the roads or (successful) create a superhighway through the park. .
and landscape construction continue with East and West Lagoons, Columbia
Basin, Convent Hill Wall, and Wooded Island with the Ho-o-den (Phoenix
Temple) in its southwest corner as features. Charles Atwood's Palace of
Fine Arts has the only fire-vaulted interior.
and statuary around the Court of Honor Basin will mostly be done the next
year. Several workmen (which did include African Americans) died in construction
accidents. The cash flow remains poor, and people pay to see the construction
The Columbian Exposition takes place May 1-October 10, with daily peak attendance of 761,000 on Chicago Day in October. In many ways it makes for the development and infill of Hyde Park and the whole near and mid South Side, including Washington Park area. Problems with inclusiveness and recognition of women and minorities is protested. Yet there were many instances where theses were present, including some high positions, conferences and symposia, and at the Haitian Pavilion (Frederick Douglass most notably).
Intellectual/cultural development and congresses and founding of key Chicago institutions, as well as a long predominance of classical and Parisian-based Beaux-Arts architecture, are furthered by the fair. (The only different buildings were Louis Sullivan's Transportation Building, possibly another, the Spanish pavilion based on La Rabida convent where Columbus had stayed, state and national pavilions including the distinctive German Building, and the Midway.(Of course, on the inside many buildings such as the Manufactures and Liberal Arts) were glorified train sheds demonstrating not just using modern technology. Statuary ranged from the mostly-plaster 165-foot Republic in the Court of Honor to Germania of then-novel portland cement to the "scandalous" metal-clad Diana atop the Agriculture building. The largest building (and the largest in volume in the world at the time) was the Industrial Arts building in the south part of the park --a monstrous train shed of a building 1,600 feet long and over 200 high, with two roads through it--many would meet at the roads' crossing. (Most think the heart of the fair was around the Palace of Fine Arts, the current Museum of Science and industry, but it was really in the center and south part of the park around current Hayes Drive 6300 south). The other main notable was actually on the Midway, the Ferris Wheel, world's largest before that built on the Thames in the 1990s, and the tallest structure in the world at the time.
On the "pony bridge" between North Pond south of the Fine Arts Palace and the lagoons, see info. given in the 1884 cell.
Midway Plaisance is the great entertainment and popular culture moneymaker--and there were other such south of the Midway and just outside the fairgrounds--Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show on Stony Island, a Polynesian Village south on Cottage Grove, and Washington Park Race Track and amusement center south of 60th and stretching half a mile between Cottage Grove and South Parkway (now King Dr.). The Midway is a mix of carnival, vice, "zoo" of exotic peoples of the world and even people who were not from the countries represented (all generally underpaid), serious reconstructions of villages and structures, and engineering marvels such as the Ferris Wheel and a kind of hover rail.
Efforts to secure federal funds to keep the Fair open another year fail.
Three days before the Exposition was to end on October 30, popular Mayor Carter Harrison was assassinated. This and a deepening world depression and growing labor tension ended the fair early and on a sad note.
As the Fair closes, the old question of what to do with the structures and land is raised again- for money was not set aside for fire proofing or for the end of the Fair. Chicago Wreckage and Salvage Company was hired to remove the structures (except the Palace of Fine Arts), but as buildings were not fireproofed and money had not been secured for the post Fair, fire and lethargy almost immediately started to settle the matter. One of the most spectacular happenings was the burning of the huge Statue of the Republic in the Court of Honor. Homeless filled many of the buildings as a national depression deepened.
The largest post-fair fire was 3/4 of a year later, July 5, 1894, which beat the wrecking company. The Tribune called this "a grand and glorious ending."
1894 is the transitional period of disappearance of the Fair (much by fires set by homeless during the terrible depression and awful winter that followed, others by people embittered at the Pullman Strike or by vandals). The world's largest refracting telescope, reserved for Yerkes Observatory in Wisconsin, was yanked from the flames.Yet, re-creation also started that year. The North Bridge is reconstructed. At that time one could stroll under the bridge; this amenity was recently restored, but will likely not be permitted in the restored bridge because homeless and others started fires that wrecked the bridge structure in the 2000's. Facilities not burned included the Japanese temple on Wooded Island and the German (to 1925) and Spanish pavilions and the Iowa building (returned to size and decor as the comfort and performance shelter at the edge and north terminus of the paved beach. The Spanish Pavilion along the southeast shore will later become LaRabida Hospital (not the current structures). Replica of Santa Maria and the other two Columbus ships remained in the yacht basin. The Gokstad replica Viking ship, which like the Santa Maria had been sailed across the ocean, is sailed down the I & M Canal, Illinois and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans, then brought back to stay in Lincoln Park into the 1970's.
The Fine Arts Palace, more substantially built, becomes the Field Columbian Museum, opened in June 1894. Marshall Field is the lead contributor to establishment of the Field Columbian Museum, housed in the Fine Arts Palace until 1919-20. Only select collections from the Fair went to the Museum.
the legacy of the public domain: Beaux Arts style, "midway",
ferris wheels etc., large-scale practical and artistic lighting, wind
power, moving walkways, ice houses (and skating in artificial rinks),
Cracker Jack, Aunt Jemima.....
Olmsted, Olmsted, & Eliot redesign Jackson Park. The Park Commissioners specifically declare the park should not be shorn of all the beauty that the Fair had bestowed upon it but retain many of the characteristics of the landscape design and provide "all of the recreative facilities which the modern park should include for refined and enlightened recreation and exercise".
The 84-acre north end is redone. The music Court south of Columbia Basin and on the northeast edge of the East Lagoon, the Yacht (Outer) Harbor, an outdoor gymnasium at 63rd near Stony Island (possibly with the gateway shown in later postcards) were built.
post Fair Plan of Olmsted, Olmsted and Eliot (Revised General Plan
For Jackson Park, 1895) has been considered the definitive template,
although modifications and new elements up to 1906 are accepted. (The
biggest exception to the plan before 1906 was addition of the golf course-see
1899.) An important part was the redesign of the lagoons and of the highly
formal areas to the northeast and north. The Plan defined three elements
of scenery- The Lake, the Fields, and The Lagoons.
Olmsted wanted the entire park interconnected and navigable by water-
all the way from the two inlets (59th and 64th) to the Midway Plaisance
"Grand Canal" (never realized). But most of the system was built,
it was diversified, and was much larger than today. All of it was have
boating- the finest domestic boating park in the world, the more since
one cannot well row in Lake Michigan!
A changing sequence of landscapes, all subordinate to the whole and dependent
on each other, was important to Olmsted. Julia Bachrach, Chicago Park
District historian, calls it one the most brilliant characters of the
Olmsted, Olmsted and Eliot Plan. Olmsted said they were DESIGNERS OF SCENERY,
NOT SCENES, LANDSCAPE GARDENERS, NOT GARDENERS.
PART OF THE PARK (an added 4th aspect). Of particular importance here
were the Music Court in a kind of land lobe at the north end of the east
lagoon, a bridle path that would later go over a fancy and water regulating
"Music Court" bridge to the south (see 1904-06 and 1906) and
circular paths that went all the way around the Columbian Museum and its
Columbia Basin across North Bridge passed depressed lawn panels. To our
eyes, the Basin was highly though irregularly geometric, compared with
today (esp. as remodeled with new, natural edge plantings and paths for
fishers about 2004)! but less so than the Olmsteds and Columbian Museum
advisor Charles Atwood wished since funds were limited. As built, it worked
quite well with the formal lawn and scattering of shrubs and trees (including
ancient oaks) to its south.
THE MUSIC COURT was an important part of the Plan-- "[a] place especially designed for the gathering of crowds about a band stand" - a semi-circular area for band stand with two outer semicircular paths pierced by diagonal paths and sloping down to the bandstand like an amphitheater , as described in a March 10 letter from Olmsted to South Parks board head Donnersberger. The paths were to be lined by trees and lit at night and kept always open according to the Legend of the Revised General Plan for Jackson Park, 1895. The court never had a full scale band shell, only a put up take down band stand and portable chairs (maybe a couple hundred) for performances. Work started about 1897.
Outdoor gymnasia at about 64th and Stony I are among first post Fair improvements (not sure of exact location, but said to be on western perimeter)- Gravel of the outdoor oval gymnasia (men's and women's), playgrounds and track are from Fair paths. The track quickly was taken over by bicycles.
to the National Bridge Inventory, the present deck of North Bridge (would
become Darrow Bridge in 1957) was replaced the narrower "pony bridge"
deck from the Columbian Exposition. See 1884 cell.
c 175 of 542 acres have been developed. The German Pavilion is the park refectory restaurant. (Finally it burned and was then demolished in 1925 and soon replaced by the bowling green). La Rabida is used in summer as the Jackson Park Sanitarium for children.
the canoe and rowboat boathouse was built along the west edge of the West
Lagoon, by 59th/60th St. Designed by Daniel Burnham & Co., it was
a classically-designed brick structure. It was had been removed by 1956
when boating on the lagoons was forbidden because of the Nike Base and
was later replaced (the remaining launch) by at least two styles of ramps
and viewing decks- and by still another in the 2015 ACE Project. See 1906
for the electric boat launch.
Work was started on the Music Court (see 1895) in 1897.
By then the oblong grassy tennis area with temporary nets was open.
Golf Course--the first public 9-hole course west of the Alleghenies--is
constructed in the area of the present Golf Driving Range east of the East
Lagoon. It helps democratize the sport, since players did not have to belong
to a country club. A second 9-hole was soon added and both had no fee until
The Germania monument is known to have still been intact in the 6600's at the neck between the harbors.
1899-1906 is the busy period of park improvements, cumulatively comprising a 1905 plan to what some authorities consider the "historic template" of the park, although others insist it is that of 1895.
current golf course--18-hole course, said to be designed by Olmsted Brothers
but the foremost expert says that is unknown, opens, dominating the south
third of the park. This was a change to the Plan, but approximately in
the area where playing fields were designated. The existing golf shelter
building is built. By 1906, 87,500 players used this course and 40,000
the 9-hole. Busiest day? 4th of July.
An L-shaped service shed was built south of 63rd on space dedicated in the 1895 Plan.
By this time, the Sanitary and Ship Canal having been opened the previous year, people were increasingly swimming off the beaches.
Midway construction is in progress--revised from an impractical plan for a canal.
|1901||East and west Lagoons and Bayous to south are complete. This largely replicates F. L. Olmsted's design and theme--interaction of Lake and "meres" with the land.|
|1902|| Hayes Drive
bridge is built at the neck between lagoon bayou and Inner Harbor(then South
Lagoon) just east of where the Fair Administration bldg. had stood and Republic
replica stands since 1918. This Center Bridge not only marked the center
and central structure of the Fair but transitioned between the Lake related
half of the navigation system and the small-boat lagoon half.
This red granite bridge had a simple elliptical arch with 14 feet clearance (assuming the Lake was not in a "low" phase). The waterway was closed off just north of the bridge and the part of South Lagoon from there to the East Lagoon was filled in for the Nike Base limiting circulation in the lagoons.
athletic facilities by now include 2 golf courses, 22 tennis courts, one
baseball diamond, and two football courts. Today, golf remains strong, but
tennis seems sometimes down while soccer and (less) baseball are in. 475
of the 542 acres are developed by 1903. Design of Peter J. Weber is accepted
for "South Bridge" (Animal Bridge) at the neck of the harbors.
This year an addition is built to the 18-hole golf course house. Another will be needed in 1907.
gives the Coast Guard permission to build a coast guard station on the
west side of what is now Outer Harbor in 1904.
The 1905 or 1906 state of the park as mapped in that year plus features added in 1906 is often considered the historic template for Jackson Park.
"Music Court Bridge" (started 1094 and completed 1906) of triple-arch pinkish sandstone masonry is built at the point between the 59th Marina and the East Lagoon. It led northward to the formal music performance court (1895) and was a principal BRIDLE PATH, which was thus completed. The bridge gates were intended to regulate lagoon waters vis a vis Lake Michigan (a use restored in recent times with a stationary dam/spillway and pump) and to encourage the lagoons to freeze in winter for skating. The area between the east lagoon and the Columbian Museum was (and was intended by Olmsted to be) the most formal area of the lagoon section of the park. To the south was much more rugged and informal with heavily planted islands, in accord with the 1895 plan (see more at 1895).
The U.S. Coast Guard Station is built. 475 of 524 acres, in effect the whole park, are now developed. Athletic facilities include 2 golf courses, 22 tennis courts, one baseball diamond, two baseball fields.
An electric boat launch, designed by the Burnham Co., was constructed by the 1896 boathouse. Classically designed brick with launch between two wings. The launch itself still stood in 1995, but was later replaced by a different structure.
The Cahokia Courthouse is (partially) reconstructed on the south end of Wooded Island, south of the Rose garden where it stayed until returned to its original site in St. Clair Co. in 1934. It was originally built in 1740 as a residence and later became the seat of St. Clair County, and the Illinois Country which stretched from the Ohio to Canada, the Mississippi to Lake Michigan and the Wabash. It's most recent placement had been at the St. Louis Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904. On December 1, 1906 a ceremony presided over by Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Orrin N. Carter was held in the courthouse marking establishment of the Chicago Municipal Court.
1907- a second addition is built to the 18-hole golf course building- 700 new lockers, showers, expansion of the 1903 lunch counter. By 1911, 70,000 played on the 9-hole course and 140,000 the 18-hole.
1908, Commissioners begin planning expansion of beach at 63rd and build in consultation with Olmsted Bros. a large beachhouse and a casino (that had been in the Plan and at approximately the location of the one at the Fair- the casino was suggested now partly to replace the deteriorated German Pavilion Restaurant- toilets would be replaced there in 1911). Plans drawn in-house in 1914.
Co designs, Olmsted Company sites a still-existing golf shelter building
by the 9th hole of the 18 hole course
South Shore Motor Boat Club (Southern Shore Yacht Club 1930>) founded by boaters disgruntled with the sailing club (Jackson Park Yacht Club) in the Outer Harbor--used a houseboat. Eventually, there would be (and are) two yacht clubs in the harbors and one (Museum Shores) in the 59th Marina.
|1910>||The Burnham-Bennett Plan of Chicago envisions a set of islands from (modern) Northerly Island to off La Rabida Peninsula south of 63rd Harbor. Some in the 21st Century believe these would have caused waves to break up further off shore thus cutting erosion and threats to the shore. How it would have affected sand deposition is not clear. The Plan of Chicago also proposed a shore boulevard and park down to Jackson Park.|
to complaints, South Parks starts 10-acre expansion of 63rd St. beach, culminating
in the Jackson Park Bathing Pavilion (opened 1919). The design is in house.
The plan excludes a casino building.
Park Commissioners draw a new plan of Jackson Park that includes the expanded beach and beach house. The 10-acre new beach was opened 1916-17.
1/3 scale replica of The Republic (24' vs 65'), this time in gilt bronze, is erected at Hayes and Richards, approximate site of WCE Administration bldg. and near Center Bridge. It honors both the silver anniversary of the fair and centennial of Illinois' admission to the Union. Daniel Chester French, creator of the original statue, and Henry Bacon did the pedestal-- with some compromise son the statue to eliminate elements such as the Phrygian Cap too easily connected to leftism and revolution (specifically Bolshevism)-- this was the time of the Palmer Raids. Funding came from remaining funds of the Columbian Exposition and the Ferguson Fund. In the mid 1890s, this triangular site had been suggested for the statue of Civil War General Logan-- but the Olmsteds resisted any war memorial in the park. In 1910, they apparently also vetoed a flagpole as too trivial.
La Rabida closed in World War I due to need for nurses abroad.
Museum vacates Fine Arts Palace.
About this time, a larger 18-hole golf course, with a charge, replaces the two nine-hole courses. A track and picnic open area will replace that in the northeast. Fees start to be charged.
La Rabida (the Spanish pavilion with relics at the Fair, not the present facility, and on the Circle) burns and is demolished. The site is built up for seating as "Convent Hill." A new children's sanatorium will be built (opened 1932) despite objections and a petition from a taxpayer group that the South Parks Board has no right to to give away the public land- "Soon our beautiful Jackson Park would disappear from public view." (There will be objections every time additions to LaRabida or the MSI are proposed.) It will be to the southeast along the east side of the Promontory Circle Drive. And Design will be similar to the original and will have nautical themes. The old site, surrounded by a renaissance-style battlement where the inlet meets the lake and the replica Columbus ship was, becomes a popular raised lookout and picnic spot.
About this time, South Shore Boating Club wins ruling that the commissioners cannot charge mooring fees unless they provide moorings.
In 1922 the Illinois Federation of Women's Clubs had raised c. $7,000 to restore a corner of the Palace of Fine arts and in 1925 held a banquet in its very cold and drafty halls.
Convent Hill near La Rabida is developed on Promontory Circle between the Outer Harbor and La Rabida.
Referendum finances $5?M for restoration of the Fine Arts Palace as a science museum, which would be known as the Rosenwald, after Julius Rosenwald (who had led off with a $3 pledge , spear header/ultimate contributor of $7 million, Kenwood resident, and CEO of Sears. It would later be named Museum of Science and Industry "Founded by Julius Rosenwald" in a compromise with the modest Rosenwald.
The German building from the fair, already deteriorated, is damaged by fire and demolished after long standing as a restaurant and ice cream parlor. The bowling green and clubhouse will be built here two years later.
|1926||The harbors are dredged.|
The Bowling Green and clubhouse is built north of the 59th Marina replacing the German building. It is revival style designed in-house. An addition wil be built on the southwest side in 1931. Lake Shore Lawn Bowling Club takes responsibility for the facility, with a long-term lease governing use in later years.
Work on MSI in full swing. Beaux art restored exterior: Graham, Anderson, Probst, and White; Art Moderne/Deco interior: Alfred Shaw. 1927 is start of building the shore outward for Promontory Point just northeast of the park. Revetment, which continues into Jackson Park at the 57th beach, is completed by 1936.
New permanent year-round La Rabida Jackson Park Sanitarium is built and opens in 1932. Graham, Anderson, Probst, and White. The area below La Rabida, with sand on an ancient reef, will become known as the "Jewish beach" esp. popular with South Shore folks well into the 1960s.
Caryatids are installed at Museum of Science and Industry Main work started in 1929.
1932- New La Rabida Sanatorium opens. A new children's sanatorium will be built in Mediterranean style (designed Graham, Anderson, Probst and White, opened 1932) despite objections and a petition from a taxpayer group that the South Parks Board has no right to to give away the public land- "Soon our beautiful Jackson Park would disappear from public view." (There will be objections every time additions to LaRabida or the MSI are proposed.) It will be to the southeast along the east side of the Promontory Circle Drive. And Design will be similar to the original and will have nautical themes.
|1933||MSI opens in time for Century of Progress fair in Burnham Park. Work will continue through 1936.|
Park Commission and 21 other commissions are consolidated into a Chicago
Cahokia Il Courthouse is moved from Wooded Island and is reconstructed on its original site in St. Clair County, IL.
Torii Gate and Japanese Tea House from the Century of Progress is moved to Wooded Island near the Ho-o-den. Ho-o-den is restored and a Japanese Garden laid out by George Shimoda.
A colonial revival comfort station was built by the lake at 59th, later moved (see 1936)
goes to town in the park. (Over 100 M WPA money would go into Chicago
Parks for convenience such as facilities and circulation, recreation,
and landscape. Design was in-house) Teh following were built from 1935
new buildings under WPA were two comfort stations, two combination shelters
and comfort stations, and the service buildings/yards, all designed by
E.V. Buchsbaum, who worked for South Parks then the new CPD. The first
new comfort station was designed by Buchsbaum in 1933- a frame colonial
revival comfort station. It was built in the lakeshore triangle at 59th
in 1935 and moved in 1949 to the beach by 57th and replaced with a brick
and masonry beachhouse in the 1990s. The second comfort station, constructed
in 1936, was identical in design but made of Lannon limestone (dolostone)
("English Stone style") in the children's playground on the
west perimeter, just south of the modern track and field at 62nd.
yard south of 63rd/Hayes Dr. between Stony Island and what is now Cornell
Drive was constructed in 1936, where designated in the 1895 Plan. An L-shaped
shed was erected in 1900. WPA built a 1-story rectangular brick structure.
Jackson Park day of games and events is held August 27 as part of city's centennial celebration.
Most recent rebuilding of the south wall and portico steps of the Columbia Basin were done this year (see more in 1936-40) -- a good job as it is still not leaking in the 21st century.
Santa Maria burns in the yacht harbor.
|1940||Completion- Columbia Basin cleaned and dredged, shore restored.|
of the Wooded Island Ho-o-den burns in these years, ultimately the latter,
a major cultural loss. But key Phoenix panels on the upper walls are salvaged
and put int storage.
Drive is further expanded; the now too narrow Animal Bridge is converted
to traffic only with a separate pedestrian crossing of the inlet east
of the bridge.
A period of neglect (through about 1986) and lack of interest in realizing or maintaining the historic character and integrity of the park sets in. restrictions on steel and materials means new construction is largely out of the question. The focus of what can be done is on increasing recreation.
1946-50, shoreline was shortened on the South Lagoon and islands removed in the interest of boaters.
of several expansions of La Rabida. Friedman, Alschuler & Sincere
modernist design, despite objections.
Planning begins for a Nike missile base, with close-off landfill starting in 1952. The landfill was intended to compensate for playing fields etc. to be lost -- the consequences to the hydrology and circulation in the park were severe.
Museum of Science and Industry acquires and moves from New Hampshire to the Museum the U-505 German U-boat. This is largely through efforts of the Chicago-based commander of the squadron which captured the sub June 4, 1944. Boat is towed across Lake Shore Drive--one of the "caution submarine crossing" signs is taken in a bit of Hyde Park lore and is still mounted in the current Jimmy's Woodlawn Tap.
the Nike base (lagoon fill in started 1952) is constructed from East Lagoon
to the Drive, eliminating playing fields, picnic grounds and the track
and the tennis courts/area south of Music Court Bridge as well as several
ball fields are made off limits. The old south lagoon is filled in up
to the base, ostensibly to make up for the lost recreation through a large
bal fiedl meadow (the soccer fields north of 63rd). However, eliminated
was a major water connection including hydrological as well as boating
between the lagoons and the Lake. Stagnancy problems in the lagoon would
ensue despite the gates at teh Music Court Bridge.
In conjunction with the Nike base, the bayou to the south is filled in and the connection to the Inner Harbor dammed at Hayes Bridge. Lagoons and Columbia Basin are virtually separated from the Harbors and 59th St. Marina (also dammed) except for seepage and extreme weather events or very high lake levels. Vistas and visual connections important to Olmsted are also lost, although the (post Olmsted) willow stand stays and the Corps is waived off from Wooded Island. Lagoon boat landings are removed and boating forbidden there. In addition to these and violation of the historic intent of the park, two historic sweeping arch bridges from the south and southeast end of Wooded Island over the former North and South Bayous further damaging circulation as well as history. A utilitarian bridge was constructed from the south tip of Wooded Island across the remaining south merge of the East and West Lagoons to a modest road ending at the Hayes west parking lot.
Columbia (North Pond) Bridge is dedicated to Clarence Darrow (1857-1938). Plaque dates to 1963.
The Jackson Park Field House is built at 6401 S. Stony I south of the service buildings and outdoor gymnasia, reflecting changing public recreational demand. (One had been envisioned in the 1890s.) Modernist brick. Designer Ralph Burke.
|1959||November 11, the city proposes to build a new superhighway through the center of Jackson Park.The big fight over this would take place in 1965 with the city eventually withdrawing in Jackson except for Cornell Drive widening and relocation, which would be fought unsuccessfully to the end.|
City expands its proposed remake of the Outer Drive to include an overpass to be built by the county at 57th.
In the 1960s, the Perennial Garden hosts weddings.
|1961||Chicago Park District says it has no sand for 57th St. Beach.|
Nike base is already rendered obsolete by ICBMs, but final removals are not done until 1972.
Museum of Science and Industry proposes to pave over more parkland for parking (south of Columbia Basin or the panel between Cornell and Stony?). After protests the plans are dropped.
Burnham's 1896 classically-designed boathouse at the north end of the West Lagoon is demolished. Modest substitute fishing and viewing decks were built about 2006 and a new overlook was being built in 2015 as part of the GLFER project. See also 1964.
The historic Japanese style north bridge to Wooded Island is demolished and replaced with a utilitarian deck like that at the south end.
City refines its highway proposals for Burnham and Jackson Parks. These include major interchanges at 59th. This draws protest.
As protests mount against highway construction plans, Johnson, Johnson, & Roy is hired to draw up a framework plan for the park, including for design and management of Lake Shore Drive. Recommendations include 170 acres of landfill for four peninsulas including at 63rd for a new harbor and putting Lake Shore Drive below grade and with fewer lanes. JJ&R is remembered as working well with the community. The plan is ignored by the city and overtaken by plans to widen the drive and 57th-Cornell Drives rights of way and with a fly-over south of the Museum and over the Darrow Bridge. Although the latter was dropped, lots of trees were lost despite strong civil disobedience by residents organized under the Burnham Committee.
The ultimate of protest was from August 24 when protesters banded trees with ribbons through September15 when the city started cutting trees. Ribbons were generally applied on Sundays and removed by the city on Monday, claiming they damaged trees. Lawyer Marshall Patner would show that the ribbons were applied to SAVE trees--which is what the ordinance was intended to do. It was also free speech, he asserted. October 13 the city arrested Kay Clement and 6 other Hyde Parkers banding trees and chaining themselves to trees. (The city was canny about fines and appearances so the cases were "dismissed" without ability to successfully sue. The case took a year to work its way through the courts.) The Cornell roadway was done.
Much concrete debris is placed on the edge of the Columbia Basin about this time. Whether this is to stabilize the edge of a widened Cornell Drive is undetermined by this site.
Neglect and public safety problems accelerate in the park. High water levels in the 1960s lead to need to dredge the harbors deeper and first thought of rebuilding and raising the shoreline.
A park budget hearing is scheduled for December 24(!) and local advocates protest--but it was a slow news day, so the hearing was front page news the next day!
Former local yachtsman and 1964 silver medalist Dick Stearns makes presentation at Jackson Park Yacht Club.
May 4, 1966,
the "Jackson Park Seven" arrested in the previous year's tree
cutting protest were fined $50 each and were to appeal.
Congressman Mikva reveals 4 Nike-Hercules missiles at Jackson are nuclear, speculates warheads are stored nearby.
City proposes new road plan for outer drive and Jackson Park.
|1971||Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference holds its first Wooded Island Festival; these continue through the mid-1970s. One in 1973 is especially notable.|
(with Midway Plaisance) is placed on the National Register of Historic Places
with effort by Doug Anderson and friends.
The Nike base is gone, leaving behind buried remains and outfalls that will cause concerns and remediation early in the 21st century. Bob-o-link Meadow (an addition to the natural area of Jackson Park) will later be created in the part of the base adjacent to the center east shore of the East Lagoon and which was so compacted it won't grow trees. To the north is Bob-o-link Woods. East of there the land was returned to picnicking, sports fields, and remnants of a running track (date?). See also 1979.
August. A Jackson Park expressway proposal again rears its head--considered by the Herald and many residents a destructive overkill, while the accident problem on the Drive and its 57th intersection go uncorrected.
At suggestion of Alderman Leon Despres, Doug Anderson starts Wooded Island Bird Tours, which have continued for 30 years. People in/eyes on the park was needed to reclaim the park from gangs, provide visitors with safety in numbers, and focus attention on park and especially lagoon neglect. As part of a Sister City relationship with Osaka Japan (1956), efforts begin to reestablish the Japanese Garden, which is renamed Osaka Japanese Garden. 1973-78 is remembered as a period of environmental and cultural rebirth in the park despite continuing maintenance neglect.
In 1973-44 Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference and the Hyde Park Herald conduct investigations about the parks. In an article reporting on 57th St. Beach, strong complaints are reported and sent (by Ann Fennessy) to Supt. O'Malley about solid litter of un removed broken glass, dead fish and general filth, about no lights, muggings, no barrier between the Drive and the beach. Letters from the Conference went unanswered .Alderman Despres sent three letters in the summer of 1974 that received no reply. HPKCC asked for weekly cleanup, lamps be installed, lifeguards have a public address system, and and emergency phone line be installed (Bell saying this is doable). Also barriers, new sand on the bech, a bike rack. The lack of answers was used in a Sun-Times series on the parks that was a first volley in what led to a federal lawsuit and establishment of Friends of the Parks.
Open Lands and CPD start 'People in the Park' to encourage environmental education and public ecological participation. During these years, Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference and the Hyde Park Co-op with others hold picnics in the park, also in part to bring people and eyes into the park. Doug Anderson starts his famous birding walks.
September 28, HPKCC holds its 4th annual Wooded Island Festival.
October, the HPKCC Environmental Committee learns that the Park District "hid" $268,709.68 from the Army Corps for post-NIKE base restoration in Promontory and Jackson parks. HP Herald Archives, Oct. 22, 1975, presents the material. Marcella Gewirth and Fran Vandervoort were among those in the community who worked on exposure and dealing with the issue. Rep. Ralph Metcalfe helped uncover this.
November 9 the new Friends of the Parks holds a clean-up of Jackson Park. Among items found by divers: a telephone booth with coins as far back as 1968.
26, Park District loses patience with highway plans, announces a traffic
light at 57th and Lake Shore Drive as insisted upon by HPKCC stalwarts
Ann Fennessy and Fran Vandervoort.
May 25, 1977, the Herald reports, the Park District announces designation of the Wooded Island as the Paul H. Douglas Nature Sanctuary, under the Openlands Project and CPD "People in the Park" Program. THE OBJECT OF THIS PROGRAM AND DESIGNATION WAS TO PROMOTE ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION AND PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN ECOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES. See 1978, but 1977 is the accepted year, even though dedication ceremony may have been the next year. A misguided method of of encouraging migratory birds was to let the Island grow wild. This would be succeeded by episodes of near clear cutting or less than scientific or less than practical replanting. The 2014> GLIFER project holds more promise of balance combining ecological and Olmsted park restoration.
In 1978 Wooded Island is dedicated as the Paul H. Douglas Nature Sanctuary at behest of Doug Anderson, to honor Jackson Park lover, former independent alderman and U.S. Senator Paul Douglas, responsible for Indiana Dunes National Park.
June 1, 1977, a state biologist says the big problem in Jackson Park is litter.
public outcry, including from church picnic groups, the Park District
turned a large part of the former Nike base into the Golf Driving Range.
This area had held early lawn tennis, and in the 1930s a cinder running
track and ball fields had been installed and the great lawn--all inaccessible
during the Nike era and after. The thousand linear feet of chain link
fence (much of it later deteriorated) disrupted flow through the park
and the concept of "field/great lawn."
Circulation changes had included to east -west flow at Darrow Bridge, widening of Cornell Dr. as a cut though had major impacts, including to the southwest perimeter historic integrity and access of youth to playing fields. Marquette Dr. was straightened and pushed through as major cut throughs to Stony and to 67th and South Shore while (1978) the connection of Promontory Circle Dr. (La Rabida Hospital) to Marquette near 67th/South Shore was closed and turned into a parking lot.
September 26, 1979, the city finally installs a traffic signal at 57th and Hyde Park Blvd. after ongoing community pressure.
|1980||Osaka Garden. Many including George Cooley worked to secure two grants to recreate the Garden (described in 1981), hoping to spur a turnaround for the park. It signaled a new appreciation of the historic character of the park. Note: funding from Japan came later.|
Garden is extensively rebuilt and rededicated, with apparently more work
in 1983. Design: Kaneji Domoto of New Rochelle, NY was secured by CPD
staff, including local resident and JPAC leader George Cooley, with the
Dept of Planning via IL Dept. of Conservation and the Federal Government.
Major features include Torii Gate, waterfall and lower pool and shore
reconfiguration, wandering gravel path, step over water, moon bridge,
lanterns, stones, et al. traditional plantings and trees, and a tea house.
One stone Kasuga lantern remained from the WPA garden and was placed outside
the gate. Others were reproduced and placed in the garden.
However, 5 wild dogs terrorize birders. Animal control officers capture dogs using tranquilizer guns.
And about this time the Darrow Bridge was closed to traffic citing safety and probably fearing congestion and cutting through Columbia Drive from LSD to Cornell Dr. This cut off the circulation of the drive around the museum. Traffic and parking congestion and bus drop off behind the Museum were becoming a big headache. Likewise, curves on southwest Marquette Drive had been straightened and Marquette cut straight through to Stony Island, making this narrow road a shortcut through the park-- one that motorists will not allow to be ameliorated.
|1982-3||Bob-o-link Meadow and Woods, east of the East Lagoon and south of the Music Court Bridge are re-created as part of the Natural Areas of Jackson Park and declared (1982) a nature sanctuary. There has been frequent change in concept and clearing/replanting. At the south end along the lagoon shore are the cattails, so important to wildlife although additional kinds of wildlife-friendly plants are being installed.|
After a consent decree in federal court regarding alleged park district discrimination against and neglect of South Side parks, the District agreed to set up advisory councils. Jackson Park had one of the first, in 1983. The Park District attempted to preempt and appoint the leadership, but the first president, Robert Harper, and members (mostly previous Jackson Park activists), would not let that happen. One of the first fights was over district efforts to remove the Lawn Bowling facility. Racism was alleged, but the bowlers received support from minority persons and the threat was dropped.
July 20 Museum of Science and Industry holds a lavish outdoors science fair to celebrate its 50th birthday. Ultra-light aircraft perform stunts.
Coast Guard Station is turned over to the Park District, suffers fire in 1988, and is in 1992 restored and adapted as a restaurant (1998-2003 as The Jackson Park Grill).
About this time, Museum of Science and Industry proposes to build a parking structure in the park between Cornell and Stony Island. After community opposition, the plan was dropped. In May 1985 the Museum does start construction of the Crown Space Center and Omnimax.
High lake levels lead to a succession of plans to restabilize the shoreline and protect Lake Shore Drive. In Jackson Park, this would mainly by at the north end of the 57th beach and north of the 63rd beach. After much wrangling in the early 1990's, the city and park groups thought the Army Corps approved repair essentially as is, in a multi-agency agreement signed in 1993 and remaining in contention 10 years later.
October 14, 1987, promoting Omnimax, MSI has biplanes taxi onto the lawn from the Drive.
1988 the Coast Guard Station is virtually destroyed by fire. The burned sections are rebuilt and the entire structure restored, winning the Hyde Park Historical Society's 1990 Cornell Award.
U-505 Submarine at MSI is declared a National Registered Landmark and the Museum of Science and Industry becomes a Chicago Landmark. (The Museum has a leased land footprint.)
|1990||At end of year Museum of Science and Industry starts to charge admission, leaving many Hyde Parkers and Chicagoans shaking their heads.|
addition is made to La Rabida Hospital, designed by VOA, opposed by JPAC
and local activists including former alderman Leon Despres.
Museum of Science and Industry unveils $50 million 10-year renovation, which will morph into an expansion project within 3 years.
1993 In honor of the 100th Anniversary of the Columbian Exposition, the 1918 Statue of the Republic is restored and re gilded by Gold Leaf Studios of Washington, D.C. under direction of Park District contract restorationist Andrzej Dajnowski. Dedication September 9.
1993 planning begins for historic reconstruction of the 59th Inlet bridge, hiring Hasbrouck, Peterson, Zimoch, Sirirattumrong in conjunction with Kevin Lee Sarring, architect to develop a historic structures report for the bridge. Reconstruction is done mostly in 1994- see 1995.
May 4, City of Osaka gives $200,000 for another Osaka Garden restoration/remake. A new Japanese Torii Gate is designed by Kobayashi & Associates and hand crafted by John Okumura of Chicago for the Osaka Garden entrance. The Garden was replanted in 1995.
About this time a handicapped fishing pier was built east of Cornell at 60th replacing the lost boat launches. JPAC thought it stuck out like a sore thumb and has safety deficiencies. (May not currently be ADA compliant-was sued over in 2004.) Later, despite efforts and offers of JPAC members to refit the boat house at 60 on the west side of West Lagoon for a nature center, the boathouse was bulldozed down in secret on a weekend. The old Sea Scout shed south of the 59th Marina was stabilized against vagrants and vandals (and demolished in 2003 as it could not be secured).
The 59th Inlet Bridge is restored (see 1993). Included were reconstruction of the historic lighting fixtures from the Columbian Exposition. A few years later the bridge is named Clark Bridge in memory of a young person who died in a terrible auto accident in the park. As a result of this and other accidents, "temporary" "jersey barriers" were placed in medians and edges of the Drive throughout the park until the Drive could be reconstructed. July 26, city/park district compromise on Lake Shore Drive safety, installing "temporary" Jersey barricades in the median or along the edges from 53d to 66th. About this time, CDOT commissions a preliminary study of the Lake Shore Drive-Stony Island Corridor that will lead to the complete reconstruction of the Drive.
The Museum of Science and Industry submitted a concept plan for two new wings, an underground parking garage with potentially an east exit, a new covered structure on the northeast side for the U-505 submarine (to be restored), and rehabilitation of the Music Court parking lot. The Chicago Plan Commission approved the plan in stages. Plans to aerate the Columbia Basin (if submitted with this) were dropped with preservationists pitted against environmentalists. The garage was approved, with many park people conceding this as necessary and providing reclamation of the north lawn. The rest of the plan was also approved, although details escaped most activists and were bitterly contested later. The new wings were not built as of 2016 but the drop off and contractor lot southeast of the Museum was completely rebuilt and expanded on modern traffic and environmental principles, with much new vegetation in 2014.
The Museum's Santa Fe Engine 2903, long outdoors, goes to the Railway Museum in Union, IL via temporary tracks to 48th and the then IC.
Park District ends Lakeside Lawn Bowling's exclusive 70 years contract at the Bowling Green when the club cannot pay for lawn maintenance. Much negotiation went in to accommodations.
|1997||The main golf course shelter is rehabilitated and named for Cecil Partee.|
A new beach house is built at 57th beach. The community had substantial input but there still were problems, especially with small size.
South Lake Shore Drive Advisory Study Group is established by Chicago Department of Transportation; the four year effort is considered by most to have been a great success. Major changes will be 5 ped-bike access underpasses, new bike trails, other circulation improvements, new park-themed medians, traffic reconfigurations especially at the beach house, lots of themed plantings (not all successful), drainage improvement (some of which failed, especially at underpasses), and loss of many mature trees.
MSI underground garage is finished in 1998.
Opposition to personal-agenda management of the natural areas leads to a new era of planned and phased reconstruction and replanting and management with both lay expert and professional involvement.
Beaver incursions begin and reach crisis stage the next year.
A trend toward more beach closures at 63rd spiked this year, leading to commissioning of remediation and survey studies. Sewer lines especially were surveyed and leaky ones replaced. Ongoing concerns would lead to a new plan to manage runoff from the Drive. More care would be taken with harbor dredging debris, especially not to pile it up by the beach. Dredging was necessary because of historic low water levels, nice for sunbathers but not swimmers or boaters and inimical to lagoon water quality (which had high bacteria levels and blooms--helping spark the lagoon restoration project.
Concerns in recent years about inappropriate nighttime behavior at Osaka Garden and Wooded Island led to serious consideration of night-locked fences across accesses to the Island. JPAC opposition contributed to the idea being dropped. Sporadic problems in later years were addressed by policing (same at the Hayes Dr. parking lots), although policing could not be consistently heavy.
63rd Street Beach House is restored and reopened and, with public planning and giving, the Max Schiff Legacy Interactive Play Fountain and Serenity Garden installed. It is highly popular. JPAC president Eric Hatchett dies before the beach house is reopened. An effort is undertaken to name the beach house for Hatchett. JPAC and the Park District reached agreement several years later for naming and signage of the balcony.
Many find city and Army Corps plans for shore reconstruction unacceptable. The part in Jackson Park at 57th beach was under construction in conjunction with Drive and new underpasses. The remnant of the 1884 paved promenade beach north of 63rd beach would be restored in conjunction with a new ADA Lakefront Bike Trail, with historic plaques-- much of the latter two not realized.
A major framework plan process (Jackson South Shore Framework Plan 1999) was undertaken by the District and Johnson, Johnson & Roy with plentiful community input. This was to develop a concept plan to govern park development over the next 10 years. Similar programs were undertaken for Lincoln, Grant, Burnham, Midway, Washington, South Shore Cultural Center and several other parks. Actual changes in accord were minimal, but more serious forestry inventory and management practices were inaugurated.
A state grant sparks rehabilitation and replanting in Wooded Island. Despite problems and disagreements, the work continued and held great promise. JPAC nature committee became and remained. heavily involved in planning and organized volunteer work days. Disagreements included heavy cutting and some failure to implement as planned. Another problem was with fluctuations in lagoon levels and failure of control mechanisms.
A class A Running Track is built along Stony Island at 61st/62nd Streets as a cooperative spending and using agreement. NMajor funidng came from the NFL. The track is finished the next year. The nearby comfort station was later restored but did not quite meet the needs of track users.
Efforts to control beaver activity finally leads to a solid but humane management program of ongoing protection of trees, elimination of dens at appropriate times of the year, and relocation of beavers out of the park. Loss of trees had been heavy and did not always coincide with human-preferred replacement of species. Incursions included even into mainly lawn areas. Although beaver incursions recurred regularly, for the most part damage was contained. Meanwhile, the population of Canada geese became very large.
The four-year Lake Shore Drive reconstruction commences. MSI agrees not to build an east exit from the underground garage. Planning starts for reconstruction of the Music Court lot and Science Drive, with JPAC opposition to parts of the plans. Work is delayed until after the U-505 submarine move.
The Framework Plan is approved by the Plan Commission in June. JPAC praises commitment to public involvement, promise of a forestry management plan, endorsement of stewardship principles and natural area and hydrological management, and adherence to the International Migratory Bird Treaty of March, 2001. JPAC did not take positions at that time on major changes recommended, including moving the Golf Driving Range south of Hayes Drive.
La Rabida undertook an even larger expansion including a new story, despite opposition or at least regret by JPAC.
Jackson Park Lagoon Restoration Project begins. Problems and disagreements sometimes plagued the project but major improvement was made to lagoon circulation, biodiversity, and public and fisherman access to the shore. New water control features are installed, especially at the Music Court bridge and Darrow Bridge.
Steps are taken in this and the next year to ameliorate geometric contributors to the pollution and closures at 63rd Street beach.
Plans are discussed for a new bike trail along Marquette from the new underpass at Coast Guard to Stony Island.
Lake Shore Drive and underpass work goes into full gear, with several detours, more tree removals than had been anticipated (partly for utility, intersection and trail overhaul and to remove sickly, unwanted or in-harm's-way trees. A compromise was reached on restoring the granite beach north of 63rd. the project came as a surprise strongly resisted and ended as a win-win with stakeholder involvement.
Lagoon Phase I main work and replanting is done and dedicated and the water level restored and stabilized. Some complain of over-clearing. A compromise is reached on accessible, minimally disturbing nature paths at the lagoons.
A separate but related project rehabilitated Osaka Garden with new landform, landscaping and features and more lasting hydrologic features including new sheet wall and a much larger waterfall. Japanese Garden and history page.
Lagoon Phase II involves mainly reconstruction of the southeast lobe of the East Lagoon. New signage for the natural areas was reviewed and approved.
The Army Corps undertook partial haz-mat reconnaissance and remediation at the former Nike base; the next year said its work was complete.
The District did major repairs to the Lawn Bowling clubhouse and the nearby ladies comfort station. Repairs and rehabs were done at the field house.
Lake Shore Drive was in its major-phase work in the park.
The channel wall along Marquette was being rehabilitated. Permits were neglected and delayed so the harbor channels were not dredged timely for a fifth year but finished six weeks into boating season- and 4 boats still could not get out of 59th Marina. A City Council committee hearing was held. The park district in mid-year obtained 10-year dredging permits and will either buy/lease equipment for Westrec or have an ironclad contract with schedule.
Major ground planting was done in the heart of Wooded Island. The lagoon project was completed including aquatic plants and the modified boardwalks that would not go over the lagoons.
of the WCE Germania monument were found buried in Lake Shore Drive. Concepts
were made to display them in the 'Iowa' building but not funded. Study
where the material should be displayed continued, but reached no conclusion.
JPAC 2nd Saturday (and more) volunteer workdays in the natural areas were highly successful and drew in large outside groups including JETS, Chicago Cares, Wooster College alumni, and U of C Community Service Center.
A Gunderboom sieve for 63rd beach waters was rejected. New means of pollution testing/modeling and notification of swimmers, including a quick-test molecular scintilator, underwent systematic trials, but no new solutions were introduced. A City Council committee hearing was held on the matter and numerous articles appeared in local and city press. JPAC passed resolutions and sent letters to the Department of Environment.
The old sea scout building south of the 59th Marina was torn down due to dilapidation and inappropriate break ins and usage.
The Republic statue was granted landmark status by Chicago City Council.
July 5, 2003, the Old Burr Oak, dating from possibly 1730, was uprooted by a wind storm. Oldest tree in the park system and maybe the city. Wood was to be kept, partly used as a memorial and/or for scientific study, and the stump left to re-sprout. Parts of the Island were nearly stripped of trees in the microburst; there was serious tree loss in other parts of Jackson and other south parks.
The Animal Bridge, reopened in May, was rededicated September 15?, 2003.
ADA changes to the railing at the 'handicapped' fishing/observation pier at 60th St. and Cornell raised concerns that a wheelchair losing control on the ramp could go into the water.
Asian milfoil seaweed invaded Jackson Park lagoons and posed s serious threat. Attempted treatment was applied.
Plans for landscaping the proposed revamped Music Court parking lot were again under review and disagreement between JPAC and the park district. The project was delayed until fall because of delays with the Submarine move. The lot was built in late fall, with landscape plans presented in early 2005.
April 3, Doug Anderson and a large following celebrated 30 years of bird walks in the natural areas.
In spring, the U-505 was moved around the east side of the Museum of Science and Industry and lowered into its new 47 foot deep future exhibition hall. Restoration was done to the WWII sub.
All but a few Lake Shore Drive projects were finished by late May. All the new underpasses were opened except that under 57th and the whole project dedicated in a fine celebration led by Mayor Daley. The 57th St. Beach boardwalk was completed.
New birding and other signage came to the natural areas.
A community vegetable garden was added to the attractions of the park- and disappeared due to lack of volunteers just as quickly.
The basketball courts were restored in a redesigned parking lot northeast of Hayes and the Drive. A drummers circle east of the 63rd Bathing Pavilion stalled out over a number of issues.
Disagreement appeared between CDOT and JPAC over a traffic roundabout vs. signal lights at the Golden Lady triangle.
The roof was restored on the old Coast Guard Station.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was again evaluating Nike base leftover piping inside the Bob-o-link outfalls and was interviewing past base personnel to ascertain that there were no spills or burials of radioactive or other toxic materials.
In June 2004 the 63rd Beach Pavilion was granted preliminary landmark status by the City of Chicago Commission on Chicago Landmarks and was designated by City Council in December.
A group representing Korean Americans presented on the Korean exhibit at the World's Columbian Exhibit, one of many tours and other attention to WCE and aspects of history and geography/geology of the park. The idea was not realized.
Work was slated to begin on a reconstructed bike trail on the north side of Marquette Drive with plans for trails and signage in the center of the park.
December 8 the 63rd Bathing Pavilion was granted final Chicago Landmark designation by City Council
In December a new weight room and equipment were dedicated. The Music Court parking lot was finished except for landscaping.
The Upper Pavilion of the 63rd St. Bathing Pavilion was dedicated to Eric Hatchett, JPAC president 1991-99 and advocate for the Pavilion's restoration.
Progress was made with approvals and design for a drumming/sitting circle east of the 63rd Bathing Pavilion parking lot.
A new harbor near La Rabida was discussed as part of planning for a general harbor expansion. The idea would reappear periodically but not be realized, especilly as 31st harbor was created and a harbor at the USX site was considered.
Momentum was temporarily lost in the natural areas due to lapses in contracts and staffing, but programming momentum continued to build with exciting new initiatives and strong outreach. Plans were being made for improvements at the fieldhouse. There were concerns as a big backlog developed in accomplishing work orders.
An Army Corps report recommended reconnaissance for possible remediation of the Nike Base.
Science Drive and the Columbia parking lot were rebuilt except for final landscaping. Tennis courts were resurfaced and plans made to fix basketball courts.
Redmoon Theater held a "spectacle" in the Columbia Basin, causing concerns and leading to new procedures. An exhibit of photos from the before the Columbian Exposition to today was held at DePaul Art Museum and later Hyde Park Historical Society. Marina Cafe opened in the old Coast Guard station.
The golf driving range road was in very bad repair. Blowing sand at underpasses and state of the 'new' landscaping there were causes of concern. Complaints were voiced about the 'Iowa' building and the state of the historic railings on the Darrow Bridge.
Recommendation of Army Corps to investigate the Nike Base for remediation- report received.
Swim bans and pollution were of considerable concern as the PD changed its threshold from 235 to 1000 ppm.
The Viking ship from the Columbian Exposition, now in the suburbs, was reported undergoing stabilization work.
A Drumming Circle was installed east of the 63rd bathing pavilion, but needed modifications. Factions still did not like it or its location.
September sees a disastrous wind storm, with hundreds of trees lost. 2nd time in 3 years.
Desirability of signage - informational and historical
Concerns that Wooded Island is becoming overgrown with invasives. Others were appalled that the work done later in the year was too severe.
Mosaic and murals were installed in the insets of the underpass under the Drive. Made by classes in the elementary schools, under direction of an artist. Later more would be installed, including with residents of Montgomery Place.
The playground at 67th and Chappel was replaced.
There was protest and controversy that (esp. last year's) work in the natural areas cleared too much. There was work in 2007 on a Wooded Island Restoration Plan (introduced in 2006)
There was controversy over changes in the triggers for swim bans and whether they might disguise the problems at 63rd beach, one of the city's most often closed beaches.
Drumming Circle east of the 63rd St. pavilion was completed, but rival groups did not like the location, and sand blowing was a problem.
There were problems with water controls for the lagoons.
Army Corps of Engineers tested for hazardous material at Nike Base.
Long-standing maintenance and repair issues continued. Some drives and parking lots were repaved.
A plan was presented for a dome-enclosed facility for various sports, esp. tennis, baseball and golf. Despite details in 2008 and tentative approvals, it did not come to fruition.
Possibility of Olympic venues in the park was a major issue of discussion.
An archeological reconnaissance on Wooded Island and esp. southwest of the Museum was undertaken (had been announced and approved in 2006).
Growing Power inaugurated a community learning garden near Marquette and Cornell at the Golf Course. (orig. proposed March 2007, prelim. work that year)
Some beaver damage was reported. Beavers are usually removed out of the area. Controlled burns were held.
Problems were reported with blowing sand at underpasses and on the 57th beach boardwalk.
Smart Home Wired + Green was a highlight at the Museum.
More study was done as to whether there are hazardous remains from the Nike Base.
Predictive-modeling testing for swim bans was done at 63rd St. beach.
The Lakefront Region was dissolved and Jackson Park absorbed into the new South Region.
Archeological reconnaissance was conducted on southwest of the Museum (this one involved digging in squares) and on Wooded Island. Focus was the Columbian Exposition structure sites.
Many discussions were held about Olympic plans.
A large parks capital program was announced- the park submitted Darrow Bridge deck. Didn't happen.
A natural dune and other natural habitat, and fish habitat area were established (including removal of invasive thickets) in the 63rd St. beach area under an Army Corps program. Not all were happy with it.
Natural area replacements continued, as did the work of the Wooded Island Working Group. But much of the work proved controversial to birding and naturalist groups.
A boulder with bronze plaque honoring the role of Frederick Douglass was dedicated at the site of the Haitian Pavilion at the Columbian Exposition. A large ceremony was held on the appropriate date, May 15.
Controversial: plans for a soccer venue for the 2016 Olympics, location and design being changed and involving arterial street closures during the Olympics. It was rendered mute by failure of Chicago's bid. A permanent artificial soccer field was to have been included, later at least partially fulfilled by the Take the Field facility.
Large events posed management problems. There were other deteriorations in various parts of the park.
Smart Home Wired + Green continued to be a seasonal draw at the Museum.
was formed for the Japanese Garden.
Much pruning was done in the park this year.
Lagoon level control continued to be a problem and challenged relatively new plants at the shore. Condition of Darrow Bridge continued to grow worse.
Budget cuts deeply impacted fieldhouse programs this year. Lifeguard hours were cut at the beaches.
Testing for beach and water pollution was reduced and swim bans especially at 63rd St. Beach were ongoing yearly problems and would continue for a few more years then decline.
Archeological reconnaissance continued on southwest of the Museum (this one involved digging in squares) and on Wooded Island. Focus was the Columbian Exposition structure sites.
An agreement was was made with Care of Trees for deadwood and large invasives removals on Wooded Island. JPAC shared the cost.
Care of Trees cut and removed much deadwood on Wooded Island with financial help from JPAC.
Island Habitat Restoration Plan , based on a staged program already underway
for several years and to continue, was strengthened and unveiled by the
Park District. Wooded Island Working Group- a consortium of stakeholders
under CPD, held a number of review-of-planning and monitoring walkthroughs
on Wooded Island. There were disagreements on short and long-term objectives.
Paid parking was introduced in Jackson Park, with much dismay and some amelioration at the 63rd pavilion at aldermanic expense.
Some park paths were repaved, particularly along Marquette Drive.
A plan for a lighted baseball field and facility was presented, with concerns expressed. The group moved on another location outside the park.
Additional mosaics were installed in alcoves of the 57th underpasses. Work was done by local students and elderly under an artist.
A playground was installed east of the 63rd St. bathing pavilion. Problems with it developed as it was at the beach edge.
The new dune and habitat at the 63rd bathing pavilion continued to be developed and studied. There continued to be problems east of the bathing pavilion.
Late in the year, JPAC reorganized with new leaders, additional members and new bylaws.
Substantial beaver damage occurred. Most vulnerable trees were armored at least by late in the year.
Implementation of the Natural Areas plan and template continued and included numerous planting. There was substantial planting in Osaka Garden by Friends of the Garden. Thanks to Exelon and Friends of the Parks, tree planting and mulching were done in parts of the park short on trees due to past storms or natural end of life cycles.
Nature learning flyers were prepared for use by visitors.
The PD undertook a major initiative to get kids out in the parks and nature and into fitness ("No child left indoors").
JPAC worked to make the 59th tennis courts area usable and to make a section dog-friendly.
Various upgrades were made along with planning for nature trails and areas including for one connecting the south end of the Island to the new ADA access edge and Bobolink Meadow trail. There were many workdays. A series of workshops was started by JPAC.
A replacement track with an artificial turf soccer field inside were installed by Take the Field by 61st and Stony Island. (Approved by JPAC Dec. 2010). A yearly plan for track and field users was inaugurated.
An environmental stewardship inventory was taken of the park (and other parks) by the US Forestry Service. This led to GIS tree inventory.
Policing changes were made in response to incidents in the park, as well as background problems with graffiti and evidence of wild or illegal activity.
Continuing progressive deterioration of the Darrow Bridge, a major access and gathering node in the park, was brought to authorities. (See 2013-14.)
Attention began to be focused on fixing and rescuing the 'Iowa' building on the northeast edge. (Improvements continued every year thereafter, but a galvanizing re-purposing seemed to elude park supporters and CPD.)
Soccer fields were rehabilitated.
Increasing popularity of the park, including frequent large events, has led to an uptick in occasional major damage in the park. Proactive solutions were sought as well as resistance to "mission creep".
Planning progressed on the lot southwest of the Museum, to be reorganized and made green. Purposes included fixing longstanding problems with drainage and bus group staging and creating new green space. A concern was to coordinate with those who had conducted an archeological reconnaissance (mostly Worlds Fair focused) in the expansion area to the south.
Planning also progressed on a new outpatient facility at La Rabida. Noted was the need to restore much of the Promontory Circle peninsula, make it usable to park goers adn patients, and stop erosion.
trail planning began in earnest. Wood chip trails were completed (with
side trails) on Wooded Island and in Bobolink meadow, with explanatory
signage and flyers on stands. The "Rose Garden"/tallgrass meadow
was redesigned and replanted, lots of gorgeous native blooms. Substantial
cleanup, esp. of invasives was done in Bobolink and other parts of the
park including by LaRabida.
Cherry tree planting began near the Japanese Garden and north of the lagoons under the Park District and new Project 120. It was controversial. This was the first projmect in a new framework and planning and partnership that would eventually evolve intow hat wqs envisioned as a model for park restoration and public process. See News and Bulletins page-navigate to Project 120. See ACE GLFER Project. Continue in 2013.
Work began in earnest reclaiming the edges of La Rabida and east outer harbor shore and the 59th tennis court area.
Fieldhouse programs were ramped up. JPAC and others undertook a playground assessment.
A visioning workshop for the Lakefront Bike Trail was held with several organizations. Report was issued in 2013. Only work on part of the Marquette trail was done.
A cross-country biking group did substantial damage in the park.
Harbor silting remained a problem. A summer drought and low water levels occurred. There seemed to be improvement in beach pollution and swim bans not all attributable to softened thresholds.
There were several sports courts tournaments, esp for youth. Pickleball was introduced. A lawn-bowling national tournament was held.
JPAC held tool-sharpening and composting workshops.
LaRabida outpatient facility was vetted and begun.
received awards from Friends of the Parks and JPAC would be awarded a
Cornell Award by Hyde Park Historical Society
the Park District, and volunteer organizations including Friends of the
Parks undertook many volunteer cleanup, planting (lots of native plants,
esp. in Bobolink and Wooded Island and removal of invasives), many led
by stewards Jerry Levy and Norm Bell and Gail Perry. A major project was
completion of a tree inventory in Wooded and Bobolink and tagging and
installation of protective fencing around voluntary oak saplings (made
possible by removal of invasives blocking sunlight or poisoning the soil.
(This project is important to maintaining the oak-savannah character.)
In late 2012 and early 2013 Jackson Park Advisory Council, officers and stewards were honored for their hard volunteer work by Friends of the Parks.
Garden of the Phoenix (http://www.gardenofthephoenix.org), absorbed into Project 120 when that became its own 501, planted well over 100 cherry trees outside the Japanese Garden and north of the lagoons (west of Music Court area, which is not in the natural area). Many invasives were removed in the process. This conservancy foundation continued work in the Japanese Garden.
The PD approved and scheduled for installation a nature trail connecting the Wooded Island and Bobolink Meadow trails. Informational signage was promised. The stewards and nature trail committee prepared informational and family activities brochures. Several tours were conducted of the nature areas, also of the Columbian Exposition highlights- organized by Friends of the White City. Lectures and workshops were held. The south nature trail intent would the next year be incorporated into the ACE GLIFR habitat restoration project- but woul be fenced off and constructed c. 2016, and opened late 2017.
JPAC set up and dedicated a Nancy Hays Photo Gallery and PAC room in the fieldhouse.
University of Chicago opened a new Early Learning Center at 5800 S. Stony Island. A progressive safe-crosswalk was built into the park.
Several persons and groups were giving ideas for revitalization of the 'Iowa' building.
Museum of Science and Industry rebuilt a green visitors group and delivery lot southwest of the Museum (vetted in previous years). Landscaping was to be completed in 2014. It included cisterns etc. to prevent runoff and new lines from the Museum from putting polluted water into the Columbia Basin.
In May and in June, Army Corps and Chicago Park District held a charette with JPAC (with other groups and individuals invited) on park improvements, specifically wildlife, shores, islands, in the golf course...and Olmsted vista enhancements and took ideas both for improvements and for what principles and caveats to follow. This was should the ACE determine there is to be a project, which it subsequently did.
Over the past two years a number of books came out concerning the park and Columbian Exposition, including Susan O'Connor Davis's "Historic Hyde Park".
While policing and "broken glass" techniques to discourage illegal uses bore good fruit, activity (moving around as pressure was increased or hiding places removed) and vandalism continued to occur. Signs closing Wooded Island at dusk and swing gates at Bobolink and the Driving Range drive were installed.
A number of windstorms took down numerous trees (c150 in one storm) in the park.
Also, a severe, prolonged drought in the park and Great Lakes contributed to what may be the lowest levels of lakes in this era. Boats had difficulties but only a little dredging was done. In the winter that followed, the almost complete freezeover of the Lake (reducing evaporation) and the heavy snows were expected to begin a lake level recovery.
Repairs and improvements were made in the fieldhouse. Work on the gym floor was needed, and new gym equipment.
In summer Chicago Plays! replaced the Earl B. Dickerson playground at 56th and Stony Island. This was dedicated by JPAC, FOTP, and Bret Harte School November 15. The adjacent Chrysalis and Fieldhouse playgrounds were planned for replacement in spring 2014.
In November a stakeholders meeting was convened at Friends of the Parks to discuss the $10M natural wildlife restoration project of Army Corps of Engineers (Fish and Wildlife) and Chicago Park District, set to start in 2014. Work would center on the lagoons and scattered other parts of the park. Hiring an Olmsted Parks expert was a key recommendation and subsequently done (Heritage Landscapes), paid for by Project 120.
The same day, the Alderman held a public presentation on Project 120/Garden of the Phoenix proposals for parts of the park, particularly the Music Court between Columbian Basin and the west lagoon, to include a visitors center and attempt to unify the various uses and visions of the park, revisiting the Framework Plan. The project, in preliminary form) had been vetted to various groups including JPAC earlier and further public presentation and discussion of the proposal would continue. Preliminary design was by "Why Design". Concern and opposition formed in early 2014.
In November, following inspection the Darrow Bridge was declared unsafe and closed off. (The other bridges passed inspection.) JPAC began circulating petitions, seeking letters of support, and communicating with the CPD and CDOT and officials for funding for historic restoration of the bridge and re-creation of the important access way. (CPD had applied for a state grant but turned down.) CDOT would work to gain means to plan and get funding, but the strong requirement for historic preservation under IHPA plus priority requiring that this IDOT bridge "carry traffic" were strong headwinds to buck. The inconvenience was considerable.
La Rabida Hospital completed its new outpatient wing.
Gathering of petitions and letters, and efforts of agencies and officials to assemble funds for the Darrow Bridge continued.
February 10 the new outpatient facility at La Rabida Hospital was dedicated.
2013-14 was an especially harsh winter- cold and snowy.
March 10 JPAC heard a presentation and report on the status and prospects of the Viking Ship (sailed to the Col. Expo. and now in display and storage in a suburban park). Stabilization work done in recent years and the display were shown; fundraising by Friends of the Viking Ship continues- http://www.vikingship.us. A presentation was also made on the ice house at the Columbian Exposition and its destdruction with heavy firefighter loss of life in fire during the Fair. http://www.friendsofthewhitecity.org.
March 13 the Clarence Darrow Commemorative Committee held its annual gathering at the bridge and MSI, which has been a tradition for decades.
March 13 Project 120 presented its proposal for framework of the park and a visitors center in JP south of the Museum, at a public lecture downtown. The plan was growing to include an art feature honoring the footprint of the Phoenix Pavilion on Wooded Island and restoration of Olmsted's great lawn by relocation of the Golf Driving Range.
March 15 a dedication ceremony was held naming the north bridge to Wooded Island the Nancy C. Hays Bridge. A nice sign was installed by CPD. The bridge could use painting. See about Nancy Hays.
2014 CPD and Project 120 sign a Memorandum
of Understanding for revitalizing Jackson Park and initiate revision
of the 1999 Framework Plan including hiring of Heritage Landscapes. Even
the ecosystem restoration (GLFER)
was to be balanced with historic restoration of the Olmsted vision and
landscape, both as informed by modern standards. The process including
for the community was intended to be a pioneering example. Planning Goals
and Objectives for the Park: Through
this work, not only will the historic Olmsted character be revitalized,
but the following will also be achieved in Jackson Park:
(Description of and thinking behind the Project 120 Phoenix Pavilion at historic lakefront access point of the park, the Music Court, part of a larger area defined as south of the Museum onto Wooded Island downthrough the Japanese Garden and Sky Landing (where the original Phoenix Pavilion stood and southeast from the Museum through the Music Court) is in the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding as of 2014) Exhibits B and 3, starting at page 22. See also Project 120 website. )
A large Nike basketball festival was held. As a consequence refurbished and new high standard basketball courts were installed.
Summer saw Spectralia Theater do a Shakespeare play in the Music Court (competing sound wise with summer picnickers). Later the fan walks of the Music Court will be reactivated.
The Advisory Council continues to gain attention to the need to fix the Iowa building and holds a picnic there. Several large groups come to do cleanups and plantings in the park.
An art project includes maquettes of birds in a dead tree along the Drive south of 57th.
In May and June and beyond, major JPAC and public meetings are held on the Army Corps project for the park, particularly Wooded Island, lagoons and surrounding shores. The project receives go ahead from US, Park District, and preservation agencies. More information is given on park frameworking from Project 120. Heritage Landscapes is hired as a 3rd party oversight.
work began on ACE Restoration project and by spring the area is fenced
off. The Darrow bridge is securely fenced off and with some promise that
funds can be secured and restoration started in a few years.
Project 120's Framework Plan and projects were presented to the community and in November framework planning meetings for the South Parks started. Controversy will focus on the Music Court area and visitors center concept and on proposals to reform traffic in the central portion of the park.
June 12 Oko Yono unveiled the site, on a new hill where the Japanese Phoenix Pavilion once stood, of her Sky Landing artwork, to be installed in 2016. There was a large invite ceremony with music and dance and extensive information about the roleof Japan and Japanese on Woded Island starting at the Fair.
The Obama Foundation chose Jackson and Washington parks as the alternatives for the Obama library and center. There is strong passion for and against, but is on hold until the architect and site is selected in mid 2016. See Obama Library (later Center) page.
Art Institute classes and Ten Thousand Bubbles presented various concepts for the Iowa Building including the possibility of a temporary installation of some of large "Buddha" heads when they become available from other parks. Some improvements were made at teh Iowa building.
Public framework plan meetings and large JPAC and aldermanic meetings were held about Project 120 and other ideas and proposals for the park, especially a meeting in May with strong opposition.
A number of programs and a ballet concerning the Japanese heritage with Jackson Park and Wooded Island anticipated dedication of Sky Landing in fall 2016.
The GLFER restoration program was mostly in hold status, watching for what plants emerge before the next big surge of planting. Many hoped for the Island to be opened and not just have ocasional tours. The fence gates at the north and south ends were permanently opened on October 22.
July 1016 Jackson Park was named the site of the Obama Presidential Center.
JPAC held a large number of workdays, a Migratory Bird Day celebration and regular tours of the park focusingon the White City..
September 21- Emerging Peace Heads sculptures by Indira Johnson and Changing Worlds/10,000 Ripples was installed and opened on the lawn west of the Iowa Buidling. This had received endorsement fdrom JPAC. Length of time they would remain was left open.
October 17 Yoko Ono's Skylanding art piece was dedicated with ceremony at The Garden of the Phoenix.
December- A consolidation and redesign to tournament qualitywas proposed for the Jackson and South Shore CC golf courses.
January saw the first of ongoing meetings on the evolving golf proposals by JPAC, the 5th ward, and park district. The tone was largely determined by whether opponents or supporters got their forces to the meeting and mobilized inthe communities. The 5th Ward office formed a Golf (and other proposals) Advisory Council, which largely supported the changes with caveats. JPAC formed a Golf Review Committee which met January through the summer and largely supported with conditions and also resolved that if infrastructure changes such as underpasses are deemed needed, the funds should be found and the work done like in other parts of the city.
Initial designs for the Obama Center were set forth in May. Both strong support and strong opposition in whole and in part grew regarding the Obama Center and its request for road closures/replacement with open area and paths and also its move northward through the Perennial Garden and to include a parking garage for the Center on the Midway east of the railway.
A series of public
meetings and open houses for the Center, the golf, road closures, and
for a revised South Framework Plan started in summer and by December reached
the "options-scenarios" stage. Many expressed concern that studies
giving details leading to decisions were slow in coming. Late in the year
it became evident that one reason was that Section 106 historical/archaelogical
survey of resources and review of impacts and NEPA Environmental review
were needed and would take several months and creation of stakeholder
task forces and public hearings. So plans were largely on hold although
there had been small tweakings since May. Information and opportunity
for comments were on www.southlakefrontplan.com
The Park District and partners held and unprecedented number of events in the park, several with JPAC co-sponsorship and or Chicago Parks Foundation and the Fifth Ward. A few of these included Migratory Bird Day Festival, a jazz and blues festival honoring 50 years since Phil Cohran's Jazz On the Beach concert, Solar Eclipse Celebration, and Adaptive Golf Tournament, asd well as numerous foot races and festivals in the park. The Chicago Parks Foundation again held a llarge fundraising golf tournament in the park.
Also, an unprecented number of large groups were recruited to undertake workdays of cleanup and of stewardship tasks in the natural areas andother pasrts of the park. The regular programming from the fieldhouse also grew, especially for youth and seniors.
CDOT announced that funds were identified for restoring the Darrow Bridge. An initial public open house was held and a process started for a stakeholder task force and public hearing as planning and design proceeds.
In late fall, the fences around the ACE GLIFER restoration project (except at the staging area) were removed. Extensive planting and invasives control took place.
Site of the Obama Presidential Center History (60th to 63rd, Stony Island to Cornell)
What was on the Jackson Park Obama Presidential Center site before before teh present?
Gary Ossewaarde rev. 9/30/16
Land speculators bought large swaths of the future park in the mid 19th century. It took a long time (1888) to extinguish all the claims after the land was designated for a park and bonds issued after 1869 and the Olmsted-Vaux plan drawn up in 1871. There was little development south of 59th St. for several years after the Chicago Fire. (Olmsted was disappointed at lack of progress when he returned to look at the park for the Fair). Olmsted conceived the west edge of the park (west of a roadway that somewhat approximates what is now Cornell Dr.) as for recreation and gateways, including a perennial garden south of 59th opposite the Midway just outside the site but surely a gateway to it.
Of course, there were several important buildings during the World’s Fair, including Transportation (partly off the southern edge of the site) and Horticulture buildings whose designs morphed from initial concepts. Both were spectacular-- 5-acre Transportation expressing (vs. the "White City" Beaux Arts uniformity of Burnham) Sullivan's new Chicago School Americanist style in brilliant colors, a giant gilded Richardsonian arch, and repeating arch walls all around. Between Transportation and Horticulture was the Choral Hall, where Margaret Lang, - the first woman composer to have a piece played by an American symphony orchestra, conducted "Witichis". Horticulture was a little under 5 acres with a giant center hall with 180-foot dome and a total of eight greenhouses, including one on each of the sides, each with its own cafe and with a veranda overlooking the gondolas on the lagoon. Horticulture attempted to assemble every kind of plant from around the world that would survive moving, including 16,000 varieties of orchid, a Mexican desert and a Japanese garden. North of Horticulture was a statue of William Penn and the Fair hospital. Next was the Children's Building, which included the new ideas of kindergarten, children's playgrounds, and daycare. North of the site was conceived as a turning basin for a canal through the Midway to Washington Park, never built, then the women's building. Ironically, initial thought was to build the Administration building in the center of the site. Eventually it was sited in the center of the park, where the Golden Lady is now.
After the Fair, the Olmsted firm sited at about 62nd towards 63rd an outdoor double Gymnasium (men's and women's) and track-- about where the present track is. Gravel from Fair paths was used. The track was soon taken over by bicycles. There was also a small playground.
One can find by the future Perennial Garden a plaque for the first cross-country automobile race (Chicago to Evanston and back) run in 1895 from that site.
By 1903 the site, and 4/5 of the park acreage was developed, probably including various ball fields east of Stony Island as today. This writer has not found a date for the comfort station that is now, along with a (poorly placed) playground, south of track.
1936 or a little later, creation of the long-planned perennial garden at 59th and Stony, designed by Betty McAdam, was realized. The large circular sunken garden was placed in an existing recessed circular lawn panel that in Olmsted's 1871 plan and the 1895 Plan was to hold a circular formal water basin. The surround wall and steps down were of stratified limestone and sets of shrubs surrounding the whole gave a sense of enclosure. It has been a point of pride of Park District staff and contractors to keep up this showcase garden.
1966> Cornell Drive was redesigned and widened despite public protests.
Sometime before Victoria Ranney/ Friends of the Parks map of the early 1980s, tennis facilities were placed north of where the present track is and a ballfield at the ne corner of Hayes and Stony Island. However, most of the site became degraded with trucks running over it and football equipment being dragged over it.
The first new track-and-field was built in 2000, including with funds from the NFL. In 2011 the present track and soccer field was built by Take the Field.