Grant Park (Chicago)

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Grant Park
Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois, Estados Unidos, 2012-10-20, DD 03.jpg
Location Chicago
Coordinates 41°52′34″N 87°37′08″W / 41.876°N 87.6189°W / 41.876; -87.6189Coordinates: 41°52′34″N 87°37′08″W / 41.876°N 87.6189°W / 41.876; -87.6189
Area Downtown Chicago
Architect Edward H. Bennett
Architectural style Beaux Arts, Art Deco
Governing body Chicago Park District
NRHP Reference # 92001075
Added to NRHP July 21, 1993
Grant Park map

Grant Park is a large urban park (319 acres or 1.29 km²) in the Loop community area of Chicago. Located in Chicago's central business district, the park's most notable features are Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum Campus. Originally known as Lake Park, and dating from the city's founding, it was renamed in 1901 to honor Ulysses S. Grant. The park's area has been expanded several times through land reclamation, and was the focus of several disputes in the late 1800s and early 1900s over open space use. It is bordered on the north by Randolph Street, on the south by Roosevelt Road and McFetridge Drive, on the west by Michigan Avenue and on the east by Lake Michigan. The park contains performance venues, gardens, art work, sporting, and harbor facilities. It hosts public gatherings, and several large annual events.

The park is often called "Chicago's front yard". It is governed by the Chicago Park District.


This 1893 sketch of the Art Institute of Chicago shows most of today's Grant Park still submerged under Lake Michigan with railroad tracks running along the shoreline behind the Museum

The original plans for the town of Chicago left the area east of Michigan Avenue unsubdivided and vacant, and purchasers of Michigan Avenue lots were promised that it would remain unoccupied. When the former Fort Dearborn Reserve became part of the townsite in 1839, the plan of the area east of Michigan Avenue south of Randolph was marked "Public ground. Forever to remain vacant of buildings."[1]

The city officially designated the land as a park on April 29, 1844, naming it Lake Park. When the Illinois Central Railroad was built into Chicago in 1852, it was permitted to lay track along the lakefront on a causeway built offshore from the park. The resulting lagoon became stagnant, and was largely filled in 1871 with debris from the Great Chicago Fire, increasing the parkland. In 1896, the city began extending the park into the lake with landfill, beyond the rail lines.[2] On October 9, 1901, the park was renamed Grant Park in honor of American Civil War commanding General and United States President Ulysses S. Grant. At the 1868 Republican National Convention in Chicago, Grant had been nominated for his first presidential term.

The legal restrictions prohibiting any buildings in the park were ignored in the 19th century, as various civic buildings were sited there. At various times, a post office, exposition center, armory, and even an early home field of the baseball club now known as the Chicago Cubs were built in the park. A 1904 plan prepared by the Olmsted Brothers recommended locating the Field Museum as the park's centerpiece, an idea integrated into Daniel Burnham and Edward H. Bennett's 1909 Plan of Chicago .[3] Chicago businessman Aaron Montgomery Ward ultimately fought four court battles, opposed by nearly every civic leader, to keep the park free of buildings.[4] The one exception Ward consented to was for the Art Institute of Chicago, constructed in 1892.

In the early 20th century, Grant Park was expanded with further landfill — much of it from the excavations of the Chicago Tunnel Company — and developed with a very formal landscape design by Edward Bennett. More landfill in the 1910s and 1920s provided sites for the Adler Planetarium, Field Museum of Natural History, and Shedd Aquarium, which were linked together as the Museum Campus in 1998. In 2004, a section of northern Grant Park, previously occupied by Illinois Central railyards and parking lots, was covered and redeveloped as Millennium Park.

Grant Park, Monroe Harbor, and Chicago skyline 2004 from Museum Campus


The park has been the site of many large civic events. It served as the staging ground for the city's funeral procession for Abraham Lincoln.[5] In 1911, the park hosted the major Chicago International Aviation Meet.[6] In 1959, to celebrate the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway and a related International Trade Fair, Queen Elizabeth II, disembarked here from the Royal Yacht Britannia, giving "Queens Landing" its name.[7] The park was the scene of clashes between Chicago Police and demonstrators during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Pope John Paul II celebrated an outdoor mass to a large crowd here in 1979. Championship celebrations were staged here for the Chicago Bulls during the 1990s, and the Chicago Blackhawks after Stanley Cup victory in 2013.[8] The park was the location for President Barack Obama's Election Day victory speech on the night of November 4, 2008.[9] In 2015, Grant Park hosted the first outdoor National Football League (NFL) draft and a related festival.[10]

Annually, the park hosts some of Chicago's biggest festivals including The Taste of Chicago—a large food and music festival held each summer;[11] the Grant Park Music Festival; Chicago Jazz Festival and the Chicago Blues Festival. The park is also the site of the start and finish lines of the Chicago Marathon.

Since 2005, Lollapalooza, a popular mutli-stage, multi-day, limited admission, festival of rock concerts has taken place in the park. Lollapalooza is under contract to be staged at Grant Park through 2018.[12]


Buckingham Fountain is located in the center of Grant Park
The Museum Campus now comprises the southeast of Grant Park
Petrillo Music Shell hosts several music festivals
Seasonal planting in Grant Park
Beaux Arts garden on Michigan Avenue near 8th Street
Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park near Michigan Avenue
Lincoln Monument Near Congress Parkway
Bloch Cancer Survivors Garden in northeast Grant Park
Buckingham Fountain at night

Grant Park, with 319 acres (1.29 km2) between the downtown Chicago Loop and Lake Michigan, offers many different attractions in its large open space. The park is generally flat. It is also crossed by large boulevards and even a bed of sunken railroad tracks. While bridges are used to span the tracks, and also used to connect with Millennium Park, the rest of the park must be reached by pedestrians at traffic crossings, except for a spacious underpass connection to the Museum Campus. There are also several parking garages underneath the park, along Michigan Avenue and east of Columbus Drive.

When it was landscaped in the early 20th century in a formal beaux arts style, tall American Elms were planted in allées and rectangular patterns.[13] While hundreds of these trees still exist, reaching 60 feet tall, they were devastated in the late 1970s by Dutch Elm Disease. Hybrid elms have since been used to replace lost trees.

Millennium Park[edit]

The northwestern corner of the park was renovated between 1998 and 2004 to become Millennium Park, a contiguous area with a variety of artistic features by architects and artists. Millennium Park features the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Cloud Gate, the Crown Fountain, the Lurie Garden and other attractions.[14] The park is connected by the BP Pedestrian Bridge and the Nichols Bridgeway to other parts of Grant Park.

Daley Park[edit]

Across the BP Pedestrian Bridge from Millennium Park, the northeast corner of Grant Park hosts outdoor activities at what was Daley Bicentennial Plaza.[15][16] Attractions here include a garden, summer and winter skating rinks, tennis courts, chess tables, and an activities building, which are being redeveloped between 2012 and 2015 into Maggie Daley Park.

Art Institute of Chicago[edit]

Built in 1893, on the western edge of Grant Park is the Art Institute of Chicago, one of the premier art museums and art schools in the United States, known especially for the extensive collection of Impressionist and American art, such as A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, and Grant Wood's American Gothic. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago has facilities in the southeast corner of the museum's complex.

Buckingham Fountain[edit]

The center piece of Grant Park is Buckingham Fountain, one of the world's largest fountains.[17] The fountain, in a rococo wedding cake style, was dedicated in 1927 as a gift to the city from Kate Sturges Buckingham in memory of her brother Clarence. The fountain operates from April to October with water displays every 20 minutes and a light and water display from 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

Museum Campus[edit]

Chicago's Museum Campus is a 57-acre (230,850 m²) addition to Grant Park's southeastern end. The Museum Campus is the site of three of the city's most notable museums, all dedicated to the natural sciences: Adler Planetarium, Field Museum of Natural History, and Shedd Aquarium. A narrow isthmus along Solidarity Drive dominated by Neoclassical sculptures of Kościuszko, Havliček and Copernicus connects to Northerly Island where the planetarium is located to the east of the Museum Campus situated on the mainland.[18]

Petrillo Music Shell[edit]

The Petrillo Music Shell, located at Jackson and Columbus drives, hosts music performances during the Chicago Jazz Festival, Chicago Blues Festival, Taste of Chicago and Lollapalooza. The music shell's seating area includes an area called Butler Field, the block bounded by Lake Shore Drive, Columbus Drive, Monroe Drive, and Jackson Drive. The previous Petrillo Bandshell structure faced Hutchinson Field at the south end of the park, near 1100 S. Columbus.[19]

Congress Plaza[edit]

Congress Plaza is a ceremonial entrance to the park's western edge, at the foot of Congress Parkway.[20] Two semicircular plazas flanking Congress Parkway contain gardens, fountains, and artwork, including a pair of large bronze warrior statues, The Bowman and the Spearman that are positioned like gatekeepers to the park.


There are several gardens and flower displays throughout the park. Millennium Park houses the Lurie Garden, known for its display of tall grass flowers, particularly lavender, and a decorative post-modern water stream. To the east, across the BP Pedestrian Bridge, Daley Plaza holds a formal garden. To the northeast of Daley Plaza, at 375 East Randolph Drive, is the Richard & Annette Bloch Cancer Survivors Garden, marked by two huge doric columns from the demolished Chicago Federal Building and a wrought-iron pergola. The garden contains numerous walkways lined with planters and is one of several similar spaces created nationwide by R. A. Bloch Cancer Foundation.[21]

Flanking the original Art Institute of Chicago Building are gardens in the north and south McCormick Courtyards; in the south courtyard is the bronze sculpture Fountain of the Great Lakes. To the south of the art museum, along Michigan Avenue, are a succession of gardens. Two of these are adjacent to Orchestra Hall and honor former conductors of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Sir Georg Solti and Theodore Thomas).[22]

To the southeast of the Art Institute, near the Court of Presidents, are demonstration gardens that flank Congress Parkway and surrounding Buckingham Fountain are a series of formal gardens, including the Tiffany Celebration Garden to the south.[23]

Hutchinson Field[edit]

Much of the southern end of Grant Park is given over to Hutchinson Field, an open space for large events, with a dozen baseball or softball diamonds named for financier and long-time Art Institute President, Charles L. Hutchinson.[24]

Chicago Lakefront Trail[edit]

A section of the Chicago Lakefront Trail, an 18-mile multi-use path along the city's Lake Michigan shoreline, runs along the park's eastern edge. The trail runs adjacent to Lake Shore Drive from Randolph Drive to Balbo Drive, then along the very edge of the seawall around the Shedd Aquarium. An underpass carries the trail under Solidarity Drive into Burnham Park.(Chicago Park District Lakefront Trail Map)

Marinas and Harbors[edit]

Two Lake Michigan marinas are accessed from Grant Park. Monroe Harbor provides 1000 mooring cans (served by tender service) and facilities in the expansive harbor east of the park.[25] It is home to both the Chicago Yacht Club and the Columbia Yacht Club. Queens Landing, at the center of the harbor and park's shoreline, is named for a 1959 visit there by Queen Elizabeth II aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia, in conjunction with the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Du Sable Harbor, created in 1999 north of Randolph Drive, offers 420 boat docks and a harbor store.[26]

Other facilities[edit]

The shaded walking paths in Grant Park cover several miles. A circuit of the park's walking paths is estimated to take 4 miles (6.4 km).[27]

A dog-friendly area, called Grant Bark Park, is located near 11th and Columbus. This off-leash park covers 0.43 acres and was established in 2006.[28] Leashed dogs are permitted in most areas of the park, but not in Millennium Park.

For other sporting activities, the park has 16 softball and baseball fields and 12 tennis courts, open to the general public.

Public art[edit]

The park holds a great deal of public art, much of it sculpture, in many areas including in Millennium Park, near Buckingham Fountain, the several gardens, and Congress Plaza. Four individual large installations, in other areas of the park, include:

Abraham Lincoln Monument[edit]

Abraham Lincoln: The Head of State is a statue by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens set in a 150-foot wide exedra by architect Stanford White, honoring the Illinois resident and 16th President of the United States. The statue was cast in 1908 and was displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the 1915 San Francisco World's Fair, prior to being installed in the park in 1926. It is located in the Court of Presidents, north of Congress Parkway and west of Columbus Drive and is frequently called Seated Lincoln to avoid confusion with Saint-Gaudens' 1887 sculpture Abraham Lincoln: The Man in Lincoln Park.


Agora (from Greek, for urban meeting place) is an installation of over 100 headless, armless sculptures designed by the Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz in southwestern Grant Park near Roosevelt Road. The piece was brought to the park in 2006.[29] The figures are 9 ft (2.7 m) tall and weigh approximately 1,800 lb (820 kg). Each is made from a hollow, seamless piece of iron that has been allowed to rust, creating a reddish appearance and a bark-like texture. The figures appear to be milling about in a crowd; some face each other, while others look away.[30]

Columbus Monument[edit]

Christopher Columbus is a bronze statue by Carlo ("Charles", "Carl") Brioschi[31] on a monumental pedestal at the southern end of Grant Park. In 1933, Chicago celebrated its 100th anniversary with the Century of Progress World's Fair. In conjunction with the fair, Chicago's Italian-American community raised funds and donated the statue of the Genoese navigator and explorer, Christopher Columbus.[32]

Logan Monument[edit]

At Michigan Avenue and Ninth Street is a large equestrian statue of John A. Logan. Logan was a United States Major General, who had resigned his congressional seat to serve in the U.S. Army during the Civil War. He led troops in many battles throughout the West and South. After the war, he was elected to the U.S. Senate from Illinois. The monument mound, with a statue by Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Alexander Phimister Proctor, was initially intended as a burial site for Logan, but his family declined to relocate the general's grave.[33]


Millennium Park and the new Maggie Daley Park comprise the northern end of Grant Park

Maggie Daley Park and new skate park[edit]

Daley Bicentennial Plaza occupied the northern middle section of the park on Randolph Street until 2012 when it closed for reconstruction. In late 2014, portions of the new Maggie Daley Park, named for the former mayor's wife, opened in its place. Plans call for re-configuring the plaza, together with redevelopment of its field-house and underground parking facility.[34]

In the southwest section of the park, work began in June 2014 to construct a skate park, gardens and venues.[35][36]

Children's Museum[edit]

The Chicago Children's Museum announced plans in 2006 for a $100 million structure to replace its facilities at Navy Pier. The museum hoped to construct an underground building on the site of Daley Bicentennial Plaza, a plan that Mayor Richard M. Daley and council members approved in 2008. Some council members and area residents opposed the project and vowed to fight the proposal.[37] After fundraising lagged, in January 2012, the Children's Museum announced that it no longer would seek a Grant Park location.[38]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Macaluso, p. 12
  2. ^ Cremin, Dennis H., Waterfront , pp. 864-6, Eds. Grossman, James R., Keating, Ann Durkin, and Reiff, Janice L., 2004 The Encyclopedia of Chicago. The University of Chicago Press, ISBN 0-226-31015-9
  3. ^ J. Theodore Fink, Grant Park Tomorrow, 1978, p. 42
  4. ^ "Ward Case Summaries". 18 November 2008. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  5. ^ "Grant Park: The Evolution of Chicago's Front Yard". Editors notes. Amazon. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  6. ^ Souter, Gerry (28 June 2010) Guts and Glory: The Last Great Aerial Tournament, Chicago History Journal, Retrieved November 9, 2010
  7. ^ "Why Queen’s Landing?". Chicago Sun Times. November 10, 2011. Retrieved June 21, 2012. 
  8. ^ Byrne, John; Briscoe, Tony (June 16, 2015). "Wet weather has Hawks rally at Soldier Field; free tickets online Wednesday". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2015-06-16. 
  9. ^ Liza Kaufman Hogan (2008-11-05). "Chicago's Grant Park turns into jubilation park". CNN. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  10. ^ Fischer, Bryan. "New, fan-friendly events planned for 2015 NFL Draft in Chicago". NFL Productions LLC. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  11. ^ "Chicago's Largest Festivals". Crain's Chicago Business. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-08. 
  12. ^ Kot, Greg (July 31, 2009). "Lollapalooza promoters still searching for Chicago identity". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on April 28, 2014. 
  13. ^ Mack, Kristen (22 November 2010). "Volunteers want to survey, save elm trees of Grant Park". Chicago Tribune ( Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  14. ^ Kinzer, Stephen (July 13, 2004). "Letter From Chicago; A Prized Project, a Mayor and Persistent Criticism". The New York Times ( Retrieved May 31, 2008. 
  15. ^ "Daley Bicentennial Plaza". Chicago Park District. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  16. ^ "Daley Bicentennial Plaza". Metromix. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  17. ^ "Buckingham Fountain". Chicago Park District. Retrieved 2011-02-28. 
  18. ^ Graf, John (2000). Chicago's Parks. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 13–14. ISBN 0-7385-0716-4. 
  19. ^ Janice A. Know and Heather Olivia Belcher (2002). Then & Now: Chicago's Loop. Arcadia Publishing. p. 14. ISBN 0-7385-1968-5. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  20. ^ "Congress Plaza". Explore Chicago. City of Chicago. Retrieved November 5, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Cancer Survivors Garden". City of Chicago. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  22. ^ "Sir George Solti Garden". Public Art in Chicago. January 29, 2013. Retrieved 2015-06-16. 
  23. ^ "Park District Announces the Grand Opening of "The Tiffany & Co. Foundation Celebration Garden" (PDF) (Press release). Parkways Foundation. 25 August 2009. Retrieved 2015-06-16. 
  24. ^ Putre, Laura (March 12, 2009). "Hutchinson Field emerging from Grant Park shadow". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  25. ^ "Monroe Harbor". The Chicago Harbors. 
  26. ^ "DuSable Harbor". The Chicago Harbors. 
  27. ^ "City Guide: Chicago Bike/Walking Trails" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 10, 2011. Retrieved 2012-05-24. 
  28. ^ "Grant Bark Park". South Loop Dog Park Action Cooperative. Retrieved 2012-05-24. 
  29. ^ Noreen S. Ahmed (27 October 2006). "Walking among iron giants; Gift to Grant Park 'not a decoration'". Chicago Tribune ( p. 1. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  30. ^ Andrew Herrmann (27 October 2006). "Grant Park art is 'beyond words': Some love, some hate headless, armless figures". Chicago Sun-Times ( p. 6. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  31. ^ Bach, Ira; Gray, and Mary Lackritz (May 1983). A Guide to Chicago’s Public Sculpture. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. pp. 7–8. ISBN 978-0226033990. 
  32. ^ "Christopher Columbus" (PDF). Chicago Park District. Retrieved 1 July 2011. 
  33. ^ "General Joseph Logan Monument". Chicago Architecture Info. Retrieved 2015-06-15. 
  34. ^ Kamin, Blair (October 27, 2011). "Children's Museum's move to Grant Park scuttled". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 28 October 2011. 
  35. ^ Delgado, Jennifer (June 2, 2014). "Work to begin on Grant Park skate park". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2015-06-16. 
  36. ^ Dunlap, Aaron (June 19, 2014). "Don't Forget About Grant Park's *Other* New Park". Curbed Chicago. Retrieved 2015-06-16. 
  37. ^ Kamin, Blair (8 April 2009). "'The Bean' gets new neighbors". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  38. ^ Blair Kamin (27 January 2012). "With Children's Museum plan for Grant Park officially dead, a promising new plan emerges". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2012-01-30. 

Additional Sources[edit]

  • Cremin, Dennis H. (2013). Grant Park: The Evolution of Chicago's Front Yard. Southern Illinois University Press. ISBN 978-0-8093-3250-2. 
  • Bachrach, Julia S. (2001). The City in a Garden: A Photographic History of Chicago's Parks. Center for American Places. ISBN 1-930066-01-5. 
  • Macaluso, Tony, Julia S. Bachrach, and Neal Samors (2009). Sounds of Chicago's Lakefront: A Celebration Of The Grant Park Music Festival. Chicago's Book Press. ISBN 978-0-9797892-6-7. 
  • "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2006-03-15. 
  • "Grant Park". Parks & Facilities. Chicago Park District. Retrieved 2005-07-23. 

External links[edit]