|1850s, 1860s||As 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 eastmost 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 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.The alternating swampy swales, shoreward projections of Lake Michigan, and long sand hills/dunes with oaks and scrub (known as the “oak highlands” that are continued in South Shore as the Jackson Park Highlands) were virtually unused by Native Americans or early Chicagoans. They were also not very productive until Olmsted scraped then covered the site with manure and soil for the Columbian Exposition. Some of the scrubby oaks still there had been 50 to a few hundred years when then-distant Chicago was incorporated in 1837 and had aged still more more when Paul Cornell incorporated the “town” of Hyde Park in 1853-6 in conjunction with the coming of the Illinois Central Railroad, not by accident virtually next to the park and with one of the first “suburban” stations nearby, negotiated as part of his land deal with the railroad.As land owner in future Jackson Park and surrounding neighborhoods, Cornell or 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, 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.|
|1865||South Side leaders, especially Paul Cornell, founder of Hyde Park township, start 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 1,055-7 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, distant Chicagoans as a boondoggle giveaway for land speculators and the wealthy and of little use for those living on the west or north sides, the bond referendum passes in 1869, perhaps helped by the dawning idea of a boulevard system for country excursions.|
|1869||Legislature creates South Park Commission to develop and manage the park and allows a bond issue. What would become Jackson Park is then a 593 acre Eastern Division.|
|1870||Commission hires F. L. Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. The site is surveyed and soon becomes tied up in owner litigation (Paul Cornell himself was one of the leading owners) until 1888. (West division/Washington 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. He finds the future Washington Park easier to work with and starts there. In fact the general public 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.|
|1871||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 Kennicott’s 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 of a new field of Ecology as Thomas Coles (University of Chicago and investigator of Indiana Dunes).October–disaster. The Great Fire (including a third of the city burned, 100,000 refuges, and destruction of city and South Park Commission files) puts funding for further South Park development on hold–but not entirely. 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.|
|1872-1879||Land is developed only between 56th and 59th Streets. It includes North Pond, part of an existing Lake Michigan side-cove and the nucleus of Columbia Basin south of the modern Museum of Science and Industry, and “twin lakes” in the northwest corner (filled in c. 1894). The twin lakes–not polluted Lake Michigan–was intended for bathing and as the recreational heart of the park, which made sense being close to where population was at the time.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 a precursor is not known to this site.|
|1875||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 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.|
|1880||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.|
|1881||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 reputedly originator of “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.) The sentiment was widespread in the city–but not necessarily shared by large segments. Washington Park received its name at the same time, but there is no evidence of opposition despite GW having been a slaveholder..A stone bridge is built between twin lakes (later removed). Boating is popular on Twin Lakes (lagoons) and picnicking was popular in the area.|
|1884||Stone paved beach (strolling promenade) and breakwater are started (actually 1883) from 56th to 59th Streets. Hope was to start the beach, but weather did not coperaate. 1884-88 there was heavy emphasis on taming the lakeshore through such hardening. By 1888 the paving is done to 63rd, and then 67th. In 1911 this would be extended to 69th, outside the park. By that time the paved beach approach would be replaced in theory by the Burnham Plan and in practice by step-stone revetment or seawall.The Original North Pond Bridge (in 1957 named Clarence Darrow) is in place by this year. (This writer has not yet found a definitive source saying the exact year, or who designed it.) Only the abutments (stone masonry end walls) remain in the 21st Century. The elegant abutments have curved wingwalls. 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 remaining 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 the truss bridge style (similar to jack-arch) common at the Fair– 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.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. South Parks Commission bonded debt at the start of 1884 was now $651,000 down from c. $1.5M.|
|1887||A stone Ladies Comfort Station is constructed at 58th and the shore, now 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 build 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).|
|1888||The anticipated stone shelter, later the Iowa pavilion at the Columbian Exposition, is constructed at 56th and the shore. (Demolished 1836 and replaced by an adjacent comfort station known as the ‘Iowa’ building.) The shelter becomes a destination for dances and music performances. 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 resolved, so park improvement could begin– and so could the Fair, which would soon supersede plans for the park.|
|1889||A Fair in honor of 400th year of Columbus’s voyage is proposed (partly because of the sensation caused by the great Paris Exposition and its Eiffel Tower). Congress calls for proposals–most assume New York will get the nod. Chicagoans form a committee: Committee leaders were Marshall Field, Potter Palmer, George Pullman, Philip Armour. The committee needs to show 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 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.|
|1890||Chicago is selected in February by Congress for the fair after city lobbying gains the city the nickname “Windy City”. Olmsted recommends his undeveloped Jackson Park. Daniel Burnham and John Wellborn Root are supervising architects, Olmsted and Henry Codman lay out the fair. 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. Center of gravity is thus running e/ne-w/sw 63rd-64th. Nothing much gets going and the next winter is very bad.|
|1891||Root dies, a disaster. Daniel H. Burnham engages Charles Atwood and a number of other eastern architects develop the fair and Atwood designs the Fine Arts Pavilion (only structure of brick walls, covered). Burnham is convinced over objections by Louis Sullivan and others of the “First Chicago School” of architecture to make the design classic Beaux-Arts, with a few exceptions such as Sullivan’s Transportation Building, another, national and state pavilions, and of course the Midway.Landscaping–or land elevation and sculpting and dredging–starts (wasn’t easy). Frederick Law Olmsted, selected to landscape, quickly determined that even after scraping and filling, most of the fair would be below lake level–even though there would be much more and deeper water coverage of the fair with canals and lagoons and Courts of Honor than in the modern park. He brought in vast amounts of manure from the Stockyards and 200,000 cubic feet of dirt by railroad. He made sure the eastern part near the lake was high enough to prevent flooding. These layers made possible the later landscaping of the park where land is mostly sand. A unique palette of plants in and around the lagoons and Wooded Island. Over a million plants were brought in. His ideas of plant palette are not necessarily in accord with modern ideas.Olmsted didn’t want exhibits such as the Japanese pavilion on Wooded Island, which he saw as a resting place. However, a most generous gift from Japan for temples and gardens there was accepted.Engineering technology, including electricity and traction and refrigeration, would be highlights of the fair.|
|1892||Building 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. Structures and statuary around the Court of Honor Basin will mostly be done the next year. Several workmen (which did include African Americans) died.Construction starts on the nearby University of Chicago (Henry Ives Cobb) with many structures done and open by the time of the Fair–indeed, young women would lean out of dorm windows and wave at young men on the Ferris Wheel.|
|1893||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 1884.Midway Plaisance was 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 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.).Three days before the Exposition was to end, popular Mayor Carter Harrison was killed. This and a deepening world depression and growing labor tension ended the fair early and on a sad note.
|1894||1894 is the transitional period of disappearance of the Fair (much by fires set by homeless during the terrible depression and winter that followed, others by people embittered at the Pullman Strike or by vandals). The world’ 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 has recently been restored. 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.Marshall Field is the lead contributor to establishment of the Field Columbian Museum, housed in the Fine Arts Palace until 1919. The addition to the 56th shelter used by the Iowa exhibit is torn down and the shelter restored to previous state.|
|1895||Olmsted, Olmsted, & Eliot redesign Jackson Park. 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.According to the National Bridge Inventory, the present deck of North Bridge (would become Darrow Bridge in 1957) replaced the narrower “pony bridge” deck from the Columbian Exposition. See 1884.The city’s first Equestrian Field Day is held in Jackson Park and the South Side boulevards. Many of he men were in militry uniform. America’s first automobile race is run in November from Jackson park to Evanston and back. (A marker was later installed near the Perennial Garden.)|
|1896||59th Inlet Bridge, designed by Burnham, is built (restored in 1990’s). c 175 of 542 acres have been developed. The German Pavilion is the park refectory restaurant. (Finally burned and demolished in 1925). La Rabida is used in summer as the Jackson Park Sanitarium for children.|
|1899||Jackson Park 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. 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..|
|1900||Second, current golf course–18-hole course, designed by Olmsted Brothers, opens, dominating the south third of the park. The existing golf shelter building is built. 291 of 542 acres are now developed. Midway construction is in progress–revised from an impractical plan for a canal.|
|1901||East and west Lagoons and Bayou to south are complete. This largely replicates F. L. Olmsted’s design and theme–interaction of Lake and “meres” with the land.|
|1902||A Coast Guard Bridge is built (not same as Animal Bridge? ). Also, Hayes Drive bridge is built at the neck between lagoon bayou and Inner Harbor just east of where fair Administration bldg. had stood and Republic replica is now.|
|1903||Expanded 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.|
|1904-1906||In 1904 the Animal Bridge across the Coast Guard neck between the harbors is completed. Designer Peter J. Weber uses a newly popular structural type. Germania is demolished at or by this time, parts buried nearby and rediscovered during Drive reconstruction c. 2002 when reconstruction and restoration of the bridge starts.The 1905 state of the park as mapped in that year plus features added in 1906 is often considered the historic template for Jackson Park.|
|1906||Music Court Bridge of triple-arch sandstone masonry is built at the point between the 59th Marina and the East Lagoon. 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.|
|1912||Burnham Co. designs a still-existing golf shelter building by the 9-hole course (now Golf Driving Range after having had a picnic grove and running track–dates?). 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.|
|1914||In response to complaints, South Parks starts 10-acre expansion of 63rd St. beach, culminating in the Jackson Park Barhing Pavilion (opened 1919).|
|1918||1/3 scale replica of The Republic, in gilt bronze, is erected at Hayes and Richards, approximate site of WCE Administration bldg. Honors silver anniversary of the fair and centennial of Illinois’ admission to the Union. Daniel Chester French and Henry Bacon. La Rabida closed due to war need for nurses.|
|1919||Field Museum vacates Fine Arts Palace.The grand Jackson Park Bathing Pavilion is opened (segregated- blacks have to use stone beach). Design: South Park Commission. It had open balconies, and loggias, bathrooms, showers, medical rooms, and separate courtyards for men and women with hundreds of wooden changing rooms. By now, bathing and swimming in the lake are highly popular. The age is also pre air conditioning, so in summer many spend nights in the parks.|
|1922||La Rabida burns and is demolished. 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.|
|1924||Convent Hill near La Rabida is developed on Promontory Circle between the Outer Harbor and La Rabida.|
|1925||Referendum finances $5M 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 is damaged by fire and demolished after long standing as a restaurant and ice cream parlor.
|1926||The harbors are dredged.|
|1927||The Bowling Green and clubhouse is built north of the 59th Marina. 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.|
|1931||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.|
|1933||MSI opens in time for Century of Progress fair in Burnham Park. Work will continue through 1936.|
|1934||South Park Commission and 21 other commissions are consolidated into a Chicago Park District. Southern Shore’s houseboat burns and the present elegantly decorated clubhouse begun on the west shore of the Inner Harbor.|
|1935||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.|
|1936||The WPA goes to town in the park. WPA builds comfort stations at the golf driving range, near ‘Iowa’ building (torn down for a Lake Shore Drive (Leif Erikson and Christopher Columbus drives), children’s playground, also a maintenance building and an overpass at 63rd Street. WPA shortened lagoon shoreline and did other rehabilitation work on Wooded Island and at the Japanese Garden.The 1888 ladies comfort station was rehabilitated. Golf Course inlet bridges are installed. The Perennial Garden is installed, designed by CPD designer Betty McAdam. Wooded Island, according to aereal maps, was much more lightly wooded than say in the 1990s but the Rose Garden is gradually allowed to go its own way.As part of the WPA work, E.V. Buchsman designs a new shelter (‘Iowa’) building southwest of the former–smaller, oriented north-south, open, and clad in Wisconsin lannon limestone. (See Iowa.) Opened in 1937, it will house concessions.|
|1937||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– a good job as it is still not leaking in the 21st century.|
|1939||Santa Maria burns in the yacht harbor.|
|1940||Columbia Basin cleaned and dredged, shore restored.|
|1942-1946||Sections of the Wooded Island Ho-o-den burns in these years, ultimately the latter, a major cultural loss. But key Phoenix panels are salvaged and put int storage. Period of park neglect is underway.|
|1947||Lake Shore 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.|
|1952-1959||First of several expansions of La Rabida. Friedman, Alschuler & Sincere. About this time, Museum of Science and Industry began relentless conversion of its north lawn to parking lot. Once that was expanded as far as possible, congestion problems started to develop in the Music Court lot and lawn areas south of the Museum. Also, bus staging problems appeared.|
|1954||Nike base (Some sources say 1951 or 2) is constructed from East Lagoon to the Drive, eliminating playing fields, picnic grounds and a track. April 21 a Hyde Park group protests at the site, particularly against intent to build more base on Wooded Island and more of Promontory Point–which intent is scrubbed..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.|
|1956||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 vitually 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. Lagoon boat landings are removed and boating forbidden there.|
|1957||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, reflecting changing public recreational demand.|
|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.|
|1960||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.|
|1962||Nike base is already rendered obsolete by ICBMs, but final removal 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.|
|1964||City refines its highway proposals for Burnham and Jackson Parks. These include major interchanges at 59th. This draws protest.|
|1965||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.)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!|
|1966||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.|
|1969||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.|
|1972||Jackson Park 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.
|1973||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.|
|1974||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 hold picnics in the park, also in part to bring people and eyes into the park. Doug Anderson starts his famous birding walks.|
|1975||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.November 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.|
|1977-1978||May 25, 1977, the Herald reports, the Park District announces designation of the Wooded Island as the Paul H. Douglas Nature Sanctuary. See 1978.Other sources say that 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|
|1979||Despite public outcry, including from church picnic groups, the Park District turned a large part of the former Nike base into the Golf Driving Range. (When the old 9-hole course was closed and where the former driving range was located are unknown to this writer.) Parking lot and drives and lawn parking problems developed with the driving range and soccer|
fields.September 26, 1979, the city finally installs a traffic signal at 57th and Hyde Park Blvd. after ongoing community pressure.
|1981||The Japanese Garden is extensively rebuilt and rededicated, with apparently more work in 1983. Design: Kaneji Domoto. Grant including from Japan, secured by CPD staff, including local resident and JPAC leader George Cooley. Major features include Torii Gate, waterfall and lower pool, wandering gravel path, step over water, moon bridge, lanterns, stones, et al. traditional plantings and trees, and a tea house. One lantern remains from the WCE.However, 5 wild dogs terrorize birders. Animal control officers capture dogs using tranquilizer guns.|
|1982-1983||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.|
|1983||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.|
|1985||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.|
|1987||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, MSIO has biplanes taxi onto the lawn from the Drive.|
|1989||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, ending an era.|
|1992||Another addition is made to La Rabida Hospital, designed by VOA, opposed by JPAC and local activists including former alderman Leon Despres. JPAC president Eric Hatchett undertakes about then a long campaign to have the 63rd Street Beach House restored and reopened; also to increase field house youth programming. The 1918 Statue of the Republic is restored and re gilded under direction of restorationist Andrzej Dajnowski. Dedication September 9. The Japanese Garden is again restored and is renamed the Osaka Japanese Garden. Museum of Science and Industry unveils $50 million 10-year renovation, which will morph into an expansion project within 3 years.|
|1994||May 4, City of Osaka gives $200,000 for another Osaka Garden restoration/remake. A new Japanese Torii Gate is designed by Kobayashi & Associates for the Osaka Garden entrance. About this time a handicapped fishing pier was built east of Cornell at 60th. 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 the south end of the lagoons 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).|
|1995||The 59th Inlet Bridge is restored. A few years later it 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. The first study for such reconstruction is undertaken about this time.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 Museum’s Santa Fe Engine 2903, long outdoors, goes to the Railway Museum in Union, IL via temporary tracks to 48th and the IC.Park District ends Lakeside Lawn Bowling exclusive 70 years contract at the Bowling Green when the club cannot pay for lawn maintenance.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.
|1997||The golf course shelter is rehabilitated and named for Cecil Partee.|
|1998||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, drainage improvement, and loss of many mature trees. MSI underground garage 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.|
|1999||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 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 have been unable to reach agreement.Many find city and Army Corps plans for shore reconstruction unacceptable, initiating a prolonged battle still continuing. The part in Jackson Park at 57th beach is under construction in conjunction with Drive and new underpasses. The remnant of the 1884 paved promenade beach north of 63rd beach will be restored in conjunction with a new ADA Lakefront Bike Trail, with historic plaques.A major framework plan process 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.A state grant sparks rehabilitation and replanting in Wooded Island. Despite problems and disagreements, the work continues and holds great promise. JPAC nature committee becomes and remains heavily involved in planning and organized volunteer work days.
|2000||A class A Running Track is built along Stony Island at 61st/62nd Streets as a cooperative spending and using agreement. The track is finished the next year. The nearby comfort station was later restored.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. Meanwhile, the population of Canada geese became very large.|
|2001||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.|
|2002||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 go 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.
|2003||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.Remnants 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.JPAC continued to study where the material should be displayed.Plans proceed to revitalize community and school involvement in ecological learning and work in the park. Animal Bridge being restored and underpasses built as part of LSD work. 63rd beach parking lot being was planned for reconfiguration.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 to be kept, possibly part 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 raised concerns that a wheelchair losing control on the ramp could go into the water.
Asian milfoil seaweed invaded Jackson Park lagoons and posed as serious threat. Attempted treatment was applied.
|2004||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 expected to be 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 considering 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 is expected to be 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.
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.
|2005||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. 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.|
|2006||The golf driving range road was in very bad repair. Blowing sand at underpasses and state of the ‘new’ landscaping thee. Complaints about the ‘Iowa’ building. Also 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 it threshold from 235 to 1000 ppm. The Viking ship 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
Mosiac 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.
Playground at 67th and Chappel was replaced.
|2007||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 beach.|
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 testing 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 an 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).
Study was done as to whether there are hazardous remains from the Nike Base.
|2008||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 Islan. 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.
|2009||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.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 partily 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.
A conservancy was formed for the Japanese Garden. Upgrades were made at Growing Powers’ community garden.
Much pruning was done in the park this year.
Lagoon level control continued to be a problem and challenged plants at the shore. Condition of Darrow Bridge continued to grow.
Budget cuts deeply impacted field house 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.
Archeological reconnaissance and was reported 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.
|2010||Care of Trees cut and removed much deadwood on Wooded Island.A Wooded Island Habitat Restoration Plan, based on a staged program already underway for several years and to continue, was 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. Much native planting was done.|
Cleanup and planting was done in Osaka Garden under a new conservancy group, Friends of the Japanese Garden. Overgrowth reduction for security reasons was done in various sectors including along Cornell Drive.
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.
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 paviion.
Late in the year, JPAC reorganized with new leaders, additional members and new bylaws.
|2011||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, including numerous planting. There was substanial 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.
JPAC worked to make the 59th tennis courts area usable and to make a section nearby dog-friendly. Various upgrades were made along with planning for nature trails and areas. 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)
An environmental stewardship inventory was taken of the park (and other parks) by the US Forestry Service.
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 theres after, 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.
Planning progressed on the lot southwest of the Museum, to be reorganized and made green. 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.
|2012||Nature 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”/tall grass 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. Work was done along the lagoon edges by a contractor. Tree survey/mapping was undertaken by Open lands, JPAC and others on the Island. Bobolink’s was wrapped up. Lost-tree replacement projects were held.|
Beaver damage spiked.Cherry tree planting began near the Japanese Garden and north of the lagoons. It was controversial.Work began in earnest reclaiming the edges of La Rabida and east outer harbor shore and the 59th tennis court area.Field house 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.
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, especially for youth. Pickleball was introduced. A lawn-bowling national tournament.
JPAC held tool-sharpening and composting workshops.
LaRabida outpatient facility was vetted and begun.
JPAC stewards received awards from Friends of the Parks and JPAC would be awarded a Cornell Award by Hyde Park Historical Society
|2013||JPAC, 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.) Tree plantings and mulching in the park was done by FOTP and Exelon (as in 2012 and planned for 2014). A major focus was the La Rabida Hospital and outer harbor shores, where removal of invasives and clearing of debris from banks and shore beaches allowed families to gather and use the areas for the first time in many years.Many repairs were made and some new signs were put up in the park.|
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) planted well over 100 cherry trees outside the Japanese Garden and north of the lagoons (Music Court area). More are expected in future years. 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.
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 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 sisterns etc. to prevent runoff and new lines from the Museum from puting 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 freeze-over 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 Field-house playgrounds were planned for replacement in spring 2014.
In November a stakeholders meeting was convened at Friends of the Parks to discuss the $10 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 highly recommended and subsequently done.
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
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.)
La Rabida Hospital completed its new outpatient wing.
|2014||Gathering of petitions and letters, and efforts of agencies and officials to gather 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 snow. Effect on wildlife would be known by spring.
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. http://www.friendsofthewhitecity.org.
March 13 the Clarence Darrow Commemorative Committee held its annual gathering at the bridge and MSI.
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.
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, and painting was expected for the spring. See about Nancy Hays