Friday, July 24, 2009

Lincoln Park : Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool

Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool..
Architect: Alfred Caldwell
Year Built: 1936-1938
Date Designated a Chicago Landmark: November 6, 2002 ..
This serene and beautiful "hidden garden" is next to the Lincoln Park Zoo and Conservatory. It was first landscaped in 1889 and designated as a place in which to cultivate tropical water lilies. In the 1930's, it was re-designed by landscape architect Alfred Caldwell. It's made in the tradition of the Prairie School, influenced by such greats as Frank Lloyd Wright and Caldwell’s teacher, Jens Jensen.

The new design for the pool area used plants indigenous to the Midwest and included stone outcroppings, a pavilion, a cascading waterfall, and several other new features, arranged around a lily pool to create the look of a creek running through a Midwest prairie .. In 1942, Caldwell called the pool "a hidden garden for the people of Megalopolis" ...

Deterioration and Restoration ...
However, a after few years, the Lily Pool was operated like a a bird sanctuary, called The Rookery. Too many birds, destroyed the plants and people were also careless in maintaining this place.

In 1997, a campaign to restore the area was undertaken by the Friends of Lincoln Park organization. The landscape architectural firm of Wolff Clements and Associates was hired to complete the job. The rehabilitation began in 2001 with the replacement of non-native trees and shrubs with others that were bird-friendly and native to the Midwest. Handicapped accessible pathways were installed and existing stone pathways were repaired. The gate, pavilion, and “council ring” [a circular bench] were restored as well.

The Council Ring..

The Waterfall..
The landscape design of the Caldwell Lily Pool is a tribute to the natural ecology of the Midwest. It was originally designed to mimic a river formed by a melting glacier’s flow of water cutting through limestone. The stonework and paths have a natural look that conveys the interpretation that melted glacial water flows are cutting through moraines, creating dramatic limestone bluffs. A waterfall near the north end of the lily pool represents the source of this glacial river...

The marker reads..
Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool..
has been designated a
National Historic Landmark
This site is a premier example of the Prairie Style of landscape architecture. Alfred Caldwell, a landscape designer, architect, teacher and poet, transformed an old Victorian Lily Pool in Lincoln Park into a "Sanctuary of Native Landscape". Funded by the Works Progress Administration and completed in 1938. It possesses national significance in commemorating the cultural history of the United States.
National Park Service
United States Department of the Interior

Reference: Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool Gardens here ..
Check out the map of Lincoln Park ..

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