Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool from East
The lily pool is located in Chicago’s north side in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, just one block from Lake Michigan. It was dilapidated before 1936 when Chicago Park District employee Alfred Caldwell was asked to redesign it.
With funds provided by the WPA, Caldwell designed a beautiful, 3-acre garden in an urban metropolis. With big slabs of limestone, he even created a waterfall. Walking paths guide visitors around the garden, where they can get in touch with native plants and trees. In the southeast corner, Caldwell designed a council ring to sit and relax at. It was a beautiful urban oasis where city folks could get back in touch with the natural world.
By 1946 though, the Chicago Park District designated it as a place for the Lincoln Park Zoo to exhibit exotic birds. The birds destroyed the plants and invasive trees, ruining the lily pool’s ecosystem. In 2002, after years of disrepair, The Friends of Lincoln Park and the Chicago Park District spent $2.5 million to restore the area to the way Caldwell finished it in 1938. Following the renovations, the city of Chicago designated the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool as a Chicago Landmark in 2003.To this day, The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool remains one of the most beautiful WPA creations in Chicago.
Project originally submitted by Tom Moran on December 9, 2013.
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