Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, Chicago

4.8
#14 of 69 in Wildlife in Illinois
The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, also known as Lincoln Park Lily Pool, is an important example of Prairie School landscape architecture designed by Alfred Caldwell and located at 125 W. Fullerton Parkway (between Stockton and Cannon Drives) in Lincoln Park, Chicago, Illinois. Developed in 1936-38, it is one of Caldwell's most fully realized designs. It was designated a Chicago Landmark on November 6, 2002. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and as a National Historic Landmark on February 17, 2006.
A Victorian-style artificially heated lily pool had originally been built in 1889 at the behest of Lincoln Park Commission Superintendent John Pettigrew to cultivate tropical water lilies.
The lilies proved hard to cultivate and maintain in the northern climate of Illinois and the pools became unsightly and were often considered "Pettigrew's frog ponds". By the 1930s the hour-glass shaped pond and its environs had fallen into ruin and disrepair. Landscape architect Alfred Caldwell was hired by the Works Progress Administration to completely redesign this area of Lincoln Park. Caldwell realized that the Lily Pool presented him with the unique opportunity to realize his poetic symbolism and design theories and philosophies. In 1938 the project was nearing completion and the park district decide to cut a major expenditure for wildflower plantings. Caldwell cashed in his $5000 life insurance policy for $250, bought thousands of plants and transported them from Sauk County, Wisconsin, and the next day planted them all around the lily pools with the help of four others.
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Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
56 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • This place is very near to the Lincoln Park Zoo, but there is no direct entrance from the Zoo, but one can exit pool area directly to the Zoo. This is very quiet, peaceful and romantic place which is ...  more »
  • I remember when this park was brand new. It was cool then but a bit sterile feeling. Now it has matured into cozy little get away, perfect for a picnic or romantic stroll.  more »
Google
  • I give the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pond in Lincoln Park five stars. I have lived in Chicago my entire life and have been to the Lincoln Park Zoo dozens and dozens but times, and I cannot believe that I have never been to this beautiful Hidden Gem. It truly is an oasis in the city, and after reading how much Alfred Caldwell sacrificed to see this project to completion after the Great Depression hit, I'm even more grateful to him and his family for giving us this beautiful architectural landscape feature. It really is the kind of place where you have to sit still for at least 60 Minutes to truly be able to take it all in. It is a masterpiece in a wonderful City that already has so many great architectural and naturalist landmarks.
  • Great place for families to visit. Some parts are not stroller-friendly, but it is calming. Considering it is next to Lake Shore Drive, the trees help with the noise.

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