10 Years of Millennium Park

A crowd of people interact with Cloud Gate during Millennium Park's opening weekend. The Michigan Avenue street wall is visible in the background.
Source: Special Collections. SPE-MP USER Cloud Gate 2004.7.16.2

This summer saw the 10th anniversary of Millennium Park, which opened in July 2004. Planning, fundraising and construction of the park began as early as 1996, when organizers started to investigate who owned the park site. Today, features of the park are some of Chicago's most recognized landmarks.

CPL holds two archival collections that allow you to explore the history of Millennium Park. The Millennium Park, U.S. Equities Realty Collection is comprised of tens of thousands of photographic images of the construction of the park. Many of these images can be seen online in the Millennium Park Digital Collection.

Looking toward the south tower of Crown Fountain as a crowd gathers in and around the reflecting pool on Millennium Park's opening day.
Source: Special Collections. SPE-MP USER Crown 2004.7.16.71

The Millennium Park, Inc. Archives mainly contains models, drawings, site plans and renderings, with some correspondence, meeting minutes, budgetary information and reports. Here, you can learn about what the Lurie Gardens could have looked like had a different design won the design competition. You can also learn about the original plan to build Cloud Gate (a.k.a. the Bean) in California and ship it to Chicago. Weighing in at 110 tons, and measuring 33 feet high, 42 feet wide and 66 feet long, such transport would have been too hard on the infrastructure. So, the Bean was shipped in pieces and constructed here. View the collections to learn more about these park features and others including the Crown Fountain, the Jay Pritzker Music Pavilion and the BP Bridge.

What's your favorite part of Millennium Park?