History of Grant Park, 1991-2014

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In the 1990s, major physical changes happened at both the north and south ends of Grant Park.

When first completed, the north- and south-bound lanes of Lake Shore Drive had wrapped around the Field Museum’s front door. With increased and faster automobile traffic on Lake Shore Drive, this became unsightly and pedestrian access to the various museums became difficult. The Museum Campus Plan, completed in 1998, solved these problems by rerouting Lake Shore Drive west of the Field Museum and building wide grade-level underpasses.

At the north end of Grant Park, Millennium Park was completed early in the 21st century. A huge, mostly underground, structure was constructed using air rights over the Illinois Central tracks and the abandoned Illinois Central freight yards. Special Collection’s Finding Aid to the Millennium Park collection gives a nice history so I will not go into detail here. Over 5,000 photographs of the construction are online in CPL’s Digital Collections.

Current projects active in Grant Park include landscaping and the rebuilding of the Monroe Street Garage.

For more information on the development of Grant Park, please consult my colleague amkjen’s Grant Park Booklist.

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