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Chicagoist Wayback with a Timepeg: Chicago's Front Yard

By Karl Klockars in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 5, 2007 4:00PM

While many of you shuffle back and forth from stage to stage in Grant Park this weekend, we thought we'd take the opportunity to show you how it looked about 80 years ago. It's just a touch different today, isn't it?


While the landscaping had yet to take its place in 1929, Buckingham Fountain and the general layout of the park are clear. The Art Institute is in place and looks exceptionally lonely, and while Lake Shore Drive is sure to be a bumper-to-bumper pain in the ass this weekend, in this picture it's no more than a trail, really.

The architecture of Michigan Avenue, however, looks very similar, whereas you can really tell what kind of impact Millennium Park has had on the downtown area compared to the train depot it used to be. We'll take amphitheaters, reflecting pools and Beans anyday over diesels and Pullmans.

Grant Park started its life as Lake Park, and in the above photo, the Clarence Buckingham Fountain is pretty new - it opened in May of 1927 as a gift from philanthropist Kate Buckingham. The park was renamed for Ulysses S. Grant (born in quaint little Galena) in 1901.

One of our favorite online archives of Chicago History is a database set up by the Chicago Historical Society. They've amassed a large amount of old photos and negatives from the Chicago Daily News from around the first third of the 20th century. With a little digging, we found this photo of activity in Grant Park circa 1916. We're not sure if there's an Army Recruitment setup at Lollapalooza this year (no passes for some of us) but we're willing to be it's more than just a tent - and that no one will be wearing hats like these.


First image courtesy of Chicago: Growth of a Metropolis by Harold Mayer and Richard Wade. Second image from the aforementioned CDN Archive via