Place
Grant Park
urban park in Chicago, Illinois, USA
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Grant Park
urban park in Chicago, Illinois, USA
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337 East Randolph Street
Chicago, Illinois
United States

cschuster's picture

Sr. Contributor

Whatever's happenin' in Chicago is probably happening in Grant Park.

The land was originally consecrated as Lake Park in 1847. The city's founders were adamant that the people of Chicago needed somewhere to chillax outside without buildings harshing their mellow. Lake Michigan had other plans. Erosion from the lake's waves during tumultuous storms required the city to cut a deal with a railroad company that offered to build a breakwater in exchange for some free real estate for their tracks to reach downtown Chicago. This deal with the locomotive devil all but ended when the Great Fire of 1871 wrought havoc across the entire city and caused civic leaders to rethink the layout and design of the torn up park. Step one was to rename the park in honor of Union general and corrupt U.S. president Ulysses S. Grant. Step two was ignoring the will of the city founders by propping up buildings all o'er Grant Park.

Except, one highly influential Chicagoan wasn't going to take this building bonanza lying down. Mail order magnate Aaron Montgomery Ward sued the city to keep the park aloof and breezy, free of the blight of concrete and steel structures ruining vistas of verdant pasture. Ward won the suit, but didn't litigate against the city whatsoever when they snuck in construction of buildings for museums and aquariums on the purlieu of Grant Park under some of Chicago's more arcane bylaws and codes. Ward regretted the decision to his dying days. Art lovers won't feel Ward's love lost, though, considering we got the Art Institute of Chicago out of his inaction. Way to go, bruh.

Today, the park is used as the venue for basically any public event worth going to in the fine city of Chicago. Music lovers will rejoice attending the Chicago Blues Festival, Chicago Jazz Festival, or even Lollapalooza at the park. Sports fans can always count on their teams' periodic [SOLID SPORTS BURN] championship celebrations starting off here. Other major events that have taken place in Grant Park include a ginormous public mass held by Pope John Paull II in the 1970s and Barack Obama's victory celebration after securing the White House in the 2008 presidential election.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Grant Park (Chicago)

Grant Park is a large urban park (319 acres or 1.29 km²) in the Loop community area of Chicago, Illinois. Located within the city's central business district, the park's most notable features are Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum Campus. Originally known as Lake Park, and dating from the city's founding, it was renamed in 1901 to honor US President Ulysses S. Grant. The park's area has been expanded several times through land reclamation, and was the focus of several disputes in the late 19th century and early 20th century over open space use. It is bordered on the north by Randolph Street, on the south by Roosevelt Road and McFetridge Drive, on the west by Michigan Avenue and on the east by Lake Michigan. The park contains performance venues, gardens, art work, sporting, and harbor facilities. It hosts public gatherings and several large annual events.

Grant Park is popularly referred to as "Chicago's front yard". It is governed by the Chicago Park District.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Grant Park (Chicago).