Parks home. Burnham Park Timeline. Burnham Park Framework Plan. Burnham Nature Center home. Harold Washington Park. Promontory Point Park. Point home.
Burnham Park: the variegated ribbon of south lakefront from South Loop to Jackson Park
Overview of Burnham Park
Burnham Park is far more than Promontory Point. Burnham was heavily impacted by Lake Shore Drive reconstruction and still is by shoreline revetment reconstruction . Activists held planner's feet to the fire on Drive elevations that could block views and on any additional tree removals. In construction or being planned with community input are revetment reconstruction and park expansion (including beaches, nature areas, fishing piers, and reconfigured bike paths) from 37th to 47th Street- See updates on South Side Shoreline Protection Project and new parkland 37th-47th and 45th to 51st The section 47th to 51st will have special treatment because of Morgan Shoal.
Contact 773 256-0949.
The University of Chicago has a large information and reference page on the Burnham Plan- http://burnhamplan100.uchicago.edu.
Burnham is of course a big park, going all the way from the Point (56th Street) north to 12th Street, with some parts renamed in recent years (recently: Firefighters Memorial Park south of McCormick Place). Many new facilities are going in or are envisioned in its Framework Plan. (See updates...37th-47th.) Amenities, including open bathrooms, adequate lighting, safety, and good concessions are perennial problems. Construction has also caused inconveniences and path detours. For more about Burnham Park and its history, visit the City of Chicago's Lake Shore Drive History site.
Regarding the work underway from the north end of the Sanctuary to 31st from April 2013, George Davis writesTop
The trucks belong to the contractor who is assisting the Park District with their "prairie extension" in Burnham park to provide a better habitat for migratory birds. They are removing all of the invasive brush and trees between 31st and the Natural Area. They are leaving the very large trees and medium size trees of desirable species. At present they are only working on CPD property. When they complete their agreement with the CN RR they will remove all of the above between the CPD and the RR access road. In the fall, there will be a gigantic planting of 125,000 desirable trees and shrubs. (These will be little whips, not 2 or 3 inch diameter trees. ) In any event, we have been monitoring this situation.
Burnham Park's extraordinary history is chronicled in Burnham Park Timeline and its complexities and possibilities in Burnham Park Framework Plan 2000. Never fully developed (especially in comparison to Lincoln Park) , in many ways cut off from neighborhoods by Lake Shore Drive and a railroad whose right of way was the first step in building out a future park, and with many slices carved off and re-named, Burnham nonetheless is a necklace of public space that embodies Daniel Burnham's Plan for Chicago and vision of green space surrounding the developing Chicago metropolis.
People feel a deep passion for this park that envelops the Lakefront Bike Trail despite the park's frequent disconnect from neighborhoods. Many in the mid 1960s were prepared to lay down before chainsaws or be arrested to "Save Our Trees" from highway widening. In the new millennium, they feel as strongly for Promontory Point at the park's south end; work to revitalize Harold Washington Park (old East End, 50th to 53rd--the mid-South's first park, created by Paul Cornell) and overgrown stretches between the Drive and the Tracks; grapple to craft best plans to rationalize and expand the park out into the lake (while respecting such lake treasures as Morgan Shoals) with new and more natural/bird-friendly parkland, beaches, amenities, even harbors, and sometimes rally around monk parakeets. New natural sanctuaries and memorial parks exist alongside huge facilities such as McCormick Place and the endless maw called Lake Shore Drive. (And even remake of the Drive has sought to enhance the park.) Yet, only in patches is this park watched over by active park advisory councils.
Marked trees baffle park users and city says Herald, October 2005
By Tedd Carrison
A cluster of trees near 51st Street, reportedly set for removal by the Chicago Park District due to Dutch elm disease, have raised t he eyebrows o local park-goers and tree experts who dispute that the trees are unhealthy or even elms. They also claim that far more trees are marked than the 15 park district officials said were to be cut down.
The discrepancy was first presented...by Hyde Park resident Martha Scott... She said she was in the park with her son, a forester, who informed her that the trees marked with fluorescent orange spray paint were not diseased elms but rather a healthy mixtures of cottonwood, ash, locust, apple, linden, Kentucky coffee and hackberry trees.
Nichols Park Advisory Council President and tree expert Stephanie Franklin agreed. "First, it isn't 15 trees. It's about 60 and there isn't an elm in the bunch," she said. "There is certainly something else going on and clearly it has nothing to do with Dutch elm disease."
Park district spokesperson Lydia Hall maintained that only 14 trees are to be removed and that Dutch Elm Disease is the reason. She said the affected trees are spread out along the south lakefront and visibly dead or diseased. Any other trees are marked for a different project not affiliated with the park district, she said.
Chicago Department of Transportation spokesman Brian Steele denied that CDOT was planning to clear the trees and said he was unaware of any projects planned near the site.
A spokesman with the Department of Streets and Sanitization Bureau of Forestry also denied her department's involvement. She added that the department only uses green spray point to mark trees, not the orange seen at 51st Street.
[So,] no no one had claimed responsibility....
[Ed. note - one last guess to try--Shoreline Protection for the Morgan Shoals sector-- Department of Environment.] Top
41st Street beachhouse
The 41st Street (Oakwood) beachhouse was dedicated July 17, 2010. Remarks were made by Ald Preckwinkle, Mayor Dyaley, state Sen. Raoul, Erinn Cabonargi (Dir., Public Building Commission) and Parks Supt. Timothy Mitchell who was master of ceremonies. The project was a partnership of the entities the speakers represented.
Environmental sustainability features were strong (LEED status is awaited) and include rainwater harvesting and use for utilities. Economic sustainability and minority and women inclusive was stressed. Architect was Muller + Muller, general contactor Pacific Construction Services.
A junior lifeguards program will be sited there.
Other recent: successful planting and burns of the prairie sections in the parkland, opening of 31st beach and beachhouse and adjoining revetment sections in 2009; opening of 41st St. beach and adjoining revetment sections in 2009.
Next features: 31st St. Harbor. Overpass to the park at 43rd St. (funded and ready to go in within 18-24 months after July 2010.