Jackson Park Lagoons and reconstruction Photo Gallery

by Gary Ossewaarde

More Jackson Park natural areas pictures: website of Mary Rose Shaughnessy
Areal view of Wooded Island and central lagoons from 1930's

Return to Boardwalk-Jackson Park Lagoons.

Frederick Law Olmsted by John Singer Sargent, 1895 Olmsted'd 1880 plan 1950 areal

Above: From Framework Plan document, CPD and Johnson, Johnson & Roy

Frederick Law Olmsted

Olmsted's Plan, 1880. The west lagoon was much smaller while the east went further east, with lots of bayous. Today's Inner Harbor was a south lagoon. Note the far south lagoon south of Marquette, which exists (reduced) today.

A view from the southeast about 1950. Note that the east lagoon extended southeast from Turtle Island past where the nature path will be built to the Hayes Bridge to connect to the Inner Harbor. The fill-in was made in conjunction with making the Nike C-41 base in the early 1950's

Poster of existing and proposed changes, Lagoon Rehabilitation Pahase I. sign

Left: CPD posted sign announcing the 2001-02 Lagoon Restoration Project Phase I. Phase II involved 1) completion of an accessible approach and fishing pier in the west lagoon west of the north bridge to Wooded Island and 2) reconstruction of wetlands and a nature path in the southeast lobe or embayment about 3/4 of the way south on the east shore of the East Lagoon. The path will be at the southeast corner. The important cattail beds are along the east shore of the embayment. Note Turtle Island with important habitat in the center of the embayment. East and southeast of the embayment is the Golf Driving Range parking lot. East is the GDR house JPAC hopes may become a nature center. Northeast of these two starts Bob-o-link Meadow. (It is packed down and has concrete and drain remnants from the Nike base. It is woods at the north end, near the Music Court Bridge/new water control dams. Note reconstructed islands in that sector.


Looking north to the Darrow Bridge. West shore of the neck of Columbia Basin from Darrow Bridge,,with Museum of Science and Industry in background. East shore of neck of Columbia Basin from Darrow Bridge. (The historic railing and deck of the bridge show wear.) West shore of lagoon north tip from Darrow Bridge. (around the bend is the north bridge to Wooded Island and the division of the lagoon into east and west.)

An ADA walk was recreated under the Clarence Darrow (formerly North Pond) Bridge (1884 or earlier) (there had been a walk under the bridge at the time of the Columbian Exposition). New shore and upland plantings were done (see planting south of Darrow Bridge below) and accessible fishing piers and step-stones were installed on shores in the north parts of the lagoon and Columbia Basin (except northeast, where a "submarine crossing" was expected in 2003). Matting and fencing were left to help new plantings become established--and protect them from the Canada geese!

Darrow Bridge, new underwalk, shore and plant protection at north neck of lagoons Southwest shore of Columbia Basin looking northwest from Darrow Bridge. a favorite for fishing
Columbia Basin east shore Darrow Bridge. Slabs are from Lincoln Park Lily Pond Southwest from Darrow Bridge immed. after restoration work
Slab steps from Darrow Bridge to gravel underpath Left: limestone slab steps from sw corner of Darrow Bridge to strolling/fishing walk under the bridge and a short distance in either direction (see above and below left). Such a walk existed at the time of the Columbian Exposition. An accessible compacted small gravel path down is located to the right.

Planting in progress by Darrow Bridge. Water was kept deliberately low at this stage.

Note below: island reconstruction work and planting; low water level at that time (evident also in the photo above) due to both deliberate pumping out for work to be done and for planting and to drought. Determining and achieving an optimum water level was trial and error. Much water will always have to be pumped in except after super rains because evaporation exceeds watershed capacity. Many thought these first islands to be reconstructed, in this sector were overly denuded. Birds did not use them in the past. Also below: water control dam, pump, spillway on east shore at Music Court Bridge/terminus of 59th Street Marina. Needs a wooden ramp for animals that get trapped between dams.
This dam and pump at the Music Court Bridge end of 59th Marina controls water level in the lagoons Spillway on the west side of Music Court Bridge.

Scenes of island construction in the West Lagoon. Here from the 63rd/Cornell supposedly accessible fishing pier. Note low water level, stabilization stone and gravel, new plants, and temporary hauling road.

South end of this island, or similar. Wooded Island is beyond.
Gravel haul road to islets being rebuilt or created. This was by handicap fishing pier at 60th Island being created in West Lagoon. Crushe limestone, fences, burlap-to protect from geese
New island West Lagoon Restored islet north part of East Lagoon with fence from spill dam
Dead snags are very important to birds, turtles and other wildlife. The scenes below and above right are from the east shore of the East Lagoon (Bob-o-link Woods), then from the west (Cornell Drive) side of the West Lagoon, then from Wooded Island looking across the West Lagoon. Island west of the Music Court bridge under replanting. Note fence for water control spillway in foreground. Picture below shows in background Osaka Garden during its reconstruction early summer, 2002.
Restored and new islets in East Lagoon. Islet in East Lagoon. Osaka Garden is on far shore
Note in this shot of new islet planting how low water level is
Keeping dead snags for birds was part of the program
Snags looking across islets toward Stony Island-from Wooded Island? Lagoon view
Lagoon view Lagoon view

Below: courtesy of Mary Rose Shaughnessy. Prob. looking down east lagoon with Wooded Island and Osaka Garden on right shore

Mystery view. probably from southwest shore of Columbia Basin with the bridge at left probably Darrow Bridge. Alternative: the bridge is the north bridge to Wooded Island, but that through view is not available?

East Lagoon vista?  Mary Rose Shaughnessy Columbia Basn from west?
Below: southeast lagoon embayment cofferdammed in autumn, 2002 for lagoon work. Scale: yellow backhoe in distance. A partial wildlife rescue was mounted at great difficulty. By George Rumsey Below: piers for an ADA accessible observing and fishing pier at the north tip of the West Lagoon. Piers are furthest point of the pier. Should provide great long vista as envisioned by Olmsted. March, 2003, George Rumsey
Cofferday across the to-be-drained southeast lobe of East Lagoon/. Phase II Piers driven for overlook north end of West Lagoon. Phase II
Views of work Phase II, southeast lobe of the East Lagoon--nature path/boardwalk and work on (mostly) drained lagoon an shores and shore of Turtle Island, March 2003 Boardwalk/nature trail at south edge of southeast love under construction
Boardwalk constructionj Drained southeast lobe
Drained lagoon edge being replanted Southeast lagoon and Turtle Island edges being replanted