I Love Chicago! – Chicago Boulevard System – X
In Illinois, United States
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Handicapped accessable. The coords will take you to a spot in front of an object. Be careful as the hint is a giveaway.
Please note: this is in the City of Chicago, so, to quote a fellow geocacher,
One's comfort level in a given environment is always relative to one's life experiences. Some might consider this a "rough" part of town.
Even though this one is a quick drive-up I urge you to stop and read the back of the sign as information about the area which you stand.
You are working thru a series of 14 caches. Even though the Cache's can be done in any order, please do this series in order as it will give you a wonderful tour of the wonderful Chicago Boulevard System.
Have Fun and enjoy my City.
While in the neighborhood be sure to visit the nearby Chicago Parks - Humboldt
In 1869, shortly after the creation of the West Park System, neighborhood residents requested that the northernmost park be named in honor of Baron Freidrich Heinrich Alexander Von Humboldt (1759-1859), the famous German scientist and explorer. Two years later, completed plans for the entire ensemble of Humboldt, Garfield, and Douglas parks and connecting boulevards were completed by William Le Baron Jenney, who is best known today as the father of the skyscraper. Having studied engineering in Paris during the construction of that city's grand park and boulevard system in the 1850s, Jenney was influenced by French design. The construction of Humboldt Park was slow, however, and the original plan was followed only for the park's northeastern section.
Jens Jensen, a Danish immigrant who had begun as a laborer, worked his way up to Superintendent of Humboldt Park in the mid-1890s. Unfortunately, the West Park System was entrenched in political graft at the time. The commissioners fired Jensen in 1900 because of his efforts to fight the corruption. Five years later, during major political reforms, new commissioners appointed him General Superintendent and Chief Landscape Architect. Deteriorating and unfinished areas of Humboldt Park allowed Jensen to experiment with his evolving Prairie style. For instance, Jensen extended the park's existing lagoon into a long meandering "prairie river." Inspired by the natural rivers he saw on trips to the countryside, Jensen designed hidden water sources that supplied two rocky brooks that fed the waterway. Nearby he created a circular rose garden and an adjacent naturalistic perennial garden. Jensen designated an area diagonally across from the rose garden as a a music court for dances, concerts and other special events. He commissioned Prairie School architects Schmidt, Garden, and Martin to design an impressive boat house and refectory building which still stands at one end of the historic music court.
In 1928, the West Park Commission contructed a fieldhouse in Humboldt Park. The structure was designed by architects Michaelsen and Rognstad, who were also responsible for other notable buildings including the Garfield Park Gold Dome Building, the Douglas and LaFolette Park Fieldhouses, and the On Leong Chinese Merchant's Association Building in Chinatown. In 1934, Humboldt Park became part of the Chicago Park District, when the city's 22 independent park commissions merged into a single citywide agency.
Partial History of the Chicago Boulevard System
1837 - The history of the Boulevard System of Chicago has its roots in 1837, when the newly incorporated city adopted as its motto "Urbs in Horto", which means "city set in a garden." It was intended to portray Chicago as a beautiful gateway to the fertile lands of the west. Originally Chicago had few public parks or plazas. The most notable was Michigan Avenue, the promenade street for the wealthy, who lived in mansions on the west side of the street facing Lake Michigan. In 1839, the only park was Dearborn Park, a half-mile square located at the current site of the Chicago Cultural Center. Washington Square was built three years later, followed by Jefferson, Union, Ellis, and Vernon parks.
1849 - In 1849 John S. Wright, an early developer, envisioned a need for beautification of the dusty, dirty neighborhoods, and he proposed a system of boulevards to completely encircle the city. He said "I foresee a time, not very distant, when Chicago will need for its fast increasing population a park or parks in each division (referring to the south, west and north sides of the city). Of these parks I have a vision. They are all improved and connected with a wide avenue extending to and along the Lake shore on the north and south, and so surrounding the city with a magnificent chain of parks and parkways that have not their equal in the World."
1870 - The South Park District commissioned the firm of Olmsted and Vaux, designers of Central Park in New York City, to design its park and boulevard system. William Shaler Cleveland, a landscape engineer, implemented Olmsted's plans. The design for Jackson and Washington parks included two connections-one via Midway Plaisance and the other a waterway connection from the lake through Jackson Park to Washington Park. A formal boulevard connected Gage Park and McKinley Park.
1870 - The West Park District commissioned William Le Baron Jenney to design Douglas, Garfield and Humboldt parks and the connecting boulevards. Jenney created a formal, regimented planting of trees along the boulevards with impressive squares (Independence, Garfield, Sacramento, Palmer and Logan) at the boulevard turning points. The parks on the other hand were more informal, breaking up the formality of the boulevards and providing recreational space. The boulevards were not constructed for recreation, but simply as formal promenades for carriage rides and leisurely walks. When Jenney resigned in 1874, he was succeeded by his assistant Oscar F. Dubuis. Dubuis was faced with a multitude of problems including moist, poorly drained land. He created a drainage system to replace the open ditches and installed gas lighting along the boulevards and entrances to the parks. To combat the dusty road conditions, he initiated a "street washer" system along the boulevards for irrigating the medians and watering the graveled streets to hold down dust.
1875 - The North (Lincoln) Park District plan was tied up in litigation over its taxing authority by land speculators who wanted large sums of money for their property. When the legal challenges were resolved in 1875 and the district was empowered to levy taxes and widen Diversey Parkway, commercial and residential development along the street had extended too far and purchasing and razing hundreds of buildings was prohibitive. Therefore, Diversey Parkway never became a formal boulevard and the system ended at Logan Boulevard.
World Columbian Exposition -1893 - By 1893 Chicago had recovered from the fire and it stood as a testament to man's resilience to disaster. To celebrate, the City hosted the World Columbian Exposition, commemorating the 400th anniversary of Columbus's discovery of America. Daniel Burnham transformed a swamp in Jackson Park into a "White City" with Frederick Law Olmsted as the landscape architect. Visitors to the fair were so impressed with the beauty of Chicago's parks and boulevards, they dubbed it the "Emerald necklace" of Chicago. Later similar boulevard systems were developed in Boston, Kansas City and Washington, D.C.
To Nervous Nick.
My often caching partner, collaborator, and inspiration for many of my caches.
Our conversations have been the genesis of many great ideas which have resulted in many fun caches.
My love for Chicago is only matched by his. Be sure to check out his caches in the Medical District and Neighborhoods of Chicago.
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Last Updated: on 4/12/2014 3:16:29 PM Pacific Daylight Time (10:16 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum