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I Love Chicago! – Chicago Boulevard System – XIII

A cache by Panther in the Den Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 11/13/2004
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Size: Size: micro (micro)

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Geocache Description:

Handicapped accessable. The coords will take you to a spot in front of an object. Be careful as the hint is a giveaway. This is a busy place so please be sure no one is watching you. Failing that, please take a pass and try another time.

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.


Logan Square

Logan Square is an integral part of the history of Chicago. In the mid 1800's, Chicago was a crowded, dirty commercial city with few areas of beauty. Even the lake front north of the City was a garbage dump. The founding fathers, however, envisioned a city in which business could exist beside beauty. Chicago's motto, "Urbs in Horto", which means "City Set in a Garden", was adopted soon after Chicago's incorporation in 1837, to establish its image as a beautiful gateway to the West. However, little was done to accomplish this vision until 1870, when 28 miles of boulevards and parks were designed to surround the City. This system consisting of 21 boulevard segments, six squares and seven connected parks began on the South side at the Lake in Jackson Park, connected Washington, Sherman, Gage, McKinley, Douglas, Garfield, and Humboldt Parks and ended at Logan Boulevard. The original plan to continue the system along Diversey Parkway back to the Lake at Lincoln Park was never completed. This great boulevard system has been called the "Emerald Necklace" of Chicago and is unique to our City. It is as famous to Chicago as Central Park is to New York City.

In the late 1890's Logan Square was called Jefferson Township. Here were the truck farms for Chicago. Fruits and vegetables were grown and taken into Chicago by horse drawn wagons along Milwaukee Road, which was then called the Old Plank Road, because of its plank construction.
Logan Square was settled in the early 1900's by immigrants who came to this country penniless but established businesses and, through hard work, made their fortunes. Although many of them wanted to live on Prairie Avenue, Astor Street or South Shore with the wealthy families of Chicago, the old aristocracy did not accept these newly-made millionaires as equals and did not want them to live in their neighborhood. These immigrants, therefore, decided to built their mansions along the beautiful boulevards of Logan Square. Working immigrants built on the side streets.

Logan Square was named after General John A. Logan, who lead The Army of The Tennessee, helping General Sherman defeat the Confederacy at the Battle of Atlanta on July 22, 1864. He served as an Illinois Senator, and in 1886 unsuccessfully ran for Vice President of the U.S. He is best known, however, as the founder of Memorial Day.


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.


Additional Hints (Decrypt)

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Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)



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