Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Interpretive Digital Essay : Water in Chicago
Essay: People and the Port
Photo Essays:
Solitary Lives
City of Bridges
Chicago Harbors
Essay: Using the Chicago River
Photo Essays:
Goose Island
Indiana Dunes
Essay: Sanitation in Chicago
Photo Essays:
The Sanitary and Ship Canal
Water-Related Epidemics
Essay: Water and Urban Life
Photo Essays:
Houses and Water
Shoreline Development
Growing Up Along Water
Shoreline Development

The Lakefront in the 21st Century

The public use of the lakefront received another significant boost in the beginning of the 21st century. At the end of March 2003 Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley ordered the destruction of the airstrips of Meigs Field on Northerly Island. Though Daley explained that he took this action because of concerns for the city's security in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks in New York, the subsequent plans for the island favored its public use. In March 2004 Mayor Daley reported that the city was planning to convert Meigs Field into a public park in line with the original 1909 Plan of Chicago.

Millennium Park, 2004

The city's largest development of the lakefront for public use was the construction of the 24.5 acre Millennium Park created east of Michigan Avenue between Randolph and Monroe Streets, the area originally designated by the canal commissioners in 1836 as public ground. The park opened to the public July 2004.

See also: Burnham Plan; Grant Park; Millennium Park

Site of Illinois Steel Company's South Works Plant, 1987

The shoreline on the South Side of Chicago that was laden with steel mills for most of the twentieth century is just beginning to be transformed. The South Works Steel Mill, located ten miles south of the loop between Rainbow Beach and Calumet Park, occupied a mile and a half of lakefront property. In 2004, the city of Chicago was working with South Chicago to develop public space along that stretch of lakefront.

See also: Iron and Steel; Park Districts; U. S. Steel Corp.; Waterfront