A Lakefront for the People

Chicago’s 29 miles of open and free lakefront can be credited to the city’s visionary civic leaders.

Thanks to the foresight of catalogue mogul Ward, in 1890, the town’s lakefront was ruled to be “Public Ground – A Common to Remain Forever Open and Free of any Buildings, or Other Obstruction whatever.”  Ward launched a lonely and expensive fight to keep the downtown lakefront free of buildings.  He did not win every battle but he did prevail often enough that Grant Park developed as a vast formal park.