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Grant Park (originally named Lake Park) is a large park (319 acres or 1.29 km²) in the Loopmarker community area of , United Statesmarker. The park's most notable features are Millennium Parkmarker, Buckingham Fountainmarker and the Art Institute of Chicagomarker. Grant Park is frequently referred to as the city's front yard. It is bordered on the north by Randolph Street, on the south by Roosevelt Road, on the west by Michigan Avenuemarker and on the east by Lake Shore Drivemarker.

History

The original idea for the town of Chicago left the area east of Michigan Avenue unsubdivided and vacant, and purchasers of Michigan Avenue lots were promised that it would remain unoccupied. When the former Fort Dearborn became part of the townsite in 1839, the plat of the area east of Michigan Avenue south of Randolph was marked "Public ground. Forever to remain vacant of buildings."

The city officially designated the land as a park on April 29, 1844, naming it Lake Park. When the Illinois Central Railroad was built into Chicago in 1852, it was permitted to enter along the lakefront on a causeway built just offshore. The resulting lagoon became stagnant, and was largely filled in 1871 with debris from the Great Chicago Fire. In 1896 the city began extending Grant Park into the lake with landfill. On October 9, 1901, it was renamed Grant Park in honor of Galena, Illinoismarker resident, American Civil War General and United States President Ulysses S. Grant.

The legal restrictions prohibiting any buildings in the park were ignored in the 1800s, as various civic buildings were sited there. Also, an early home field of the baseball club now known as the Chicago Cubs stood in the northwest corner of the park during the 1870s and 1880s. Daniel Burnham's 1909 Plan of Chicago proposed a cultural center, containing a library and two museums, as the centerpiece of the park. Chicago businessman Aaron Montgomery Ward ultimately fought four court battles, opposed by nearly every civic leader, to keep the park undeveloped. The one exception Ward consented to was for the Art Institute of Chicagomarker, constructed in 1892. In the early 20th century, Grant Park was expanded with further landfill — much of it from the excavations of the Chicago Tunnel Company — and developed with a very formal landscape design by Edward Bennett. More landfill in the 1910s and 1920s provided sites for the Adler Planetariummarker, Field Museum of Natural Historymarker, and Shedd Aquariummarker, which were linked together as the Museum Campus in 1998. In 2004, a section of northern Grant Park, previously occupied by Illinois Central railyards and parking lots, was built over and redeveloped as Millennium Parkmarker.

The park has been the site of many large civic events, including the visit of Pope John Paul II and championship celebrations for the Chicago Bulls. It was the scene of clashes between Chicago Police and demonstrators during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. More recently, it has hosted some of Chicago's biggest festivals, such as the Taste of Chicago, the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Chicago Blues Festival, Venetian Night, and, since 2005, Lollapalooza. Lollapalooza is under contract to be staged at Grant Park through 2018. Grant Park is also where the Chicago Marathon starts and ends. The park was the location for President Barack Obama's Election Day victory speech on the night of November 4, 2008.

Features

[[Image:FieldMuseum.jpg|right|thumb|150px|Chicago's Museum Campus is the site of the [[Field Museum of Natural History|FieldMuseum]]]]

Millennium Park

The northwestern corner of the park was renovated between 1998 and 2004 to become Millennium Parkmarker, a contiguous area with a variety of artistic features by architects and artists.

Daley Bicentennial Plaza

The northeast corner of the park hosts outdoor activities at Daley Bicentennial Plaza.

Art Institute of Chicago

On the western edge of Grant Park is the Art Institute of Chicagomarker, one of the premier art museums and art schools in the United States, known especially for the extensive collection of Impressionist and American art, such as Grant Wood's American Gothic.

Buckingham Fountain

Located in the middle of Grant Park is Buckingham Fountainmarker, one of the world's largest fountains. The fountain was dedicated in 1927 as a gift to the city from Kate Sturges Buckingham in memory of her brother Clarence Buckingham. The fountain runs during warm-weather months with a light and water display from 9:00pm to 10:00pm.

Museum Campus

Chicago's Museum Campus is a 57 acre (230,850 m²) addition to Grant Park's southern end. The Museum Campus is the site of three of the city's most notable museums, all dedicated to the natural sciences: Adler Planetariummarker, Field Museum of Natural Historymarker, and Shedd Aquariummarker. A narrow isthmus along Solidarity Drive dominated by Neoclassical sculptures of Kościuszko, Havliček and Copernicus connects to Northerly Island where the planetarium is located to the rest of the Museum Campus situated on the mainland.

Petrillo Music Shell

The Petrillo Music Shellmarker hosts music festivals such as Chicago Jazz Festival, Chicago Blues Festival, Taste of Chicago and Lollapalooza.

Children's Museum

Plans for a new $100 million Children's Museum that will move from Navy Piermarker to Grant Park were approved by Richard M. Daley. Some City Council members have opposed the project, and it may face obstacles there.

Other facilities

Grant Park also features many shaded walking trails and Lake Shore Trail, a paved multi-use path running along Lake Michigan for the entire length of the park. In addition, there are 16 softball fields and 12 tennis courts, open to the general public, and Daley Bicentennial Plaza offers fitness, yoga, aerobics programs.

See also



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