Lincoln Park’s Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool

Designers: Alfred Caldwell | City: Chicago, IL | Project Type: prairie style
Date Visited: 10.24.12

Location: Fullerton Pky and Cannon Dr Chicago, IL 60689
Size: 2.5 acres
Official Opening Date: 1930s

Nestled in Lincoln Park, the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool is largely considered a “hidden gem.” It’s also one of my favorite parks in Chicago.

Carrying out a similar design philosophy to that of his mentor Jens Jensen, landscape architect Alfred Caldwell designed the Lily Pool in prairie style landscape architecture, a style that artfully interprets the midwestern landscape through native plants and stratified stonework.

Tucked away in the corner of Lincoln Park close to the Chicago Zoo, the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pond is easy to miss unless you know where to look. Inside the park, I discovered that the Lily Pond was a popular spot to take kids—multiple mothers, grandmothers and nannies had found sanctuary within the small prairie-styled park.

Moving past the stratified stone and wood door and away from the street, the small park opens up to a large pond, encircled by a meandering stone path. Prominent features include a small, gurgling stone waterfall and stream that can be crossed over by raised stone steps; a stratified stone and wooden structure providing shade, seating, and privacy; and a council ring, that circular stone bench a la Jens Jensen.

Since its restoration in 2001, the Lily Pool has become an ecological sanctuary and home to over a large number of bird species, frogs, turtles, and native plants.

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