Inside Caldwell Lily Pool, a Hidden Architectural Oasis in Chicago

Chicago has a magical and, to some, secret place where nature and tranquility reign supreme amid the bustle of city life.

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There's a place in Chicago where the city melts away and quiet peacefulness takes over thanks to the serenity of nature.
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It is an ecological pool of pond lilies, better known as Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool.
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The garden, a Victorian treasure, was built in 1889 and then redesigned by landscape architect Alfred Caldwell.
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After being abandoned for several decades, the pond was renovated thanks to the efforts of the Lincoln Park Conservancy and reopened to the public in 2002.
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Located steps from Lincoln Park Zoo, visitors can appreciate the flora and fauna of Chicago while touring the 2.7 acres surrounding the pond.
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Originally the huge pond was built as a nursery for growing tropical lilies, a difficult plant to preserve in Illinois given the intense cold.
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Years ago, this type of pond was known as a "frog farm" or breeding ground for frogs.
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According to historical records, in 1930 the pond was abandoned and in ruins.
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That was when landscape architect Alfred Caldwell and several artists took on the task of renewing the pond, applying techniques and styles of "Prairie" architectural design.
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The style is characterized by the use of horizontal lines seen in its flat roofs, wide eaves, windows grouped horizontally and integration of elements of nature and landscapes.
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By integrating elements of nature, this architectural movement aimed to go against mass production of construction products.
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It also gives importance to open and natural elements like rocks and wood spaces.
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And the flow of water through the space is gorgeous, isn't it?
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But its reconstruction was not easy. The park district cut funding for the project and Caldwell used his own money to complete it.
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Caldwell personally bought the thousands of plants that today surround the beautiful natural pond.
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The Lily Pool also was influenced by the characteristic organic architectural styles of Frank Lloyd Wright.
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Finally, thanks to another rehabilitation plan, this green oasis remains open and is an excellent choice for shelter from the intense heat during Chicago summers.
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The pond is located at 125 W. Fullerton Parkway (between Stockton and Cannon Drive) in Lincoln Park.
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This beauty can be booked for weddings or private events.
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Or you can enjoy it on your own, watching the sunset and taking in the sound of birds and frogs jumping among hundreds of water lilies.
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This historical and cultural site is open to the public every day from 7:30 a.m. to dusk. Free guided visits are also offered Friday 1-4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is free.
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