Burnham Park (Chicago)

Burnham Park
Promontory Point Northerly View.JPG
Northerly view of Burnham Park
LocationChicago, Cook County, Illinois
Coordinates41°50′7″N 87°36′26″W / 41°50′7″N 87°36′26″W / 41.83528; -87.60722
Area598 acres (242 ha)
Created1920 (1920)
Operated bywww.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks/Burnham-Park/

Burnham Park is a public park located in Chicago, Illinois. Situated along 6 miles (9.7 km) of Lake Michigan shoreline, the park connects Grant Park at 14th Street to Jackson Park at 56th Street. The 598 acres (242 ha) of parkland is owned and managed by Chicago Park District.[1][2] It was named for urban planner and architect Daniel Burnham in 1927.[2] Burnham was one of the designers of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.

The park is an outgrowth of the 1909 Plan for Chicago developed by the park's namesake Daniel Burnham and often called simply "The Burnham Plan". Land for the park has been acquired by the city's park district by a variety of means such as bequest, landfill, and barter. Now, the park hosts some of the city's most important municipal structures, such as Soldier Field and McCormick Place. The park has surrendered the land for the Museum Campus to Grant Park. During the presidency of U.S. President Barack Obama, the park was the landing site for Marine One when visiting his Kenwood home on Chicago's south side.

In the early 20th century, Chicago businessman A. Montgomery Ward advocated that the lakefront must be publicly accessible, and remain "forever open, clear and free", lest the city descend into the squalor typical of American cities of the time, with buildings and heavy industry destroying any chance for beauty. Ward's influence lead to the protection of the lake shore parks system and to this day, the city's lakefront is open from the former city limits at Hollywood Ave (5700N) down to the former steel mills near Rainbow Beach (7700S).


The Veteran's Memorial at Soldier Field

McFetridge Drive is the boundary between Grant Park and Burnham Park.[3] Beginning with Northerly Island and the 14th Street Beach, and enclosing Burnham Harbor and its public marina, the park runs in a narrow strip past Soldier Field and McCormick Place, both of which disrupt Burnham's original plan, south to 56th street. From North to South, the park runs through the communities of Near South, Douglas, Oakland, Kenwood and Hyde Park.

The park lies mostly between Lake Shore Drive and Lake Michigan, but it crosses the drive and abuts the Illinois Central Railroad tracks in places. There is a beach at 31st Street, a skatepark at 34th Street, a stone beach at 49th Street, and a model boat pond at 51st Street in Hyde Park. The park ends with a flourish at Promontory Point at 55th Street. Footbridges and underpasses provide access to the park over the barriers of the train tracks and Lake Shore Drive. A 6-mile (9.7 km) section of the Chicago Lakefront Trail bicycle and jogging path runs the length of the park.