The Lily Pool Remains closed to complete critical maintenance

Share to:
Work is underway!

The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool will remain closed as we complete critical deferred maintenance on the site’s iconic pavilion. Rotting posts and warped support beams are being replaced with new, regionally sourced and milled white oak timber. On the sturdy, re-leveled frame will go a new copper roof with corrected pitch and drainage. These essential repairs, along with ongoing maintenance and oversight, will prevent further deterioration and extend the life of this historic structure.

Unfortunately, as the structure was dismantled for repair, we discovered more damage than originally anticipated. Addressing these additional, critical issues is going to result in a lengthy delay, and we anticipate that the Lily Pool will not open to the public in 2024. This is disappointing for us, but we want to ensure that we take the time needed to properly restore the pavilion. Extreme care is being taken not only to match existing materials, but also to prevent damage to plantings and to the limestone paths and outcroppings during construction.

Additionally, the extended closure allows for other repairs that cannot otherwise be carried out, such as, troubleshooting the drain that has clogged in recent summers, causing flooding, as well as, restoring compacted garden beds, and doing ladder work and trail maintenance. We are even working to restore function to the lantern, depicted in Caldwell’s original design, which will subtly illuminate the Fullerton entrance, providing a bit of enchantment when the gates are closed.

Missing the Lily Pool? Help ensure its future by donating to its upkeep.
While We Complete This Much Needed Restoration Work, Check Out Some Other Serene Spots This Season-

Columbus Park – The jewel of Jensen’s contributions to Chicago parks, this masterpiece by Caldwell’s mentor includes some familiar features on a massive scale: a man-made river among native wetland and woodland plants, a council ring, limestone paths, and a stratified stone waterfall.

Peace Garden – located in Lincoln Park and thought to be an unsigned design of either Alfred Caldwell or his mentor Jens Jensen, it features the limestone walls and waterfall characteristic of both. Designated as a Native Garden by the Park District, the plant palate includes exclusively native species in a reinterpretation of the original plan.

Promontory Point – see the city from another angle at the south end of Burnham Park, home of one of Caldwell’s major works. His original prairie style plantings are gone, but the council rings have been repurposed into fire pits, so pack a BBQ, or at least some marshmallows. The limestone revetment built by the Works Progress Administration—the last stretch remaining along the city’s lakefront—is not to be missed.

Stay tuned to our website for future updates on the lily pool maintenance and reopening!

Related Posts

Winter 2024 Docent Update

The docent program is off to a great start in 2024, and we’re excited to share that docents are now scheduled in the Conservatory on Thursday mornings and afternoons, in

Read More
Scroll to Top
Skip to content