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20th Anniversary Celebration and Open House Chicago Weekend

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20th Anniversary of the Lily Pool Restoration Celebration, part of Open House Chicago & the Conservancy’s Fall Into the Park events season. 

In honor of both the 20th Anniversary of the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool Restoration and the virtual component of Open House Chicago, we are celebrating the Lily Pool throughout October. Follow us on social media or visit our web page at for weekly mini tours of the Lily Pool. 

In addition to our virtual offerings, we are welcoming visitors to the Lily Pool in-person during Open House Chicago weekend. Join us on Saturday, October 16 and Sunday, October 17 between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM as we celebrate the 2001 restoration of the Lily Pool by the Chicago Park District and the Lincoln Park Conservancy.

We will share some of the lesser-known stories about the restoration, the history of the Lily Pool, and Alfred Caldwell himself. For example, many people know that Caldwell cashed in his life insurance policy to plant the wildflowers in the Lily Pool, but fewer people know that Caldwell grew up in Lincoln Park and graduated from Lincoln Park High Schooljust a mile away from the Lily Pool!  

Between the 1940’s and late 1990’s, the site served as the Zoo Rookery (a bird habitat and occasional concert venue)Overuse by birds and people disrupted Caldwell’s vision and degraded the site. The 2001 restoration returned the site to cool, clear place of running water and earned the Lily Pool both Chicago and National Historic Landmark status. The project also served as a model for all of our subsequent restoration projects, including the current ecological restoration of North Pond.  

The Open House Chicago event is free and un-ticketed. Per the Chicago Park District’s COVID policy, masks will be required. To add some extra sweetness to the anniversary celebration, we will be handing out cookies from the Misericordia Hearts and Flowers Bakery for the first hour, or until they are gone (both days). After visiting the Lily Pool, be sure to check out other in-person Open House Chicago events in the neighborhood.

We hope you will join us!  


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