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Step through the Prairie-style Fullerton gate and enter a hidden garden of unmatched beauty. Only bird songs and the sound of a gentle waterfall break the restful silence. Follow the stone walk encircling the lily pool and discover a pavilion, council ring, and diverse native plantings. This is the vision of landscape architect Alfred Caldwell: a hidden garden for the people of Chicago designed to resemble a river meandering through a great Midwestern prairie.
The Lily Pool gravel pathway on the east side of the site is partially ADA accessible, and visitors should be aware that the stone pathway on the west side includes some steps up and down. Both sides of the path have a slight incline and decline.
The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool is closed for the season. It will re-open in May of 2024.
Daily from mid-April through October 8, 7:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. or dusk (whichever is sooner)
The Lily Pool is closed on the following dates:
125 W. Fullerton Parkway, Chicago, IL 60614
The site of the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool was originally part of a Victorian garden built in 1889 that displayed tropical lilies and other aquatic plants. When the Victorian-style garden fell out of popularity, the Lily Pool fell into disrepair until 1936 when Alfred Caldwell redesigned the pool and its surrounding area.
By the 1950s, Caldwell’s 1936 Lily Pool design deteriorated and was loaned to the Lincoln Park Zoo as an avian exhibit known as “The Rookery”. This caused further deterioration and , eventually, the zoo no longer required it. The Chicago Park District closed the site to the public for many years. Weedy trees and shrubs grew unchecked, stonework broke, hillsides eroded, wildflowers died, and the pool filled with debris until the Lincoln Park Conservancy came to its rescue. We raised &1.1 million in private funding for the project and the Chicago Park District allocated $1.3 million from its capital budget.
Designated on February 17, 2006
Designated on November 6, 2002
Your support helps the Conservancy maintain previous projects, embark on new endeavors, and grow toward our future.