Chicago Burnham Centennial Previewed

Scientists use illustrations to help tell the  story of how the Chicago shoreline was built.2009 marks the centennial anniversary of the 1909 publication of Plan of Chicago, commonly known as "The Burnham Plan." This historic, color-illustrated, urban planning book presented a vision for the twentieth century development of Chicago and the Chicago region. Co-authors Daniel H. Burnham (1846-1912) and Edward H. Bennett (1874-1954) completed this acclaimed work for the Commercial Club of Chicago, relying on their planning experience from the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, which was held at what is now Chicago's Jackson Park. The world-renowned Chicago lakefront is one of the major legacies of the Burnham Plan.

On October 16, 2008, as part of the 2008 National Conference of the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA), the ISGS hosted two 3.5-hour motor coach tours of the Chicago lakefront to tell the story of how the Burnham Plan contributed to the building of this urban shoreline. The 110 field trip participants received copies of ISGS Guidebook 36, which emphasizes graphics to tell this lakefront story. The field trip, refreshments, and guidebook publication were all sponsored by Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company of Oak Brook, Illinois. Between 1920 and 1940, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock was responsible for building most of the revetments, groins, and lakefill that now make possible the Chicago lakefront parks. This field trip was a preview of 2009 centennial events. ISGS is a program partner for The Burnham Plan Centennial. The guidebook is for sale on the ISGS Web site