The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool (also known as Lincoln Park Lily Pool and formerly as formerly The Rookery). It was designed by Alfred Caldwell and is a fine example of Prairie School landscape architecture, influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright and Jens Jensen (Caldwell’s teacher). The design was inspired by the natural landscape of the Midwest, with prairies, rock outcrops and native plants. It is a wonderfully wild, intimate place right in the middle of the city.
I am a native Chicagoan and must admit, that I had totally forgotten about this place. I think I had been there when I was a child, say nine years old. I just turned 49 two weeks ago, so it's been 40 years since I have been back. This is one of those hidden gems that you hear about and can't figure out why more people don't know about it.
It was tranquil and beautiful. I saw a prairie dog, geese, ducks and some turtles. The pond has a cascading water stream that feeds directly into it.
It's tucked behind the Conservatory, so it's easy to miss. In fact I would have missed it if I had not been walking. I used to drive right by this place several times a week and never noticed it. I will never forget it now.
Go by yourself or take your family. Either way, it will be worth it to you.
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