Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool

LP Pavilion in Spring - for Upper Section 1 of 2 (SPF 2009)

Discover Caldwell’s Hidden Garden

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.

lp-council-ring

Restoration and Maintenance

In 1997, we adopted the Lily Pool and, with the Chicago Park District, created a Master Plan to restore Caldwell’s historic landscape and improve accessibility. Construction of the $2.4 million project began in 2000 and the re-named Lily Pool opened to the public in spring 2002. Once again, a “cool, refreshing, clear place” the restoration earned the site National Historic Landmark and Chicago Historical Landmark status. We have faithfully maintained the site ever since.

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A cool, refreshing, clear place of trees and stones and running water.

– Alfred Caldwell, Landscape Architect (1903 – 1998)

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The History

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.

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Alfred Caldwell with cigarette - Helen Morrison Foundation - history section

Alfred Caldwell portrait by Helen Balfour Morrison, copyright The Morrison-Shearer Foundation, Northbrook, IL, 2015.