Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool

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.

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.

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

– Alfred Caldwell, Landscape Architect (1903 – 1998)

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.

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

Video courtesy of June Finfer, Lost and Found Productions. www.lostandfoundproductions.org

Recent Posts

September is a transition month in the Lily Pool. As the end of summer approaches, the plants put forth a final effort to bloom, set seed, and prepare for the winter. Well versed in native plants, Alfred Caldwell chose a wide range of trees, shrubs,......

Photo by Mindy Munson We’re on track to break ground on North Pond’s restoration this fall. On August 26th, the Chicago Plan Commission approved the Lakefront Protection application for our North Pond Restoration Project. This approval represented a major step in the project timeline to......

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