Experience Lincoln Avenue in a new way

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Charnley-Persky House

1365 North Astor Street

The Charnley House is a work of modern architectural art, the result of a collaboration between Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright.  Seymour Persky, a philanthropist, donated the building and ensured it would be open to the public and it currently serves as the headquarters for the Society of Architectural Historians.  You can visit for free on Wednesdays at noon.

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Chicago History Museum

1601 North Clark Street

The Chicago Historical Society was founded in 1856 to study Chicago’s history. The Great Chicago Fire destroyed the original building on Dearborn and Ohio.  In 1930, the society moved to its current location at the corner of Clark and North, where the Chicago History Museum stands as a research center and public museum.

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Lincoln Park

2001 North Clark Street

 

Lincoln Park was originally Lakeside Public Cemetery, intended to bury victims of smallpox and cholera.  In 1860, it became Lake Park, and was renamed Lincoln Park to commemorate President Lincoln after his assassination. In 1869, the park expanded to the North and South and the remains were relocated. 


The park was updated again in 1904 and Café Brauer, designed by Dwight H. Perkins, was built. In the 1930’s, the park was inducted into the Chicago Park District. Over time, Old Victorian Lily Pond, a Chicago Historical Landmark, designed by Alfred Caldwell;  bridges; comfort stations; and beach houses were added. 


The last extension was completed in the 1950s, when it expanded by 1,208 acres, making it the largest park in Chicago. Six bathing beaches, three boating harbors, a golf course, driving range, dozens of sculptures and monuments, a conservatory, and gardens were added.

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Lincoln Statue

1601 North Clark Street

 

The statue “Lincoln, the Man," by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, stands in the south section of Lincoln Park.  It  interprets the former president “burdened with the responsibilities of the hour," said Frederic Lauriston Bullard, minister and Lincoln scholar. Saint-Gaudens used a cast of the a life mask made by sculptor Leonard Wells Volk, who made the cast of Lincoln in 1860 in his studio off Clark. 


There are many copies of the sculpture, including one in London. There are five other Lincoln statues in Chicago, including another at the far north end of the LAUT. 

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Lincoln Park Zoo

 

Founded in 1868, Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the oldest municipal zoos in the country, started with the gift of swans from Central Park Zoo.  By 1873, the Zoo had been gifted two buffaloes, three foxes, three wolves, two elk, five deer, a puma, four eagles, prairie dogs, eight peacocks, four guinea pigs, and thirteen swans.  In 1874, the Zoo received the first lion as a loan from a circus, and bought a bear cub for ten dollars. The zoos popular bears were allows to roam the park because of the zoo's poor housing conditions, the bears were able to roam around the park. 


The zoo today is free and open to all visitors and hosts regular events for the community.

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Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

2430 North Cannon Drive

The Chicago Academy of Sciences was founded in 1857. By 1870 the Academy had one of the most significant collections in the nation. 


The Great Chicago fire ruined the original facility, but the Academy was rebuilt and continued to grow. In 1894, the Academy moved to the Laflin Memorial Building, where it resides now. By 1900, the Academy was a leading educational resource for students, teachers, and scientist.


In the 20th century, the urban growth of Chicago became a problem for nature enthusiasts. The Peggy Notebaert Museum was founded to provide the public with an authentic nature experience.

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Lincoln Avenue Row House District

1928-1936 North Lincoln Avenue

The Lincoln Avenue Row House District building , built in 1875, holds four row houses.  According to the building's plaque:  "They were built with front facades of Joliet limestone, a local-quarried building stone that was popular in the 19th century Chicago." Today, these row houses are still private homes.

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Oz Park

 

In 1974, 13 acres of land were set aside for the future Oz Park, named in 1976 in honor of author  L. Frank Baum., who lived near the site around 1891. In the 1990’s, the Oz Park advisory council commissioned John Kearney to make the park's Tin Man sculpture and, later, the Lion. 


Despite popular belief, Dorothy’s Play Lot was not named after Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, but after Dorothy Malamerson, a local teacher. Ms. Malamerson made significant donations to support children’s physical well-being. 


For the 100th anniversary of the book, the park held the “Celebration of the Wizard of Oz”, with readings costumes, games, and prizes. Since there is no field house, all indoor activities are held inside Lincoln Park High School. In return, Lincoln Park High School uses Oz Park for all outdoor sporting events. 


Oz Park hosts movies in the summer and a pumpkin patch in the fall.

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Kaufmann Store and Flats

2310 North Lincoln Avenue

 

The Kaufmann Store and Flats building was designed by Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan and originally housed a bakery According to the building's plaque: "It illustrates the type of design that Sullivan later developed in such frames structures as the auditorium and Carson Prairie Scott & Co." Today it houses a restaurant and an interior design store. 

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Biograph Theater

2433 North Lincoln Avenue

 

The Biograph Theater is the oldest remaining neighborhood movie houses. The land was bought in 1912 and the building  built in 1914. Samuel N. Crowen, the architect, included a storefront lobby, recessed entrance, free standing ticket booth, and canopy marquee.


On July 22, 1934, it received national recognition due to the killing of John Dillinger, a bank robber who fled to Chicago and got plastic surgery to hid from the police. This worked for a while, but he eventually met Anna Sage, an undercover FBI agent disguised as a prostitute. On July 22nd, they went to theater and were met by police. He was killed in the alley behind the theater.  

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St. Alphonsus Church

1429 West Wellington Avenue

 

Father Essing purchased five acres of land in 1882 in the Lakeview neighborhood for a new church and chose St. Alphonsus Liguori, the founder of the Redemptorist Fathers, as the patron saint. 


The original church, designed by Adam Boos, stood where the Athenaeum Theater is now. Father Max Leimgruber became the first pastor in 1885. In his two years, he baptized 1,091, performed 130 marriages, and confirmed 393. 


In 1889, with more than 800 families registered, the parish needed a larger church.  By 1897, a new location was selected and the first day of its attached school was in September 1892  with 70 students. Over the next few years. it expanded to over 1000 students, creating a need for a new building, built in 1903. 


The Athenaeum was added in 1911 as a recreational area for scouts, students, faculty, and parishioners. In 1939, the Athenaeum burnt down and later rebuilt.  Eleven years later the main church caught on fire, reopening two years later.

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Marshfield Trust and Savings Bank

3325 North Lincoln Avenue

 

The former Marshfield Trust and Savings Bank is a 1920s "terra-cotta clad [Classical Revival style] flat-iron building makes most of its triangular building lot...The building contractor was Avery Brundage, who went on to be president of the international Olympic Committee." The building today has a dance studio on the first floor.

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Taste of Lincoln Avenue

Taste of Lincoln Avenue is an annual Wrightwood neighborhood fundraiser which began in 1984.  The two day summer celebration between Fullerton and Wrightwood draws 50,000 visitors a year. The event features food and craft vendors, live music, and a carnival area for children. 


In 2019, the event will take place on July 27th and July 28th.  It is located on Lincoln between Fullerton and Wrightwood.

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Wells Park and Sulzer Library

4455 North Lincoln Avenue

 

Sulzer Library and Wells Park sit across the street from each other just north of Montrose. 


Sulzer was named after Conrad Sulzer, an early Lakeview Township settler. The building was designed by firm Hammond, Beeby and Babka in 1985, the same firm that designed the Harold Washington Library.


Wells Park offers a wide variety of activities, including indoor and outdoor basketball courts, baseball, soccer, tennis courts, horse shoe, chess, a playground, indoor pool, gym, weight room, and a seniors club. It was one of the five parks created by the Lincoln Park Commission in 1910. A small field house was built in 1915 and later replaced in 1970. Abe Saperstein, the founder of the Harlem Globetrotters, started his career as a basketball coach at Wells Park in the 1920’s.

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Old Town School of Folk Music

4544 North Lincoln Avenue

 

The Old Town School of Folk Music first opened in December 1957 on 33 North Avenue. Over 150 students attended weekly guitar and banjo classes. Dancing and singing classes were also offered. Many famous artists have performed there, such as Pete Seeger. 


During the 1960’s the school continued to grow and taught Roger McGuinn, Bob Gibson, and many others. In 1968 it moved to 909 West Armitage. 


In 1987, the school was awarded the Beatrice Foundation Award for Excellence. In the 1990s the school needed more space and moved to the former Hild Library, located on Lincoln Avenue. The new school building was dedicated on September 18, 1998, with a concert by Joni Mitchell and Peter Yarrow. 


Today the program averages nearly 6,600 students per week. The school continues to provide hundreds classes in music, dance and art, offering free concerts on most Wednesdays.

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Krause Music Store

4609 North Lincoln Avenue

 

The Krause Music store is a National Historic landmark building. In 1921, William Krause chose architect William Presto to design a building that would serve both as a music store and apartment complex. What makes the building a Historic Landmark is the work done by Luis Sullivan. This building was his last commissioned work.  He added a beautiful green terra cotta façade, giving the building a unique look. 


The building was completed in 1922.  The store sold pianos, sheet music, and was one of the first stores to sell radios.  Unfortunately, during the height of The Great Depression, Krause committed suicide in the apartment on the second floor. His widowed wife rented and then sold the building to a funeral parlor, which was there for 60 years. 


In 1977, the building was recognized as a historic landmark. In 2006, the building was purchased by Studio V Design, and they restored the façade and interior.

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Lincoln Square and the Lincoln Statue

Near Lincoln Square stands a second Lincoln Avenue statue of the president it is named for,titled "Chicago's Lincoln." The statue was sculpted by Dr. Avard Fairbanks, and unveiled in 1956. 


Lincoln Square is an island at the intersection at the intersection Lincoln, Lawrence, and Western. Between entrances marked by arches, there are many shops and a fountain in the center.

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Chicago River

The Chicago River starts in the Loop and branches north and south, connecting Lake Michigan to the Illinois River and then to the Mississippi River. 


The river played a crucial role in the development of Chicago; the meatpacking and lumber industrial depended on the river in the 19th century. Intense pollution raised safety concerns and locks were used to redirect the flow of water up the Des Plaines River instead of into Lake Michigan. These locks and a 28-mile canal were constructed between 1889 and 1910. ]


The Chicago River today is used by fishers, rowers, and other hobbyists. For every St. Patrick’s Day, the river is dyed green. 


Walking the trail, you will cross over the river on Foster Avenue.

References

Unless otherwise indicated, the history of these locations was researched at the Chicago Historical Society. Key references include Chicago Politics, Ward By Ward, by David K. Fremon; Chicago Sculptures, by James L. Riedy; The Encyclopedia of Chicago, by James R. Grossman; and The City in a Garden: A History of Chicago's Parks, by Julia S. Bachrach.