Free park tour Midway Plaisance. As part of It’s Your Park Day @ Midway Plaisance enjoy a free tour of the park and other events.
When: Saturday, June 16, 2018 11AM. Event is rain or shine; storytelling will move inside if needed.
Where: Hyde Park, Meet at the Boulevard sign at Stony Island (1600 E) and the Midway (between 59th & 60th Streets).
Come out for a day filled with park enhancement and community bonding.
This year marks the 125th anniversary of the World’s Columbian Exhibition and the first Ferris Wheel located on the Midway. There will be a free historical walking tour starting at 11am. The tour will begin at Stony Island and head west to the rink covering 1867-1925 and the north side of the Exhibition, before heading east again to discuss 1925-2018 and the Southside of the Exhibition.
Schedule of events
On the Midway, participants will work and play. Activities include: Park clean-up (all morning!), storytelling artists (10-11a), and pick-up soccer (11a-1p).
About Midway Plaisance Park (redacted from Chicago Park District website)
The Midway Plaisance is a linear stretch of parkland between Jackson and Washington parks.All three sites were originally conceived as a single landscape known as SouthPark. The South Park Commission (established in 1869 and later part of the Chicago Park District) hired Olmsted and Vaux, the designers of New York’s Central Park, to lay out the 1055-acre park.
Olmsted and Vaux’s original plan of 1871 envisioned an system of planted lagoons covering about one-third of the Lower Division (Jackson Park). This waterway would link with Lake Michigan on the east and with a smaller lagoon called the Mere at the Upper Division (Washington Park) on the west via a long formal canal and pleasure drive, accessible to people walking, riding horses (and carriages), and boating. Olmsted & Vaux named the center landscape the Midway Plaisance.
The canal was put on on-hold due to financial problems after the Great Fire of 1871. In 1891, Jackson Park was selected as the site for the World’s Columbian Exposition, and Olmsted worked with architect Daniel H. Burnham to transform the largely unfinished grounds into the “WhiteCity.”
The fair authorities used the Midway Plaisance as the site of amusements, restaurants, foreign villages, and ethnological exhibits. The most iconic attraction on the Midway was the world’s first Ferris wheel standing 264-feet with thirty-six cars, each with a capacity of sixty people.
After the fair Olmsted was hired to transform the fairgrounds back into parkland. THe priority was to transform Jackson Park fairgrounds back into usable parkland was the priority, and the canals on the Midway were never built. The commissioners installed sewers, drives, walks, bridle paths, reconditioned the wide center lawn, and planted more than 500 elm trees in straight rows lining the driveway.