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Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool Gardens

Lily Pool Lily Pool Photo by Alanscottwalker via Wikimedia

Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, also known as Lincoln Park Lily Pool, was created by Alfred Caldwell. The pool is located in the Lincoln Park, Chicago. Being a fine illustration of Prairie School Landscape architecture, the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool Gardens have been designated as the city’s landmark since 2002.

As the name says it all, the pool was built with an aim to cultivate water lilies when it was landscaped in 1889. Later in 1930s, the pool was redesigned. Its main gate was situated on the south of Fullerton Parkway. On the Canon Drive there was another accessible entrance as well as a parking space. The renovated pool included a cascading waterfall, a pavilion, stone outcroppings and many more features around the lily pool.

With such an innovative and beautiful design, Alfred hoped that people would appreciate the natural beauty of the landscape. He wasn’t wrong! People have forever remembered him for the Lily Pool Garden which is counted among the best surviving examples of his work. In 1942, Caldwell stressed on the usefulness of the place. On account of this he said that the Pool Garden was a place where people could go and spend a relaxing time after spending a hectic day with long schedule.

However, much later the plants in the pool were destroyed by birds when the Lincoln Park started operating a bird sanctuary named as The Rookery. After a couple of failed attempts to restore the pool in 1960s and 1997, finally in 2001 the rehabilitation began. Non-native shrubs and trees were being replaced by bird friendly plants that were native to the Mid-West. Existing stone pathways were under the process of refurbishment. Along with it, pathways were being installed and the gate, the pavilion were revamped as well.

As a result of this, the Caldwell Lily Pool was reopened for the public in 2003 and since then has managed to attract both locals and tourists. At present, it is a frequently visited destination in Chicago. You will notice that the place will be more crowded by bird watchers.

Do bear in mind that the Lily Park is not open throughout the year. It is seasonally open from April-November morning till evening.


Hours/Tours: Lily pool opens April 20 - December 1 or first snow
Address/Map:  Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool Chicago, IL 60614
Phone: (773) 883-7275
Website: Plan your visit to Caldwell Lily Pool Gardens
Admission: Free - Lily Pool Free Docent Tours begin in April and run through October