The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool was designed by a prairie school landscape architect in 1937.
Caldwell was a self-taught designer who wanted a place that was a refuge for city dwellers—an escape from the hustle and bustle.
The garden is filled with native plants, sunny and shady spots, and various elevations that represent the way the midwest once looked. It also contains a council ring as a nod to Caldwell’s mentor Jens Jensen. The gate and pavilion demonstrate the similar paths Caldwell and his contemporary Frank Lloyd Wright took. The garden is a national landmark and a Chicago landmark as well.
The garden was almost lost to invasive plants and erosion as a result of its use as a rookery in the 1950s. Since 2002, following a rehabilitation project by the Chicago Park District and the Lincoln Park Conservancy, the garden has returned to its original vision.
Know Before You Go
Open from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm or sunset. The season lasts from April to November. Docents provide free tours on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons.