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Julia Bachrach estimates that over the city's history, over 2,000 acres of new land has been added to the city's lakefront. In places the today's shoreline is a full half mile east of where the first European explorers had found it.
This is the case with Fullerton Point, an outlet of land where Fullerton Parkway meets the lakefront. It began its life late in the 19th century as Picnic Island, a tract of land bounded by the lake, the Lincoln Park lagoon to the west, and waterways connecting the two to both the north and south.
|from This Haven of Rest and Health|
The sanitarium was created to serve the children of Chicago tenements, providing a seasonal refuge from summer's heat and increased pollution. The original building, designed by Burnham and Root, was open to lake breezes and constructed on 150 concrete pylons. A ramp connected it to the mainland, serving both to give its young patients the benefits of the fresh air and keeping them safely isolated from a population fearful of contagion.
In 1914, a larger replacement facility opened on Picnic Island, Minus its perpendicular entrance wing, sheared off in a later park improvement, this is the structure that still exists today. Designed by Dwight Perkins in the Prairie Style, with steel arches encased in brick, the facility has 250 basket cribs for babies, and nurseries and other rooms to support the care of older children. It served more than 30,000 children every summer, until its 1939 closing.
That was the past. This is the future . . .
ground was broken on the $31.5 million Lake Shoreline Protection Project to expand and stabilize Fullerton Point.
The previous revetment was built between 1910 and 1931 out of wood piles filled with stones. By the 1950's, the piles had begun to collapse, and record low water levels in 1964 exposed them to the air, accelerating the rot.
As much as a case of its seawalls crumbling, Fullerton Point had come to be seen as a traffic problem. Increasing pedestrian, skate and bicycle traffic combined to create a choke point where the paths met Lake Shore Drive underpass at Fullerton Parkway.
report by John Greenfield on StreetsBlog Chicago, the piles are pounded up to 45 feet into the lake bed. Right now, an estuary of "milky turquoise" water - the color coming from sediment - awaits being filled up 80,000 cubic yards of rock and sand to create the new land.