Monday, October 18, 2010

Studio/Gang and the new Lincoln Park Nature Boardwalk. Part one: Raising the Dead - Necropolis as an urban eco-system

click image for larger view
Let's talk ecosystems.  When you come right down to it, anything beyond an amoeba is an ecosystem.  Each one of us is an ecosystem.  The worlds we find ourselves in, the worlds we create for ourselves, the obstacles and the fulcrums encountered on the way.  The family you grew up in, the relations of power between you and your parents, your siblings, your friends and adversaries, the house you grew up in, the neighborhood, the street, school and church. 

And no less than a bird building a nest or a rabbit digging out a burrow - if with a measure more ability and presumption - we also fabricate our own environments, in structure and landscape. Winston Churchill once said, "We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us."  That's an ecosystem.

It's easy to walk the site of the stunning new Nature Boardwalk, designed by Studio/Gang around the South Pond of Lincoln Park, and feel as if it must have been there forever, but in fact it, too, is a fabrication, the end point of a succession for urban interventions.
Read all about it here, pictures, in abundance.


Anonymous said...

Studio/Gang has been working at getting all credit for this, but I think their only involvement was the design of the pavilion, not the boardwalk. The boardwalk and the pavilion are weak and flawed. Both are vulnerable to vandalism, graffitti attack, and lack of maintenance. In parks, only idiots build things that are not heavy duty.

Lynn Becker said...

Your claims are false, and your perspective disgusting. Studio/Gang was, in fact, involved in the design of the boardwalk. And yes, let's not have anything beautiful - let's give in the the vandals and bureaucrats and make sure everything is concrete bunker shit, 'cause then no one will bother messing it up. Who would want to live in your lowest common-denominator world?

Anonymous said...

They don't make the same errors in our national parks and they're never called lowest common denominator work. So if you're an expert on which consultants did what, why don't you list them and give them credit?

Lynn Becker said...

I know you don't like reading, but the first part was clearly a history of the site. The full credits will be on the second part, on the new Nature Boardwalk, of which Studio/Gang was the primary designer.

Jyoti said...

Anonymous comments always irks me..
I want to knwo who you are..

Very interesting read..
Waiting for the Second Part..

I falways find Lincoln Park with all it's history, parks and monuments a very fascinating place..

Anonymous said...

LB - Apologies for the rude comments. My wife pointed out to me that they seemed mean-spirited and vulgar. That was not my intent. I will go and sin no more.

Lynn Becker said...

Please tell your wife everything's ok. I like a spirited debate, and I apologize if my comments were intemperate.

Pamela Bannos said...

Thanks for finding my Hidden Truths website and for calling it remarkable!

Some little clarifying points:
The 1835 cemeteries were at 23rd street on the south side and between Oak and Chicago on the north – they were each around 10-15 acres. The City Cemetery is what became Lincoln Park between North Ave and Wisconsin Street. From Wisconsin north to Webster was the first Lincoln Park until the decrepit cemetery got folded into it after the Chicago Fire.
The cholera epidemics were in 1849 and 1854.
I believe Lincoln Park (the Chicago City Cemetery land up to Webster) became recognized as within the city limits in 1847 even though North Avenue was still the aptly-named northern boundary elsewhere. This was the same year the city limits expanded west to the similarly creatively named, Western Avenue.
The only stench that came from the cemetery emanated from the receiving vaults – Dr. Rauch’s 1859 argument of rising vapors was in reference to the buried bodies that he posited would make the nearby neighbors sick. His other argument of the corpses’ pestilent bits seeping into Lake Michigan was more compelling.
The 1864 ordinance to prohibit the burial of the dead was not enforced and another one was issued in 1866 – a loophole did not prevent undertaker storage in their cemetery holding vaults.

The demise of the City Cemetery is a complicated story that I’ve attempted to unravel by presenting all the documentation I could find relating to the 57 acres of the cemetery. Part of my Hidden Truth project’s intention was to show how changing and incorrect information was passed down until the true stories became obscured and lost. Specifically, AT Andreas, in his epic three-volume History of Chicago, told an incorrect version of how all the bodies were removed from the cemetery. Subsequent authors cited his writing and then there was and continues to be surprise every time bones are uncovered in Lincoln Park and the Gold Coast.

So, although my corrections to your article may seem frivolous, I’ve made it my mission to at least keep the history of that small acreage accurate. I’m currently writing a book about the cemetery’s history and my project, and it’s taking me longer than all my research and time it took to make the website!

Lynn Becker said...


thanks for so much for your corrections and clarifications. As you can tell I'm no scholar, and the story of the City Cemetery was obviously a major challenge, even more so to separate the legends from the facts. Looking forward to the book - please keep us posted as it nears publication.

dp said...

RE Liberty Baptist Church, I'd like to know if Wm Alderman, or Tideman & Connel had done synagogues during the 50s. The sensibility, materials, and much of the detailing are in the same groove as a lot of 50s American synagogue architecture.

walt and flo smithe said...

We enjoy frequent walks around South Pond and recently learned that a " High Bridge...AKA ' Suicide Bridge' " was located in Lincoln Park. Please tell us where the bridge was located and if any foundations of the 1894 bridge can be found in Lincoln Park.