Then & Now: Chicago, Illinois - Lake Shore Drive
Years: 1905 / 2014
In the early 1900s Lake Shore Drive was extremely close to the waters edge of Lake Michigan, as seen here in Lincoln Park, circa 1905. Chicago would end up extending itself eastward with landfill in a counterattack on Lake Michigan's persistent erosion of the shoreline.
"Both a boulevard and one of the nation's first superhighways, Lake Shore Drive arguably showcases Chicago like no other street does. The campaign for a waterfront boulevard occurred in 1899, when Potter Palmer asked for a street improvement in front of his mansion at 1350 N Lake Shore Drive. The Tribune reported, "Mr. Palmer said he would not object to putting a sea wall farther out into the lake and having a strip of land filled."
City fathers considered that newly created acreage ripe for development, but not Montgomery Ward, the merchandising genius who created the mail-order industry. A contemporary of Palmer's, he fought numerous lawsuits to keep the lakefront "forever open, clear and free."The result is a Lake Shore Drive flanked by beaches, parks and athletic fields, instead of the warehouses, piers and industries that line the waterfronts of other Great Lakes cities, such as Milwaukee and Cleveland." - Chicago Tribune