Forever Open, Clear, and Free: The Struggle for Chicago's Lakefront

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University of Chicago Press, Jun 11, 1991 - Political Science - 185 pages
4 Reviews
Of the thirty miles of Lake Michigan shoreline within the city limits of Chicago, twenty-four miles is public park land. The crown jewels of its park system, the lakefront parks bewitch natives and visitors alike with their brisk winds, shady trees, sandy beaches, and rolling waves. Like most good things, the protection of the lakefront parks didn't come easy, and this book chronicles the hard-fought and never-ending battles Chicago citizens have waged to keep them "forever open, clear, and free."

Illustrated with historic and contemporary photographs, Wille's book tells how Chicago's lakefront has survived a century of development. The story serves as a warning to anyone who thinks the struggle for the lakefront is over, or who takes for granted the beauty of its public beaches and parks.

"A thoroughly fascinating and well-documented narrative which draws the reader into the sights, smells and sounds of Chicago's story. . . . Everyone who cares about the development of land and its conservation will benefit from reading Miss Wille's book."—Daniel J. Shannon, Architectural Forum

"Not only good reading, it is also a splendid example of how to equip concerned citizens for their necessary participation in the politics of planning and a more livable environment."—Library Journal

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Review: Forever Open, Clear and Free: The Struggle for Chicago's Lakefront

User Review  - Teresa Sullinger - Goodreads

Fascinating history of Chicago's Lakefront. Yay for Montgomery Ward!! Read full review

Review: Forever Open, Clear and Free: The Struggle for Chicago's Lakefront

User Review  - Shane Skeldon - Goodreads

A quick, informative read about the founding if Chicago, and the few who stood up to the many to preserve the lakefront and the park system. Some of the information is dated, as the book was written ... Read full review


List of Illustrations
Foreword to the Second Edition
The Beginnings
It Would Only Be Necessary to Make a Canal
The Land They Labeled Free
The Railroad ontheLake
The Rise and Fall of White City
When You Deal with Montgomery Ward
Daniel Burnham Makes a Plan
The Age of Cement and Convenience
You Can Have Too Much Green Grass
The Future

A City Circled by Parks

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About the author (1991)

Lois Wille won the Pulitzer Prize in 1963 for a series of Chicago Daily News articles covering the refusal of public health agencies in Chicago and Cook County to provide contraceptive services for indigent women. In 1989 she received her second Pulitzer Prize, this time for editorial writing as the editorial page editor for the Chicago Tribune. She is the author of "Forever Open, Clear and Free: The Struggle for Chicago's Lakefront,

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