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Discover Millennium Park’s roots beginning with a transformation from an industrial wasteland to a world-renown public urban park.
You might never guess that Millennium Park, recipient of the 2009 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence, was once an industrial wasteland transformed into a world-class public park. In fact, from the 1850s until 1997, the land that is now occupied by Millennium Park was controlled by the Illinois Central Railroad. Visionary Chicago leader Daniel Burnham considered the railroad’s control of the area to be so untouchable that he developed the Grant Park portion of his 1909 “Plan for Chicago” around it.Thus, the area, which was covered with unsightly railroad tracks and parking lots, remained blight on Chicago’s lakefront throughout the 20th century.